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Nearby School Poaching children


westMidlands
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Dear all,

We have had 2 parents coming up to us telling us that the nearby school (who have early years provision) informed that their children will get automatic place in the school at reception age if they bring their children to their provision. This in my opinion is foul play and misleading parents that the school decides whether the children get into the school or not. I spoke to the headmaster and he brushed it off saying that they have had to deal with competition from other school opening by. He didn't clearly state that they are using the scare tactic but seemed like he was insinuating that they do resort to it due to "government pressures".

Please can someone advice what I can do here? Can i go to the board of governors or go to the local authority admissions' policy to complain of foul play? The parents have said that they love our nursery and only taking them out because of the promised automatic place in the school.

Thank you

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We have suffered with this as well. In addition to this, our local (requires improvement) primary offers 32.5 funded hours per week and because of this, we're not full for the first time in years. The school tells parents taking up a place at the nursery will guarantee them a place in reception but this is pretty meaningless as they are never over subscribed. I guess parents lap it up though, but it's the 32.5 free hours that really nabs parents, and who can blame them?

 

If you want to pursue it, I would call your LA and tell them. I would definitely do this if it is, or starts to, affect your sustainability. The bottom line is, they are not supposed to tell parents this, and it is not true.

Edited by Stargrower
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Below is a statement taken straight from our local authorities admission policy for all schools in the city, I have printed out a copy of the policy and I keep it in reception to show to parents for the avoidance of doubt if they are thinking of moving their child for this reason.

 

'Attendance at a particular nursery does not guarantee admission to the main school for infant/primary education. All applications for admission to the main school must be made to the Local Authority and will be considered against the oversubscription criteria listed in 1-5 above'.

 

If the child has been with us since they were two - I also show them the following information from the Ofsted 'Teaching and Play in the Early Years' report. After that - it's up to them to make their mind up I guess.

 

n Disadvantaged two-year-olds made the strongest progress when they continued their learning as three-year-olds in the same setting. We found that children who had benefited from funded early education as two-year-olds in the same setting showed greater social and emotional development. Familiarity with adults, the physical environment and the routines and expectations of the setting enabled a more successful start at the age of three.(Ofsted)

 

 

What I don't do (because it would be totally unprofessional) is tell them that the only reason the schools are doing this is to get the funding - but I feel like doing so because it is totally unfair that schools are allowed to do it.

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As transitions are such a major thing at the moment perhaps, in the interest of fairness,approach all your local schools and request a copy of their Admissions Policy and School Prospectus that you will make available to all your parents.

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speak to your lea. This is totally out of order and the school is putting itself in a messy position because if one of those parents does not get a place at the school they will be furious! I have found going to my lea has had a more profound effect than going to the governors.

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A reception place is not guaranteed. Parents have to apply for a reception place via the LA. There will be a clear admissions process on your LA website.

However - the Govt has changed/is changing the criteria to allow Funded two year olds who attend/go through a school nursery to have priority for reception places because they are shown to do better with fewer transitions into new places. So if they are funded twos the school may have a valid point.

Cx

Edited by catma
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lsp, yes I believe they are.

 

westMIdlands, we have a similar situation with 2 of our local primary schools, and I regularly refer parents to the admissions criteria which is on the county website, proving that it is not guaranteed. They have started taking funded 2 year olds, but only in the term they turn 3, so I have had a few parents who expect us to take the child for just two terms! I always make the point, especially if the child took a while to settle, that they are going to have to go through the process again in a group of 26 and on a much higher ratio - oh, and have they read the Ofsted report? I'm not sure where I stand with LA if I refuse to offer funded places where I know this will happen so may have to bring this up with them.

 

Also have the problem of parents accepting a funded place and then being offered one at the last minute, i.e. first day of term, by the school, and parents being pressurised to take the school place on basis they will get into reception. I am thinking I will change my policy and get them to pay a deposit when they accept the place, which they will lose if they do this. LA say we can't charge a deposit for funded only places, but I'm sure if it is refundable once a child has started it will be OK. Has anyone tried this successfully?

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No doubt some commentators have cited transition as the reason that schools might be using the tactic, I do not think that tells the true picture. I think they resort to unscrupulous tactics in order to up the numbers rather than the care about "good transitioning" for the child. What does it tell about transitioning when a child at age 2 is being removed from a perfectly happy environment (according to their parents) and moved to another setting because the parent has been told that they will get an automatic place. It is not within the remit of the LA school to decide who gets a place in their school. The head teacher is under pressure to maintain the numbers and hence allowing these practices to continue under his watch.

 

I am happy to become the "feeder" nursery for the school in question and hence work in partnership with them but I feel they are resorting foul play on this front.

 

This is what i am going to do and please let me know if someone disagrees:

1. Speak to LA admissions policy about the school. Let them know what is going on.

2. Perhaps send a letter to the head of board of governors for the school (ccing the school headteacher).

3.I am going to send out an email/letter to all the parents alerting of this unscrupulous behaviour of certain schools around us.

 

Wait for the outcomes.

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However - the Govt has changed/is changing the criteria to allow Funded two year olds who attend/go through a school nursery to have priority for reception places because they are shown to do better with fewer transitions into new places. So if they are funded twos the school may have a valid point.

Cx

 

Catma, do you know where I would be able to lay my hands on the research which found funded twos do better with fewer transitions? It could be really useful for us in this battle to hang on to our children!

 

Thank you.

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lsp, yes I believe they are.

 

westMIdlands, we have a similar situation with 2 of our local primary schools, and I regularly refer parents to the admissions criteria which is on the county website, proving that it is not guaranteed. They have started taking funded 2 year olds, but only in the term they turn 3, so I have had a few parents who expect us to take the child for just two terms! I always make the point, especially if the child took a while to settle, that they are going to have to go through the process again in a group of 26 and on a much higher ratio - oh, and have they read the Ofsted report? I'm not sure where I stand with LA if I refuse to offer funded places where I know this will happen so may have to bring this up with them.

 

Also have the problem of parents accepting a funded place and then being offered one at the last minute, i.e. first day of term, by the school, and parents being pressurised to take the school place on basis they will get into reception. I am thinking I will change my policy and get them to pay a deposit when they accept the place, which they will lose if they do this. LA say we can't charge a deposit for funded only places, but I'm sure if it is refundable once a child has started it will be OK. Has anyone tried this successfully?

Grumpy mum they've said you can't charge a deposit, but what about a registration fee at least it would be something for your efforts? We lost a few to schools at the last minute that way too. It doesn't seem right that there is a notice period for switching between PVIs for funded places, but not between a PVI and a school.

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I always make the point, especially if the child took a while to settle, that they are going to have to go through the process again in a group of 26 and on a much higher ratio - oh, and have they read the Ofsted report?

Yes, whilst the transition would be repeated, schools do still have to provide 1:4 if the children are younger than 3, even if in the school nursery class as the age of child is covered by the ratio requirements in this case, not the provision type.

Cx

Edited by catma
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