Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Chaspal Sandhu on 020 8583 2065 email:  chaspal.sandhu@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

122.

Apologies for Absence, Declarations of interest and any other communications from Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

123.

Minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2014 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2014 were agreed as an accurate record.

 

 

Matters Arising:

 

Action: That the Membership of the Forum be brought back to the next meeting for discussion.  

 

124.

Changes in the New Admissions Code 2014 pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Minutes:

Sheena Poley advised that the Admissions code had been finalised and it came into effect on 19th December 2014. There had been some changes made in the new code. The new code allowed state funded schools to give priority to children that would be applying for a place with the pupil premium. In addition, children that were eligible for the early years pupil premium or children attending an established pre-school nursery would be given priority for reception places.

 

In terms of summer-born children, the admissions code would clarify changes to the admissions arrangements. If parents did not feel that their summer-born child was ready to start school in September they would be able to apply for deferred entry to school. A panel would then assess the application and decide whether to grant deferred entry. The panel that would assess the application would be the same panel that also assessed applications on medical and social grounds. Under the new code, children would not have to be admitted into the year group at school that they were born into. Each individual case would need to be assessed on its own merits.

 

Gary Murrell, Community School Representative, questioned whether the school’s funding would be affected by the deferral of entry if the child was not physically in school at the start of the term. Ms Poley clarified that parents would need to notify the Authority and school and submit an application for deferral in the normal cycle. However, a child that had deferred entry would not then be placed on the school roll and a place would not be held open, therefore, the amount of funding received would not change. 

 

Liz Wolverson, Diocesan Representative, felt that deferred entry for children could possibly work whilst they were of primary school age. However, she expressed concern that there would be real problems for children that were behind a year due to deferred entry once they reached secondary transfer age. She felt that due to their age, once the child reached Year 6 ready for secondary transfer, some secondary schools may not allow those children to progress into Year 7. She expressed concern that the schools could insist that due to their age the children would need to go into Year 8, regardless of the deferred entry previously. She expressed concerns that deferred entry could have a detrimental impact and those children would experience a difficult time. Ms Poley advised that all of the implications of deferred entry would be discussed with the parents and children at the initial application stage.

 

Kathryn Harper-Quinn, Community School Representative, felt that deferred entry could be useful for some children. She noted that the option to defer entry into a certain year group could also allow some children to repeat a year. She felt it would be helpful for some families as the standard entry to school age was not suitable for every child.

 

Ms Poley advised that in relation to concerns raised by Ms Wolverson, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 124.

125.

Secondary Transfer Admissions Offers - September 2015 (verbal update)

Minutes:

Sheena Poley gave an update on the Secondary Transfer Admissions offers. She advised that all Secondary Transfer letters had been sent to parents. There had been an increase in the number of offers made and 2748 places had been offered. Ms Poley advised that there was still a surplus of places left to allocate across schools in the Borough. The surplus was slowly reducing but there were enough places to offer to all children. 107 late applications had been received and there were enough vacant places to be able to offer to all of the late applications also.

 

In terms of online applications, the numbers received online had increased to approximately 61%. However, this was not considered to be very high in comparison to neighbouring Boroughs. Most Boroughs received about 75% of the applications online. It was felt that Hounslow needed to increase the number of applications that were made online.

 

Councillor Bruce questioned whether it would be possible to make the paper application forms less accessible. He suggested that parents be invited into the Civic Centre to use computers to complete forms online.

 

Michael Marks advised that the benefit of the online application for parents would be that they would receive their offer for a place earlier than parents that had applied on a hard copy application form. He felt it would be useful for schools to encourage parents to apply online as part of the advice given at open evenings. It was also felt that it would be helpful to geographically assess areas that required more assistance with online applications.

 

Liz Wolverson expressed concern that a lot of parents were not computer literate and would not have confidence applying online. Ms Poley accepted that it would be difficult for parents that did not possess IT skills and also for those for whom English was not their first/main language.

