Admissions-policy report to exonerate schools

By Leon Symons, October 17, 2008

Jewish schools are expected to be given a clean bill of health over admissions policies when a new national report is published next month.

The report, by Sir Philip Hunter, chief schools adjudicator, was compiled after a controversy over admissions to faith schools was sparked in April by schools secretary Ed Balls. Mr Balls claimed that Jewish state-maintained schools in Barnet and Greater Manchester were wrongly seeking contributions from prospective parents and asking questions about marital status that broke admissions codes.

Last week at a conference on admissions, Sir Philip revealed that half the country's faith schools had flouted the code, though many, he conceded, were technical breaches.

Board of Deputies' chief executive Jon Benjamin told the JC that after Mr Balls comments, Jewish schools had resolved any problems: "This report follows the study, earlier this year, that had already shown that a few Jewish - and non-Jewish - schools had included questions that should not have been asked as part of the admissions process. We worked... to help interested parties understand how the then admissions code could apply to address all of their concerns.

"Significantly, the new code that came out of that consultation process means... there is likely to be a much better appreciation of whether a particular schools is right for a child."

Last updated: 12:26pm, October 16 2008