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Admission policies may confuse disadvantaged families

29 October 2019

In the run up to the deadline for completing the application form for secondary admissions for September 2020 entry, the Good Schools Guide has reported that some admission policies for state funded schools may confuse parents who are less affluent, work at weekends or have English as an additional language. This disadvantage is said to arise due to the complexity of admission policies and the need to complete multiple forms, especially for faith schools or more popular schools.

The report suggests that there should be greater standardisation across state funded schools in admission policies with a set of arrangements for community schools and a different standard set of arrangements for faith schools, both of which should be overseen by an admissions watchdog with powers to take action.

Admission authorities need to ensure that their admission policies meet the clear requirements of the School Admissions Code 2014 that includes the requirement that policies must be easily understandable to parents. Where such policies fall short of this requirement, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator can make binding changes to the admission policies. If in doubt, schools should take advice and consult on revised arrangements during the current consultation window.

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