THE council is proposing changing admission rules to ensure children can attend the same school as their siblings, as well as stop children with medical needs being given automatic priority.
Ealing Council would like comments on the proposed changes to the way community schools allocate places when oversubscribed, and these alterations would come into force for the September 2016 primary intake.
The council is also seeking to remove a criteria that gives priority to children with exceptional medical and social needs in order to bring community schools in line with other schools in the borough.
Exceptional medical and social needs would continue to be taken into account at the appeal stage if the change goes through.
Current admissions rules do not give priority to siblings of children already attending a school if their families have since moved out of the catchment area.
This has become a growing problem, because increased demand for school places has led to some families being unable to secure a place for a younger child at their older sibling’s school.
Parents are then left with the difficult choice of managing their children’s attendance at different schools, or applying to move the older child to the same school as the younger.
The council is considering whether allowing brothers and sisters to attend the same school would be too much of a disadvantage to other prospective pupils.
Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Unfortunately, there will always be some children who will miss out on a place at a popular school, but we want our admissions system to be as fair as possible and support families.
“These suggestions are likely to divide opinion and we would like to hear the full range of views, so we are asking people to make their friends and neighbours aware of the consultation.
“No decision has been made yet and we will be fully considering all of the responses before we do.”
Local people can give their views by completing an online questionnaire at www.ealing.gov.uk/consultations until January 9, 2015.
The decision on whether to change the admissions code will be announced in the spring.
Academies, foundation and faith schools usually have their own admissions criteria which are separate to community schools.