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Schools: Admissions

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 4 December 2008 (WS 20–21), how the revised codes concerning the school admission system will ensure that children living in rural areas forced to apply to the local authority controlling the area in which they live will not be disadvantaged by having to travel long distances to attend school. [HL570]

Local authorities must ensure that their admission and transport policies ensure fair access to educational opportunity as required by Section 13A of the Education Act 1996.

For those children living in rural areas there can be a limited number of schools to which it is reasonable for parents to apply, and the School Admissions Code is clear that admission authorities should take account of the time it will take to travel to school, as well as the safety of travel when setting their oversubscription criteria. The regulations currently before Parliament will improve the co-ordination of admissions and make it easier for local authorities to ensure that admission arrangements do not disadvantage children living in particular areas and to ensure that all children have a place at a suitable school.

It is for the local authority to determine the pattern of provision most appropriate to its area, including whether there is sufficient suitable provision for children living in rural areas where travelling to school may be more difficult.