Thursday, 3 April 2008

Times: Top state schools hit by cash for places row

Faith schools were accused yesterday of forcing parents to pay for places at the best state primaries and secondaries.

One Jewish school in London asked parents to contribute £895 a term when they applied for places for their children.

Yesterday the Government pledged to take action against the cash-for-places scandal, giving new powers to the independent schools adjudicator to enforce the admissions code. However, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, came under immediate fire for waging a “witch-hunt” against faith schools, with local authorities, religious groups and opposition politicians disputing his findings.

Yesterday Mr Balls made public a report into schools in Manchester, Northamptonshire and Barnet, North London, which found that one in six was breaching the admissions code, introduced last year to ensure fair access to pupils from all backgrounds. Mr Balls said that the vast majority of the 96 schools found to be abusing the code were faith schools, which have control over their own admissions.

A total of 29 schools in the survey failed to comply with at least two requirements of the admissions code. Read more
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