FULL STORY: Academy objections thrown out by government officials

Academy objections thrown out by government officials

Academy objections thrown out by government officials

First published in High Wycombe Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

OBJECTIONS made against the admissions policy by rival schools and the county council have been thrown out by an independent adjudicator.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator rejected claims the system was not fair, would disadvantage local children and that the school had inadequately consulted other schools in the area and the public.

Dr Bryan Slater also refused to uphold objections over the academy’s removal of its catchment area and those that allege ‘new selection contrary to The Schools Admissions Code was being introduced’.

In his determination, Dr Slater said the above objections were "unfounded".

He said banding is legal and allowed under the code, and he had "seen no evidence" that the new policy was unfair on either pupils applying for a place or to other schools.

And after studying an impact analysis from the school using county council data, Dr Slater felt it was a "reasonable assessment" that more children who live closer to Highcrest would actually gain a place in the new system – contrary to objections from other parties.

He also backed the use of the NVR, calling it "nationally recognised" test which would give a "reflection of ability which is accurate".

But Dr Slater did, however, asked Highcrest to reword the new arrangements in a clearer manner to ensure they fall in line with The School’s Admissions Code.

Delighted Highcrest principal Shena Moynihan, who had been braced for objections said: "We’re delighted as not only does it mean that all the hard work has been worthwhile, but actually what we wanted to do, to make Highcrest a family school, is now a reality.

"Every single aspect of the decision - it’s fair, it’s not selection, it’s legal, the banding is fine, the test is the best test available - everything we’ve said, the adjudicator has agreed with.

"And it wasn’t just Dr Slater, the notetaker was Dr Elizabeth Passmore, the country’s chief adjudicator - I guess they knew it was groundbreaking.

"But the main thing for us is it’s fair and lawful, and for people to still say otherwise on various websites is just ludicrous."

The determination from the Schools Adjudicator listed the following as objectors against Highcrest’s admissions policy:

• Mr D Berry

• 11 Secondary Schools: (Cressex Community School, Great Marlow School, Holmer Green Secondary School, Princes Risborough School, Sir William Ramsay School, St Augustine and St Bernard’s Catholic School, The Amersham School, The Beaconsfield School, The Chiltern Hills Academy, The Misbourne School, The Wye Valley School)

• Buckinghamshire County Council

• Dr K Simmons

• Mr J Bajina

• Three primary schools: (King’s Wood School, Beechview School, The Marsh School)

• Ms R Hickman

Comments (19)

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2:21pm Tue 4 Sep 12

Welwyn Dowd says...

So, if a kid living 50 yds away fails the 11+, fails Highcrest's Entry Exam where does the Council send them? Marlow, Beaconsfield?
So, if a kid living 50 yds away fails the 11+, fails Highcrest's Entry Exam where does the Council send them? Marlow, Beaconsfield? Welwyn Dowd
  • Score: 0

2:24pm Tue 4 Sep 12

Darren Hayday says...

Welwyn Dowd wrote:
So, if a kid living 50 yds away fails the 11+, fails Highcrest's Entry Exam where does the Council send them? Marlow, Beaconsfield?
Cressex of course! :o(
[quote][p][bold]Welwyn Dowd[/bold] wrote: So, if a kid living 50 yds away fails the 11+, fails Highcrest's Entry Exam where does the Council send them? Marlow, Beaconsfield?[/p][/quote]Cressex of course! :o( Darren Hayday
  • Score: 0

2:26pm Tue 4 Sep 12

Welwyn Dowd says...

Cressex is not a BucksCC school but another independent Academy!
Cressex is not a BucksCC school but another independent Academy! Welwyn Dowd
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Tue 4 Sep 12

Darren Hayday says...

Welwyn Dowd wrote:
Cressex is not a BucksCC school but another independent Academy!
http://www.cressex.b
ucks.sch.uk/index.ht
ml

Unless you know something that I don't - I'm under the impression that its still run by BCC?
[quote][p][bold]Welwyn Dowd[/bold] wrote: Cressex is not a BucksCC school but another independent Academy![/p][/quote]http://www.cressex.b ucks.sch.uk/index.ht ml Unless you know something that I don't - I'm under the impression that its still run by BCC? Darren Hayday
  • Score: 0

3:10pm Tue 4 Sep 12

ArnyP_HW says...

