Turing House

Turing House School – Funding Agreement and Admissions Consultation

Russell Education Trust (RET) was required by the Academies Act 2010 to consult about whether or not it should enter into a Supplemental Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State to establish the school. The consultation ran from December 1st 2014 until January 16th 2015 and asked the question: “Should the Trust enter into a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State?” Respondents were invited to answer “Yes”, “No” or “Don’t know” to the question and also to submit any comments they might have.

In addition to this RET consulted on amendments to the school’s admissions policy and asked three questions:

  • “We intend to retain an admission point in the original area of demand for the school and also admit a proportion of students from the location of the school. Should we do this?”
  • “An admissions point will be used to determine distance for criteria 5 of our admissions policy. For 2015 100% of places allocated by distance will be from this point. From the year the school opens in its permanent accommodation we propose altering the proportion of places to 80% from the admissions point and 20% from the school's permanent location. Do you agree with this change?”
  • “We propose moving the admissions point to another location more equally distant from other mixed schools in the vicinity.(The current point is located much closer to Twickenham Academy than to any of the other mixed schools in the west of the Borough). Do you agree with this relocation of the admissions point?”

Again, respondents were invited to answer “Yes”, “No” or “Don’t know” to the question and also to submit any comments they might have.

At the time of the consultation it was not possible to disclose the possible locations of the planned temporary or permanent sites because of sensitive commercial negotiations. The introduction to the consultation acknowledged this as follows: “We hope to be able to release more site detail during the period of the consultation, so you may prefer to wait a little while before responding.  However, if not then you may use the comment fields to express any reservations.  All responses will be considered in the light of the information that was public at the time, and our anticipated permanent site location will be taken into account in any decisions, as will the relative need for places in the area of the site.”

Promotion of the consultation

We sent the consultation details to:

  • the local authority;
  • all maintained schools in Richmond-upon-Thames;
  • local parents and others who have registered on our Mailing List;
  • local community groups;
  • neighbouring local authorities;
  • schools in neighbouring areas;
  • the local Admission Forum;
  • Church of England (CE) and Roman Catholic (RC) Diocesan Directors of Education;
  • Borough Councillors and Members of Parliament;
  • relevant Trusts and Associations.
Responses to the consultation

162 responses were received from individuals, all with local (TW) postcodes. One response was received from an organisation, the Local Authority. Of the individual responses:

  • 51 of these were from applicants for 2015 entry
  • 96 were from parents of other primary school children
  • 2 were from parents of secondary school children
  • 13 were from other individuals
Responses from individuals:

Consultation question: “Should the Trust enter into a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State?”


Yes

No

Don’t know

144

2

16

6 of those responding “don’t know” made comments: one felt that they needed more information about the sites before responding and the other five indicated that either they needed more information or would leave it to the Trust to decide but were positive about the school opening.

1 of those responding “no” commented that the funds that would be spent on the school should be used in other local schools and noted that some of those are not yet full.

14 of those responding “yes” made comments. All of these firmly underlined their support for the school and referenced the issues of a “desperate need” for more secondary places locally and lack of other secondary options that they had any chance of getting in to.

Admissions Questions

“We intend to retain an admission point in the original area of demand for the school and also admit a proportion of students from the location of the school. Should we do this?”


Yes

No

Don’t know

138

13

10

6 of those responding “don’t know” made comments. Most of these made reference directly or indirectly to needing to know the permanent site location in order to comment; some queried the location of the point and referred to other areas of need (specifically Hampton) and one referred to the difficulty of finding a place for boys who live in Teddington.

7 of those responding “no” made comments. Five of these reflect the “don’t know” comments and were querying the location of the point rather than the principle of having it. Only two comments explicitly opposed the establishment of a point per se.

23 of those responding “yes” made comments. All except two clearly supported the principle of having an admission point and made further comments about what its location should be. One did not think it a suitable method but agreed that it may be a sensible compromise if a site in the area of need could not be found. One felt that over time the requirement to meet the needs the school was set up for would diminish relative to the importance of the school being local to its community and that the criterion should be phased out. In contrast, a strong feature of the other yes responses was that it should remain as a long term commitment to give families certainty and help prevent people feeling the need to move house for secondary transfer.

“An admissions point will be used to determine distance for criteria 5 of our admissions policy. For 2015 100% of places allocated by distance will be from this point. From 2016 we propose altering the proportion of places to 80% from the admissions point and 20% from the school's permanent location. Do you agree with this change?”


Yes

No

Don’t know

115

24

23

13 of those responding “don’t know” made comments. Almost all of these said they needed more information on the permanent site in order to respond while four were broadly supportive in that they referenced the importance of children living in the area of need to get places if the permanent site was ultimately further away or less accessible.

