School Admissions Code

Part of Committee of Public Accounts – in the House of Commons at 9:49 pm on 10th October 2016.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon 9:49 pm, 10th October 2016

I had hoped that progress might have been better, but it would be unfair on my hon. Friend the Minister to say that nothing has happened. He has met me on several occasions and pushed the case.

My hon. Friend could almost have been reading my speech, because I was about to remind the Minister of the issues that I raised last year, which I wish to raise with him again this evening. First, following that debate, he wrote a helpful letter to local authorities. The only problem is that a postcode lottery has developed. Some local authorities have been receptive to his letter, have taken the point that there is going to be a consultation, and have therefore looked to apply flexibility to when a child should enter school. That has been very good news for a number of parents. Unfortunately, many other authorities have said, “Well, that is just a letter from the Minister, and a consultation may happen at some stage in the future,” but have taken absolutely no notice. In the past two days I have had emails flooding in from people across the country sharing radically different experiences.

Secondly, as my hon. Friend Tim Loughton said, we need the timetable for the changes to the code. That would lead to the end of the postcode lottery, but more importantly it would allow parents some certainty in planning their child’s future.