St Albans to crackdown on abuse of school sibling rule

St Albans City & District Council

St Albans City & District Council - Credit: Archant

FAMILIES may be stopped from abusing the so-called “sibling rule” to get their children into secondary schools under a proposal put forward by the district council.

Currently the admissions policy gives priority to pupils who already have brothers and sisters studying at a chosen secondary school.

But at a full St Albans district council meeting last week councillors noted families could exploit this by moving out of the school’s immediate area once one of their children had been accepted.

They agreed that letters should be written to the district’s academies and foundation schools, which set their own admissions criteria, to suggest they consider excluding siblings whose families have moved away.

Cllr Chris Brazier said: “If you move out of your priority area then you should not automatically get a sibling place. We have 24 siblings that do not live in the St Albans area going to St Albans schools. That is a high number and that would free up places for our children.”

Cllr Teresa Heritage pointed out that the admissions policy has already been set for the 2014-15 academic year but agreed the sibling rule should be reassessed.

She said: “Siblings is an issue I accept, it is one of those issues if they [parents] have got children in [a secondary school] they want the sibling rule and if they have not got a child in they don’t.

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“That has always been a balancing act in the county.”