Laura Sharman 03 February 2017

Councils accuse academies of cherry picking pupils

Councils have warned their advice on where to place excluded pupils is being ignored so they should have the power to force academies to accept ‘hard to place’ children.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said nine out of ten hard to place children are being refused entry to an academy school.

Although councils have the power to direct maintained schools to admit excluded pupils, they must apply to the Education Funding Agency if they believe a local academy school is the most suitable place for a particular child.

The LGA added that only 15 out of the 121 students put forward to the EFA were accepted into an academy.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘By ignoring local council advice the EFA is allowing academies to effectively choose the children they want to admit.

‘There are far stronger safeguards in place to ensure maintained schools do not cherry pick their pupils and the same measures should be in place for all academies.

‘Decisions about individual children should be made in the best interest of each child, not to protect favoured schools. These decisions are best made locally by parents and councils who know each child best.’

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