Changes to admission rules at Central Beds lower schools

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Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive has approved its school admissions arrangements for 2016.

The council approved changes to its admissions policy as a result of recent national guidance published by the Chief Schools Adjudicator, and the report considered by the Executive took into account feedback from parents following a public consultation on the planned changes.

The new school admissions arrangements include changes that are designed to create a more level playing field for parents looking for a lower or primary school place for their children.

Among supportive comments received were that it would make access fairer for all children, the previous admission arrangements discriminated against parents who used a private nursery close to their work or kept their children at home until Reception year, and that youngsters should not be disadvantaged by their parents’ choices.

Concerns were raised by others that the changes could lead to friendship groups created at nursery being broken up, affect the links between schools and nurseries and have a negative impact on communities where the nursery priority ensures sustainability for smaller schools.

Previously, 16 of Central Bedfordshire’s community and voluntary controlled schools prioritised admissions for children attending certain nurseries or pre-schools.

They were: Aspley Guise Lower, Dovery Down Lower, Dunstable Icknield Lower, Dunton VC Lower, Everton Lower, Greenleas School Derwent Road, Hockliffe Lower, Lancot Primary, Linslade Lower, Ramsey Manor Lower, Silsoe VC Lower, Studham VC Lower, Thomas Johnson Lower, Thornhill Primary and Wrestlingworth VC Lower.

However, the changes approved by Executive mean that they are no longer able to do this.

Sue Harrison, the council’s director of children’s Services, said: “I would like to thank all parents who took part in the consultation.

“I understand that some will be disappointed by changes to the admissions policy, but members agreed that they wanted to give all children the same chance of attending their local school, regardless of childcare decisions their parents make prior to compulsory school age.”

For more information about school admissions in Central Bedfordshire, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/admissions