Education Secretary Michael Gove MP has launched a consultation which he says will make the school admissions process simpler, fairer and more transparent for all parents.
The Department for Education (DfE) says the two current Admission Codes stretch to more than 130 pages and impose more than 600 mandatory requirements on admissions authorities. It says that the process is complex, confusing, costly and unfair, and that the current Admissions Code and Appeals Code undermine parental choice.
The proposed changes would see two new codes created. Together, the two slimmed-down documents will contain around half as many requirements.
The DfE says the proposals will make it easier for popular schools to take more pupils, improve in-year applications so it’s quicker to find a new school, ban local authorities from using area-wide ‘lotteries’ and reduce bureaucracy.
The consultation also asks whether academies and free schools should be able to prioritise children receiving the pupil premium, as announced in the Schools White Paper last year.
‘Good schools must be able to grow’
‘The school system has rationed good schools,’ claimed Michael Gove. ‘Some families can go private or move house. Many families cannot afford to do either. The system must change. Schools should be run by teachers who know the children’s names and they should be more accountable to parents, not politicians. Good schools should be able to grow and we need more of them’.
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham MP, suggested that the new code would make it harder for the majority of parents: ‘Step by step this Tory-led Government is eroding the principle of fair admissions and moving towards a two-tier system. Parents will be worried by this code, which signals the way for an increase in selection at age 11 and a return to the days of grammars and secondary moderns. This code will make it easier for some parents – like those setting up free schools – to get the school they want, but by weakening the system overall, it will make it harder for the majority of parents.’
The new codes will not affect the next admissions round (for entry in September 2012) but will take effect for the September 2013 intake.
See this BBC article for an in-depth discussion on who will benefit from the new school admissions code and feel free to share your views on school admissions with other Eteach readers below.