consultation today into simplifying and making fairer the School Admissions Code. The Code applies to all maintained schools in England and also, through their funding agreements, to Academies.
The most interesting proposal put forward is to enable Free Schools and Academies to set aside a percentage of places for children eligible for free school meals, thereby giving priority to the disadvantaged. This is an excellent move forward and absolutely right in my opinion. I think it ironic that Labour never thought to represent their supposed core voters in this way.
I haven't as yet been through the whole document, but here are my thoughts so far:
I welcome the proposal to remove the requirement on local authorities to coordinate in year admissions. This will cut out needless bureaucracy and most importantly, speed up getting the child back into education. I've known instances where the delay has been several weeks, when all along the school has an empty space!
I see the logic behind allowing schools to increase their Planned Admission Number (PAN) to admit pupils in-year without the need to seek their local authority's approval.
I'm pleased with the proposed exceptions to the infant class size limit of 30, having had residents in my Ward being given places at two primary schools for their twins. Understandably the family turned down both places, choosing instead to go further afield to the next county where their twins were offered places together.
I agree with Toby Young in his Telegraph blog when he says "Whoever takes the credit, it’s hard to imagine this consultation not being a political triumph."
One point to note is that proposed changes to the Admissions Code will not come into play until the September 2013 intake.