Upton Court Grammar must change admissions policy following review

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

An adjudicator on school admissions has partially upheld complaints made about the policy at Upton Court Grammar – saying that the process may unfairly penalise low-income families.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) helps to clarify the legal position on admissions policies in schools.

On Monday, October 11, the body published a report examining six separate complaints about Upton’s policy, claiming ‘discrimination’ against prospective pupils in certain living situations.

A major objection was over the fact that late-sitters of exams take the same test as those before, giving a potential advantage to those later students.

But the OSA rejected this, saying any information passed on to candidates sitting late tests is ‘unlikely to make a difference’.

“The objector makes baseless claims of dishonesty and incompetence about a number of individuals and organisations and expects to simply be believed,” the office wrote.

But the OSA did uphold an objection regarding the requirement for a family living in the area to be on a lease for a term of at least 12 months.

While it is normal for admissions policies to require continuous residence at a local address for a stated length of time, the terms of the lease should make no difference, it said.

“Some families, particularly those that have limited resources, will be excluded despite the home address being genuine,” the OSA wrote. “Such families may have had no choice but to accept a short lease.”

The body also agreed that Upton Court should name its feeder schools – primaries where many of the pupils move onto Upton Court – for the sake of transparency.

The adjudicator’s decision is binding, so Upton Court will need to revise its admission arrangements within two months.

The school has been approached for comment.

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