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Sheffield School Places Chaos 2013, Labour Run City Council Cuts 10,000 Places

Local / Sheffield Nov 06, 2012 - 02:10 AM GMT

By: N_Walayat


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleA large number of parents will be finding during 2013 that their child will not have been given a place at an catchment area school, with the excuse given that the school is full and thus instead given places many miles away. The reason why this is happening with increasingly frequency is as a consequence of the Labour run Sheffield City Council continuing the Liberal Democrats programme for deep cuts in Sheffield's education budget as the below graph illustrates that in nominal terms has seen the education budget cut by 11% since 2010 and 17% in real terms (after inflation of 3% per annum), despite continuously increasing council tax bills.

The impact of these cuts on child places in effect reverses the picture of more than a decade earlier, when Sheffield's children could more or less have expected to recieve a place at a catchment area school of their choice at the application stage, with the remaining accepted on appeal, this was as the below graph illustrates by virtue of the fact that for many years Sheffield had a surplus of 5,000 school places (about 5%). However over the past 2 years deep cuts in the budget in real terms has reversed the situation from a an estimated 5,000 surplus places to a deficit of 5,000 places as of 2012-13, i.e. a cut of 10,000 school places through school closures and reductions in the number of classes running at exiting schools, against that which were available during 2010-11, the consequences of which is that schools are being effectively stuffed full to the rafters with the number of children per class now far exceeding the recommended guidelines for maximum class sizes, which is resulting in the lack of school prices at catchment area schools.

In terms of school admissions and places for 2013 and beyond, this will increasingly result in an worsening crisis for many families as many more children will not be placed at catchment area schools due to an increasing deficit in school places which is already resulting in children being placed at schools right across the city thus making it impossible for children with siblings to be in receipt of an effective education service that parents are still forced to pay for through high council and payroll taxes.

In response to the cuts in child places, Sheffield School and Pupils Admissions team are increasingly seeking to exclude many parents from the process of having the right to choose a school for their children as their children are being automatically transferred from for instance primary school to a junior school without prior consultation, notification or input from parents with regards individual circumstances that will result in a great deal of chaos as parents attempt to pursue school placements in line with the catchment area and siblings circumstances after the deadlines in response to which the Sheffield's School Admissions team will have deemed them to have missed the deadline for having made an application despite the fact that they were never granted the opportunity to do so.

The consequences of which is that not only is the Labour run Sheffield City Council failing to provide a quality of education service that parents are being forced to pay for, but also failing to operate a fair and level playing field for school place admissions, which is resulting in children living at the the same address, rather then being sent to the nearest catchment area school, instead being arbitrarily placed at separate schools right across the city, thus making it impossible for children to arrive and leave at the scheduled school times that results in permanent loss of education of as much as 1.5 hours per day, as the following example illustrates :

What Parents Need to do before 31st of December 2012

Firstly parents need to ensure that they are not one of the growing number of parents who have been excluded from the application process by contacting the School Admissions team if they ar not in receipt of an application form and guidance booklets by September of each year, then request an appropriate application form for their child to ensure that an application is able to be made in the first instance before the string of official deadlines for Secondary, Primary and Junior Schools as listed below -

  • Secondary School - Online deadline 17th October 2012, Postal deadline 31st October 2012
  • Primary School - Online deadline 9th December 2012, Postal deadline 15th January 2013
  • Junior School - Online deadline 9th December 2012, Postal deadline 15th January 2013

Secondly parents need to prepare themselves for appeal against refusal of a place at catchment area schools as a consequences of the deep cuts in the cities Education budget that translates into an estimated cut of 10,000 school places.

What Parents Need To Do After 15th January 2013

If parents have missed applying in time for the above deadlines, then parents must contact the schools admissions team and request a school transfer form and then immediately act up on it. The school admissions team may try and persuade parents to delay in making an transfer application until late summer (July/ August) i.e. when they have a reduced workload, ignore this and request an immediate transfer form that you need your child's existing school to complete. Again it is in parents interests to get applications in motion as soon as possible as failure to do so would put applicants firmly at the back of an already long queue as it is highly likely that transfer applications will be rejected and thus go to appeal, in which case putting yourself AFTER the flood of other appeals have been heard and decided upon will put you at a further disadvantage.

Why 95% of School Appeals Fail

Perhaps the question would be better worded why do 5% of school appeals succeed?, the answer is that those who have legal representation at appeals hearing have a better than 50% chance of succeeding against less than 5% for the rest because as parents you are mere amateurs who will be up against veteran professionals representing the School and Education Admissions Team towards which the Appeals Panel will skew their decision unless you have a solicitor present to hold the appeals panel fully to account, else they will tend to play pick and mix with the facts in favour of the school.

Holding Labour and Liberal Councillor's to Account

Sheffield's Councilors of both Labour and Liberal Democrats are letting the electorate down as they concentrate on preserving bureaucracy and their own perks and allowances at the expense of actual front line services as illustrated by the School Pupils Admissions Team which is failing to operate a fair and level playing field in the handling of annual applications for all pupils, failure to do so should mean that they should also lose their place in the council chamber (be voted out) just as many children are annually denied their right to a place in the nearest school due as a consequence deep cuts and operation of a two tier system for school places which is supported by a pseudo independant rubber stamping appeals process. The responsibility for Sheffield's education crisis lies firmly with the Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillor's, current and former cabinet members and their advisors.

The bottom line is that as the city council is unable to operate an efficient and fair education system then parents should be allowed to opt out of state schooling altogether, in which respect a proportion of their taxes, including council taxes deducted towards state education should be refunded to allow to be utilised towards paying for competent private schooling.

Source and Comments :

By Nadeem Walayat

Copyright © 2005-2012 (Market Oracle Ltd). All rights reserved.

Nadeem Walayat has over 25 years experience of trading derivatives, portfolio management and analysing the financial markets, including one of few who both anticipated and Beat the 1987 Crash. Nadeem's forward looking analysis focuses on UK inflation, economy, interest rates and housing market. He is the author of three ebook's - The Inflation Mega-Trend; The Interest Rate Mega-Trend and The Stocks Stealth Bull Market Update 2011 that can be downloaded for Free.

Stocks Stealth Bull Market Ebook DownloadThe Interest Rate Mega-Trend Ebook DownloadThe Inflation Mega-Trend Ebook Download

Nadeem is the Editor of The Market Oracle, a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication that presents in-depth analysis from over 600 experienced analysts on a range of views of the probable direction of the financial markets, thus enabling our readers to arrive at an informed opinion on future market direction.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities.

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