Schools hit back at Balls
ED BALLS, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, has defended the exposure of schools in breach of the government’s admissions code despite anger among Jewish schools at his decision to name them.
Writing in today’s JC, Mr Balls says: “I do not think that keeping all this information a secret would have been possible or the right thing to do in the public interest.”
Representatives of Jewish schools were expected to air their grievances at his actions at a special meeting with Schools Minister Jim Knight due to have taken place at the Board of Deputies last night.
They were particularly incensed at “cash-for-places” headlines in the national media following Mr Balls’s announcement last week that several Jewish schools had sought donations from parents on their children’s application form.
Other schools had fallen foul of the government’s guidelines by asking parents about their marital status or occupation on entry forms.
But in a letter to Mr Balls at the end of last week, Henry Grunwald, QC, pr e s i dent of the Board of Deputies, wrote: “I want you to know that I am not aware of any J e wish s c hool that refuses admission to a pupil because of an inability to make such a contribution.”
The government carried out checks on 570 schools in three boroughs to test compliance with its new admissions code, which came into effect in February last year. One in six schools were found to have broken the code in some way, including all 13 state-aided Jewish schools in Barnet and Manchester.
Five of the six schools identified by Mr Balls as having asked parents on application forms to confirm their willingness to pay contributions were Jewish.
In his article in the JC today, Mr Balls makes clear that state-aided schools are entitled to seek donations for re-
Ed Balls, namer and shamer