School falls foul of adjudicator

Hertsmere Jewish Primary has committed more than two dozen breaches of the admissions code, an independent schools adjudicator has found.

The adjudicator, Canon Richard Lindley, identified 26 breaches and told the school to clarify its code for the 2012 intake.

A parent contacted the Office of the Schools Adjudicator in October over an admissions issue. Canon Lindley initially refused to deal with the objection because of its late submission but then "discovered what I considered to be a large number of breaches of the requirement of the school admissions code".

He concluded "that the arrangements have been devised without sufficient thought to the needs of parents.

"I have myself had great difficulty in understanding parts of the arrangements and in gaining an overall understanding of the arrangements, which are disproportionately long and complicated, thus breaching the requirement for clarity and comprehensibility." He had found one section of the admissions policy "incomprehensible".

"Many of the breaches I have identified constitute failures to achieve the clarity and comprehensibility demanded by the [admissions] code," he said.

Accepting the findings, Hertsmere admissions committee chair Elliot Cohen said "school admissions have been in a state of flux because of the JFS ruling but we are not making excuses. It is our responsibility to ensure we have an accurate and clear policy."

However, "the governors are disappointed by the determination, particularly in the length and detail to which it goes.

"We are confident that nobody has been disadvantaged by anything the adjudicator has pointed out.

"Some comments are simply asking to increase the clarity, which we are happy to do. Some of the points are of a minor nature that would not have constituted breaches of the code on their own."

But Canon Lindley disagreed, insisting: "It is essential that the school, with the assistance of the council, should radically reappraise the present arrangements, reduce the number of documents involved and simplify their content."

    Last updated: 3:07pm, December 16 2010