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EDITIONS
Breakfast Monday, 28 April, 2003, 05:05 GMT 06:05 UK
A new system for England
Breakfast's series Chasing Places
The way school places are allocated will change in 2004
It can be something of a nightmare for every parent trying to get their children into the school of their choice.

Every child has the right to an education but many are left disappointed because they do not live in the school's catchment area and while some are able to pay for private education, a handful are left with no school place at all.

But from 2004 a new system will be introduced to allocate places which involves parents applying direct to the local education authority.

  • Breakfast's Jules Botfield interviewed Dr Ian Birnbaum who works for Sutton LEA who are implementing the new system; and we also heard from John Fuller who is a head teacher in Sutton and has seen how the new system will work


  • We also heard about the plight of one parent who couldn't get her son into the school she wanted and from Jill Barnes who campaigns for more choice for parents.


    If you want more information on schools in England and Scotland, click on the link below. We don't have information on Wales and Northern Ireland as they do not produce league tables.

    How the new admission system works

    The scheme has already been piloted in Sutton in Surrey and will be in place in 2004 across England in readiness for the new term in 2005.

    Wales will follow on at a later date. The new system will make the LEA the 'clearing house' for school places.

    Parents fill in a form for their chosen LEA and can apply to more than one area. They rank the schools in order of preference, and computer software sorts the places and allocates one place per child.

    The system has been operating in Sutton for four years and is widely seen as being much fairer.

    It stops the situation arising where some parents get several places and others none.

    By September 2005, it is hoped that children will only be offered one place as the system should allow LEAs to liaise with each other.

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