Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Katrina Bell on 020 8583 2072 email:  katrina.bell@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

74.

Declarations of interest and any other communications from Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or other communications from members.

75.

Developments in Admissions Discussions - Nursery Admissions

Minutes:

See discussion paper, pages 208-209 of the supplementary agenda pack.

 

Sabi Hothi, Head of Pupil Services, explained that there was a discussion regarding the co-ordination of nursery admissions taking place in the borough. This had begun as the Borough’s responsibilities relating to managing 0-5 year old childcare provision had grown, especially with the introduction of fifteen hours of free childcare for three and four year olds. There was the potential to co-ordinate admissions to nurseries run by Hounslow’s schools. The benefits of doing this were: that each child would receive only one offer, which would prevent parents from ‘sitting on’ offers; that admission criteria could be supervised more closely and implemented in a uniform way; that resources would be better used; that pupil records would be held by the borough earlier, allowing for better planning, and; that children with Special Educational Needs would be known about earlier, and so support could be provided sooner.

 

Ms Hothi explained that the service could operate on a buy back model, whereby schools would pay the local authority for running the service. She noted that a procedure would have to be established for those who didn’t wish to be involved in the scheme. There would also need to be work with the Private, Voluntary, and Independent (PVI) sector, as well as training for staff, and outreach work to inform parents of how to apply. There might also need to be an appeal or review mechanism. Ms Hothi said that she wanted to hear forum members’ views on the idea, and for the next steps to be agreed. She suggested that these might be a scoping exercise with schools, and for possible funding mechanisms to be looked at.

 

Chrissie Elam, Head of Early Years and Childcare, explained that the take up of the three to four year old offer was low in Hounslow at just eighty-four percent. This meant that sixteen percent of children were unknown when they joined reception at statutory school age. She thought that many parents applied to schools, but if they were unsuccessful, didn’t then pursue a PVI placement. She felt that by co-ordinating admissions, the local authority could ensure that parents had the information they needed to make such a decision. The move would also help place planning for reception.

 

Kathryn Harper-Quinn felt that the idea was good for both schools and the local authority. She was however concerned that the Local Authority would not be able to provide sufficient information to schools for them to decide on how to divide their pupils into classes. Ms Hothi explained that this extra information, such as details of ethnicity, was not relevant to admissions, and so ought not to be requested on the application form. She thought that the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) would object to such questions being asked, and noted that schools would always have to ask for more information once places had been allocated. Chrissie Elam noted that home visits were a useful way of gathering this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2013 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Decision:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 17th June 2013 were agreed. There were no matters arising.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 17th June 2013 were agreed. There were no matters arising.

77.

Briefing for Admissions Forum- Place planning and projections pdf icon PDF 62 KB

·        Reception bulge classes September 2013

Decision:

The paper was noted.

Minutes:

See paper on place planning circulated at the meeting and appended to these minutes.

 

Sheena Poley, Head of Place Planning and Admissions, explained that 120 permanent places had been put in for 2013/14, along with 480 reception places in bulge classes, which would lead to permanent expansion of the schools which had taken these classes. 90 year three places had been created in bulge classes. There were contingency plans for additional places in Feltham and Cranford, which had not been needed.

 

Ms Poley described the differences between the number of pupils projected to be attending and the numbers counted in the October census. In Feltham and Hanworth there were 59 vacant places, in Heston and Cranford there were 32 vacant places, in Chiswick, 33 vacant places, in Brentford, 15 vacant places, whilst in Hounslow there were 66 vacant places. This made 205 vacancies in all, or a vacancy rate of 5.8%. She noted however that all reception classes had been full at the time of allocation. At some schools the relatively high level of vacancies was a cause for concern, and there would be meetings with schools over the following week to discuss the reasons for this, which were often peculiar to local areas.

 

Ms Poley suggested that the LA would need to revisit the numbers on roll following the January 2014 census, as there might be a further take up of places, related to parents who keep their children in nursery until they reach statutory school age, only then moving them to a reception class. There had already been 51 children joining schools between September and October 2013.

