Public views being sought on school admissions changes

THE public's views are being sought on suggested changes to admission arrangements for primary and secondary schools in Leeds.

The consultation by Education Leeds, which ends on 4 February, is an opportunity for parents or carers of school age children and members of community groups to state their views on suggested changes for 2012-13.

It is seeking views on whether or not to hold in year waiting lists for school transfers. At present, applications are dealt with as they are made and it is possible for a place to be allocated to a child on one day from some distance away but a request arrive the next day for a family living much nearer. Waiting lists could streamline the process and help deliver a more efficient service.

Sibling priority, which means children with a brother or sister at a particular school are given priority to attend themselves, was considered to be good practice but national opinion has suggested it could be unfair. Although Education Leeds is not proposing to remove it, it is asking whether sibling priority should change.

The executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, Jane Dowson, said: "Any changes to the way the admissions process works could affect many families across the city. The input from parents, carers and community groups is vital to ensure all opinions are gathered before a final decision is made."

The chief executive of Education Leeds, Chris Edwards, said: "Choosing the right school is an important decision and changes to the admissions arrangements will only be made to make it a fairer and simpler process. It's important that views are gathered from anyone who could be affected and I would urge all interested parties to reply by the 4 February deadline."

Public opinion will be used to write a report for Leeds City Council's executive board. If agreed that in year waiting lists will be held this will come into force from September 2011. Any other agreed changes will come into force for entry in September 2012.

The consultation is available on the Education Leeds website, www.educationleeds.gov.uk, and follow links to the admissions pages. Post comments to Education Leeds admissions team at: Floor 10 West, Merrion House, 110 Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8DT.