Changes to the School Admissions Code

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Closes 16 Oct 2020

Introduction

This consultation seeks views on Department for Education proposals to revise the School Admissions Code 2014 (the Code[1]).

We understand that not only is the sector facing challenges in supporting the country’s children to ensure they can access education, but the current Covid-19 outbreak has affected everyone's lives in different ways. In particular, we are concerned that some of our most vulnerable children may experience gaps in their education because they are unable to secure a school place quickly during this unsettled period. We think that now, more than ever, we need to continue with our plans to make changes to the School Admissions Code to support our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. 

These changes are also in response to the recent Children in Need Review[2] and the Home Office White Paper on Domestic Abuse[3] as we propose to make changes to the Code to better support the in-year admission of vulnerable children and reduce to a minimum any gaps in their education. The Children in Need Review identified that Children in Need (CiN) are more likely to seek a school place outside the normal admission round. We believe that making improvements to the in-year admissions process will have a positive impact on all children seeking a school place in-year but will be particularly beneficial for the most vulnerable.

The changes to the Code seek to clarify admission authority and local authority responsibilities in relation to managing the in-year admission and Fair Access Protocol (FAP) processes. This is in response to feedback from local authorities, academy trusts, parents and other interested parties. We intend to align the provisions within the Code applying to previously looked after children (PLAC), to those previously looked after in state care outside England. In addition, we are proposing to amend the address requirements for service children and children of crown servants when applying for a school place in-year, to better reflect the current living arrangements of these families. We are also proposing a number of minor drafting changes to improve the clarity of existing Code provisions and the efficacy of existing admissions processes.