New admissions code for schools prioritises adoptees

Children who are adopted will be given priority in the hunt for sought-after school places under a new admissions code announced yesterday.

Until now, only those in care have been given preferential treatment on the grounds they have no parental advocate to argue their cause. However, anecdotal evidence showed that this had led to some prospective parents delaying signing their final adoption orders to secure a good placement for charges.

The Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "Many of these children have had traumatic experiences in their early lives. They don't stop being vulnerable just because they are now in a loving home." He added: "This will speed up some adoptions – we know that some adoption orders are delayed until a child has started school because priority currently ends when that child leaves care."

The new code also introduces the idea of a single national offer day for all parents trying to get their children into primary schools. All places will be allocated on the same day – 14 April.

The code also confirms plans to allow over-subscribed schools to expand, for infant schools to ignore the class size limit of 30 if it is to take in twins, and schools to give priority to members of staff's children. In addition, schools will no longer be allowed to use lotteries as the main means for selecting applicants.

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