Current rules

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The Independent Online
The current government circular says non-selective schools "should, in general, avoid using reports or interviews as part of their formal admission arrangements".

An exception is made for church schools, "where reports and interviews may help the school to understand the family's religious background".

The reason for this is clearly stated: "Governing bodies may otherwise be vulnerable to criticism that judgements about a child's suitability were based on social, ethnic or academic considerations."

Under the proposed new rules, all schools would be allowed to interview parents and children. "It is right that all schools should be able to decide for themselves whether this is a useful mechanism."

Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, says: "It is important to give all parents every opportunity to express their commitment to their children's schools."