Is your School Admissions Policy easy to understand?

Every year there are reports about the problems that parents/carers face trying to get their child into a good school.

The TES reported last month that there is a “growing fear that a school admissions review will be dropped”

Yes, the admissions system can seem very complex to parents/carers, and they will often think that a school is doing something wrong when their child is not offered a place.

There are areas in the School Admissions Code that can be interpreted differently by the reader and clarity is needed. However, most of the code is clear and is followed by the majority of schools.  The problem is that even though there is an admissions policy consultation process, how many parents really understand the code enough to object when a policy is not compliant?  Maybe this is an area that local authorities could oversee, now that many schools are academies.

The School Admissions code is clear that “In drawing up their admission arrangements, admission authorities must ensure that the practices and the criteria used to decide the allocation of school places are fair, clear and objective. Parents should be able to look at a set of arrangements and understand easily how places for that school will be allocated.”

We are now coming up to the admissions policy consultation period 1 October 17 – 31 January 18, for the 2019/20 academic year.  This is a good time for schools to review their policy to ensure that it is compliant with the code and easy to understand for parents?

Any changes  will need to consulted  for a minimum of 6 weeks, see School Admission Code page 18 for further details. The exception to this rule is,  if you are your own admissions authority and you want to increase your published admissions number (PAN).  Schools should advise the local authority of their intention to increase the PAN and reference this on the school’s website.  If you are intending to lower the PAN  you will need to consult on this for the 6 week period.

If you are a primary school ensure that you have information in your policy with regards to Admission of children below compulsory school age and Admission of children outside their normal age group see School Admissions Code page 24 & 25 for further details, this is especially relevant to summer born children.  In the past there has been many objections to the Office of the School Adjudicator when a school has not explained the process sufficiently.

All admission polices must be determined by the 28 February 2018.

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