School Accused of 'Social Segregation'; Admissions Row: Sir Pritpal Singh at Drayton Manor in Hanwell, Which Rejected Children from Three Nearby Estates Because They Lived Closer to Other Schools

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Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

A POPULAR state school has been accused of illegally rejectingapplications from children living on council estates.

Drayton Manor High School in Hanwell today faced claims that it had practised"social segregation" by rejecting applications from children living on threeestates less than a mile away.

The school, which rejected the claim as "preposterous", has been referred tothe national admissions watchdog, which has the power to order Drayton Manor tochange its entry criteria.

The row started after Schools Secretary Ed Balls ordered all local authoritiesto check their schools' admissions criteria complied with the law, in acrackdown on those that flout the national code.

It could be the first skirmish in a wider war to make England's most popularstate schools more accessible to poor families. Drayton Manor, underheadteacher Sir Pritpal Singh, was accused by another local secondary school,Brentside High, of turning down dozens of applications from children who liveon the Cuckoo, Copley Close and High Lane estates.

At issue is Drayton's practice of rejecting pupils who live less than a mileawaybut for whom there is another schoolsuch as Brentside High closer to their house. …