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Do Admissions Policy changes apply to waiting lists for previous cohorts?

(9 Posts)
seeseeteevee Sun 05-Nov-17 14:11:21

If a secondary school changes its Y7 admissions policy, should the new criteria also apply to the waiting lists for the older year groups? Or should they continue to be ordered as per the code that was in place at the time that year was admitted?

Also, is this clearly spelt out in the Admissions Code somewhere?

Julie8008 Sun 05-Nov-17 17:58:40

Not an expert, but have never heard of a year seven admissions policy. There is only the 'admissions policy' and this applies to the whole school. When it changes it changes for everyone.

admission Sun 05-Nov-17 18:39:34

This is an interesting question.
The first thing to remember is that the admission criteria are agreed a considerable time period before they are actually applied to a year group entering the school. Up until the year group starts at the school the admission criteria of the school is what it used to be.
However as soon as the year group has entered the school in September, in effect all year groups have to admit pupils based on the current admission criteria. So yes the waiting list order could and should change with a change of admission criteria. However this applies to the admission criteria but not to the PAN for the school. So if a school increased their PAN from 180 to 210 per year group it would apply to year 7 coming into the school but not in theory to the other year groups already in the school. However the increased PAN would be appropriate for each succeeding year group, so with time all year groups across the school would be at 210.
What that then means is that there is an interesting situation with regard to other year groups as soon as the year 7 PAN increases. In theory the school should have the space to accommodate the increased PAN from the time it is first agreed but in these times of financial restraint the reality is that the school / LA may well be introducing increased facilities over a period of a number of years. As such admission appeal panels will need to consider the individual circumstances of the school as to whether there is a case to admit to the increased PAN or not.

seeseeteevee Sun 05-Nov-17 20:20:54

Thanks admission. In my case the change is to the criteria rather than the PAN.

Is there a paragraph in the Admissions Code that backs up what you say about the new criteria applying to the whole school? (Not that I don't believe you, but "I read it on Mumsnet" might not convince my fellow governors). smile

In para 1.7 it says "all schools must have oversubscription criteria for each ‘relevant age group’" and then defines 'relevant age group as "the age group to which children are normally admitted. Each relevant age group must have admission arrangements, including an admission number. Some schools (for example schools with sixth forms which admit children into the sixth form) may have more than one relevant age group."

However I can't find anything that explicitly says the criteria for the 'relevant age group' also apply to in-year admissions to older year groups.

seeseeteevee Tue 07-Nov-17 20:22:26

Or anyone else? @prh47bridge? @tiggytape?

The more I read the Admissions Code, the more ambiguous it seems on this point.

admission Tue 07-Nov-17 21:40:24

I am afraid I can't see anything in the admissions guidance that specifically covers the situation. The only bit that could have some consideration is 1.9 A) which says admission authorities must not place any conditions on the consideration of any application other than those in the oversubscription criteria published in their admission arrangements.
What I said in my previous reply is my understanding of the situation based on what I have been told as a panel member during training by the LA.
I am not aware of any decisions by the ombudsman or the school adjudicator which cover this area. So I am afraid that the only way that you will get a definitive ruling on this is a referral to the school adjudicator which seems overkill for the situation.

prh47bridge Tue 07-Nov-17 23:32:42

The Admissions Code doesn't say anything specific. However, I agree with Admission - once we get to September I would expect the new admission criteria to apply to all age groups.

seeseeteevee Wed 08-Nov-17 08:32:11

Thanks both. Yes, I think that's logical, though as many schools have more than one formal entry point, such as y7 and y12 (and therefore more than one set of current criteria) then to make it clear the code should explicitly say something like "the oversubscription criteria for each ‘relevant age group’ also applies to all 'older' year groups until another 'relevant age group is reached".

As it stands it would seem wide open to appeal.

In many cases it won't be a big issue, unless the change to the criteria re-orders a waiting list significantly for a sought-after school or, more worryingly, if it doesn't sit logically with contextual factors for the older year groups (e.g. because they're located on a different site).

Paddington68 Mon 20-Nov-17 20:16:12

Yes they do.

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