 

Ms Poley advised that the Authority was heavily reliant on primary schools to keep a track of children transferring from Year 6 to Year 7 and checking that an application had been made. She advised that the Transfer to Secondary School booklet would be produced over the summer and it would be useful to emphasise that parents should aim to complete the application form online.

 

Kathryn Harper-Quinn suggested that primary schools could help by opening up their computer suites for a day to allow parents of Year 6 children to go in and submit an online application form.

 

Ann Broughton, Community Schools Representative, felt it was important to bite the bullet and stop producing paper copy application forms completely. If the forms were no longer so easily available on paper parents would have no other option. Assistance could be provided to parents that were having difficulties.

 

Michael Marks suggested that this issue be revisited at the next meeting to decide upon an online application target figure. The forum could also decide whether they wished to completely remove the option for paper copy application forms.

 

126.

Primary Reception Applications and Capacity - September 2015 (verbal update)

Minutes:

Sheena Poley advised that the Primary Reception place offer letters would be sent out on 16th April 2015. She advised that 3573 on time applications had been received and there had been 127 late applications. She advised that it would be possible to make offers to all applicants on time. However, there were still a lot of late applications being received.

127.

Update on consultation on the Local Authorities Admission Arrangements for 2016 - as per the consultation papers

Minutes:

Sheena Poley advised that following on from the consultation there had been no changes to the Admissions arrangements for 2016. The next step would be for the Local Authority’s admission arrangements to be ratified by the Cabinet.

128.

Letter to Admission Forum members regarding Rivers Academy proposal for changes to Admission Arrangements pdf icon PDF 301 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sheena Poley advised that a letter was written to Rivers Academy from Councillor Bruce on behalf of the Schools Admissions Forum regarding the proposed admission arrangements for 2016.

 

Ms Poley advised that the current admission number was 215 and Rivers Academy had proposed to reduce the admission number to 180. She emphasised that the proposal did not support the school expansions programme and would have a detrimental impact on the existing shortage of secondary places.

 

Further information in the proposal by Rivers referred to ability banding and also the proposal for feeder primary schools. It was felt that the selection of a feeder school would need to be transparent and be made on reasonable grounds. The proposal was to make Oriel Academy West London School a feeder school. However, the reasons for this feeder link had not been established.

 

The introduction of ability banding for selection was considered to be inappropriate. Thus, Councillor Tom Bruce wrote a response letter to the Regional Schools Commissioner outlining the concerns regarding the proposals. In addition the letter highlighted that if the proposals regarding ability banding were implemented there would be an impact on Reach Academy and Feltham Community College. Ms Poley advised that the Authority had not yet received a response from the Regional Schools Commissioner. She would chase up a response and update the forum at the next meeting.

 

 

129.

Oakhill Primary - Objections to proposal to change age range sent to the Regional Schools Commissioner pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sheena Poley gave details of the Council’s response to significant changes proposed to the operation of Oak Hill Academy. The proposal was to convert Oak Hill Academy from a 4 form entry junior school to a 2 form entry primary school from September 2017.

 

Ms Poley advised that the Council’s response expressed concern that the information contained in Oak Hill’s Business Case did not accurately reflect the response and comments from the Local Authority. Since writing to the Regional Schools Commissioner, the Local Authority was still waiting for a response. The Local Authority was extremely concerned it had funded and honoured the application from Oak Hill as part of the expansion programme and that unfortunately within a year the school planned to change to a smaller primary school. She advised that the proposal had created real difficulties for parents of children currently attending the school. Parents expressed concern that they did not know which school their child would attend post Year 2. There would also be an impact on other Feltham schools, namely an increase in applications.

 

The Forum expressed great concern for the parents of children currently attending Oak Hill.

 

Michael Marks felt it was important to follow up the letter that was written to the Regional Schools Commissioner. It was important to challenge where inaccurate information had been submitted by Oak Hill Academy. Mr Marks felt it would be useful to invite and encourage Mr Martin Post, Regional Schools Commissioner, to attend a future meeting of the School Admissions Forum.

