Update: October 2016
Admissions consultation: the OSA’s decision
The Archer Academy Trust consulted on proposed changes to the school’s admissions criteria for September 2017 entry throughout December 2015 and January 2016. Following this consultation, in March 2016, we published our determined admissions arrangements for 2017 entry. These arrangements sought to allocate 40 places across four feeder schools in N3 and NW11.
Where individuals or groups disagree with a school’s proposed changes they have the right to object to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA). The OSA considered objections to our proposals over the summer, and published their decision on 30th September 2016.
What has the OSA decided about 2017 admissions?
- The adjudicator commended the Trust on the robustness of the consultation process, describing it as “one of the most comprehensive school-led consultations I have seen.”
- He supported the Trust’s desire to fulfil the founding commitment to all three priority postcodes (N2, N3 and NW11) noting that “it is fair and reasonable for the admission arrangements (including the oversubscription criteria) to seek to ensure that children from all three postcodes continue to be offered places at the school.”
- He was clear that the proposed changes were not unfair to children living in N2, and that the choice of feeder schools was not designed to favour parents who supported the establishment of the school.
- He indicated that the proposed changes to our admissions arrangements for September 2017 entry can go ahead.
- He has, however, stated that the Trust should reconsider how to serve N3 and NW11 as well as N2 for September 2018.
Having analysed the report, we sought further clarification about September 2017 admissions and have had it confirmed that our determined arrangements can go ahead. We will consult on a fair mechanism of serving N3 and NW11 as well as N2 for September 2018 admissions, as required by the report.
What does this mean for families applying for September 2017?
For September 2017 entry, the changes to our admissions arrangements will be going ahead as proposed, which means the 40 planned places will be allocated to the four feeder schools in N3 and NW11 (5 places to Manorside Primary School, 5 places to Tudor Primary School, 15 places to Brookland Junior School and 15 places to Garden Suburb Junior School). You can read the full admissions policy here.
What does this mean for September 2018 admissions?
We will carry out a formal consultation on a fair mechanism of serving N3 and NW11 as well as N2 before determining our 2018 admissions arrangements.
Sanjay Maraj, Chair, the Archer Academy Trust
2 March 2016
Admissions consultation report
The Archer Academy’s admissions consultation took place between 1 December 2015 and 31 January 2016. 1729 people completed the online survey, of which 714 included written comments, and a substantial number of letters and emails were also received. All were considered as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other data and information such as schools admissions data, an equalities impact assessment (EIA) and operational insight from the school’s senior leadership team.
The Trust made it clear that the outcome of the consultation was not a foregone conclusion, and has responded to each of the issues raised by respondents within the full report, which you can access below. The main points are summarised here; however we recommend that interested parties read the report in full.
The Trust proposed feeder schools as the preferred way to ensure that families who live in NW11 and N3 have the opportunity to come to our school, as well as those from N2. The key factor behind proposing feeder schools (rather than quotas or ballots) was to continue to build strong relationships with local primary schools and to enable groups of students to transition from primary to secondary school together.
There was strong support from the consultation for the feeder school approach and the Trust remains clear about its founding commitment to serve NW11 and N3 as well as N2. This year’s admissions figures have underlined the acute nature of the problem: not one child living in N3 or NW11 has been offered a first round place on the basis of proximity for September 2016 admissions.
However, the Trust feels an equally strong commitment to N2, and was keen to address concerns raised about the proposals disadvantaging parts of our most local community.
The Trust continues to believe that allocating places to feeder schools in N3 and NW11 will ensure that students across the three priority postcodes can attend the school, with groups of students transitioning together and the school strengthening its relationship with the feeder schools.
Having reviewed its choice of proposed feeder schools in N3 and NW11, the Trust remains of the view that the appropriate feeder schools are Brookland Junior School (15 places), Hampstead Garden Suburb Junior School (15 places), Manorside Primary School (5 places) and Tudor Primary School (5 places). These are the four schools in N3 or NW11 (within 1.5 miles of the Archer Academy) with the highest rates of transition to the Archer Academy since it opened and so this will allow us to continue to build on these already strong relationships and ensure a smooth transition for our students.
However, the Trust has concluded that it is not necessary to allocate places to a feeder school in N2, because there will continue to be a significant number of students transitioning to the Archer Academy from primary schools in N2 under the distance over-subscription criterion. So these schools do not need to be formal feeder schools to continue to build their relationship with the Archer Academy.
The Trust is confident that Martin Primary and Holy Trinity will remain core schools for us, as they are both close to our school and within the priority postcodes, and we look forward to continuing to build strong, working partnerships with their staff and students in the years ahead. Indeed, our modelling shows that Martin Primary will provide us with more students than any other primary school under these new arrangements, once the school reaches steady state.
In total, 40 places will be allocated to the four feeder schools. The remaining 110 places will be allocated on the basis of our current over-subscription criteria. Our modelling indicates that around 50 places each year will be allocated on proximity grounds once the school is at steady state, in addition to sibling places. We have also decided to include a requirement that children who are allocated a feeder school place must live in one of the priority postcodes.
As ever, we recognise that we are only one school and, with only 150 places available each year, cannot solve the wider issue of secondary school shortfall in Barnet. We will continue to highlight the concerns that have been raised within our consultation and support the search for further solutions.
Sanjay Maraj, Chair, the Archer Academy Trust
2 March 2016