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Horsforth School could give LS18 pupils priority
Changes to Horsforth School’s admissions policy are being proposed to ensure access for children living in the town.
The change would give families with an LS18 postcode priority over children from other areas. It would not affect the current over-subscription criteria which give precedence to children in care and to younger siblings.
The school, which is massively over-subscribed, says the move is a way of ensuring that children living on the edge of Horsforth – in areas such as Newlaithes – are not turned away.
Horsforth School recently became an academy but its head Keith Bothamley stressed: “There is no attempt at social engineering.”
He said: “We normally have around 500 to 600 families preferencing us for 225 places – so we are heavily over-subscribed.”
He added: “We are in a position where we are having to turn children away who live in Horsforth because they are further away from the school in a straight line than other children who have their own community schools.”
Roland Meredith, chair of governors, said Horsforth children were turned away each year because children from outside the community had been able to gain access.
“We do not feel that this is right but have had no control over who we can admit to the school in order to rectify this,” he said.
“Our only reason for considering the change to our oversubscription rules is to try and ensure that children living in Horsforth have priority of access to their community school.
“The governors have no intention of altering any other oversubscription criteria, so elements such as prioritising siblings, looked-after children, children with special needs will not change.”
The move has prompted concern among some parents who believe it will favour youngsters from better-off areas.
Wendy Walker, who lives in Cookridge, and whose son attends Horsforth School, believes the change would be covertly selective.
She said: “It would mean people from Cookridge and Rawdon, quite close to the school, wouldn’t get in but people from three or four miles away would.”
Parents are being invited to make their views known in a consultation which runs until the end of January. A final decision is expected in March.