General Admissions Policy
SCHOOL ADMISSIONS POLICY
Our school is:
a safe, supportive stimulating learning environment;
a team of respectful, tolerant, open minded citizens;
a community where everyone aspires to be the very best they can be;
a community of resilient lifelong learners;
a centre of excellence where all achieve success.
This policy sets out how the school will fulfil its responsibilities regarding the admission of pupils to the school.
Summary of changes
Based on the policy from The School Bus, incorporating appropriate parts of the Derby City policy
Head Teacher ……Nigel Daintith.…………………….… Date …15.12.20…………...
Chair of Governors ……Suzanne Forster…………….. Date …15.12.20…..……….
At Arboretum Primary School, we welcome all pupils, and places at the school are offered in an open and fair way. Our admissions process is delivered in line with the Equality Act 2010, the School Admissions Code, the School Admission Appeals Code, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
The number of places available is determined by the capacity of the school, and is called the ‘agreed admissions number’. Our published admissions number (PAN) is 75.
The table below sets out who the admission authority is and other responsible bodies in our school.
Type of school
Who is the admission authority?
Who deals with complaints about arrangements?
Who is responsible for arranging/providing for an appeal against refusal of a place at the school?
Derby Diocesan Academy Trust 2
Derby Diocesan Academy Trust 2
2.Roles and responsibilities
- Acting in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidance when carrying out the overall admission of pupils into the school.
- Outlining the school’s admissions arrangements and publishing them on the academy website.
- Clearly communicating any reasons for rejecting the admission of a pupil, as well as the parent’s right to appeal and the appeal process.
- Implementing any advice or recommendations given by the Schools Adjudicator without undue delay.
- Determining the admission arrangements on an annual basis and publicly consulting stakeholders on any proposed changes to the admission arrangements.
- Setting clear, fair and effective oversubscription criteria which do not discriminate against any pupil.
- Communicating oversubscription criteria clearly to parents.
- Notifying the LA of any in-year admissions and their outcomes.
- Acting in line with the relevant legislation and guidance pertaining to admissions.
- Receiving concerns and objections regarding the admission of pupils and making recommendations to the admission authority as a result of these concerns and objections.
- Approving variations to determined admissions arrangements where there has been a major change in circumstances or law.
- Having an in-depth knowledge of the relevant appeals codes and other relevant law.
- Providing an independent and impartial service for admission appeals.
- Making the necessary administrative arrangements for hearings.
- Notifying all parties of the order of proceedings in advance of an appeals hearing.
- Responding to queries from appellants in advance of an appeals hearing or identifying who will be appropriate to respond.
- Being an independent source of advice on procedure and admissions law.
- Keeping accurate records of proceedings and providing written notification of the appeals panel’s decisions.
The number of places available is determined by the capacity of the school.
The PAN for new Reception pupils is 75.
The admission authority will notify the LA of their intention to increase the school’s PAN and reference the changes on the school’s website.
If the admission authority can accept more pupils than the PAN, it will notify the LA in good time so that the LA can deliver their coordination responsibilities effectively.
If the school is oversubscribed, after the admission of pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Need, or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC) where the school is named in the Statement or EH&C plan, priority for admission will be given to those children who meet the criteria set out below, in order:
1. A 'looked after child' or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, child arrangements, or special guardianship order. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in section 22(1) of the Children Act (1989).
2. Children who appear to Derby City Council to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted. A child is regarded as having been in state care in a place outside of England if they were accommodated by a public authority, a religious organisation or any other provider of care whose sole purpose is to benefit society.
3. Children who are both living in the catchment area served by the school and have brothers or sisters of compulsory school age still attending the school at the time of their admission.
4. Other children living in the catchment area.
5. Children who do not live in the catchment area served by the school but who have brothers or sisters of compulsory school age still attending the school at the time of their admission.
6. Other children whose parents have requested a place.
7. Children whose parents did not request a place by the closing date.
If a family moves after the closing date, but before the offer date, the Council will assess applications from the address the parents were living at the closing date, and will reassess applications on the National Offer Date.
Tie-breaker: When choices have to be made between children satisfying the same criteria, children living nearest to the school measured by a straight line have priority. The line will be measured from the centre of the home address to the school using the national Ordnance Survey set points. If two measurements are the same, we will give priority to the child living nearest the school measured by the shortest walking route from the home address to the school’s main entrance. In the unlikely event the two walking routes measure the same distance, the place will be allocated using an independently verified random allocation process. The ‘home address’ is the address of the primary carer of the child, as shown by who receives the Child Benefit.
Once the closing date has passed, the preferences cannot be altered – subject to any new Code of Practice changes. Multiple births will be allocated a school together within the boundaries of Infant Class Size Legislation.