23 of those responding “no” made comments and again the location of the permanent site was an important qualifier to their answers. 3 proposed that it should be 100% from the school’s final location and the others proposed a range of other ratios: from the greater proportion being from the permanent site, through 50:50, to the eight who proposed that 100% should be admitted by distance from the admissions point only. Some comments proposed that the 100% admissions point criterion should be used initially (either for three years or until the school opened in its permanent home).

12 of those responding “yes” made comments covering a range of issues: locating the admissions point in other areas of need; supporting the principle that some students from the vicinity of the school should be admitted; and concern that the two “catchments” should overlap.

“We propose moving the admissions point to another location more equally distant from other mixed schools in the vicinity. (The current point is located much closer to Twickenham Academy than to any of the other mixed schools in the west of the Borough). Do you agree with this relocation of the admissions point?”


Yes

No

Don’t know

82

61

19

9 of those responding “don’t know” made comments. Most of these made reference directly or indirectly to needing to know the permanent site location in order to comment and one felt it should move to another location of high demand.

19 of those responding “no” made comments.  All of these clearly supported the point remaining where it was either because it was further away from their perceived area of need or as a matter of principle.

13 of those responding “yes” made comments. 10 of these supported the move to the new location, others wanted it moved to Hampton or moved to the permanent site i.e. reinforcing their view that there shouldn’t be an admissions point.

Organisation responses

The Local Authority responded positively in support of the establishment of the school however it expressed a concern regarding the use of an admissions point, expressing a preference for a policy similar to that of other local secondary schools. It did not express a view about the proportion of students to be admitted from the school and the point, or the location of the point if it was retained.

Evaluation of the responses by RET and the Turing House Steering Group

Funding agreement

  • There was overwhelming support for the trust to enter into a funding agreement to establish the school.

Accordingly, RET will continue the process of establishing that agreement with the Secretary of State. The outcome of the consultation together with other pre-opening information will be presented to the Minister in the coming weeks.

Admissions point

  • There was overwhelming support from the majority of respondents for the retention of an admissions point in the school’s admissions policy for future year, although the local authority expressed concerns about the principle of having a different policy to other local secondary schools.
  • The use of an admissions point with a division of places between that and the school’s location was part of the original proposal and was only not included for the first year’s policy because the location of the school was not known.
  • RET already operates similar “admissions point” policies for two of its other schools in order to ensure that they serve the areas of demand that brought them into existence.
  • The location of the current admissions point was, in part, determined by the view of the Local Authority that Fulwell and North Teddington are likely locations of future school place shortages. Their recently published “School Place Planning Strategy 2015-2024” confirms this as do the locations of the currently approved housing developments and primary school “bulge” classes (see below).
  • We also note that there is currently another school in the authority that takes admissions from two areas – a policy established by the local authority and continued with their support since the school became an academy.

RET will adopt a policy for admissions in future years that priorities a proportion of places under criterion 5 from an admissions point and a proportion from the location of the school. The point used for the school location will be the site that the school will be operating from on the date that the applying cohort would be admitted. i.e. for September 2016 the school location for the policy will be the temporary site and for either September 2017 or 2018 the school location for the policy will become the permanent site.

Proportions from the admissions point and from the school location

  • There was a very high level of support for the 80/20 division of places proposed in the consultation and those who said no proposed a range of alternatives ranging above and below that ratio.
  • 80/20 is the distribution of places used at two other RET schools with success in both ensuring the original area of demand is served and that students in the location of the school also have some priority.

RET will adopt the proposed distribution of places in the admissions policy for the school i.e. 80% from the admissions point and 20% from the location of the school.

Admissions point location

  • A majority of those responding supported the move to the new proposed location.
  • Many of those who wished to retain the original location were concerned that it should serve the main area of need either current or original, particularly. Understandably a number of these reflected concern that it would make it harder for their children to obtain a place.
  • Many expressed the view that more detailed demographic data would be needed to make a decision to relocate it.
  • The original location was, in part, determined by the view of the Local Authority that Fulwell and North Teddington are likely locations of future school place shortages. Their recently published “School Place Planning Strategy 2015-2024” confirms this.
  • The currently approved housing developments and primary school “bulge” classes and permanent expansions on the Middlesex side of the borough are, in the main, clustered around the central part of the authority area.

Both the current admissions point and the new proposed one serve the original, existing and future area of demand. The original determination of its location, while simple to understand, put the point disproportionately close to one of the mixed secondary schools in the authority and might potentially have a correspondingly greater impact on its admissions. In the interests of fairness, and taking into account the proposed location of other approved free schools, RET has therefore decided to move the admissions point to the new location for admissions from 2016 onwards.

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