Due to a blunder by Warwickshire Education Authority, who posted incorrect information on their website during the 2013 admissions process, parents may have been influenced to elect to move address to secure a grammar school place. 29 families submitted a change of address in to the priority area.
Instead of acknowledging the error of the Council the Governors of Lawrence Sheriff School (LSS) failed to make a simple decision on what action to take when a parent simply asked whether they had to move and provided evidence of what the Council advice was. The advice of the Council, prior to applications and registering a change of address was if the child did not move, and would have been awarded a place from the previous address, the place would not be withdrawn.
Instead of honouring the advice their agents gave, the Governors at LSS failed to provide any form of response for over 4-months, with implicit threats of withdrawing a place and claiming a child is not on a list for admissions when failing to send out year 7 information packs. The school simply stated it was seeking legal advice and constantly delayed any decision. What is surprising is that all the school Governors were not even aware of this issue. This begs the question who is behind this stance and why it is occurring. It transpires the Head, Peter Kent was in favour of withdrawing the place as was the Chair of Governors, Anthony Thomas
The school refused to allow the child to attend the year 7 induction day, even though his place was not withdrawn and failed to send a member of staff to his primary school as part of transition. We are led to believe this is unlawful. Two days before the term ended, after almost 4.5 months the Governors withdrew the school place offer on a belief of a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application.
Yet, the Council accepted all the paperwork and confirmed it was in order. The family was not required to move until the first day of term and made it clear that they would move before the first day of term. Clearly, they could not prove fraud unless the family had not moved by the first day of term. The Council never sought more information or data and the family even offered an early morning door knock. The action of LSS appears to be unlawful and a disgraceful course of conduct. WCC accepted all terms were complied with, yet still LSS withdrew the place even though WCC informed them not to do so, and in case he would be be placed at the top of the waiting list and should be re-offered. The family moved as indicated.
The Local Government Ombudsman directed the school to offer an appeal.