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Academy admissions criteria

(10 Posts)
comehomemax Fri 27-Oct-17 00:23:23

Im hoping soneone can help me with an admissions query.

We successfully applied to our L.A. to defer our son's primary school start date due to his development delays - we were supported in this by his slt, paediatrician and nursery who all agreed he needed to wait.
More recently, our local primary school have converted to an academy. Are they able to overrule the LA's decision and put him straight into year 1 rather than reception? I'm so worried that we will need to find a school much further away if they refuse to support him in reception.

prh47bridge Fri 27-Oct-17 09:15:53

The academy is its own admission authority so I'm afraid they can decide which year group your son goes into. That does not, of course, mean they will decide to put him in Y1, just that they can do so. You need to talk to them. I hope they will stand by the LA's decision. Make sure you get it in writing - email will do.

admission Fri 27-Oct-17 13:42:27

Agree with PRH, that as the school is now an academy that they will have the final word on the situation. However assuming that you have written confirmation from the LA that your son can defer for a year and join reception in September 2018, that would still apply to any maintained schools, because the LA have agreed it.
The relevant section of the admission code is para 2.17, 2.17A and 2.17B which says that the admission authority must make the decision in the best interests of the child concerned, taking account of the parent's views, information about the child's academic, social and emotional development, medical history and the views of a medical professional. The views of the head teacher must also be taken into account.
If it is the same head teacher, why would they be changing their views? Either way what is most important is that you approach the school now with the documentary evidence of the previous LA decision and ask them to confirm in writing that as the admission authority for the school that they will abide by the previous decision and admit to reception year in September 2018. If they will not then I would suggest that in the best interests of your son you consider another school.

comehomemax Fri 27-Oct-17 20:07:28

Thank you, I'm disappointed (and worried) but not surprised. The head previously wasn't hugely supportive (she said they don't allow it - but she would accept the recommendations of his paediatrician). I'm pretty sure they will suggest he has made progress, revisit the decision etc. I guess I need to check some additional schools now and get a solid back up plan.

I don't really understand why it's such a big issue for the school. Originally the head said it was down to emotional development and keeping within the correct cohort made sure children weren't ahead of their peer group but that seems weak bearing in mind he will be only a matter of days older than children in the defered years cohort. We aren't trying to play the system in any way - we just know he isn't ready and starting reception this year would have been awful for him.

Charmatt Fri 27-Oct-17 23:18:00

I work for a Trust and we asked for clarity on this area; not so we could overrule them but so we had consistency. The LA advised us that as we subscribed to their coordinated scheme we passed over responsibility to them in this regard. That was because when a parent asks for deferred entry, at that point they are not asking for a specific school but deferred entry from education. Therefore they were given a decision on that basis and treated as first entrants the year afterwards. I would ask if the academy is part of the LA co-ordinated scheme as it may make a difference. If the LA is sympathetic to deferred entry it would make no sense (imo) for the academy to resist it and I am aware that the government has formed a task group to work on future admissions policy which only involves representatives from sympathise LAs so it may ultimately be fruitless to resist it.

Charmatt Fri 27-Oct-17 23:19:48

*sympathetic - autocorrected!

prh47bridge Sat 28-Oct-17 08:49:51

I would ask if the academy is part of the LA co-ordinated scheme as it may make a difference

No need to ask. Academies are required to be part of the co-ordinated scheme. But I'm afraid it doesn't make a difference. The LA was wrong. The decision on whether or not a child can be admitted out of the normal year group rests with the admission authority. Being part of the co-ordinated scheme does not mean the LA becomes the admission authority. It simply means the LA processes the application and makes sure the child is offered a place. The academy is perfectly entitled to make it clear to the LA that the child will be admitted to Y1 and, indeed, to refuse to admit the child on the basis that Y1 is already full.

admission Sat 28-Oct-17 11:33:24

PRH is correct. The admission guidance is very clear that it is the admission authority who have the decision to make. Actually whether it is the school depends on the kind of academy it is. The admission authority is the academy trust. So in a single academy, the academy trust and the governing body are in effect usually one. However if the school is in a MAT, then it is the academy trust board and not the local governing board who have jurisdiction, unless the academy trust board have delegated to the local governing board.
Having said that I can understand why the LA are saying what they have said. If different schools are making different decisions around deferral for a year then the potential for chaos is always going to be there.
This is really a case of one part of legislation around the ability to defer to another year (which has only really been made available by a DfE edict for a couple of years) not meshing sensibly with another which is around jurisdiction of who can make the deferral.
I would definitely approach the school now in writing so you get a decision before the cut off date for primary schools. As long as you get an answer in writing then you can use that as the basis for your decision making on preferences for school places.

comehomemax Sat 28-Oct-17 19:34:30

Thank you all. I was so elated when we got the go ahead to defer but if sounds like I've taken too much for granted.
I will start making calls and visits.

admission Sat 28-Oct-17 21:36:06

I would hope that your optimism is well founded and that checking will give you peace of mind over this. You just need to go through the process to ensure you have absolute clarity as do the school, because the school can always change their mind. But it is very much more difficult for them if they have confirmed in writing you can defer for the year.

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