Forums can pilot blind admissions

School admissions forums will be able to pilot admissions procedures that are anonymous to ensure the process is fair, the government said last week.

Under this system, schools would be able to set their own admissions criteria but local authorities would manage the admissions process, so schools would not be able to select children they could identify.

Schools minister Jim Knight made the announcement during the third reading of the Education and Inspections Bill, but refused to make it a statutory requirement under the planned legislation.

Knight said the government would want to know whether any areas wanted to pilot the approach.

The Liberal Democrats had wanted to amend the bill to require schools to use anonymised procedures, but Sarah Teather, the party’s education spokesperson, said they welcomed the minister’s comments about the pilots.

Also during the debate, MPs rejected an amendment from the Conservatives that would have prevented councils from closing special schools without the consent of the secretary of state.

Many amendments were not discussed, including one tabled by the Liberal Democrats that would have required schools to ensure the educational welfare of looked-after children was safeguarded and promoted.

An amendment that would have required a staff member in a maintained school to be responsible for identifying young carers and assessing their needs was also shelved.

The bill passed its third reading and will now proceed to the House of Lords.


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