Hooray for Hillingdon
The facts are that: 1. The arrangements have been praised by the Audit Commission as a model of good practice; 2. The secondary schools do have to co-ordinate admission arrangements; 3. These arrangements extend to broadly common criteria for admission, a common application form and a common timetable for the receiving of applications and the making of offers; 4. There is a regular data exchange between the schools and the local authority; 5. The local authority is represented at the annual co-ordination meeting; 6. The majority of parents receive and accept offers of places by the end of January. This compares favourably with the pre-1992 situation when the local authority administered admissions. At that time no parent was in receipt of an offer before the end of April; 7. Most schools have the majority of their intake settled by early February - to the great benefit of induction arrangements. Again, this compares favourably with the local authority-administered model when schools rarely received lists before July, and which were often inaccurate or incomplete; 8. Appeals are generally concluded by the end of March; 9. The fact that some parents have no choice of school is due entirely to the action of the council in removing secondary places.
Hillingdon secondary schools - whether grant-maintained, voluntary-aided or local authority - do have a perhaps unique record of co-operation and the promotion of common initiatives and developments. It would be refreshing were this to receive the acknowledgement that it deserves.
P D Targett
Chairman Hillingdon Association of Secondary Headteachers Harlington Community School Pinkwell Lane Hayes, Middlesex