Free school admissions policy gives priority to ‘children whose parents are Founders of the College’

Canary Wharf College, a free school which opened in September 2011, apparently gives priority in admissions to ‘children whose parents are Founders of the College’.

Canary Wharf College is one of the majority of free schools whose funding agreement (which is where the admissions criteria would be formally set out) is not yet publicly available.

But the admissions policy set out on its web site says this:

“Canary Wharf College will comply with the Schools Admissions Code.  A maximum of 20 places per class will be admitted.”

But then it says this:

“If the College is under-subscribed, all applications will be accepted.  Where the College is over-subscribed, applications will be considered against the criteria set out below, after the admission of students with a statement of Special Education Need that names the College. Places will be allocated to applicants in the following priority order:

  1. Children who are looked after by a local authority (in public care)
  2. Children whose parents are Founders of the College
  3. Applicants who meet the criteria for Faith Places (up to 50% of total places)
  4. Applicants who meet the criteria for Community Places”

It then says this:

“Founders of the college are defined as the Proposers, and those who have provided specific assistance, advice, guidance or support to the Proposers in the preparation of the Application and Business Case for the College.”

That would appear (we can’t tell till we see the funding agreement) to be an example of a free school taking advantage of the new opportunity for free schools to comply with most but not all of the admissions code.

That sounds like a potentially large group of people, but there is no detail about who they are, let alone, for example, their ethnic profile.

That opens up a range of equality and other legal issues.




  2 comments for “Free school admissions policy gives priority to ‘children whose parents are Founders of the College’

  1. Rosie Fergusson
    January 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    And alas, as you have said in a previous blog the Schools Adjudicator is not allowed to challenge admissions arrangements that have been agreed in funding agreements ( the Sec of State will have already considered them). Here we see in all its dreadfulness how the Free School movement can be distorted to provide a) a job for yourself and b) school places in small class sizes for your own child. All under the guise of promoting more choice for your community. It does beg the question what will the Counters do when their children reach secondary school age ? I very much doubt they could do the same with the challenges of secondary education ( no nice lump sum of £95k /annum whatsoever your school size in the secondary sector I’m afraid ) Will they have spent the intervening years cosying up to secondary Free School founders ( be warned Toby!)

  2. Bohstedt
    April 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    The DfE FAQs say
    “Will the children of Free Schools founders be guaranteed a place at the Free School?
    “Free Schools must abide by the Admissions Code and operate fair and inclusive admissions. Where parents have worked hard to create a school that will benefit generations of children in years to come, we will consider requests to allow a small number of founders’ children to get priority in admissions. We will only agree to requests in exceptional circumstances and where the parents concerned played a major role in the set-up and running of the school.”
    Somoene should ask what the “exceptional circumstances”, which proposers it applies to and what their “major role in the setting and running” of the school has ben and will be, plus, if they are so important, what plans the academy has if they leave.

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