By Laura Payne Wednesday 06 February 2013 Updated: 06/02 16:24
SOLIHULL Council has criticised Tudor Grange Academy’s proposed changes to its admissions policy.
The school wants to give priority for places to pupils from two primary schools - St James and St Alphege - ahead of those youngsters living in the catchment area.
The council will discuss its response to the academy’s consultation at a meeting on Monday when it is expected to formally object to the proposals.
A meeting for parents concerned about the changes was due to take place tonight (Thursday) at Widney School from 6.30pm. It has been organised by MP Lorely Burt.
A report prepared for councillors says: “The council is concerned that this could destabilise the present arrangements and could ultimately result in some children in the future being unable to secure a place in a local school.
“Children living in the Hockley Heath, Blythe and Tidbury Green areas should be noted as particularly at risk.
“The council is also concerned about the possible impact on other secondary schools who might seek to introduce feeder schools into their admission arrangements.
“The Local Authority’s overriding responsibility is fairness to every single child in the borough when it comes to their admission to a secondary school, whether or not the school involved is an academy.”
According to the council, based on 2012 figures all children in the catchment area would have got into Tudor Grange under the new proposal, as would those children with siblings at the school, but some from outside the catchment area would not have been given a place.
But the council said it is concerned about future population changes.
The report adds: “As the catchment cohorts increase there is a risk that siblings could not be offered places.
“There could also be a risk to those catchment children living furthest away from the school.”
A statement from Tudor Grange Academy’s principal Jennifer Bexon-Smith said the data predictions up to 2019 indicate the school will comfortably cater for children in the catchment area as well those from the two primary schools.
She said: “There are plans for further housing developments in the south of the borough and the academy has been approached by the council to increase the intake to 270 to cope with this.
“This fits with stated Government policy which encourages successful schools to expand.”
The council will also comment on proposals for changes to admissions at Park Hall Academy and Arden Academy.
While the council said it has no objection to Park Hall’s plan to have a list of four priorities, they would like to see a slight alteration to Arden’s proposal.
The academy wants to give children of teachers priority ahead of those from the catchment area.
The final decision on whether to change the admissions policy rests with each academy,
Visit www.solihull.gov.uk for more information.
Turn to pages eight and nine for more reaction.
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