Children of staff to get priority places at primary schools in Milton Keynes

A school classroom
A school classroom

Children of staff, and youngsters who have been in care outside of England, are to get priority for places in Milton Keynes schools.

The so-called over-subscription criteria are used by Milton Keynes Council to allocate places in community and voluntary controlled schools where more children want to attend than there are available places.

Other schools such as academies set their own criteria.

The council has consulted on changes to over-subscription criteria to come into force in September 2020, and also taken a look at the numbers of children that schools can admit in one year.

A report to Cllr Zoe Nolan, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for children and families, said: “Two respondents felt that the additional criterion of children of staff would be beneficial to schools.

“Comments made included that this could aid staff retention and recruitment, support staff wellbeing and could improve the scope for returning to work following maternity/paternity leave or career breaks.”

The government has also advised that children who have been in care outside of England should get the same priority as other looked after children.

Schools minister Nick Gibb has written to all school admission authorities to advise them to give children who were previously in care outside of England top priority.

He said: “We are doing this because these children are also vulnerable and may have experienced abuse and neglect prior to being placed in care.”

The priority list is now: Looked after children; siblings of children at the school; the child is in the catchment area; children of staff; and distance from the school to the place of residence.

Cllr Nolan was also told that the borough is experiencing a “significant borough wide surplus of places” following a reduction in births as a previous baby boom passes through.

Some schools have proposed reducing the number of children they can take in each year, to cut down the number of surplus places in the city. These include Loughton Manor First School cutting its admissions number from 90 to 60. Langland Community School’s annual admission number is being cut from 60 to 30.

Holne Chase Primary’s number will be cut from 45 to 30, and The Willows School and Early Years Centre is falling 15 to 45.

Cllr Nolan agreed to the changes under her delegated authority at a meeting on Tuesday (February 19).