When formulating their admission arrangements, the admission authority will not carry out the following:
- Place any conditions on the consideration of any application other than those in the oversubscription criteria published in their admission arrangements
- Take into account any previous schools attended, unless it is a feeder school
- Give priority to children whose parents rank preferred schools in their application
- Give priority to children based on any practical or financial support their parents give to the school or associated parties (including any affiliated religious organisation)
- Give priority to children according to the occupational, marital, financial or educational status of parents applying – apart from where these factors determine a child’s pupil premium eligibility, and for children whose parents work at school
- Take account of reports from previous schools about children’s past behaviour, attendance, attitude or achievement, or that of any other children in the family
- Discriminate against any protected characteristic
- Give priority based on a child’s or their parents’ past or present hobbies or activities
- Name fee-paying independent schools as feeder schools
- Interview children or parents
- Request financial contributions as part of the admissions process
- Request photographs of children – apart from for proof of identity when sitting selection tests
Catchment area maps are available to view from the School Organisation and Provision Team, The Council House, Derby, or by going to www.derby.gov.uk/admissions
The admission authority will consult on any proposed changes to the admissions arrangements.
Consultation will last for a minimum of six weeks and will take place between 1 October and 31 January in the determination year.
The admission authority will consult on admissions arrangements at least once every seven years, even if no changes have been made in that time.
A copy of the proposed admission arrangements will be made available upon request.
Admission arrangements will be determined by 28 February in the determination year on an annual basis, even when no changes to the arrangements have been made.
Finalised admission arrangements will be published on the school website.
A copy of the finalised admission arrangements will be sent to the LA for entry by 15 March in the determination year.
Any objections to the admission arrangements will be directed to the Adjudicator by 15 May in the determination year.
All applications for the normal admissions round from Derby residents for admission to any school must be made online, using the common application form (CAF), or by telephone to the Local Authority.
Parents who reside outside Derby should request information on how to make an application from their home authority in the first instance.
Parents will note on the CAF their three preferred schools, in rank order – the schools do not have to be located in the LA area where the parents live.
Parents will provide LAs with the following information within the CAF:
Their name and their child’s name and date of birth
Theirs and their child’s address and proof of residence
The CAF will be submitted to the parents’ LA.
Parents are not guaranteed to have their preferences met.
The admission authority will request supplementary information for the purpose of processing applications where necessary; however, they will have due regard to 3.10 of this policy.
The admission authority will not request any of the following:
Any personal details, including information on criminal convictions or financial status
The first language of the parent or child
Details about the parents’ or child’s disability, medical or SEND requirements
Any parental agreement to follow the ethos of the school in a practical way
For the child to complete any part of the form or for both parents to provide signatures
Once a place has been offered, the admission authority may ask for the child’s short birth certificate as proof of birth date.
For PLAC and LAC, the admission authority will request a copy of the adoption order, child arrangements order or special guardianship order, and a letter from the LA confirming that the child was looked after immediately prior to the order being made.
Reception intake and junior transfer - in all cases applications must be received by the closing date published by Derby City Council. Parents cannot change their preferences after the closing date, unless they have changed address, which changes their catchment area, or have had a move fall through – proof will be required. Such changes may result in an ‘on-time’ application being reclassified as a ‘late’ application.
For Primary schools, all offers will be made on National Offer Day, i.e. 16 April or the next working day.
An offer will only be withdrawn if it has been made in error, a parent has not responded within 20 working days, or if the offer was made via a fraudulent or misleading application.
If any application is found to be fraudulent after a child has started at the school in the first term of the new academic year, the school may withdraw the place. If the fraudulent application is found after this time, the pupil will not be removed.
Derby City Council will establish a waiting list for each school where the number of applications for those schools has exceeded the places available in the relevant Year group. Only those unsuccessful preferences ranked higherthan the final offer will be added to the waiting list.
The waiting lists will be established on the offer day will be maintained up to the end of the Autumn Term and ranked according to each admission authority’s oversubscription criteria. Priority will not be given to pupils based on the date they were placed on the list. LAC and PLAC will take priority over the waiting list.
All school admission applications for a school within Derby City made outside the normal admission round must be applied for using the relevant common application form or by completing the e-form available on the Derby City Council website.
Parents will be invited to state three preferences for in rank order on the common application form/e-form.
All admission authorities will be asked to consider the applications against their own oversubscription criteria.
Applicants will be issued with a decision letter from Derby City Council within 20 school days of their application being submitted.
There are some cases when a school may refuse admission even if it has places available. These are:
- Twice permanently excluded children within two years of the last exclusion
- Children with challenging behaviour making in-year admissions.
Schools must refer this to the local authority to be dealt with under the Fair Access Protocol
The head teacher will assist the admission authority with deciding on which year group a child will enter. Once a decision has been reached, the child’s parents will be informed in writing along with an explanation of how the decision was reached and any reasons why.
Pupils not of usual school age will not be given less of a priority where the school is over subscribed.
Applications for children coming from overseas will be treated in accordance with EU law or Home Office rules.
For children of UK service professionals, the following procedure will be adhered to:
- A place will be allocated to the child in advance of the family arriving in the area named in the application form.
- The application must be accompanied with an official letter confirming the relocation date and the service unit’s postal address or quartering area address when considering the application against the oversubscription criteria.
- The application will not be refused on the grounds of the child not currently living in the area, nor will places be uniquely reserved.
