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Agenda item

An overview of the School Admission Arrangements in Bristol - Conclusions of the People Scrutiny Commission

To agree the recommendations as set out in the report.


Paul Jacobs, Service Director, Education and Skills and Councillor Clare Hiscott, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, introduced the report and asked the Commission to formally agree the recommendations and refer the report to the Mayor and Cabinet for consideration.


In response to Councillor’s questions, the following points were noted:


a.      Councillors commented that the Council had a role to encourage and influence a change in school admissions criteria to increase the numbers of pupil premium students admitted to their first preference of schools across the City, at least 10%.


b.      It was acknowledged that whilst the Council could not oblige schools to change their criteria, the Council could include Pupil Premium within its own admissions criteria and use this as an example to support the narrative and aim for a more balanced City. Officers to include a recommendation in the report to Cabinet. (Action: Paul Jacobs/Councillor Claire Hiscott)


c.       It was recognised that any change in policy could displace some students. Officers to do further modelling to identify the likely impact of this action. (Action: Paul Jacobs)


d.      The new Bristol Cathedral Choir School was aiming for a minimum intake of 30% pupil premium students, which was a good start.


e.      Following the Inquiry Day and in response to feedback, Colston School had employed a Somali champion to support applications from Somali families to the school.


f.        In respect of Recommendation 1, ‘…oversight of Admissions through an Annual Update…’ The annual reporting process should have a discussion and relationship building format and invite stakeholders including head teachers and councillors. (Action: Cllr Hiscott/Paul Jacobs)


g.      In respect of Recommendation 3, ‘…support available for parents on admissions processes…’ Officers to prepare new guidance for parents in the autumn, to reinforce the importance of including a local choice in their selected preferences. A crib sheet to be shared with councillors. (Action: Paul Jacobs)


h.      In respect of Recommendation 5, ‘…to promote Bristol schools…’ councillors suggested more could be done to celebrate and communicate to parents and carers when a local school’s performance had improved. This could be shared with councillors and circulated to primary schools for information sharing.


The Commission RESOLVED:

·         To agree the report and recommendations subject to the comments and amendments noted above

·         To refer the report to the Mayor and Cabinet for consideration.

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