Just last week Toby Young tweeted a request for the text for the Admissions Code text for 2013.
Today I saw a document about the consultation for the 2013 Admissions for West London Free School. In it, the oversubscription criteria stated that children of the Founders were given priority admissions – just behind looked after children but ahead of children with musical aptitude and siblings of children currently at the school. A definition of founders is broad – ‘those individuals who played a major role in establishing the school, undertaking activities during the application and pre-opening stages, and continue to play a significant role in the running of the school since opening’. The list of such privileged people is upon request from the WLFS itself. I wonder how many there are – running a school is complex business – there could be a full raft of them!
In the text for the Admission Code
, there are provisions for children of staff of greater than two years tenure to have priority admissions - but prohibitions against those with
a) taking account of reports of previous schools about children’s past behaviour....(and WLFS proposed criteria has an exception for those excluded from two or more schools for a period of two years) and
b) prioritise children on the basis of their own or their parents‟ past or current hobbies or activities.
Would setting up a free school constitute a past or current hobby or activity? Or would the proposers rely upon the fact that the Admissions Appeal has to be run past the Trust - who clearly would have authorised the exemption in the first place?
This exemption from the Admissions code runs counter to many admonishments by key founder Toby Young – including this early report
The admissions criteria are agreed between the Academy and the Secretary of State and lay within the funding agreements. These agreements have been unavailable from the schools and the DfE. This has generated a lot of speculation as to the contents of such funding agreements and the admissions exceptions granted therein. These arrangements have been kept secret. Why?
Interestingly, I had a look on twitter this evening and saw an exchange with @toadmeister
@lilt1h1 Hi - May I ask roughly when you signed the funding agreement for 2013-2014 for WLFS?
@toadmeister We don't have a separate FA for 2013-14. Just the one covering us from 2011 onwards. We signed it on March 1st, 2011.
This means that the exemption for admissions, as a part of the funding agreement, must have existed when the current agreement was signed. Why this ‘caveat’ was not employed in the first round of admissions? Were the Founder’s children not of the right age to implement it? Why did they not want to reveal they had an exemption from the Admissions Code? Toby Young recently said he didn’t want to reveal the contents of the agreement because other schools were not ready – are they all harbouring the same ‘secret’? And if it is no problem and makes so much sense, why hide it at all?