ID scheme to curb fraudulent enrolments

Neil Munro

Scotland's most successful education authority is pulling up the drawbridge to stop parents from other areas pulling a fast one to get their children into the council's schools.

Parents enrolling their children next week for P1 in East Renfrewshire's 24 primaries will have to bring along four documents to prove they live in the catchment area. They will be unable to register their child unless they produce a birth certificate, a child benefit or family tax credit letter, a council tax letter and a mortgage or rental agreement.

The move comes after bids by parents to sneak pupils from outwith East Renfrewshire into popular schools by using false addresses.

Ruses have also included renting a property for a week to claim residency and using the same address to claim children were entitled to an East Renfrewshire school.

Last year, the education department investigated 20 cases of attempted false entry. Parents withdrew when challenged.

The authority will prosecute parents or guardians found to have made fraudulent attempts to gain entry for their children.

Alan Lafferty, East Renfrewshire's education convener, said: "Our first duty is to our own residents to ensure their children get a place at our schools. That's why we're insisting on these checks, and if parents can't provide us with the necessary documents, then their children simply won't get in.

"We're also warning that we will investigate suspicious circumstances and prosecute where necessary, as fraudulently attempting to gain a place at one of our schools is at the expense of a child who has a genuine right to be at that school."

The only legitimate way parents from outwith East Renfrewshire can apply for their children to get in is by making a request, which has to be lodged by the end of January.

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Neil Munro

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