Parents hang on to their fistful of offers

20th December 1996 at 00:00
The Audit Commission's suggestions for reform could place the future of all smaller schools under scrutiny

Parents in Sutton Coldfield can hold up to seven offers of school places for their children at any one time.

A complex admissions system in the affluent area to the north of Birmingham allows parents to apply to the local authority, church and grant-maintained schools and a city technology college.

They have the choice of one of four local education authority comprehensives, one of which is Catholic, one of two LEA single sex schools, one of five King Edward Foundation schools in the city, any number of GM schools in Birmingham, any GM schools in neighbouring authorities, a county or voluntary school in each of the nearby councils and the CTC in Solihull.

Birmingham City Council handles applications for its schools but the admission arrangements for the other institutions are not only different but work to individual timetables.

This provides an incentive for parents to hold on to offers of places until they have the results of all their applications. Even when they have all their offers they are under no obligation to inform the admission authorities about which offers they intend to reject.

The Audit Commission said the complex system meant schools had to over-allocate places to take account of the parents who would eventually accept offers elsewhere. Meanwhile other parents often faced an anxious wait to see if they would get what they wanted.

The LEA also spends a lot of time chasing up parents who neither accept nor reject its offers. Last year there were 276 appeals at four schools - the equivalent to a quarter of the Year 7 intake.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now