New consultation launched into school admissions in Suffolk

Changes are set to be made to school admissions in Suffolk. Stock image Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Changes are set to be made to school admissions in Suffolk. Stock image Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Changes could be made to the way school admissions are handled under plans proposed by Suffolk County Council.

The council has begun a consultation into a scheme it hopes will ensure places are offered to Suffolk children in a fair way.

The consultation began on Tuesday, October 1 and will run until Tuesday, November 12.

A number of changes are being proposed, including where children with special needs are receiving provision in a unit at a school that is otherwise over-subscribed.

Currently if a school is oversubscribed, siblings of pupils already at the school are given higher priority for a place.

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Under the new plans, children are not entitled to a priority place if their sibling is already at an otherwise over-subscribed school and receiving specialist unit provision.

The county council said the changes were needed to help local children get a place at their nearest suitable school.

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Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for children's services, education and skills, said: "I encourage parents and carers to take part in the consultation and have their say on the proposed admissions procedures via the county council website or by email or post.

"The consultation closes on Tuesday 12 November."

Jack Abbott, Labour spokesman for Children's Services Education and Skills said: "Given the pressure on places in some schools, I understand the need to review the oversubscription criteria to ensure local children are able attend their nearest school.

"However, by arbitrarily removing sibling priority in schools with special units, the Conservatives are introducing another policy change which seems set to split up families, just like their dreadful school transport cuts.

"Rather than trying to find a nuanced position that prevents siblings being divided or local children missing out, they have decided to pit one set of children against another without thinking about the consequences.

"The Tories at Suffolk County Council should be assessing these places according to the needs of the children and their families, not simply shoe-horning in their latest one-size-fits-all idea.

"Better still, they should start delivering new school places in areas where they are clearly needed."

For more information about the consultation visit Suffolk County Council's website.

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