LEAs lose power over admissions

11th November 2005 at 00:00
The recent white paper places schools even further beyond the guidance of local councils. Yet the introduction of trust schools and greater school independence demand greater council involvement. Councils should be getting extra powers to ensure choice lies with parents to select the best schools, and not with the best schools to cherry-pick pupils.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, wants councils acting on behalf of local parents to negotiate admissions guidelines for just three years at new schools, and not to be able to influence them at all in existing schools.

This flaw means new schools will soon be able to disengage from the communities they are meant to serve by setting their own admissions policies.

A statutory admissions system must apply to all schools with no time limit.

While we welcome the dropping of the LEA label and new powers to challenge "coasting schools", we are very concerned that the paper seems to ignore rural schools and does not really explore the consequences of allowing good schools to expand.

Alison King Chairman of the Local Government Association children and young people board, Local Government Association Smith Square, London SW1

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