Cookham Discussion Board

General Category => Secondary Schools Boundary Change => Topic started by: Strims on March 05, 2010, 10:39:34 AM

Title: Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Post by: Strims on March 05, 2010, 10:39:34 AM

The Schools Admission Code allows for complaints to be made to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) by parents about unfair admission arrangements.   Objections should be refrred by 31st July (so in this case 31st July last year) but the OSA has discretion to consider late objections.  If the OSA decides the arrangements were unlawful the authority must change (although I think this still doesn't mean that places have to be offered).  I suggest people look at the website and see how to go about raising this with the OSA.  I think the focus will need to be on the mismanaged consultation (

Susan Rimmer

Title: Re: Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Post by: Pongo on March 05, 2010, 07:10:55 PM
The whole process strikes me as totally flawed. Parents of children going to secondary in 2010 were not informed of the changes and so they were unable to make a reasoned decision, as they assumed that everything was as last year. I assume that Year 5 parents should be complaining now.

Title: Re: Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Post by: MJ Saunders on March 15, 2010, 11:19:27 AM
There are prima facie grounds for this to happen.  The appeals being lodged by unhappy Cookham parents will be the first test of this and then on to others as the situation demands.

May I (MJ Saunders - local activist on the schools fiasco and RBWM Councillor for Cookham) suggest the key questions to those resisting the Appeals include :

1. Do you believe that the consultation last year clearly enabled people in Cookham to understand the implications of the options available and how do you feel this was achieved ?  It has already been acknowledged that the answer to this is NO !

2. Please explain how the consultation fully complied with the rules to ensure that all directly and indirectly parties were on notice to respond within the regulated timetable or have you identified the deficiencies publicised on the week before last and brought to your attention ?

3. What did you do to ensure, as is required by the rules, that all the affected parties, including parents of children then in their penultimate year at primary school and going to secondary school in 2010, were given a specific opportunity to understand and respond to the consultation ?

4. If you added the consultation responses together who wanted no change, little change and expressed no preference for any change they add up to over 50% in comparison to the 39% who wanted the significant change you chose; why and how did this justify you choosing the minority proposal ?

5. Why did you ignore the recommendation of your own Scrutiny Panel and some Secondary Schools that the implementation of the minority supported proposal should be deferred while the impact was better understood, when it clearly had the ability to do some simple projection of the impact, assuming that parental preferences did not change ?

6. Why did you not explicitly advise the Cookham Primary School parents of the implications of the change so they could complete their secondary place applications in a more informed manner than being left to assume that the long standing feeder principles to Furze Platt & Newlands were unchanged ?

7. When did you know there was a large number of Cookham parental choices you were unlikely to satisfy and what did you do at that time to deal with it and plan its resolution ?

8. The letter to parents last week implied that only a few extra spaces will be available at Furze Platt and none at Newlands and that those at Furze Platt are unlikely to allocated to children from Cookham.  Given this, why donít you bring forward part of the Building Schools for the Future plan and add more classrooms at Furze Platt and Newlands now, even if this means you have more secondary places in total than the Borough needs, but can easily fill with children from outside the Borough who clearly want to come to our high quality schools ?

9. Is it true, as the letter last week to parents suggests, that you will arrange for children to be bussed to more distant schools in Maidenhead rather than switch them to the schools they can easily cycle to from Cookham ?

MJ Saunders - local activist on the schools fiasco and RBWM Councillor for Cookham

Title: Re: Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Post by: Bagheera on March 16, 2010, 06:13:18 PM
Some of you know I deal with complaints against businesses for a living.

The lack of modelling is relevant to point 3 there was no way that a lay person could meaningfully respond to the consultation.

It is also relevant that the consultation document, "Building Schools for the Future" said that there were no firm proposals and there would be an opportunity for further comment before a decision was made.  It was therefore misleading.

Point 5 is relevant because it shows recklessness on the part of the council.

The words in bold are ones that I would use as grounds to uphold a complaint.

Title: Re: Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Post by: MJ Saunders on March 19, 2010, 04:12:05 PM
The very positive outcome secured by my colleagues on the Action Team will make the approach we were discussing here no longer necessary.  It was important to arm ourselves for the worst and then lobby hard and hope for the best.  The voracity of our case attracted the support of the Leader of the Council and we have the results we deserved. 

Despite our huge success, if any parents still find they have not secured the place they wish for they child, I encourage them to contact me at or on 07775 817426 to talk about their options and the opportunity to appeal.

MJ Saunders - RBWM Cookham Councillor and local schools activist