A Bexley school has had its knuckles rapped for its admissions procedure.
A report published yesterday (July 7) by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator revealed Bexleyheath Academy in Woolwich Road is not complying with central Government criteria.
The document criticises the school for inviting external sixth form candidates to ‘interviews’ and for the lack of information about this year’s intake.
However the headmaster Carl Wakefield told News Shopper how dismayed he is that the facility – which has more than 2,000 pupils - will lose the “personal touch”.
The report, which was published on gov.uk, said: “Two issues were raised about the 2014 sixth form admission arrangements.
“The first was that there were no current arrangements for admission to the sixth form on the school’s website and the second was that the school required applicants to attend a selection interview as part of the admission arrangements to the sixth form.
“The letter does not make it clear that the interview is not part of the admission arrangements and that if an applicant does not attend it has no bearing on the success or otherwise of their application.
“The lack of clarity in the letter about this leaves the recipient of the letter with the impression the interview is a selection interview and there is no evidence that applicants are made aware by other means that it is not a selection interview or how the school uses the information gained in the interview.”
Mr Wakefield told the News Shopper he was sad about having to change the procedure.
He said: “Our policy has been in place for a long time, it’s worked well for years.
“It’s about whether you call it an interview or consultation.
“The adjudicator decided because we used the word ‘interview’, so we have to change it.
“Meeting the candidate is useful because it means they can check it is the right course for them.”
The headmaster has accepted the school will have to change the procedure.
He said: “Very sadly from now on, after many, many years, as the adjudicator’s word is binding, we will have to change it.
“We won’t be conducting any interview or consultation in the future.
“It will reduce the personal contact and will mean people will just get a letter.
“There is a perceived unfairness between internal and external candidates but our head girl is an external candidate as have been many members of our Student Leadership Team.”
The comprehensive school became an academy in September 2011 under the sponsorship of the London Academies Enterprise Trust.
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Do you think interviews are a bad idea during admissions for sixth form? Leave your comments below.