 

Ms Poley explained that ten additional forms of entry were planned for September 2014. Building works to support these were already underway, and they were all regarded as permanent expansions. The authority still needed to find one more form of entry in the Brentford area for September 2014, in order to meet predicted demand. Consultation was underway for five additional forms of entry for September 2015. These would be at St Paul’s (Church of England) Primary, Beavers Primary, Hounslow Heath, where both Infant and Junior Schools would be expanded, and St Mary’s (Catholic) Primary, Isleworth. There were also plans to increase SEN provision with 10 additional Moderate Learning Disability places in each of Key Stages One and Two at Hounslow Heath Infant and Junior Schools. There would also be 9 Key Stage One and 12 Key Stage Two Autistic Spectrum Disorder Places at Strand-on-the-Green Infant and Junior Schools, as well as 8 Key Stage One places for children with Severe and Complex Learning Difficulties at Feltham Hill Infants. Lindon Bennett would be expanded by 29 places to provide for those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, complex severe learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders. Statutory notices would be published following agreement by Cabinet on 3rd December 2013.

 

Sheena Poley said that secondary schools currently had a surplus of places, however, in 2017 additional places would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Update on School Status

Decision:

It was noted that The Green School had converted to become an academy, as had Oriel Primary School. Two applications for free schools were expected, one for a Green School for Boys, and one for a primary School in Hanworth, to be supported by St Georges Church.

Minutes:

Sabi Hothi reported that The Green School had become an academy since the last meeting, as had Oriel Primary School. There were two free schools at the pre application stage, a ‘Green School for Boys’, in Isleworth, and St Georges Primary School, in Hanworth. Nishkam and Reach were existing free schools.

 

79.

Secondary Transfer 2013 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was noted that there were 249 spare places across the borough.

Minutes:

See paper circulated at the meeting, and appended to these minutes.

 

Sabi Hothi reported that there were 249 vacant places at secondary schools in the borough. 672 pupils from outside the borough had been offered places at Hounslow Schools at the time of allocation, whilst 594 Hounslow based pupils had received offers in other local authority areas.

 

80.

Reception Admissions 2013 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Decision:

It was noted that there were 807 spare places across primary schools.

Minutes:

See paper circulated at the meeting, and appended to these minutes.

 

Sabi Hothi informed members that there were 807 vacancies across the borough at primary level, and 22 pupils out of school. These could all be accommodated at a school local to them.

 

81.

Developments in Admissions Discussions - 14-19 Admissions pdf icon PDF 64 KB

·        14-19 admissions

·        Nursery admissions

 

Decision:

7a. Members discussed 14-19 admissions. There was a possibility that a studio school would open in Hounslow, and this would have implications for admissions and place planning. The Local Authority would continue to research the issue.

 

7b. Members discussed the costs and benefits of co-ordinating nursery admissions for schools in the Borough. It was agreed that members would discuss this idea with primary partnerships, and report back to the Local Authority on whether it was worth pursuing further.

Minutes:

Sabi Hothi said that at present there was no studio school in Hounslow, however, there was a possibility of one opening in Hounslow, and one in Hillingdon. There was very little guidance on how the local authority ought to treat admissions to this type of school, as age ranges tended to be different to traditional secondary schools. She said that Hertfordshire already had a studio school, and their advice would be sought. The issue was already on the agenda for the next pan-London admissions meeting. Liz Wolverson said that a studio school was located in Hackney, and suggested that they could be contacted. The Chair said that discussions about potential studio schools admission arrangements should be shared, as they would impact on other schools. Michael Marks agreed, and noted that a studio school could mean that another school needed to reduce in size above year nine. He suggested that an update could be brought to the March meeting.

82.

Fair Access Protocol pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Decision:

The protocol was noted. It would be looked at again in the summer term and early in the 2014-15 academic year.

Minutes:

See Fair Access Protocol, pages 5 – 16 of the agenda pack.

 

Sabi Hothi explained that the Fair Access Protocol item was included to seek the views of members on the new protocol. It had been drafted in accordance with the School Admissions Code, and had already been consulted on at the Behaviour and Attendance Partnership. The School Admissions Forum would need to look at the impact of the Fair Access Protocol at some point, although the item would be brought back to the forum in the future.

