A COUNCIL could carry out unannounced home visits to combat parents using fake addresses to get children into better schools.

Southend Council is also considering removing school places offered to children when fraudulent information has been provided.

In a report to the council’s Conservative-led Cabinet, officials say all departments will work together to tackle the fraudulent practice.

If it can be proven a family has intentionally misled the council then the school place may be removed, the report adds.

Helen Boyd, Tory councillor responsible for children and learning at Southend Council, said: “The proposal going to cabinet seeks to clarify responsibility for measures already in place to prevent parents from using false or temporary addresses to gain unfair advantage in school admissions.

“The proposal seeks to ensure that, where an offer for a school place within the borough is rejected as a result of misleading details, the withdrawal letter will require sign-off from Southend Council and the admission authority.”

The council wants to eradicate fraud in order to make it as fair as possible when it comes to choosing who qualifies to get a place at oversubscribed and popular schools.

She added: “Though evidence suggests that only very few parents are actually using false or temporary addresses, it is important that we take sensible precautions to ensure that any scope or temptation for doing so is severely restricted.

“Our priority is to ensure we have in place a fair and robust approach to school admissions within the borough.

“If cabinet agrees this proposal, we will then consult local governing bodies.”

The overall admissions policy will be one of a number of items discussed during Southend Council’s Cabinet meeting on September 18.