At the end of last year, Beckenham Harris secondary school Academy undertook a consultation for their student intake for September 2022. Along with local MP Ellie Reeves and many local parents, we submitted comments opposing their plans to change their policy to give preference to students from a Harris Primary school, as we have concerns this will unfairly affect pupils from other local Primary schools that are not part of the Harris chain.
Following these comments, we met with the School Leadership and Harris Federation staff, to raise our concerns about their proposal and hear from them on the reasons for their plans. Whilst they provide understandable reasons for putting in place the arrangement for this specific school, which is on the same site, as they already share resources with the school and it is the most local school to Beckenham Harris, we believe that the principle of prioritising certain schools when assessing intake may lead to a wider feeder school system throughout the Borough.
Earlier in the year we carried out an online consultation of residents in Penge who had children of school age, those who responded were overall opposed to the idea of feeder schools. Children from all local primary schools can still apply to Harris Beckenham and there are a number of criteria they will apply to determine priority, but all other things being equal a child attending Harris Primary Academy Beckenham will be given a place above children from other primary schools.
While Bromley Council focus on their high overall success of children getting their preferred choice of secondary schools- Labour councillors have supported a number of families from the North West of the Borough in recent years, who haven’t been accepted to any of their chosen schools, so we continue to be concerned with any changes that could make it even less likely local parents will be able to get their choice of the best schools for their children to start secondary school at.