Amending your school admission policy? The consultation timetable has changed.

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Background

All schools must have admission arrangements which clearly set out how children will be admitted, including the oversubscription criteria that will be applied if there are more applications than places at the school.  Schools must determine (i.e. formally agree) these admission arrangements each year, even if there are no changes.

Consultation

If your school wishes to lower its Published Admission Number or change its admission arrangements for entry in September 2017, the admission authority will first need to carry out a public consultation in accordance with the  School Admissions Code.  Academies may also need to obtain DfE consent to reduce the Published Admission Number depending on the terms of their funding agreement.

The consultation must be for a minimum of 6 weeks and take place between 1 October 2015 and 31 January 2016.  This consultation period allows parents, pupils, other schools, religious authorities and the local community to raise any concerns about the proposed admission arrangements.

Failure to consult properly may be grounds for subsequent complaints and appeals.

Determining the admission arrangements

The admission authority must determine the school’s admission arrangements every year even if they have not changed from the previous year and a consultation has not taken place.

If a consultation has taken place, the admission authority must give due consideration to the responses to the consultation before determining the admission arrangements.  Otherwise this may be grounds for subsequent complaints and appeals.

We would recommend that the admission authority record in writing how it evaluated the responses against the proposals and what (relevant) factors it took into account when finally determining the admission arrangements.

Admission authorities must determine admission arrangements for entry in September 2017 by 28 February 2016.

Publication of the determined admission arrangements

Once the admission authority has determined the school’s admission arrangements, it must notify various bodies including whichever of the governing body and the local authority is not the admission authority for the school.

Admission authorities must send a copy of their determined admission arrangements for entry in September 2017 as soon as possible before 15 March 2016.

The admission authority must also publish a copy of the determined admission arrangements on its website displaying the admission arrangements for the whole offer year (i.e. the school year in which offers for places are made).

Objections to the Schools Adjudicator

Once admission authorities have determined their admission arrangements, anyone may submit an objection to those arrangements to the Schools Adjudicator.  Objections to admission arrangements for entry in September 2017 must be referred to the Schools Adjudicator by 15 May 2016.

Any decision of the Adjudicator must be acted on by the admission authority and admission arrangements amended accordingly.

Composite prospectus

Admission authorities that are not the local authority must provide any further information that the local authority needs to compile the composite prospectus no later than 8 August 2016 unless the local authority agrees otherwise.

The local authority will collate and publish all the admission arrangements in the area in a single composite prospectus for parents by 12 September 2016, which will contain the admissions arrangements and any supplementary information forms for each of the state-funded schools in the local authority area to which parents can apply (i.e. all maintained school, academies, free schools, studio schools and UTCs).

If you would like any advice on amending your school’s admission policy, please contact Chris Hook on 0191 211 7929 or [email protected] .