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Every state-maintained school has an admission authority, whose role is to decide which pupils are admitted to the school and when. For voluntary controlled schools the admission authority is the local authority (e.g. Essex County Council). For voluntary aided schools and foundation schools the admission authority is the school’s governing body. For academies the admission authority is the academy trust.
All admissions arrangements must comply with the Schools Admissions Code 2021 and the Schools Appeals Code 2012. All governors should be familiar with these documents. Admission authorities must ensure that the allocation of school places is fair, clear and objective. Parents should be able to look at an admissions policy and understand easily how places for that school will be allocated.
It is a statutory requirement for the admission authority to formally agree the admission arrangements and to publish them in an admissions policy. In a voluntary aided school or foundation school this policy must be adopted at a meeting of the governing body and this must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. For an academy the admission policy must be adopted at a meeting of the academy trust board and must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
The DBE have agreed and published their Admissions Guidance to support Admission Authorities of Church of England Schools within the Diocese of Chelmsford. Admission authorities should have regard to this guidance when producing their Admissions Policy.
This tool offers options for your school’s admission authority that are legally compliant while letting you take into account your school’s character or local context. When schools have finished working through the Admissions Builder a PDF of their admission arrangements will be generated which can be downloaded or requested to be sent by email. As well as the text the school has selected, the final PDF will contain additional standard provisions so that parents are informed about matters such as admissions outside the normal round, appeals and other waiting lists. The tool is a good way of reviewing a school’s current arrangements which school’s admission authority is required to do annually and considering how those admission arrangements reflect the school’s vision and mission as a Church of England school, serving the common good. Church of England schools are called to bring life in all its fullness to their pupils and the wider community. The admission arrangements are the beginning of that service.
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) helps to clarify the legal position on admissions policies in school. The schools adjudicators work independently of the Department of Education but are appointed by the Secretary of State for Education.
They are responsible for ruling on objections to and referrals about state school admission arrangements, making decisions on requests to vary school admission arrangements and determining appeals from maintained schools against the intention of the LA to direct the admission of a particular pupil.
Appeals can be made at any time. Once the referral is made the adjudicator will examine every aspect and detail of the policy and SEF, take into account timeframes once an appeal has been lodged, abide by a Determination and make adjustments accordingly.