HL Deb 15 June 1998 vol 590 cc114-5WA
Baroness Blatch

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In what timescale would a local education authority produce reorganisation plans to introduce non-selective education following a successful ballot (to end, from the date of the ballot); and in what timescale would selective education be expected to cease. [HL2160]

Baroness Blackstone

Clause 101 of the School Standards and Framework Bill requires that, where parents vote in favour of ending selective admissions to a grammar school or schools, the admission authorities of those schools (which may in some cases be the LEA) must bring forward revised admission arrangements within a specified timetable. The draft regulations issued for consultation on 3 June provide that, if a ballot result is announced before 31 March in any school year (school year 1), the admission authority would have to cease selective admission arrangements from the first school year after the ballot result date. This means:

  • The school's admission prospectus which is published at the start of the school year following the ballot (school year 2) would have to provide for non-selective admission arrangements;
  • The first pupils would then be admitted in accordance with those non-selective arrangements at the start of the next school year (school year 3).

If a ballot result is announced after 31 March in any year, the draft regulations allow the admission authority one additional year to implement these steps, so that it is required to publish non-selective admission arrangements in the school's prospectus at the start of the second school year following the ballot. There is no presumption that the LEA will need to produce reorganisation plans. It will be for the LEA and the schools concerned to judge, in the light of local circumstances in each case, whether reorganisation plans are needed, and, if so, on what timescale. They would then need to pursue any proposals through the prescribed alteration and school organisation committee procedures provided for in the Bill.