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Yorkshire Dales Grammar School apologises after admission complaint

[Monday 21 August 2006]

A Yorkshire Dales Grammar School has offered an apology following a ruling that its admission arrangements were not in line with Government guidelines.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator - a body set up to decide on school organisational issues and admission arrangements which cannot be resolved locally - published a decision on an objection by South Craven School to the selection provision in the admission arrangements for Skipton's Ermysted's Grammar School.

Shortcomings on the part of the school in relation to consultation were recorded in a decision by an adjudicator in 2003, and still the procedures have not been conducted properly

Office of the Schools Adjudicator report

South Craven pointed to three specific areas when making the complaint:

  • The lack of consultation on the admission arrangements, including selection arrangements, for September 2007 for the school and lack of formal notification of those arrangements.

  • The selective arrangements for the school, administered by North Yorkshire County Council, which do not ensure fairness and are at variance with the Code.

  • The outcome of the operation of the selection arrangements for the school which is at variance with the in area system operated across the local authority.

The adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore upheld the objection. She concluded that although the arrangements for September 2007 should stand as it is not practicable to change them at this stage, the school and North Yorkshire Council should ensure that parents are fully informed about what is meant by "suitable for a grammar school education" and how places are allocated.

The report stated: "Shortcomings on the part of the school in relation to consultation were recorded in a decision by an adjudicator in 2003, and still the procedures have not been conducted properly. This is unacceptable."

Ermysted's has apologised for not consulting South Craven School and not sending it a copy of the determined arrangements but also added that the arrangements for selection are handled by North Yorkshire County Council and the school does not have separate arrangements.

The report also placed a requirement on the County Council: "The local authority should review its selection arrangements for 2008 and find a way of achieving a more transparent and fair system across its selective schools, and for its in area pupils."

Copies of the determination reached by the adjudicator can be obtained from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator. It can also be found on the Schools Adjudicator Website at http://www.schoolsadjudicator.gov.uk

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