For applicants who have been offered a place in our first round
I've been offered a place in your first round, how long do I have to make up my mind?
You need to decide whether to accept or decline your place by 11.59pm on 15th March.
Can I accept your place and the place that my local authority has offered me?
No. You can only accept one place.
How do I accept my place?
If I accept your place, can I stay on the waiting list for other schools that were higher on my list of preferences than the one my local authority offered me?
Yes. Your local authority will send you information about waiting lists for other schools and you will need to contact the schools in question to arrange to be put on their waiting lists.
I want to accept your offer of a place but I am worried that your premises and staff won't be ready in time for September 2013. Can you reassure me?
Absolutely. We can assure all prospective parents that all the facilities at Beaumont Close, and some initial sporting facilities at Stanley Road, will be ready to welcome our first intake of pupils in September 2013. We have the full backing of Barnet Council, the Department for Education and our MP, and everything necessary is in place to make this happen.
We are currently recruiting our senior leadership team; that is, the heads of department who will be teaching our first pupils. We have already had a large amount of expressions of interest in these posts, and have taken out an advertisement on the front page of the Times Educational Supplement, in order to attract the best possible candidates.
Our experience so far has shown that the Archer Academy offers an exciting challenge for teachers and we are confident that we will be spoilt for choice.
For applicants who haven't been offered a place in our first round
I haven't been offered a place in your first round. What happens next?
Any applicants who have not been offered a first round place at the Archer Academy will be automatically placed on our waiting list, unless they tell us otherwise.
Once we know how many applicants have accepted our first round of places, we will send out second round offers for any remaining places to the applicants who are highest on the waiting list. An applicant's position on the waiting list will be determined under the terms of our over-subscription criteria (which you can read here).
If I accept the place my local authority has offered me, can I still stay on the waiting list for the Archer Academy?
Yes. If you applied for a place at the Archer Academy and weren't offered a place in our first round, then you will automatically be placed on our waiting list unless you tell us otherwise.
Will you be able to tell me where I am on the waiting list?
If you call us, please make sure you have your child reference number to hand (it's on the letter we sent you on 1st March) as we will not be able to discuss your child’s application without it.
When will your second round offers be sent out?
Our first round offers have to be accepted or declined by 15th March. We will then send out our second round offers early in the following week.
How likely is it that I will get a second round offer?
It's impossible for us to guess how many of our first round offers will be accepted. However, because we are running our admissions in parallel with Barnet this year, we know that many parents will get two state school offers. There is therefore likely to be a higher drop out rate this year than there will be in subsequent years.
So although we can't make any promises, we are pretty certain that we will be issuing a good number of second round offers.
What if I'm not offered a place in the second round? Do I still have a chance of getting a place?
Again, we can't predict what the level of acceptance from our second round will be. However, the point about us being likely to have a higher drop out rate this year applies to our second round too.
Once our second round places have been accepted or declined, we will keep any remaining applicants on our waiting list, and continue to allocate places as they come up under the terms of our over-subscription criteria.
How long will you continue to run your waiting list?
Even after every place at the school is filled. As is common in most schools, we may still have the odd place available once the school has opened, due to people moving or changing their plans at the last minute. It's therefore worth staying on our waiting list if you would like to have the option of a place at the Archer Academy.
Can I appeal against the decision not to offer my child a place?
You have the right to appeal to an independent appeals panel against the decision not to offer your child a place at the Archer Academy. You have twenty school days from the 1st March.
Appeals will not be heard until all available places at the school have been offered and accepted and as no places are reserved for successful appeals, this means that any appeals allowed will increase the intake above the admission limit.
Although each appeal is decided on individual merit, only exceptional circumstances are likely to lead to a successful appeal. The fact that a school is mixed sex or that the school is a child’s or parents’ particular choice, or that other schools with vacancies involve a long journey is unlikely to lead to a successful appeal.
If parents wish to make an appeal, they should contact the school:
Telephone - 020 8829 4124
Or in writing - The Archer Academy, 3 Beaumont Close, East Finchley, London N2 0GA.
What is the catchment area of the Archer Academy?
As with all schools, the catchment area will vary each year depending on demand for places; and until we have allocated all our places in a given year, we can't say precisely how far it will stretch. The higher the demand, the smaller the catchment area will be.
Our admissions policy states that, after four priority groups (such as siblings and children with a statement of educational needs) have been taken into account, priority will be given to children living in N2, N3 and NW11 postcodes. So places will be offered to children within those postcodes in relation to how close they live to the school, based on measuring the distance from their house to the school in a straight line.
Once places have been filled under the initial five criteria, any remaining places will be offered to children living outside the priority postcode areas, again on a geographical basis measuring distance in a straight line from the school, with priority given to children who live closest to the school.
So if you live outside N2, N3 and NW11, you may still be offered a place at the Archer Academy, but only if places remain after offers have been made to children in the priority groups or living in the priority postcode areas.
We will review our admissions policy and criteria every year to ensure that the school serves the local community and meets the demand for which it was set up.
Why are you running your own admissions for the first year?
As we were only given the go-ahead by the Department for Education in July 2012, we were unable to be included in the common application process for existing schools.
