Parental Choice

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr Barry Field Mr Barry Field , Isle of Wight 12:00 am, 27th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what representations she has had about the exercise of parental choice of schools on the Isle of Wight. [29108]

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

The Department has received correspondence in respect of 20 pupils who have not been offered a place in their first choice of school for the coming September.

Photo of Mr Barry Field Mr Barry Field , Isle of Wight

My hon. Friend is aware that Janet Dawson from his Department has visited the island to look at the admissions policy, and that the education officer has publicly stated that there was an error in the school numbers. What advice can my hon. Friend offer about the coming year to the parents, who are frustrated, the angry school governors and head teachers? Does he agree that the promise of a review for the next year just will not do?

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

I obviously have considerable sympathy for my hon. Friend's point and those made on behalf of the parents whom he represents. I can confirm that my officials have been in contact with the local education authority, although none of the cases raised with us to date provides scope for action by the Department. My hon. Friend knows that the school must admit up to its minimum number, but it is entirely open to the LEA to agree higher admission numbers with that school. If it wishes to admit more pupils, and it cannot get the LEA to agree to that, it can write to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.