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School admissions: closing the gap?

23 July 2014

Press reports have highlighted government proposals to amend the School Admissions Code and allow all schools to give greater priority to pupils who are eligible for the Pupil Premium (usually pupils who are eligible for free school meals). Currently, only academies and free schools have this freedom. The report indicates that such a move could squeeze out middle class parents who may find it more difficult to obtain a place at a good school.

The government proposals should provide a level playing field for all schools to be able to prioritise pupil premium pupils. There is no obligation to do so and is very much about schools making decisions which benefit their local community. If the changes are made to the Admissions Code, it will benefit schools by potentially providing access to greater funds but also allow greater engagement with disadvantaged families to ensure that the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' is closed.

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