Mistakes in school place allocation

By a County Press reporter

Monday, June 16, 2014

 

THE Isle of Wight Council has said mistakes were made during the allocation of primary school places earlier this year.

In a statement issued today (Monday) Cllr Richard Priest executive member for children's services said: "On April 16, the Isle of Wight Council sent offers to approximately 1,300 parents of four-year-old children who had applied for school places in reception classes in September 2014.

"We have recently discovered that a setting in the IT system that helps administer the applications was incorrect and this has led to a small number of errors in the offers made.

"Eleven children across five schools have received an offer at a first (parental) preference school when they should have received a lower (parental) preference offer. A corresponding number were given a lower (parental) preference than they should have done.

"When we discovered this problem we acted immediately and, working with schools, have ensured that there is a positive outcome for all the pupils affected. No first preference offers will be taken away and the 11 children who received a lower preference offer than they should have done will be offered the correct highest possible preference school. We are contacting those affected to explain the position and to offer them the choice of staying with their current offer place or taking up the higher preference school place.

"As a consequence of this issue the authority has had to postpone some scheduled school admission appeals hearings. We have apologised to the parents concerned and we appreciate that this will have caused inconvenience. As a result of our actions to resolve the system problem, some of the appeals may not be needed.

"We are now confident that the system is operating correctly and that all further offers made will be allocated correctly."

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by Peter Cole

17th June 2014, at 13:01:40

when my children were of school age I had to appeal for school places. I also put together an appeal for two other people. No appeal ever failed.
An IT error is a gift to all people who did not get the school place they wanted.
If the council admitted a few error that brings all place allocations into question. Who is to say there are not other unnoticed bugs in the system.
If used correctly this type of issue can invalidate all school admission allocations on the system.
If I were doing an appeal I would use this to the nth degree.
Oh and by the way, the council and education authority have a responsibility to provide enough suitable school places.
So anyone who is appealing for a school place do not be put off by being told you have little or no chance, I successfully appealed two school places for my daughters when I came to the island. I also aided another lady (they called off the appeal the day before it was due and allocated her son a place)


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by Peter Truman

16th June 2014, at 23:20:07

How will this affect following scenario?

A child has not been allocated a place at their school of first preference. Parents appeal this decision.

This appeal is dismissed on the grounds that there are insufficient places for child.

Which raises the questions:

1) If there are insufficient places in that school, why / how has it been possible to find a place for those who shouldn't have been offered a lower preference AND those who were accidentally offered a first preference (which they have been allowed to keep)?

2) If, as a result of the above, the extra provision of places (over and above the stated Pupil Admission Number) has made the school more crowded, does this not reduce the chances of an appeal being successful? Therefore a parent now making an appeal could rightly be angry that the council's screw up could have an adverse impact on their appeal, even though some parents who should be in the same situation as them have got a place due to these errors.

Unfair

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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