Parents are disappointed with Rivers Academy’s decision to proceed with its new admissions policy after a consultation revealed objections to some of the changes.
The worst fears for some families living near the Feltham school, looking for a place for their child at a secondary school, became a reality as it was confirmed entries from other academies run by the Aspirations Academies Trust would be prioritised.
The other academies run by the trust are Oak Hill Academy West London in Feltham and Oriel Academy West London in Hanworth.
The other major concern to lower the intake of pupils from 215 to 180 pupils will also remain in place, which Rivers Academy has said is necessary given the addition of the new Space Studio West London.
The space school opened in September last year and is temporarily housed at Bridge House on Hanworth Road while building works are completed for the permanent building on the grounds of Rivers Academy.
Parents in the community have also raised concerns in light of the government’s proposed plans to force schools to become academies.
'Local children have zero chance'
One parent in Bedfont who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I am very disappointed that Rivers Academy has changed its selection criteria so that local non-association Bedfont children from the regular non-academy primary schools are being pushed down to number five on the criteria and children from their associated primary academies situated outside Bedfont now have priority over local kids.
“Should the two preferred feeder academy primaries have full interest from three classes, this would fill the 180 places and local children from other primaries much closer to the Rivers academy have zero chance.
“Local councilors and heads of primary schools have objected to these changes but it seems that Academies are a law unto themselves and common sense, fairness to the local community and consideration for this small village with just one secondary school matter not.”
Last year the Office of the Schools Adjudicator ruled that Rivers Academy was in breach of the school’s admissions code, with complaints from local primary schools and Hounslow council, upheld.
However the Trust took the Schools Adjudicator to judicial review and won the case and the ruling was over turned.
Feeder schools 'common practice'
In a letter in response to the trust’s decision, Caroline Barringer of the Aspirations Academies Trust, said: “Although the trust can understand the concern of some parents and local primary schools, the philosophy at the heart of the Aspirations Academies Trust considers all-through age 2-19 education to be a highly effective practice, bringing many educational benefits to young people and their parents.
“The Aspirations Acadamies Trust Board is in favour of and has agreed to continue maintaining this principle.
“The naming of feeder schools is in fact common practice across many schools."
The board understands that some children who attend Oak Hill and Oriel Academy may live further away than pupils from other schools and would welcome discussion with other local primaries who would be interested in joining the trust to take advantage of the all-through eduation model.”
Addressing concerns of increased travel and traffic to the area from students coming from Oak Hill Academy or Oriel Academy, the trust added: “the reduction in Published Admission Number (PAN) will naturally decrease the numbers of students travelling to the site.”