The Accord Coalition for inclusive schooling has sent a briefing to MPs ahead of the Report Stage and third reading of the Education Bill in the House Commons this Wednesday (11 May 2011).
It urges them to support amendments that seek to retain the duty upon local authorities responsible for education to organise a School Admission Forum, as well as retain the power of the school adjudicator to amend any aspect of a school’s admissions arrangements that are judged to be in breach of the Schools Admissions Code.
School Admission Forums help to ensure that admission policies in a local area are fair, do not cause other admission authorities undue problems and that they adhere to the Admissions Code.
Meanwhile, successive annual reports of the Chief Schools’ Adjudicator have shown particular problems with the admission policies at schools that are their own admissions authority, including a great many which have a religious character.
Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said that "as the Government gives schools greater freedom and allows new and untested education providers to start running state funded schools through its academies and free schools programme, it follows that it should also ensure at the very least the same level of monitoring of schools, not less."
He continued: "Unlike most state schools, academies and free schools will control their own admission arrangements, and so we want current protections that help to ensure schools do not abuse new freedoms over their admissions, whether by accident or design, to be retained."
More on Accord: http://accordcoalition.org.uk/
The Christian think-tank Ekklesia is a founding member of the Accord Coalition