The arrangements for service children will be in line with the government’s commitment to removing disadvantage for service children.
When informing a parent of their unsuccessful admissions application, a letter will be sent which includes the reason why admission was refused; information about the right to appeal; the deadline for lodging an appeal and the contact details for making an appeal.
Parents will be informed in the letter that, if they wish to appeal, they must make the appeal in writing.
Appeals for Arboretum Primary School should be made directly to the school, on the appropriate form which is available from the school office.
Grounds for appeal are not limited.
The admission authority and the appeals panel will act in accordance with all relevant legislation and guidance.
The judicial function of the appeals panel will be transparent, accessible, independent and impartial, and will operate in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
A clerk will be appointed to the appeals panel who is independent of the school and the education functions of the LA.
The appeals panel will comprise a chair and at least two other panel members. The panel will also include at least one lay person and a person who has experience in education.
The chair of the appeals panel is responsible for the conduct of the hearing, including introducing parties, explaining individual roles and how the hearing will be conducted, and ensuring that parties have sufficient opportunity to state their case and ask questions.
Panel members will be independent from the school and will remain independent for the duration of their service.
The clerk is responsible for assigning members of the appeals panel; however, they will not assign the following disqualified persons:
- A member of the LA which is the admission authority or in whose area the school is located
- A member or former member of the governing board of the school
- An employee at the LA or governing board of the school, other than a teacher or TA
- Any person who has, or at any time has had, any connection with the admission authority, school or LA who may not act impartially
- Any person who has not attended training required by the admission authority arranging the appeals panel
There will be three members of the panel available at all times during the appeals process. If any member has to temporarily withdraw, the hearing will be postponed until the panel member returns. If the panel member is unable to return, they will be replaced, and the appeals will be reheard.
Appropriate training will be given, funded by the admission authority, to all panel members and clerks before they take part in a panel hearing. As a minimum, this training will include:
- The law relating to admissions.
- The panel’s duties under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.
- Procedural fairness and natural justice.
- The roles of specific panel members, e.g. the chair.
The admission authority will publish an appeals timetable on their website by 28 February each year. The timetable will comply with section three of the ‘School admission appeals code’.
Appeals will be lodged and heard for the normal admissions round within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals.
For late applications, appeals will be heard between 30-40 school days of the appeal being lodged.
For in year admissions, appeals will be heard within 30 days of the appeal being lodged.
Admission authorities will provide appellants with written notification of the date and all final arrangements of the appeal hearing, including a deadline for the submission of any further evidence that was not sent in the original appeal.
The admission authority will comply with any request for information to help parents prepare their case for the appeals hearing.
All evidence relating to the appeal hearing will be passed on to the clerk, including the admission process, reasons for the decision and how the admission would cause prejudice to the education provision of the school.
The clerk will send all the papers required for the hearing to both parties and the members of the panel seven days before the hearing.
The presenting officer will be responsible for relaying to the attendees the decision not to admit the child, and answer questions where necessary.
Appellants may attend in person or be represented by another individual. Where appellants cannot attend, a decision will be made based on the written evidence.
Appeal hearings must be private and held in an accessible location. The order of the appeals will be:
- Case for the admission authority.
- Questioning by the appellant(s) and panel.
- Case for the appellant(s).
- Questioning by the admission authority and panel.
- Summing up by the admission authority.
- Summing up by the appellant(s).
Multiple appeals will be heard, either individually or in groups, by the same appeals panel where appropriate.
Notes of the hearing will be made and kept securely by the admission authority for a minimum of two years. These notes are, in most cases, exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 2018.
When reaching a decision, the admission authority will have due regard to section three of the ‘School admission appeals code’.
Appeals decisions will either be upheld or dismissed – there will be no conditional decisions made, in line with section 94(6) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
The final decision will be decided by a simple majority. If votes are split equally, the chair will make the casting vote.
The final decision and accompanying reasons will be communicated in writing to the appellant, admission authority and the LA.
The decision letter will be signed by the clerk or chair of the appeals panel and sent no later than five school days after the decision has been made.
If a child has been refused admissions due to any SEND, this will be considered by the First-tier Tribunal (SEND) and not the appeals panel.
Admission appeals for infant classes only. The admission authority will have due regard for the two-stage process outlined in the ‘School admission appeals code’ when negotiating appeals regarding infant class sizes.
Appellants do not have the right to more than one appeal in respect of the school for the same academic year unless, in exceptional circumstances, the admission authority has accepted a second application from the appellant due to a material change in the circumstances of the parent, child or school but still refused admission.
Appellants can apply for a place at the school for a different academic year.
If appellants have an issue with the appeal process, they can complain to the Secretary of State.
All personal data will be held in line with the DDAT Data Protection Policy and Privacy / Fair Processing Notice. For more information please visit the school website: https://www.arboretum.derby.sch.uk/data-protection-1/
This appendix has been created in line with the DfE’s ‘Changes to the admission appeals regulations during the coronavirus outbreak’, and their ‘Changes to school admission appeals due to coronavirus’ guidance.