School admissions shift could help poorer families

By politics.co.uk staff

Schools could be allowed to discriminate in favour of poorer children under proposals being considered by the government.

Education secretary Michael Gove was expected to have made an announcement about the planned shift today but the coalition has opted to continue studying the proposals as the comprehensive spending review approaches.

Mr Gove could use the announcement of a pupil premium, potentially included in the CSR on October 20th, to also unveil the change to the schools admissions code.

The policy, a prominent part of the Liberal Democrats’ general election campaign, could see schools receive an extra £2,000 for all pupils eligible for free school meals.

That threshold would also be used for the admissions code, helping combat the ability of middle-class parents to influence which school they send their children to buying property within its catchment area.

Mr Gove has asked officials to examine the feasibility of allowing new ‘free schools’, according to reports.

“What we wanted to do is see how we could give priority in admissions to children from poorer homes,” the Guardian newspaper quoted him as saying.

“If there are academy sponsors who especially want to target poorer children… then we’re allowing those schools to say, ‘we would like to give preference to a set number of children eligible for free school meals’.”