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Council strengthens school admissions policy

Changes will ensure local residents get top priority

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Changes have been introduced to East Renfrewshire Council's admissions policy to ensure local residents continue to receive top priority when applying for school places.

A full public consultation into the way places are allocated at schools within the area was held in 2016, as the council aimed to continue meeting the high demand in a fair and consistent way.

Following overwhelming support for introducing a single set of school admissions criteria, the new arrangements came into effect in January 2017.

After operating the new arrangements for allocating places for the school session which began in August, some areas of the policy have now been strengthened and approved at the Council's Education Committee in August.

Residents were very clear in the consultation feedback that they wanted to see further action regarding fraudulent attempts to gain places in East Renfrewshire schools and for locals to be given priority to a place in their catchment school.

In response to this feedback, one area of the policy which has now been amended is in relation to pupils who move out of the catchment area and submit a request to remain application.  

As a result of the excellent experiences and educational outcomes for all children and young people who attend East Renfrewshire schools, unsurprisingly the demand for places in our schools continues to grow.  As a result of an ever growing school age population, it is vital that the Council ensures the availability of school places for children in local schools. The Council's school admissions policy is now very clear that when a child who initially attended a school as a catchment pupil no longer resides in the catchment area, a placing request to remain must be submitted. If a child who lives in the catchment area of the school is being redirected to an alternative non-catchment school due to the year stage in question being full, then an application to remain will be refused. Conversely, should there be places available and no children being redirected, the request to remain will be granted. This policy will assist in ensuring that local residents will always have a higher priority to a local school place than someone who lives outwith the area. Councillor Paul O'Kane, Convener for Education and Equalities

It is important that all relevant information is taken into account when considering a request to remain application, with each case considered on its own merits.

A range of other additional measures had already been introduced to tackle fraudulent attempts to gain access to East Renfrewshire schools. 

The rental agreement documentation which is required now needs to be for a minimum of one year, instead of the six months previously asked for, and where there is significant doubt about where an applicant resides - or if allegations of falsified information is received - the steps taken to confirm this may include surveillance, where necessary and proportionate to do so.

The full pdf icon School Admissions Policy [384kb] provides more detailed information. 

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