Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Smoking Ban Scotland

From the 26th March 2006 smoking will no longer be allowed in commercial vehicles being driven in Scotland. This does not include company cars but will include vans and lorries. Yippee!!

Can't wait until this is law in England, too. But the ban has to apply to all kinds of vehicle, at least to the driver. I mean, if its illegal to drive holding a mobile phone to your ear, then what's the difference if people hold a fag up to their mouths.

clearingtheairscotland.com

Monday, 6 March 2006

Secondary School Selection - Not!

As the parents of a child looking to gain entry to a secondary school in September 2006, the exercise for us became one of not choosing the school we wanted her to go to, but more one of making sure she didn’t end up going to the “wrong” school.

For the record, school A would have been my first choice for my daughter. School B would have been 2nd choice, and given our financial and religious circumstances, and our daughters academic ability, no other school would really have done.

We used various map web sites to calculate, postcode to postcode, the distance from home to the schools. School A 2.0km away; School B 1.5km; School C 1.9 Km.
Applying the previous rules on entry and looking at the numbers of pupils being accepted under each rule in the past I drew up my analysis.

Admission rules for community and voluntary-controlled co-educational schools. The rules are applied in order.

Rule 1: Children who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs which names the school. – So maybe 4 out of the available 180 places are allocated. We would not qualify under this Rule. Result - 176 places left at school A.

Rule 2: Children for whom it can be demonstrated that they have a particular medical or social reason for attending the school, and those who are in public care. Forecast: 4 out of 176 places are allocated. We would not qualify under this Rule for School A. Result - 172 places left.

Rule 3: Children who have a brother or sister at the school at the time of application. Forecast: 30 out of 172 places are allocated. We would not qualify under this Rule. Result - 142 places left at school A.

Rule 4: Children of staff permanently employed at the school where the Local Authority has determined, having regard to the wishes of the Governing Body, that this is necessary to reduce recruitment and/or retention difficulties. Forecast: 4 out of 142 places are allocated. We would not qualify under this Rule. Result - 138 places left at school A.

Rule 5: Children who live in the priority area for the school and who demonstrate an aptitude in the area of the school's specialism (with those demonstrating the greatest aptitude being given priority). This rule applies to 10% of places in those schools determined by the LEA having regard to the wishes of their Governing Bodies. This rule will not be applied to any community or voluntary-controlled school this year. Nobody qualifies. Forecast: 138 places left at school A.

Rule 6: Children who live in the priority area and for whom it is their nearest Hertfordshire maintained non-faith co-educational school. Where more children qualify under this rule than there are places available, places will be allocated to those who live nearest to the school.
We don’t qualify under this Rule for School “A” as it is not our nearest school. Forecast: 138 places allocated. Forecast: No places left at school A.
School “B” is the best bet to gain admission under this rule, but even this school may be over-subscribed.

Rule 7: Children who live in the priority area who live nearest to the school. We would qualify for School A under this rule but on past admission rates, there will be no places left. Entry to School “B” may be via this rule, IF it still has places to allocate after applying all the other rules.

Rule 8: Children who live outside the priority area and for whom it is their nearest Hertfordshire maintained non-faith co-educational school. Where more children qualify under this rule than there are places available, places will be allocated to those who live nearest the school. School A would not need to allocate any places under this rule as it is already filled up under the rules above.

Rule 9: Children living outside the priority area who live nearest to the school. School A would not need to allocate any places under this rule as it is already filled up under the rules above.

The County Council School Admissions apply these rules in the order they are printed above. If more children qualify under a particular rule than there are places available, they use a tiebreak by applying the next rule to those children.

So, our choice 1 was School B, choice 2 School A, choice 3 was school D (and that would have required a quick conversion to Catholocism if she had got a place there!).
We since learnt that people who might have qualified under rule 5 did not get in to School A .

ConclusionAnyone who thinks they have a real choice is badly deluded.