Education & Family

Cameron school in alleged admissions breach row

Grey Coat sign Image copyright Other
Image caption Grey Coat Hospital may have breached the admissions code for schools in England

The state secondary school David Cameron's daughter is due to attend next year may have breached admission rules by asking parents for money when offering places.

Nancy Cameron has been offered a place in Year 7 at Grey Coat Hospital school, Westminster, from September.

The row centres on a letter asking parents to pay £120 into a school fund when accepting sixth-form places.

The letter says the fund is for extracurricular activities.

"If you confirm your offer of a place at Grey Coat for September 2015, then we ask you to pay School Fund, which for sixth-form students is set at £120 per annum," says the letter from deputy head Elizabeth Stevenson.

Budgets 'squeezed'

"School Fund enables the school to provide many of the extracurricular activities that are run for Year 12 throughout the academic year, in particular the team-building activities resources which are provided during induction week."

These include a study skills workshop and a day trip to Cambridge.

The letter says that "as school budgets are squeezed", the fund will "also help toward improving the learning environment across the school".

It adds: "Paying School Fund is an important way of showing us that you are serious about taking up a place with us in Year 12."

Parents are asked to respond by March 20.

Prominent parents with children already at the school include Michael Gove, who was education secretary.

The admissions code for England states that schools must not "request financial contributions (either in the form of voluntary contributions, donations or deposits, even if refundable) as any part of the admissions process - including for tests".

Not commenting

Last year, also in London, Camden School for Girls had to change its sixth-form admission arrangements after a parent complained about being asked for money when accepting a place.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator ordered the change after a review.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Any claim that the school admissions code has been breached will be investigated.

"We take any allegations very seriously."

A spokeswoman for Grey Coat Hospital said it was not commenting on the matter at the moment.

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