New Vaughan Admission Policy Favours the Rich
Blogged by James Preece on 10th May 2011
The new regime at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School are being remarkably secretive about the effects of their shiny new admissions policy. Proud parents are not usually so coy with the baby photos.
The "Clerk to Governors" acting under "advice from the Acting Headmaster and Chairman of Governors" refused to provide the information I needed and I was only able to obtain detailed information about the distribution of pupil distances at the school by making a freedom of information request to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Even then, it's not straight forward. For this years intake (the first one under the new admissions policy) they have provided only 'as the crow flies' figures while for last years intake (2010) they have provided only 'safest, shortest walking route' figures.
Both the school and the borough are very keen to point out that these distances are not comparable. Somebody might live two miles away as the crow flies, but it might be a three mile walk to get there. Naturally I asked for comparable figures but I'm still waiting on that one, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are claiming not to know how far away some boys at the Vaughan School live.
In the meantime, I offer the following non-comparable facts for your consideration:
Under the old, 2010 admission policy:
32% of boys lived within three miles walk of the school.
15 boys lived within two miles walk of the school.
Under the new, 2011 admission policy:
73% of boys live within a three mile crow flight of the school.
59 boys live within a two mile crow flight of the school
Note: These figures do not include boys who entered under music scholarships or special educational needs as the rules surrounding those two methods of entry have not changed.
I find it hard to belive that a simple change in measuring technique can account for such a huge increase in the number of boys living in close proximity to the school. Crows or no crows, it is clear that a huge shift has taken place.
Under the old admissions policy points were awarded for involvement in parish life including everything from running a prayer group or being on the parish council to having a child in the scout group. Ordinary families were rewarded for dedication and service to the Church.
Under the new admissions policy you can run a prayer group, join the parish council, clean the church, arrange flowers, sing in the choir, help raise money for a new roof, visit the sick and housebound and help feed the homeless and the school will say hmm, big deal. Where do you live? Families are now rewarded only for being able to afford a house in Kensington. That will set you back about £1.3 million by the way.
In other words, the new admissions policy favours the rich.
If any supporters of the new policy want to get in to an argument about the flight paths of an unladen African Swallow in the West Kensington area... please don't.
I have spent many hours trying to attain the information I need to make a scrupulously fair comparison. Don't whine to me about the lack of comparable figures, kindly direct your complaints to the governing body of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial school and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who have both refused to supply them.