New admissions code will create 'sink schools'

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The Independent Online

Government plans to allow popular schools to expand at the expense of local rivals would create a network of "sink schools" in deprived areas, head teachers warned yesterday.

A new school admissions code unveiled by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, makes it easier for oversubscribed schools to take in more pupils. It also allows them to give priority to teachers' own children. In addition, Mr Gove's new code bans the use of area-wide lotteries – used by some schools if they are besieged by applications.

However, head teachers' leaders warned that his plans "would do nothing to improve social mobility". Brian Lightman, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "It will create sink schools in many areas of deprivation and hit hardest those children whose parents do not or cannot take an interest in their education. Those schools left with the most challenging pupils, who need the most intensive support, will suffer a slow spiral of decline."

Mr Gove told schools they could increase class sizes for five- to seven-year-olds to more than 30 to take in children of armed services personnel or to avoid splitting up twins.