Who to consult
If you are an own admissions authority school (Academy, Foundation or Voluntary Aided) now is the time to review your policy with your Governors or Trustees.
All admission authorities must consult on their admission arrangements (including any supplementary information form) when changes are proposed.
If changes are proposed for the academic year 2022/2023 a consultation process must be carried out with those people/bodies set out in paragraph 1.44 of the School Admissions Code December 2014.
This would include, among others, existing parents of your school, your Local Authority, and local schools although primary schools need not consult with secondary schools.
For faith schools, consultation would also include the local body representing your religion or religious denomination.
Timeline and process for consultation
The consultation process now requires a minimum period of 6 weeks and must take place between 1st October 2020 and 31th January 2021. You need to display your proposed admissions policy on your school website for the full 6-week period.
Make sure that you give the name and contact details of the person to whom you would like any comments submitted (e.g. your Chair of Governors). Your full Governing Body must give due consideration to any comments or concerns raised before proceeding further.
An interesting point to note is that admission authorities must consult on their admission arrangements at least once every 7 years, even if there have been no changes during that period.
Failure to consult effectively may be grounds for subsequent complaints and appeals.
Dates to remember
All admission authorities must formally agree admissions arrangements every year, even if they have not changed and you have not gone out to consultation.
Determination must be by 28th February every year and at that point you must display that policy on your school website. You must also send a copy of your school’s determined policy to your Local Authority as soon as possible before 15th March each year. For faith schools you must send a copy to the body representing your religion or religious denomination.
Another important date to remember is in relation to admission appeals. You must publish an appeals timetable on your website by 28th February each year. Further information is set out in the School Admission Appeals Code 1st February 2012.
The DfE are currently consulting on proposed changes to the Schools Admissions Code with the focus being on clarification and improvement of process in how children are admitted to school outside of the normal admissions round.
The consultation closes on 16th October 2020 and can be found here.
If you need assistance with consulting on your school admission arrangements, or on dealing with appeals please contact us on [email protected] or call on 0345 200 8600.