Catchment area school places confirmed for Varndean / Dorothy Stringer ‘misplaced 38’ families

Brighton & Hove City Council has today confirmed that parents in the Varndean and Dorothy Stringer secondary school catchment area described locally as the ‘misplaced 38’ will receive a school place in their catchment area for September 2018.

This follows a joint recommendation from all three political parties at a council meeting last Thursday.

The ‘misplaced 38’ are children whose parents live in the Varndean / Dorothy Stringer catchment area and who applied for both schools as two of their three permissible preferences - but were not allocated a place at any of their preferred schools.

Councillor Dan Chapman, chair of the children, young people and skills committee, said: “I know that families want the option of a place at their catchment area school. This came across clearly during the recent consultations on school admissions undertaken by the council.

“With the proposed new secondary free school not now going ahead, we have more capital funding available for the city’s existing schools. We will be working with our schools to manage the city-wide increase in secondary pupil numbers over the next few years.”

The agreed recommendation at last week’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee called for extra places to be created at Dorothy Stringer to help accommodate the ‘misplaced 38’.

Richard Bradford, headteacher of Dorothy Stringer School, said: “The school’s governing body has held the interests of the families in our catchment area in mind and has wanted clarity and stability throughout the long running discussions about catchment areas.

“The school is already modifying its plans for this September and is working with council officers on the necessary changes to our infrastructure.”

The council has always done its best to offer catchment area places to people who request them, but has never been able to guarantee this.

Next week the council will run its reallocation pool, giving places that have not been taken up at secondary schools across the city to families on waiting lists.

The reallocation process uses the same admissions priorities as for the initial allocation back in March. So children living in a catchment area will have a higher priority than other children.

It is anticipated that some of the ‘misplaced 38’ families will be offered places at their catchment area schools through this process.

For those ‘misplaced 38’ families who aren’t offered places through the reallocation pool, the council will ensure that they are offered places at either Dorothy Stringer or Varndean through a separate process.

An urgent meeting of the Children, Young People & Skills Committee will also be held to review how the council will use the £15m that had been ear-marked for the new school, including further enhancements to both Varndean and Dorothy Stringer schools.

A date for this meeting will be agreed as soon as possible.