On 1 September 2021, the School Admissions Code 2021 (the Code) will come into force and replace the current version from 2014.
On 1 September 2021, the School Admissions Code 2021 (the Code) will come into force and replace the current version from 2014. Parliamentary approval for the Code was provided on 13 July 2021.
As we highlighted in our recent webinar, admission authorities will now need to take action to ensure their admission arrangements are compliant with the Code and that the relevant decisions are taken by the admission authorities to ensure processes are in place to deal with the Code’s requirements, especially in relation to in-year admissions and fair access arrangements.
On 13 July 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) also published non-statutory guidance to assist with two of the key changes under the Code – children in care outside of England and Fair Access Protocols. Admission authorities should also get to grips with these additional publications as they do provide a useful insight into how the Department expects the new admissions framework to operate.
The first publication - Admissions priority for children adopted from state care outside of England deals with “internationally adopted previously looked after children” or IAPLACs. It provides guidance on how admission authorities should deal with the extension of priority to this group of children and contains the following key points:
The second publication Fair Access Protocols replaces the previous DfE guidance issued in November 2021. The new guidance does not set out how referrals to the DfE for directions will be managed and does not establish how the DfE will determine such requests. This, perhaps, reflects the stance taken in the guidance and the Code that FAP decisions must be implemented by admission authorities.
The guidance appears to repeat much of the content from the Code and does not add a great deal of additional value to the understanding of the revised Fair Access process. It is useful in that it confirms:
The Code and this additional guidance will require admission authorities to review their practices and potentially update admission policies and procedures. It will be important to ensure your own admission authorities have appropriate governance structures and delegations in place to deal with the new approach to IAPLAC admissions and FAP arrangements. We can provide advice and support on all areas relating to admissions and the implications of the Code, and if you need support, please contact Richard Freeth or Philip Wood.
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