New chief schools adjudicator named

Civil servant Shan Scott will become England’s new chief schools adjudicator, the education secretary has confirmed.

Nicky Morgan has approved the appointment of Ms Scott, who has been an adjudicator for the past three years and has previously worked at the Department for Education.

She will take over from Dr Elizabeth Passmore following her retirement.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator helps to clarify the legal position on admissions policies in schools, as well as settling disputes about school organisation proposals.

Dr Passmore’s final annual report as chief schools adjudicator laid bare her concerns about an increasingly fragmented school admissions system that too often leaves parents in the dark.

The outgoing chief schools adjudicator also called for only “those with proper standing” to be able to raise their concerns about school admission policies considered by her office.

Nicky Morgan has since decided that only parents and local authorities will be able to have a say over admissions to stop “vexatious complaints” from secularist campaigners.

This week, admissions campaign group Comprehensive Future sent a letter to Ms Morgan opposing her plans, claiming that it takes “an exceptionally determined and well -informed parent” to pursue a complaint with the adjudicator as the system has become ever “more bewildering”.

Melissa Benn, chair of Comprehensive Future, wrote: “To claim that such groups are ‘vexatious’, as you did in a recent speech, is therefore to misunderstand the crucial interaction of civil and political society in safeguarding our democracy, and therefore to risk degrading the very quality of that democracy.”

Ms Scott will start her three-year term from April 4.

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