 

The Chair asked how often the protocol was reviewed. Ms Hothi explained that the authority had to report on its operation annually. She proposed to update the forum at the summer 2014 meeting, and review the protocol that autumn.

83.

Recent admission challenges – Adjudicator letter pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Decision:

The report was noted.

Minutes:

See Adjudicator Letter, pages 17 – 23 of the agenda pack.

 

Sabi Hothi informed that forum that the authority had been challenged on its oversubscription criteria for Community Secondary Schools. The Schools’ Adjudicator found that there had been no breach of the School Admissions Code, and that the method of measuring distance used by Hounslow was appropriate.

84.

Proposed Admission Arrangements 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Decision:

The report was noted.

 

Questions were raised regarding the suitability of Oriel Academy’s Oversubscription criteria relating to the Nursery there. The Local Authority was to consider this further, and report back to the School Admissions Forum by the March meeting.

Minutes:

See Proposed Admission Arrangements 2015-16, pages 24-207 of the agenda pack.

 

 Sabi Hothi explained that the admission arrangements for 2015-16 were being brought to the forum in order to consult members. Ms Hothi explained the key changes made between the 2014-15 arrangements and those proposed for 2015-16, which were:

-          The alteration of dates.

-          The new distribution of places at The Green School, to reflect the increase in the Published Admissions Number (PAN). There would be an extra 20 places for pupils belonging to other world faiths, an additional 10 Community Places. There would continue to be 110 Christian Foundation places.

-          Additional criteria being introduced at Rivers Academy. These would be iv) Children who currently attend a Primary Aspirations Academy, currently Oriel Academy West London; and, v) Children of newly appointed staff, filling a post with a ‘demonstrable skills shortage’ (School Admissions Code 2012).

-          Additional criteria being introduced at Oriel Academy West London, specifically 3. Children who have attended Oriel Academy West London Nursery.

 

Members discussed the legality of the new criteria to be introduced at Oriel Academy West London. Liz Wolverson noted that similar criteria had been taken to the adjudicator. Sabi Hothi said that the School Admissions Code was now silent on ‘nursery feeder schools’. The Chair asked that an update on this be brought to the March meeting by the Local Authority. 

 

Sabi Hothi reported that Reach Academy hoped to introduce a criteria for those eligible for free school meals. This would be used to allocate between twenty and twenty-five percent of places, and for these places, would take priority over siblings and, at primary level, the priority admissions area. She said that this was because the academy trust felt it was not achieving the mix of pupils it desired. Ms Hothi told members that Nishkam Academy would be using the criteria it had consulted upon previously.

 

Michael Marks asked who would be responsible if admission arrangements were found not to comply with the School Admissions Code. Ms Hothi said that the admissions authority was responsible for its arrangements. Liz Wolverson asked how a breach would affect a school’s finances. Sheena Poley explained that formula funding for pupils would be allocated, but only up to the published admissions number, so an extra class couldn’t be created by stealth. Sabi Hothi explained that new checks were being introduced whereby the percentage of places allocated to children under each criteria by voluntary aided schools would be sent to the local authority before offers were made, which would allow the authority to detect mistakes in advance of parents being informed.

85.

Any Other Business

Decision:

Sabi Hothi noted that an open day for Nursery admissions would be held on Monday, 25th November. There would also be outreach sessions in Feltham and the Treaty Centre, Hounslow.

 

A forward plan for the School Admissions Forum was to be drafted by the local authority prior to the March meeting.

 

The Chair was to write to Pam Butterfield to thank her for her work on the School Admissions Forum, as she would be retiring at Christmas.

Minutes:

Sabi Hothi noted that an open day for secondary transfer would be held on Monday, 25th November. There would also be outreach sessions in Feltham and the Treaty Centre, Hounslow.

 

Michael Marks explained that the Local Authority wanted to introduce a forward plan for the School Admissions Forum. The Chair asked that a draft forward plan be brought to the March meeting for members’ consideration.

 

The Chair was to write to Pam Butterfield to thank her for her work on the School Admissions Forum, as she would be retiring at Christmas.