Sibling Priority In - Catchment Areas Out

Changes for Ealing's primary school applicants

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Big changes in the way primary school places are handed out in Ealing will begin in 2016.

Siblings will get priority over new admissions, the criteria of exceptional medical and social circumstances will be removed and catchment areas will also disappear.

This will mean applications will be made on straight-line distance - as is the case with community high schools

Currently the council say an increasing number of parents haven't been able to get a place for their children at a sibling’s school, and have had to send them elsewhere. The sibling change should mean this will no longer happen.

However, in order to minimise the disadvantage to those who do not have an older sibling at a school, priority areas (catchments) are being removed to give parents more flexibility in making an application on distance. The council say this will remove the anomaly where families sometimes cannot get a place at a school they live close to, because of where the priority area boundary falls.

The criterion of exceptional medical and social circumstances will be removed but this will not affect applications from children with an SEN statement or education, health and care plan. Appeal panels will still consider exceptional medical and social needs as part of the appeals process.

Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children, said: “We received a good response to our consultation which goes to show how passionately people care about this issue. It is always difficult to make changes to a system that affects so many people, but, on balance, I believe these updates will make the admissions system fairer for local families.

“The quality of teaching in Ealing primary schools continues to improve, and at a faster rate than other London boroughs. Parents can feel confident that their children will receive a good education in all of our schools.”

The council determines the admissions criteria for all community primary schools in Ealing and they all have the same admissions arrangements. A consultation over the proposed changes to admissions arrangements happened between November and January. Faith schools, foundation schools and academies have their own admission arrangement

The decision was taken by Ealing Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, 24 March. All cabinet decisions are subject to a call-in period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.


25th March 2015