..and a darn good school Cressex is (here we go again!)
..and a darn good school Cressex is (here we go again!) ArnyP_HW
  • Score: 0

3:51pm Tue 4 Sep 12

J B Blackett says...

Cressex appears to have greatly improved going by the recent exam results did better than The Wye Valley or the Beaconsfield Schools.
Cressex appears to have greatly improved going by the recent exam results did better than The Wye Valley or the Beaconsfield Schools. J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

4:01pm Tue 4 Sep 12

Darren Hayday says...

Yes I agree that Cressex is doing much better but the issue on the table is...

Where do the kids go that fail their 11+ exam go now that Highcrest uses its entry exams? (which will be what the other Grammar schools will be doing very soon when the 11+ is phased out)

There seems to be a lack of schools in and around Wycombe.

Should we not be looking at building a new school?

I'm sure that the population has increased since the last time a study was carried out as we always see new houses being built in and around the town.
Yes I agree that Cressex is doing much better but the issue on the table is... Where do the kids go that fail their 11+ exam go now that Highcrest uses its entry exams? (which will be what the other Grammar schools will be doing very soon when the 11+ is phased out) There seems to be a lack of schools in and around Wycombe. Should we not be looking at building a new school? I'm sure that the population has increased since the last time a study was carried out as we always see new houses being built in and around the town. Darren Hayday
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Tue 4 Sep 12

HighWycombe says...

J B Blackett wrote:
Cressex appears to have greatly improved going by the recent exam results did better than The Wye Valley or the Beaconsfield Schools.
The 60% is A* to C in any subject.The 'adjusted' figures which includes Maths and English are in fact 28% and it is this value by which the government rates schools.
[quote][p][bold]J B Blackett[/bold] wrote: Cressex appears to have greatly improved going by the recent exam results did better than The Wye Valley or the Beaconsfield Schools.[/p][/quote]The 60% is A* to C in any subject.The 'adjusted' figures which includes Maths and English are in fact 28% and it is this value by which the government rates schools. HighWycombe
  • Score: 0

5:26pm Tue 4 Sep 12

J B Blackett says...

HighWycombe wrote:
J B Blackett wrote:
Cressex appears to have greatly improved going by the recent exam results did better than The Wye Valley or the Beaconsfield Schools.
The 60% is A* to C in any subject.The 'adjusted' figures which includes Maths and English are in fact 28% and it is this value by which the government rates schools.
You may or may not be correct in your specific assertion but the site below seems to point to greatly improved results at Cressex - unless the reporter got it wrong , of course.
[quote][p][bold]HighWycombe[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]J B Blackett[/bold] wrote: Cressex appears to have greatly improved going by the recent exam results did better than The Wye Valley or the Beaconsfield Schools.[/p][/quote]The 60% is A* to C in any subject.The 'adjusted' figures which includes Maths and English are in fact 28% and it is this value by which the government rates schools.[/p][/quote]You may or may not be correct in your specific assertion but the site below seems to point to greatly improved results at Cressex - unless the reporter got it wrong , of course. J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Tue 4 Sep 12

J B Blackett says...

http://www.guardianp
ublic.co.uk/cressex-
community-school-par
tnership
http://www.guardianp ublic.co.uk/cressex- community-school-par tnership J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

8:30pm Tue 4 Sep 12

HerculePoirot says...

The actual decision etc is here:
http://www.education
.gov.uk/schoolsadjud
icator/decisions/dat
abase/a00213234/ada2
262hca
The actual decision etc is here: http://www.education .gov.uk/schoolsadjud icator/decisions/dat abase/a00213234/ada2 262hca HerculePoirot
  • Score: 0

9:57pm Tue 4 Sep 12

mumsworld says...

It's not an issue about how good Cressex is, or not, but how far I'd have to travel to take my child to school. Why should I have to traipse all the way over to the other side of town, in rush hour traffic, when there is a perfectly good secondary school 5 minutes away. Will BCC be updating the catchments for other schools? as we have other secondary schools far closer than Cressex (which has always been our '2nd' catchment school)
It's not an issue about how good Cressex is, or not, but how far I'd have to travel to take my child to school. Why should I have to traipse all the way over to the other side of town, in rush hour traffic, when there is a perfectly good secondary school 5 minutes away. Will BCC be updating the catchments for other schools? as we have other secondary schools far closer than Cressex (which has always been our '2nd' catchment school) mumsworld
  • Score: 0

11:36pm Tue 4 Sep 12

itstheprincipal says...

