7 September 2015
With a review of the School Admissions Code expected, school admissions are again a focus of attention, so the publication today of a report of a seminar on the subject held by RISE (Research and Information on State Education) is very timely.
At the seminar on school admissions, held in London earlier this year, Professor John Coldron outlined the findings of his RISE review of admissions and Dr Elizabeth Passmore (Chief Adjudicator) and John Freeman (former Director of Children’s Services) responded. An invited audience of people working in the administration of school admissions, campaigning about admissions or researching admissions then gave their views.
Through the range of different views expressed there was general agreement amongst this specialist audience that the English admissions system needs to change. The report also includes a postscript from John Freeman setting out the changes he wants to see.
In the discussion, concerns were expressed about, for example, the use of banding, in-year admissions and the complexity and fairness of current admission arrangements. Some participants recommended a complete change based on giving parents a place and letting them appeal if they would like a different one. Some called for a menu of admissions criteria that would be the only ones allowed. There were calls for stronger policing and a bigger role for local authorities.
Margaret Tulloch, RISE trustee, said:
This is a very detailed report of the views of many people with wide experience of school admissions. It is a very valuable contribution to the current debate about school admissions.
• The report can be downloaded from www.risetrust.org.uk
• A BBC Panorama programme (24/8/2015) focused on attempts in the London borough of Havering to detect fraudulent applications.
• The Daily Telegraph (29/8/2015) reported an interview with Nick Gibb, Schools Minister, indicating that a consultation on a revised admissions code is expected. The draft Code may propose requiring schools to give priority to siblings in their admissions criteria.
• The Independent (2/9/2015 ) reported a survey by Santander indicating that one in four parents responding to a survey had moved house to be nearer a desired school.