A right for siblings to attend the same school, guaranteed

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…” 

More at: A right for siblings to attend the same school, guaranteed


We’ve covered stories this year of some authorities planning to do away with sibling priority but others have faced a backlash for proposing the same.

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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  1. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove seems like a nice way of relaxing rules on class numbers, especially in areas with high student mobility.

  2. MrDrem

    SchoolsImprove wandbc have done really good work on fixing this, which will be thrown away by this. Why does cent. Gov. not trust local?

  3. @TW Yes, he definitely said ‘local authorities’.  This implies the ‘sibling’ rule won’t need to apply to academies who set their own admission criteria.

  4. Gibb appears to be making a lot of noise where none is required.  I looked at neighbouring LAs: Lincolnshire, Peterborough, Northants, Cambridgeshire, Rutland.  They all had the sibling criteria.

  5. 3Jessem

    SchoolsImprove what about small schools where children living in catchment are unable to get space as filled with sibs living miles away?

  6. Anonymous

    I have two children at one school (our closest school) but also have one at another school (5 miles away). All primary school age. It is a nightmare, for me to have two school runs to make at the same time. My son has been on the waiting list since before he even started school in reception. I think this is brilliant that he is doing this, but I think it should be for your closest school, not just a school of choice. This would encourage walking to school. I also think it is mad that the amount of children you have at the school makes no different to your position on the waiting list.

Let us know what you think...