He called for legislation banning head teachers from interviewing children or parents when they applied for a place.
He attacked ministers for failing to abolish grammar schools. He said: "Putting the question of denominational schools aside, there should be only two admission criteria - proximity to the school and siblings within it.
In a speech to Sheffield University students, Lord Hattersley also criticised Labour plans to encourage businesses to help run education action zones as a way of raising standards in deprived areas.
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