Concerning the Hertfordshire CC "Report of the Secondary School Place Planning" - Oct 2006
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We the undersigned request that Hertfordshire County Council publicly explain what actions it took as a result of the detailed recommendations and findings of its own report “The Secondary School Place Planning Topic Group - October 2006 - Report of The Children, Schools & Families Scrutiny Committee Topic Group.” and confirm whether those actions are still in place today?
Note: Only a draft of this report was only ever publicly available, so any errors and omissions below are as found in the source material. The source report can be found here:
Recommendations and Findings highlighting output from the Scrutiny Committee Topic Group and Report detail include:
CSF Learning Points:
That the Director of CSF ensures that the learning points presented by his officers are acted on with immediate effect across the county, and that learning points 4 and 5 are incorporated within formalised processes.
The Group sympathises with the stress and emotional concerns experienced by children and their parents when a place at their preferred school is not available leaving them with no option but to consider going through an appeal process.
The overall accuracy of the school forecast and placement planning process can help hide potential ‘hot spot’ areas.
That the Director of CSF initiates a review of the potential number of ‘hot spot’ areas.
That CSF introduces a more ‘granular’ level of modelling (e.g. parish) for hot spot areas and that the result of the modelling be factored into the final planning of places.
Where forecast numbers are above or below planned admission numbers serious account of this should be taken at an early stage.
When forecasts are made a report, together with a hotspot forecast, should be sent to the Executive Member and local county councillors to facilitate the use of their local constituency knowledge.
Whilst parental preference is a cornerstone of the Authority’s code of practise and local admission arrangements should seek to meet this to the maximum extent possible, an education authority cannot keep adding places to popular or local schools indefinitely.
More could be done to limit the impact of siblings by making further changes to the admission rules.
The Executive Member should commission a review of the admission rules and for this review to take account of both practice by other education authorities and experiences in the Greater Harpenden and other ‘hot spot’ areas.
That the Executive Member be invited to suggest to the Government that flexibility that is no longer available following the introduction of PAN London is built back into the system;
That whilst the abuse of short term or accommodation addresses by parents was not the predominant factor behind the problems experienced in Harpenden, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that more needs to be done to deter this
The opportunity should be taken during the publication of this report to draw attention to the Authority’s resolve to take action against any parent who abuses the system through the use of short term addresses.
There should be a greater use of head teachers’ and schools’ local knowledge during the application checking process, with a proactive approach towards identifying those who use addresses fraudulently.
There should be positive early contact with independent schools in respect of obtaining information about likely transfers
Greater consideration should be given to the potential impact resulting from rule changes that are being considered, or the resolution of any perceived anomaly so that the full impact of such changes is appreciated and planned for.
Where place planning problems occur CSF must identify whether these are short-term or not.
John Hansen 7/7/18
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