Monday, March 4, 2024

Council report Gateway Free School to government over admissions system (again).

IN FEBRUARY, the government made a decision regarding the admissions system in relation to the Gateway Academy.

It stemmed from a complaint made by a fellow Thurrock head-teacher.

The government office (known as the educational adjudicator) agreed with that head-teacher and stated:

“The admissions for the Gateway Academy was not in accordance with section 88I (5) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

The adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore said: “I determine that they do not conform with the requirements relating to admission arrangements.”

At the time, Dr Passmore said: “The school (Gateway) has accepted that there are some aspects that do not conform and has begun to make amendments.”

But it appears that somewhere along the line, “negotiations” at the council’s civic offices have broken down and Thurrock Council has decided to go back to the adjudicator because, according to sources, they believe that the Gateway Academy has not complied with the adjudication.

For over a year now, headteachers from primary schools across the borough have been concerned that they are losing a number of pupils. Some are heading to the Gateway Free School, which is within the body of the Gateway Academy.

But heads appear to be also concerned that parents are pulling or attempting to pull their students out of their school and into the other primary schools such as Herringham Academy and Lansdowne Academy, who are part of the Gateway Learning Community, in order to have the best chance of getting into the Gateway Academy in year 7.

The adjudication refers to a point in law regarding the admissions arrangements for the Gateway Academy and states:

“The arrangements contravene the Code “oversubscription criteria must be reasonable, clear, objective, procedurally fair………” and “…. must not take into account any previous schools attended, unless it is a named feeder school”.

The arrangements give priority to applicants at: Admission of students who attend Gateway Primary Free School” and Admission of students who attend primary schools in the Gateway Learning Community”.

The Thurrock head teacher who made the complaint points out that there is no statement that the Gateway Primary Free School or the primary schools in the Gateway Learning Community have the status of feeder schools. The arrangements do not name the relevant schools, Landsdowne Primary Academy and Herringham Primary Academy, as members of the Gateway Learning Community as part of the oversubscription criterion.

The chief executive of the Gateway Learning Community, Mr Kevin Sadler has replied. Mr Sadler said: “I am confident that the Gateway Academy is fully compliant with the adjudication.

“We have amended our policy, in line with the adjudicators advice to explain why we have given access to pupils in the Gateway Primary Free School and those from partner academies within the Gateway Learning Community. We have been in contact with Colin Jones from the Local Authority over this matter and are awaiting a response from him.


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