So, like other free schools in our position, we are running our own admissions, and issuing our own separate offers, for our September 2013 intake. We are working closely with Barnet Council to ensure that our admissions policy follows the same process as theirs, and progresses smoothly and seamlessly
Will the process be different in future years?
Yes. For the September 2014 intake, and subsequent years, our admissions will be run by Barnet Council as part of the common application process.
Why have you prioritised the N2, N3 and NW11 postcodes?
When we were applying to set up the Archer Academy, we had to prove to the DfE that there was local demand for our school. We did this by asking people in the wider area if they would fill out a survey saying that they would be prepared to send their children to the Archer Academy if it opened.
When the responses came back, around 90% came from within the N2, N3 and NW11 postcodes. So they are the areas in which we have been able to prove support for the school, and that's the basis on which the DfE have given us the go-ahead.
It's also true to say that it is in N2, N3 and NW11 that the lack of mixed, non-denominational, non-selective education is the greatest – the surrounding areas all have schools of that type available for parents to consider, whereas N3, NW11 and N2 currently don't. The Archer Academy will therefore be filling a visible gap in these areas.
Some people have asked us why we have given all three areas priority (rather than, for example, just N2), and the answer is the same: because large numbers of parents in all three of these areas have shown that they support the school, and because all three areas currently have the same lack of provision.
One further point worth recognising is that the Archer Academy is likely to take pressure off other popular comprehensive schools. We would expect the knock on effect of this to be widened catchment areas for other schools in the wider area, as well as less panic, forced moves and renting to get places.
Will I be able to come to the school if I don’t live in one of the priority postcodes?
The short answer is: yes, if places remain after applications from priority groups (including the priority postcodes) have been taken into account.
But there is a longer answer, which is that in the early years of the school you have a much greater chance of your child getting a place, even if you live outside the priority area. Here's why.
As with all new schools, the catchment area is likely to be much bigger in the early years than it will be further down the line, not least because there will be fewer siblings to be taken into account.
Indeed, for September 2013, there will obviously be no sibling places allocated at all. Given that siblings have been known to account for as many as half of the places allocated by a school, you can see that this would make a real difference to a child's chances of being offered a place.
It is therefore highly likely that in this first year we will have places remaining after our priority groups have been taken into account. And, of course, once a child is at the school, their siblings would become a higher priority group, as per our admissions code.
Have you, or will you, consider ‘feeder schools’ in your admissions criteria?
We have considered naming certain schools as feeder schools, and giving those pupils priority status in our admissions criteria. However, for the reasons explained above, it seemed more logical to us to prioritise the people living in the areas where the need was greatest.
To give you an example, there could be children at, say, Brookland School, who actually live in N12 and are already in the catchment area for good local secondary schools, and therefore don't need to be prioritised by us. The fairer way seems to us to be to prioritise the postcodes in which our kind of school doesn't currently exist.
However we are committed to reviewing our admissions policy every year, and will revist the question of feeder schools if we feel it would best serve the community.
Why have you given founders’ children priority in your admissions criteria?
We understand that some people may question our request to give the school’s founders children priority in our admissions criteria, and so we would like to be completely open about the context and rationale behind it.
The 11 founders of the school have taken on a significant undertaking in terms of both time and effort to create a new school for the whole community. This began in earnest in December 2011, and has involved a huge amount of work since then, from preparing our application to the DfE and working with local parents and schools to shape the plans to now, in the set up phase, ensuring we are ready for our first pupils in September 2013.
Whilst we all have professional commitments outside of the Archer Academy, and in most cases young families, we have nonetheless made a commitment to working at least one full day each week in a voluntary capacity on setting up the school. In reality, given the nature of the situation and the timescales we are working towards, the work invariably involves as much as two or three days of our time during the course of a typical week. Furthermore, as founder members, we are legally responsible for the school's development, which is a responsibility none of us take lightly.
For us to maintain this commitment over two years – which is what we need to do to see the school through opening and a successful first year – without any assurance that our children would be able to attend the school we have worked so hard to create, does seem unreasonable. And indeed, the founders’ children clause does appear to be standard in the admissions policies for the parent-led free schools that we have been following throughout this process.
There are 10 founders that have children who we hope will attend the Archer Academy, and their ages range from a couple of Year 6 children who will be part of our first intake, to some pre-school children who will not come to the school until almost 10 years after opening. Founders’ children will therefore typically account for around 2 places in each year of 150 children, less than 2% of the intake for each year.
We accept that some members of our community may consider it unfair that the founders' children are guaranteed a place. But we believe that it would be equally unfair if the people who have taken on such a huge responsibility and sacrificed so much of their personal time to create a school for the whole community, were not able to ensure that their children benefit from their hard work.
Our commitment to establish a school that reflects and responds to the needs and aspirations of our local community remains undiminished and we wish to be wholly transparent about our approach, including over the issue of founders’ children.
How will you stop people renting temporarily to get a place at the school?
We are determined that our school will be, as was intended, a local school for local children. So where we have reason to suspect that people are renting temporarily to get into the school whilst maintaining a family home elsewhere, we may request proof of purchase or rental of their named address as well as proof of disposal of their other property.