Interesting to note in an article by MICHAEL GOVE, Education Secretary, on 19th Aug 2012 he said ".And the reason they’re so good (academies) is that they enjoy all the freedoms of private schools — the freedom to pay good staff more, the freedom to innovate with the curriculum, the freedom to insist on tougher discipline — yet they’re also socially comprehensive, open to children of every ability WITH NO SELECTION OR SCREENING OF STUDENTS."
So how did the adjudicator & Highcrest side swipe that one? Hmmm
Interesting to note in an article by MICHAEL GOVE, Education Secretary, on 19th Aug 2012 he said ".And the reason they’re so good (academies) is that they enjoy all the freedoms of private schools — the freedom to pay good staff more, the freedom to innovate with the curriculum, the freedom to insist on tougher discipline — yet they’re also socially comprehensive, open to children of every ability WITH NO SELECTION OR SCREENING OF STUDENTS." So how did the adjudicator & Highcrest side swipe that one? Hmmm itstheprincipal
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Wed 5 Sep 12

BucksResident says...

I think the point that most of you don't appear to have grasped is that the test being used at the Highcrest Academy is not selective; there is no pass or fail.

My understanding is that the test results will be used such that an equal percentage of children of all abilities will attend the school.
I think the point that most of you don't appear to have grasped is that the test being used at the Highcrest Academy is not selective; there is no pass or fail. My understanding is that the test results will be used such that an equal percentage of children of all abilities will attend the school. BucksResident
  • Score: 0

11:12pm Wed 5 Sep 12

faircuppa says...

Incredible that people have clearly not read the adjudicator's report and are peddling the same misinformation. All the named individuals seem to be Labour Party. Isn't it time that they campaigned against the 11 plus? Or is it just easier to attach Highcrest?
Incredible that people have clearly not read the adjudicator's report and are peddling the same misinformation. All the named individuals seem to be Labour Party. Isn't it time that they campaigned against the 11 plus? Or is it just easier to attach Highcrest? faircuppa
  • Score: 0

8:10pm Thu 6 Sep 12

LiamGates says...

Welwyn Dowd wrote:
So, if a kid living 50 yds away fails the 11+, fails Highcrest's Entry Exam where does the Council send them? Marlow, Beaconsfield?
Actually, it does not! The 1st item on the list is if there is a sibling at the Academy. Then it is by distance!! So the kid who lives 50yards would have a much better chance of getting in than one who lived 1000 yards!! The 'test' is not a pass or fail. It just helps Highcrest get an idea of what band a child would be placed in.
Liam
Student at the Highcrest Academy
[quote][p][bold]Welwyn Dowd[/bold] wrote: So, if a kid living 50 yds away fails the 11+, fails Highcrest's Entry Exam where does the Council send them? Marlow, Beaconsfield?[/p][/quote]Actually, it does not! The 1st item on the list is if there is a sibling at the Academy. Then it is by distance!! So the kid who lives 50yards would have a much better chance of getting in than one who lived 1000 yards!! The 'test' is not a pass or fail. It just helps Highcrest get an idea of what band a child would be placed in. Liam Student at the Highcrest Academy LiamGates
  • Score: 0

12:53am Fri 7 Sep 12

itstheprincipal says...

