Wokingham Borough Council consultation on Maiden Erlegh admissions arrangements vindicated1
Wokingham Borough Council confirmed today (August 31) that it was disappointed with the outcome of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)’s review of admissions arrangements at Maiden Erlegh School, in particular that proposed tie-breaker arrangements had been rejected.
The OSA report was produced following objections from a number of parents and from Reading Borough Council to the new admission arrangements for Maiden Erlegh School which were consulted on as part of the Wokingham Borough Secondary Admissions Review during late 2010 and early 2011. As a result of the OSA report, the Secretary of State for Education has directed Maiden Erlegh School, which is now an academy, to amend the ‘tie-breaker’ arrangement to one of simple radial distance. The school has indicated its intention to accept the direction.
However, the same report vindicated all other aspects of the council’s admissions review and consultation.
The OSA report found that it was ‘reasonable for the council to increase the size of [the school’s] designated area in the way it did’; that the new designated area was ‘constructed objectively’ and formed a ‘coherent geographical area’; and that journey to school times and safe walking routes were properly considered.
In relation to the tie-breaker, the OSA report rejected the complaint that the tie-breaker was not easy to understand, saying:
‘It is clear to me, not least from the number and nature of the objections, that the way of calculating [the tie-breaker] is clear and simple and that its general implications for particular communities are widely understood. In this sense, I do not believe that [tie-breaker] is complex.’