Consultation on proposed change to secondary school admission arrangements 2022/2023
We are proposing to change the oversubscription criteria for admission to community secondary schools and those academies who use the council's oversubscription criteria from 2022/2023.
The current oversubscription criteria for admission to secondary schools were introduced in 2011/12. When there are more requests for places than those available, the criteria used to allocate places strictly in order of priority, are as follows:
What we are consulting on
One of the criteria states "Applicants to their nearest school. Those children who have applied for a place at the nearest school to their home address measured by the shortest walking route."
If some children considered within this criterion cannot get a place at the preferred school, the tie-breaker is currently used "priority will be given to those who would otherwise have to travel the furthest distance to the next nearest school".
In recent years, this has resulted in some pupils who live closer to the nearest school than others, not getting a place. This is because other pupils would have to travel further to the next nearest school, therefore they would have priority, even though they live further away from their nearest school.
To avoid this situation occurring in the future, it is proposed to amend the tie-breaker to "priority will be given to those living closest to the nearest school measured by the shortest walking route".
Why the council feels this is important
When the council changed the criteria in 2011/2012, the tie-breaker was included so that those pupils living in remote rural areas of the county were not put at a disadvantage by potentially having to travel a considerable distance, if they could not get a place at their nearest school. However, this situation has not happened, and pupil projections indicate that secondary schools in rural areas of the county, will have places available in the future.
There are, however, areas of the county which are heavily populated where the tie-breaker resulted in some pupils who live closer to the nearest school than others, not getting a place. This is because other pupils would have to travel further to the next nearest school, therefore they would have priority even though they live further away from the nearest school.
We believe this change will be a fairer, more clearly understood tie-breaker that gives priority to those pupils who live closest to their nearest school rather than to those who have furthest to travel to the next nearest school.
The council's admission arrangements, which include the oversubscription criteria, have already been published for the academic year 2021/2022 therefore the earliest date the proposed change could be introduced is for the academic year 2022/2023.
Have your say
- Complete the online Oversubscription changes consultation form.
- Email your response to email@example.com.
- Post response form (included in ) to School Places and Admissions Team, Children and Young People's Services, Business Reply Service, License No DU63 (Freepost), Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5BR
* Please note due to the situation with Coronavirus, staff are generally working from home and if you could respond via email or the online response form, that would be preferable.
The closing date for comments is Friday 18 December 2020.
What happens next
In February 2021, Cabinet will consider a report on the council's admission arrangements for 2022/23, which will include the outcome of consultation on the proposed change to the oversubscription criteria.