Liam also states "The 'test' is not a pass or fail. It just helps Highcrest get an idea of what band a child would be placed in." So why have the 'test' then as it is doing no more than the existing Midys tests which band the children immediately they start year 7? There can only be one reason, & that is to select 'A' students, of which they know they won't get enough of near the school,to vastly improve their GCSE results (which after all have only improved by 4% in the last 2 years & still only stand at 49%,not particularly impressive!), if you still don't believe me take a drive along to West Wycombe where you will see a massive,& I mean MASSIVE billboard advert for Highcrest open evening & testing! Now why would you pay for such a big billboard advert to be placed in an area so far away from your catchment area,apparently there's one near Beaconsfield as well! Who is paying for all this, billboard advertising costs £1000s of £s,you & me,the local community that's who,money that could have been spent on our children,is this school answerable to no one when they squander money? Why,if as the Head says that the school is over-subscribed & is still a 'local school for local children' would you advertise so far away? It wouldn't be to get children from Gerrards Cross, Stokenchurch etc would it!! As I've said before the words 'hidden' & 'agenda' spring to mind. Miss Moynihan needs to come clean & make a statement to the BFP about why she felt the need to advertise so far away,how much this advertising cost & what benefits the current children have lost out on because of this cost,because more & more local families are feeling isolated by the school,but as we all know that's what she wants,LESS Totteridge & Micklefield children & MORE Gerrards Cross & Stokenchuch children.
Liam also states "The 'test' is not a pass or fail. It just helps Highcrest get an idea of what band a child would be placed in." So why have the 'test' then as it is doing no more than the existing Midys tests which band the children immediately they start year 7? There can only be one reason, & that is to select 'A' students, of which they know they won't get enough of near the school,to vastly improve their GCSE results (which after all have only improved by 4% in the last 2 years & still only stand at 49%,not particularly impressive!), if you still don't believe me take a drive along to West Wycombe where you will see a massive,& I mean MASSIVE billboard advert for Highcrest open evening & testing! Now why would you pay for such a big billboard advert to be placed in an area so far away from your catchment area,apparently there's one near Beaconsfield as well! Who is paying for all this, billboard advertising costs £1000s of £s,you & me,the local community that's who,money that could have been spent on our children,is this school answerable to no one when they squander money? Why,if as the Head says that the school is over-subscribed & is still a 'local school for local children' would you advertise so far away? It wouldn't be to get children from Gerrards Cross, Stokenchurch etc would it!! As I've said before the words 'hidden' & 'agenda' spring to mind. Miss Moynihan needs to come clean & make a statement to the BFP about why she felt the need to advertise so far away,how much this advertising cost & what benefits the current children have lost out on because of this cost,because more & more local families are feeling isolated by the school,but as we all know that's what she wants,LESS Totteridge & Micklefield children & MORE Gerrards Cross & Stokenchuch children. itstheprincipal
  • Score: 0

8:57pm Fri 7 Sep 12

Heathen says...

The dear old BFP has sensationalised the headline yet again. End of the 11+? As Norm used to say - on yer bike.

Parents will still fight for the right to get their kids an opportunity to take the 11+ and get them into Grammar schools. It's what gives them the best chance of getting to the best Unis (I admit there are some exceptions) but for 95% it's all that matters.

Do the Grammar schools care about Hillcrest? The answer is an emphatic NO. Just look at who the objectors were - out of the 16, 11 were secondary schools who fear that Hillcrest might cream off the best of the rest who failed the 11+.

Storm in a teacup. Not worthy of two pages of print IMHO.
The dear old BFP has sensationalised the headline yet again. End of the 11+? As Norm used to say - on yer bike. Parents will still fight for the right to get their kids an opportunity to take the 11+ and get them into Grammar schools. It's what gives them the best chance of getting to the best Unis (I admit there are some exceptions) but for 95% it's all that matters. Do the Grammar schools care about Hillcrest? The answer is an emphatic NO. Just look at who the objectors were - out of the 16, 11 were secondary schools who fear that Hillcrest might cream off the best of the rest who failed the 11+. Storm in a teacup. Not worthy of two pages of print IMHO. Heathen
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Sun 9 Sep 12

HerculePoirot says...

"Parents will still fight for the right to get their kids an opportunity to take the 11+ and get them into Grammar schools.. It's what gives them the best chance of getting to the best Unis (I admit there are some exceptions) but for 95% it's all that matters." Only 30% of children get into grammar schools, so by your logic the selective system leaves 65% dissatisfied. I'm amazed that upper schools object to banding but not the 11+ which is the root of the problems.
"Parents will still fight for the right to get their kids an opportunity to take the 11+ and get them into Grammar schools.. It's what gives them the best chance of getting to the best Unis (I admit there are some exceptions) but for 95% it's all that matters." Only 30% of children get into grammar schools, so by your logic the selective system leaves 65% dissatisfied. I'm amazed that upper schools object to banding but not the 11+ which is the root of the problems. HerculePoirot
  • Score: 0

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