BIG changes look set to take place in the schools admission policy operated by Wrexham Council.

The local authority’s executive board yesterday approved recommendations in a report by chief learning and achievement officer John Davies.

Councillors are planning for revisions to be in position as part of the admissions process for places in September 2012.

Mr Davies said the moves were designed to introduce a fairer system when dealing with oversubscription of places for children.

“The current criteria makes meeting parental preferences and allocating places to a pupil’s nearest school difficult in certain wards when a school becomes oversubscribed,” he said.

“It is particularly difficult when dealing with admissions to Welsh medium schools.
“The proposed changes are designed to be more transparent with a greater likelihood of pupils being allocated to their local school.

“The changes will alleviate difficulties in providing a suitable school place which is nearer to a pupil’s home address.”

Mr Davies gave the example of oversubscribed Ysgol Penrhyn where the council was obliged to send pupils from the Caego area to schools in other wards where spaces exist.

Among the revisions put forward, the list of priorities will no longer feature links between designated junior schools and specific secondary schools.

New structure of priorities will be.

Youngsters who are in the care of the local authority.

Pupils who have exceptional medical or educational needs which justify admission to a particular school.

Children for whom the preferred school is the nearest suitable one to their home address.

Where there is already a brother or sister as a pupil attending the school being applied for.

“There will be a stronger link between a pupil’s additional learning needs and the provision of school places,” Mr Davies says in his report.

"The most significant change will be the introduction of criteria that recognises the distance between a child’s nearest suitable school and the home address.”

As part of the budget proposals Wrexham Council is looking at giving schools an inflation provision of £1 million, representing an increase in cash limited budget of 1.48 per cent.