As stated by Educating Brentwood two days ago, (“Gazette paints inaccurate picture on Becket Keys”), the date by which parents will be required to commit to a school for their children for September 2012 was inaccurately reported in the Brentwood Gazette.
We are grateful to Essex County Council who have provided us with a comprehensive statement on this matter which we reproduce below:
“To explain the process of school offers and decisions:
1) On 1 March 2012, the Local Authority (Essex County Council) will write to parents with the outcome of their secondary school application – this will not include offers for Becket Keys as these are being sent directly by the school– see point 2 below
2) On 1 March 2012, Becket Keys School (so we believe) will write to all of their applicants to confirm application outcomes
3) Shortly after 1 March (at a date yet to be confirmed because ECC awaits information from Becket Keys), the Local Authority (Essex County Council) will write to Essex parents offered a place at both a school other than Becket Keys, and Becket Keys itself. This letter will ask parents to confirm within 14 calendar days, which of their offers they are accepting.
To clarify, the letter asking parents to confirm which offer they are accepting is the one they will need to respond to within 14 days. But the date that letter will be sent out has not been confirmed (as ECC doesn’t yet know which parents will be offered a place at Becket Keys) therefore the date by when those 14 days are up is not yet known.
The confusion has arisen because the Brentwood Gazette has misunderstood and taken the 14 days to apply from the date of the first letter Essex County Council will be sending out on 1 March. This is incorrect.
The law allows for parents to decline the offer of a school place at any point, so if parents initially accept a place, and then wish to decline it and take up a place that is available at an alternative school, they are perfectly entitled to do so.
I have to add that point 3 remains subject to confirmation because until we have the necessary data from Becket Keys about exactly who is being offered places at the school, the Local Authority cannot take any further action in this respect. We have been informed that this will be with us shortly.
Our priority is that the process is as simple and easy to understand for parents as is possible.”
This confirms that Becket Keys have it in their gift to ensure that their public consultation takes place before parents have to make a decision. They should work with Essex CC to ensure the consultation is complete and the response from the DfE known before requiring parents to commit to a school.
Brentwood deserves a meaningful consultation.