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Government unveils primary school admission reforms

03/11/2011 Joanna
The Department for Education (DfE) announced proposals to change the primary schools admissions code yesterday (November 2nd), in news that could impact the children primary teachers have in their classes.

As part of the proposals, a new "national offer day" would make all primary school places available on the same day, while adopted, disadvantaged and vulnerable children will receive priority.

Following a 12-week consultation in which the DfE received over 1,300 replies, over 700 parents largely welcomed the amendments.

Intended to be fairer and simpler for parents, the proposals have yet to pass through parliament but if approved will come into force in time for the start of the next academic year.

"These measures and the priority we are giving to children who are adopted from the care system are all designed to help raise the standard in our schools and close the attainment gap between those from poorer and wealthier backgrounds," schools minister Nick Gibb said.

Intending to 'streamline' the admissions system, the DfE has made a number of alterations to the current system.

Successful schools will be given greater freedom to expand, meaning they can offer more places to children while they will also be able to increase the number of places offered to children in their specific catchment area.

Primary teachers with will also be given a degree of priority if they wish their children to be taught at their school.

This will allow schools "to attract and retain the best teachers and school support staff by allowing them to ensure their own children have a place at their school", Mr Gibb said.

Schools will be also permitted to break the 30 pupil threshold in classes to accommodate twins or multiple-birth and the children of army personnel, a move that was supported by 83 per cent of respondents to the consultation.

Academies and Free Schools will similarly be able to give priority to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, while councils will be banned from using 'lotteries' to determine admissions.

However, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers have expressed concern that that new code could "undermine fairness and socially balanced school intakes".

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-800785492-ADNFCR
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