Friday, 19 April 2013

Primary dropped from Tudor Grange admission plans

CONTROVERSIAL plans to give priority to two primary schools for admissions to Tudor Grange Academy have been revised so only one gets priority.

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School governors have dropped plans to favour St Alphege Primary School if the school is oversubscribed from September 2014.

But Tudor Grange Primary Academy St James in Shirley children will get priority over youngsters who live in the catchment area and those with siblings at the school.

Tudor Grange can make the changes as it now has academy status, giving it independence from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which opposed the admissions changes.

Its academy trust – a group of schools – includes St James.

A school report said a public consultation found a “large number” who supported and opposed the plans.

Concerns mostly considered the impact on catchment area children and that Tudor Grange would become a faith school as St James and St Alphege are Church of England.

There were also concerns from existing parents about siblings when their child attends Tudor Grange but does not live in the catchment area.

Governors who made a decisions said they had an “overriding principle” to have a “commitment” to St James and catchment area children.

Up to 30 St James children will apply each year to Tudor Grange’s 250 places.

It said: “We believe the decisions above would maintain our overall objective and commitment to Tudor Grange Primary Academy St James in particular but would also demonstrate a sensible response to the more genuine concerns that have come out of the recent consultation.

“It is clear from all the number projections that the  arrangement above would offer no realistic threat to catchment area children being  refused admission.”

Responding to concerns it would hit house prices, the report said: “There is and always has been a substantial premium on house prices in the Tudor Grange catchment area.

“While we are confident that the proposals would not have that impact, there was a real fear
about this risk.

“We believe it is reasonable to respond to this by giving greater protection to the catchment area criteria.”

It added: “We have no plans to make Tudor Grange Academy Solihull a faith school. We are affiliated to the Diocese of Birmingham and have very similar values.”

But it said giving favour to children of siblings at the school could result in “on-going manipulation”.

The report said: “For example this could  be true where people take out rentals in the catchment area and then move out once a sibling connection has been established.

“In the long term the  governors have decided that the sibling criteria should be eliminated
completely.”