Schools chief inspector David Bell has dismissed fears that
plans to give primary schools more freedoms could undermine the
government’s aim for integrated services supporting all
children, writes Amy Taylor.
Speaking exclusively to Community Care, Ofsted’s
chief inspector of schools said there was a need not to “over
exaggerate” concerns about giving schools the right to gain
foundation status, under which school governors set admissions
An Education Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech last
week would give primary schools the same rights as secondary
schools to apply for foundation status.
Last week, leading figures in children’s services warned
that the policy could lead to schools denying access to
disadvantaged and vulnerable children.
But Bell said that the admissions procedures operating in most
foundation schools were the same as other schools and took account
of factors such as how near children lived to the school and
whether any of their siblings were pupils.
“If there are going to be more schools moving to
foundation status you have to ensure that the admissions
arrangements are coordinated but I would be slightly concerned
about this becoming some sort of argument against proper
school-based autonomy and decision making.
“Autonomy is not isolation, schools are part of a local
communities and have to work together with other schools and other
services to do the best for the children in their area,” he
See news analysis in this week’s issue (26 May 2005 pages