Foundation schools block difficult pupils

    Plans to give schools shared responsibility for vulnerable
    children will be undermined by moves to allow them more
    independence over admissions, a parliamentary committee has
    warned.

    The education and skills committee told education secretary Ruth
    Kelly that the establishment of more foundation schools, with
    control over their own admissions, was incompatible with her aim of
    ensuring all schools took their fair share of hard-to-place
    pupils.

    Kelly said last month that all schools would be expected to
    operate as part of a local network, which would make sure difficult
    pupils were spread fairly among them, by September 2007.

    Schools that did not comply could be referred to the national
    admissions regulator, but there are fears that this may not be
    sufficient to enforce the policy.

    Committee chair Barry Sheerman said it was unlikely that schools
    that were pursuing better test results would readily want to take
    more difficult pupils.

    He said: “Many schools are using the rules, bending the rules
    just to make sure they get the best kids. They don’t take their
    responsibility for the more disruptive kids.”

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