130.

Update on School Status

Minutes:

Sheena Poley gave an update on the Free School and Academy Status.

 

Secondary

  • The Thomas Lucas Academy application was unsuccessful. Although it had been presented to the Academy & Free Schools Reference Group, the school application went to the Education Funding Agency and was unsuccessful at that stage.
  • The Green School for Boys would be opening in September 2017. Initially The Green School for Boys would start off with 4 forms of entry with plans to increase to 6 forms of entry in the future. The site for the school was still to be confirmed.
  • Studio School (Feltham Community) was successful and would be opening in September 2016.
  • Studio School Aspirations Trust (AAT) was successful and would be opening in September 2015.
  • Turing House Free School still had no site. Sheena Poley advised that the school was investigating the possibility of opening in September 2015 at a temporary site in Teddington whilst they continued to look for a permanent site.
  • Secondary Partnership Free School (HIP) was successful and would be opening in September 2017. The school would initially open as a 5 form entry in 2017 and then a 6 form entry in 2018.
  • Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus was a site within Richmond college and would be opening in September 2016
  • The Ealing Fields Free School opening would be deferred until September 2016 due to site issues.

 

 

Primary

  • Edison Primary School would be opening in September 2016 and would open with 90 places.
  • Floreat Brentford Primary School would be opening in September 2015 subject to planning permission. The school would provide 60 places
  • St Georges Primary School had provided no clear date for application.  

 

Michael Marks advised that with the current school expansions and the new free schools opening it would be possible to meet the needs of the borough and have enough school places. However, he advised that there would still be some challenges with SEN places and it would be necessary to expand some SEN schools.

 

Sheena Poley advised that Europeace Youth AP Free School were hoping to put in an application to the Education Funding Agency. The application would be submitted in May 2015.

131.

Admission to UTC/ Studio Schools (verbal update)

Minutes:

The forum noted that this item had been covered in the previous agenda item discussions.

132.

Revised Fair Access Protocol pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Minutes:

Sheena Poley referred Forum members to the Fair Access Protocol document within the agenda pack. She advised that the Fair access protocol related to children not on any school roll for various reasons. She advised that the Fair Access Protocol had been amended to include children with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions without a statement, or Education, Health and Care Plan. She emphasised that this group was now included within the policy and must be considered.

 

Sheena Poley advised that she had also attended a behaviour and attendance group and it included children on roll with complex and difficult needs. It was not possible to apply straightforward admission to these cases and they would also be referred to a Fair access panel to be assessed. 

 

Kathryn Harper-Quinn advised that Heads of Schools would welcome the inclusion to the Fair Access Protocol and stated that some cases were not suitable for mainstream provision. It was important that proper assessments were carried out to ensure that the right placement was allocated for vulnerable children.

133.

Update on School Expansion Programme 2016-2020 (Cabinet report) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Tom Bruce advised that the School Expansion Programme 2016-2020 had been approved by the Cabinet in February 2015. The next stage was to start looking into the expansions of secondary schools in the Borough. He advised that an additional 29.5 forms of entry would need to be identified by 2020. The proposals were looking into expanding Chiswick Community School, Heston Community and Isleworth & Syon School.

 

Sheena Poley advised that at a Secondary School Heads group meeting the previous week, it was estimated that only twelve additional forms of entry would be required. She advised that the Authority did not want to put any of the schools in a vulnerable position by asking them to expand earlier than necessary. She advised that there was always the possibility that another free school would make and application.

 

Councillor Bruce advised that pending agreement at the Cabinet meeting the following evening, the expansion of Marjory Kinnan and Oaklands would be approved. There would also be a site move for Hounslow Town Primary School.

134.

Confirmation of the changes to the New Admissions Code of Practice

Minutes:

The changes to the New Admissions Code of Practice were noted by the Forum.

135.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

There was no other business.

136.

Date of the next meeting 22 June 2015

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting would be 22 June 2015.