Who knows if it will be fairer?

The county council has launched a consultation over abolishing existing catchment areas within Warwick and replacing it with one ‘super priority’ area covering the whole town.

It claims this will be more fair, open and transparent, but does not detail how places will be allocated in this new plan i.e. will it be straight line distance? Sibling prioritised? Or could the council be tempted to do a little social engineering using ‘ballot’ systems like we’ve seen elsewhere. It says the scheme commences with Warwick primary schools but doesn’t detail what they have in mind next. Secondary schools? Leamington area?

The main issue it identifies is the case of 30 families who were unable to attain their chosen school place despite a sibling already attending the school. If this is the reason, then what a sledgehammer to crack a nut! How about changing the admission rules within catchment? How about redrawing the boundaries? They say that the catchment area boundaries are arbitrary - so is that of the enlargened area. And what is to say that their new rules won’t be arbitrary in nature when they don’t tell us what they will be?

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In a system where there are more applicants than there are places, someone is going to be disappointed - whether it’s the family who live out of catchment but have other children already there, or the one within catchment who would have to yield in a scenario where siblings were favoured.

It seems the proposal is far from transparent. It may be more open, but who knows whether it will be more fair. I suspect we will see merely a different set of disgruntled parents in future falling foul of different set of arbitrary rules. Is this progress?

Daniel Cale, via email

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