Reponse to Secondary School Petition Submitted To Hounslow Council
Brentford School for Girls and Boys?
You may remember, back before we had an election that a group of Brentford parents circulated a petition regarding the lack of access to secondary schools for children, particularly boys, in the Brentford area.
Brentford parents were recently galvanised into action when they realised they had a long weekend to draft a petition and get it signed by as many local people as possible before presenting it to Hounslow Council's last executive meeting before the election.
Judith Pettersen, Director of Children's Services and Lifelong Learning responded as follows to the points proposed in the petition:
1. A special case be made for children in Brentford applying to mixed community schools so that they are admitted into the local school of their choice on appeal for intake September 2010.
"The Council is not able to direct the Appeal Panel, to do so would be unlawful. "
2. For future years, the Admissions Policy be amended in terms of distance criteria. These must be revised so that all applicants from the Brentford area are no longer excluded from their nearest local mixed community school because of distance.
"The Council is aware that in some parts of Brentford the nearest local mixed community school is outside the Borough. The arrangements for admission to that school, therefore, rest with the Local Authority concerned. It is our view that the arrangements made by them are compliant with the guidance issued by Government. "
"As far as Hounslow schools are concerned, the arrangements made also comply with Government guidance. The Council cannot make different admission arrangements for community schools in different geographical areas, to do so would be unlawful. "
3. Thereafter, a new mixed community school is built or existing schools extended so that Brentford children can be educated in or very near to Brentford.
"Given that the procedures for the establishment of a new school may change under the current Coalition Government, it would be the intention of this Council to canvas opinion widely as to the type and size of any new school to be established within the Authority. "
"I realise that this is probably not the response you have been hoping for. I can, however, add that I have been asked to develop proposals for consultation on whether there is a case to turn current single sex provision into mixed schooling. However, given the way that the current School Admissions Code and schemes work, any changes would be effective for admission into school in September 2012. "
Sara Ward, spokesperson for the petitioners commented ‘We are pleased to have, at last, received a response from Ms Pettersen, but it doesn't foster much hope for a change in the situation. Another 240 children from across 5 primary schools in the Brentford area will embark on the transition process in eight weeks time and many fear it will all be a waste of time…’
July 9, 2010