The Telegraph is reporting that schools minister Nick Gibb is planning to give siblings an automatic right to attend the same state school for the first time.
…Officials at the Department for Education say that, based on anecdotal evidence, every year thousands of brothers and sisters are split between different schools because of a lack of places.
Currently councils – which run admissions for all children – have to give priority to special needs and “looked after” children, according to the official Schools Admissions Code.
They can then select other children based on criteria such as if they have a sibling at the school, the distance from the child’s home to school, whether they go to church and if the child’s parents work at the school.
Mr Gibb told The Sunday Telegraph that he wanted to make the sibling rule mandatory so that local authorities would have to offer places to brothers and sisters.
Mr Gibb said he was “just trying to ease the stresses and problems that families face in juggling child care with working lives” after hearing of the problem from voters and other MPs.
“If you have two young children, one goes into reception and one is in year three and they are at different schools, it is a nightmare for them,” he said.
He wanted the rules to be “more prescriptive in terms of the oversubscription criteria in the admission arrangements”.
He said: “I think it should be a requirement when, as long as you live within the catchment area and one of your children is at the school already, there should be a right for your next child to go to that school, while that other child is still at the school…”
So what do you say? Is Nick Gibb right to focus on the practical issues families face and would you welcome a guarantee of a sibling place if the family remains in the catchment area?
Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…
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