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admissions code consultation

24 August 2020

The Department for Education (DfE) is currently consulting on a draft version of the School Admissions Code. The consultation is about specific elements of the Code and the DfE have been explicit that they are not seeking wider views on potential improvements to the Code (of which there are many). Key changes include introducing a section on in-year admissions, clarifications around fair access protocol (FAP) admissions and introducing a definition of children with challenging behaviour.

The new in-year provisions seek to enable greater clarity to parents on how in-year admissions work which will require admission authorities to set out how parents can apply for a place. The proposals on in-year admissions include:

  • Requiring admission authorities to inform LAs by 1st August each year whether they will be part of the LAs in-year admission co-ordination (where offered) or whether they will be managing its own in-year admissions. If an admissions authority is managing its own admissions then it will need to provide all the information required to do this including application forms and key contacts in the admissions authority for parents.
  • There will be a greater role for LAs in-collating information for all the schools in their area relating to in-year admissions.
  • By 31st August each year each admissions authority will have to publish information on its website about how parents can apply for an in-year place, including providing a suitable application form and the timeframes for when parents will be notified of the outcome. If part of the LA’s co-ordinated scheme, the admissions authority would need to provide information on this.

There are some changes to FAP provisions to explain that the FAP should only be used for children where ‘reasonable measures’ have been taken to secure a place through in-year admissions processes. The clarification is designed to ensure that not all children who fall into one of the groups identified in the FAP are automatically put through the FAP when an in-year place could be obtained. The draft Code introduces a definition of ‘children with challenging behaviour’, which seeks to aid clarity for all concerned, although is in reality a very wide definition.

There are also other more minor drafting changes to the Code proposed that include making it even more explicit that the published admission number only relates to the ‘relevant year of entry’ and not to other year groups, additions to the definition of looked after (and previously looked after) children and clarifications to some elements of paragraph 1.9 of the Code which sets out factors that cannot be considered by an admissions authority in their arrangements.

The consultation closes on 16 October 2020, with a final new Code likely to be published in December 2020. You can access the consultation and draft Code here.

training and events

17Sep

150th Anniversary of State Education – Lessons Learned: reflections of 12 former Secretaries of State

Hosted by the BBC’s Education Correspondent Branwen Jefferys special guests including Baroness Nicky Morgan, Kenneth Clarke QC, Michael Gove, Justine Greening and Lord David Blunkett will come together to reflect on past successes of education, the unintended consequences of past policy, and to envision what still remains to be done.

View event

14Oct

ISBL regional Conference Sheffield

Browne Jacobson’s Associate Sophie Jackson discusses the rise in growth of SEN and the impact of this on schools. Please note that this event was postponed from June 2020.

View event

focus on...

Upcoming webinars

Effective Board and Members meetings; Covid-19 and beyond

Education Partners Nick MacKenzie and Dominic Swift discuss the approach to members and board meetings in the ‘new normal’ considering the benefits of virtual meetings and discuss how in the longer-term, boards might combine virtual and in-person meetings to be more effective.

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Legal updates

‘Test and Trace’ managing data in times of Covid-19

As schools reopen for pupils and staff, a number of questions are being raised concerning steps that must be taken should an individual who has been on the school site be confirmed positive for Coronavirus.

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Legal updates

Face masks/coverings in schools

As with many coronavirus-related issues, the answers are not straightforward, but we have provided our advice and guidance to help you prepare for the new term.

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Legal updates

Managing pupil behaviour

The majority of pupils have returned to school, it may well seem a very different place and adapting to being back in a school setting will not come easily to some.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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