Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Gove: Tudor grange changes "not discrimination"

EDUCATION secretary Michael Gove has insisted Tudor Grange Academy is not discriminating against non-faith pupils over changes to its admissions policy.

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He told Solihull MP Lorely Burt the school is meeting national admissions rules by giving priority to Tudor Grange Primary Academy, St James pupils over catchment area children.

This will apply when the school is oversubscribed only from September 2014.

Yet it has angered some parents as the Shirley primary school is affiliated with the Church of England. Plans to also favour St Alphege Primary School were dropped.

Tudor Grange can make the changes as it now has academy status, giving it independence from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which opposed the admissions changes.

Its academy trust – a group of schools – includes St James.

Liberal Democrat Mrs Burt said in the Commons on Monday: “Tudor Grange is a good non-faith-based secondary school in my constituency, but the governors have angered many parents in the school’s catchment area by attempting to introduce a faith school as a feeder school, whose children would take precedence for admittance over children in the local authority catchment area.

“Will my right hon. Friend advise me on whether this would constitute indirect discrimination under the Equality Act 2010?”

Conservative Mr Gove said: “I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that issue. I know Tudor Grange and its outstanding head teacher, Jennifer Bexon-Smith.

“She is committed to helping children in difficult circumstances and is sponsoring an academy in Worcester, I think, so I cannot believe that she would take a decision that would discriminate against children in need of high-quality state education.


“The admissions code is clear about these matters, and I look forward to talking with my hon. Friend to make sure the public are reassured.”
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