FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10: Education chiefs have tightened up the rules on admission to primary schools, Minister Dame Jennifer Smith told the House of Assembly today.
Dame Jennifer said the “sibling rule” where school principals set aside places for brothers and sisters of existing pupils, even if the sibling did not live in the same school zone, has been changed. Any application must now be for a child who lives in the zoning area.
But she stressed the preference rule will extend to step-siblings and adopted children, although they must also live in the same school zone.
The Education Minister added a Ministry practice giving teachers preference for their children in obtaining places at primary schools had been stopped.
Dame Jennifer said: “Although well meaning, this practice was inconsistent with the legislation and communication has been made to all primary school principals that, while we value our teachers, they should be treated in the same way as all other parents.”
Dame Jennifer added that parents who want early or delayed entry for new primary school pupils should make an application to the Minister, with supporting documentation.
She added: “While some students may be suitable for early entry, I have to note that preference will be given to students who are at the prescribed age.”
Dame Jennifer said parents have a right of appeal when a child is not admitted to the school of choice and appeals should be submitted in writing.
She added that she had also redrawn the three school zones of east, central and west – which have not been altered for “several decades” – so each zone has six primary schools.
The move means Paget Primary and Gilbert Institute, also in Paget, will move from the western zone to the central one.
But she said that students at the schools will retain the same choice of middle schools.
In addition, Dame Jennifer said pupils moving from a private school to a public one must have their official transcript forwarded from the private school to their new school.