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Monday, 2 November 2009

You are where you live

This is one of the reasons why I don't live in the UK any more. It's primarily because you are your own post code. The equivalent of "you are what you eat!" in geographical terms. There is too much of an authoritarian air about it these days with more cameras than anywhere else in the world and the recent furors about forcing carers and teachers and indeed any school visitors to undergo a screening test to see if they are fit to be near minors Oh and at a cost of GBP 64 which the person tested has to pay!

The latest silliness from the UK government is that parents who know the crazy rules regarding post codes and school selection have been trying a few scams to get their kids into better schools. Can you blame them when your kid could suffer because he lives in Birkenhead instead of Brighton? That his postcode is W1 and not N12?

The UK government is now clamping down on all those parents who simply want a fairer chance that their kids will attend good schools.

"According to a report, local councils report that "deceptive applications have become more commonplace as many parents do not consider the consequences of their actions for others any longer". "

Here are some of the examples of what the parents have been doing to "play the system",

In one example, a council reported that multiple false applications were made by a number of parents with children at the same pre-school.

According to Dr Craig, the Chief Schools Adjudicator, the most common scams reported by councils in the last year were the following:

* Use of relatives’ addresses – usually grandparents with the same name – if they live nearer a sought-after school (70 examples last year)

Can you blame anybody for doing that?

* Parents who rent homes in catchment areas during the applications process (33 examples)

Smart thinking!

* Families who feign marriage break-up then report that one parent – usually the mother – has moved to another house nearer the school (28 examples)

Ok, a bid dodgy here and a bit extreme!

* Parents who genuinely separate but then pretend the child is living with the mum or dad who lives closest to the best school (25 examples)

Again, a bid dodgy here and a bit extreme!

* Use of an address owned by parents but rented to someone else (24 examples)

Smart thinking!

* Parents who use an address to get a school place but move away without telling the local council (21)

Smart thinking!

* Use of a business or company address in a catchment area (16)

Smart thinking!

* Parents who swap homes with friends during the applications process – sometimes with a short-term tenancy agreement (14 examples)

Smart thinking!

* Use of an empty address or plot of land (10 examples)

Smart thinking!

What's the problem? Seems to me that if you base a silly system on silly rules, then you get a silly response! People will always try to find the best for their kids and that will never stop!

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