Kelly woos MPs with warning over selection

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Indy Politics

Schools that discriminate against pupils from poor homes will face censure under the Government's education reforms, Ruth Kelly has told MPs.

In a letter to Labour MPs aimed at winning their support for the plans, the Secretary of State for Education makes it clear schools could face a complaint to the schools adjudicator, which oversees schools' admissions, if they fail to take in their fair share of pupils entitled to free school meals.

Backbench Labour MPs were alarmed that schools would use the reforms to introduce a form of selection - packing their intake with children from middle-class homes in a bid to improve their exam league rankings.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister is making it clear he is in no mood for further concessions, and is ready to rely on Conservative support to get his reforms through Parliament. Yesterday David Willetts, the shadow Education Secretary, said his party would back the Bill if it provided more freedoms for schools.

John Bangs, assistant secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The schools adjudicator is an unelected official - and the leeching away of local democracy in these proposals is very worrying.

"In a sense, the concessions show that the Government needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink its proposals."