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When can ICS be broken for adopted children

(28 Posts)
LibrariesGaveUsPower Sat 15-Aug-15 22:33:24

A slightly random question for a friend.

If you adopt a child who is due to start school in September 2016, but the adoption doesn't happen until after January 2016, does that child get any sort of right to breach ICS, or are they just likely to go to the top of the waiting list for places?

Full, but semi rural area, so there is only one truly local school.

tiggytape Sat 15-Aug-15 22:39:41

The short answer is the child will be top of the waiting list assuming they are adopted from care (at the moment children adopted from overseas are not given the same priority).

The longer answer is that this assumes a school place is offered whilst the parents wait for one they like better. If a school within a reasonable distance (not defined in law but the accepted norm for this is 45 minutes each way for younger children) can take the child then, apart from being top of waiting lists, no other priority exists. The ICS rules would still be in force.

However, if there is literally no school within an hour from home then a child adopted from care could be considered under the emergency process called Fair Access Protocol which can force a school to take one more child where no other school place exists and especially if that child is considered to be in a vulnerable group. Again though, this will be a school a "reasonable distance" from home that is best placed to squeeze in one more child not necessarily the very closest school or a school chosen by the parents.

Threesocksnohairbrush Sat 15-Aug-15 22:40:23

Hi

I assume you mean adoption in
Jan 17? Or is it that child would be likely to be adopted after the application deadline in Jan 16?

As long as the child is living with your friends by the application deadline, it should be fine. If not adopted, the child will still be a looked after child and will therefore get top priority. If adopted, they will get the same priority as a looked after child.

If the child comes to live with your friends after Jan 16 then I don't know exactly what happens about a school place. They would get equal priority whether adopted or not - because if not adopted they are looked after and both situations attract top priority. But I don't know whether that in itself would be enough to win an appeal on infant class sizes. Hopefully the child's placing authority would assist in this scenario.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sat 15-Aug-15 22:46:19

Yes, I mean child coming to live with them after application deadline in January but before start of school year. Yes, would be coming from foster care (but probably not close enough to use that address to apply ).

Thanks Tiggy. I suspected that. sad

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 15-Aug-15 22:51:34

an application could be made from the foster carer's address though couldn't it? If it's under LAC or former LAC I don't know if how close the address is to the school actually matters.

You might need one of the experts to confirm that though.

tiggytape Sat 15-Aug-15 23:02:35

Rafa is correct - an on time application made from any address should secure the child a place because they are in the top priority band. Even if the address is many miles away - that doesn't matter.
The foster carers would have to get permission from the local authority and these things generally take a lot of engineering to tie up on time but it is in the child's best interests to have a local school place ready for them when they are adopted and therefore, this is something that could be pushed for.
Start pushing in Sept though - don't wait until too close to the January 15th deadline - local authorities aren't always the quickest or most efficient with things like this.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 15-Aug-15 23:11:35

Yes, it's getting the authorities to agree that this might be in the best interests of the child that would be the sticking point. But probably worth trying at least.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sun 16-Aug-15 07:56:51

Brilliant. Thanks. so it basically depends on how far along the process is at application time what their options are.

I'll pass that on. Thank you for all your help.

Threesocksnohairbrush Sun 16-Aug-15 08:06:21

Rafa/ tiggy

Would making an application from the Fcs address work if the child wasn't resident in the same local authority as might well be the case? Good idea otherwise.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 16-Aug-15 11:21:03

That's what I wasn't sure about. I'm not aware of anything in the admissions Code that would prohibit it, although LAs will almost certainly have additional guidelines about how they place children that are currently in their care. I'd imagine the biggest sticking point is convincing the LA to apply for a place some distance from where the foster carer is living when the adoption hasn't been finalised and may still fall through.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sun 16-Aug-15 12:23:11

Yes. I imagine it is most likely if the matching panel has happened in, say, late December or early Jan and visits are underway but the residence date hasn't arrived. (though you'd have to have it all set up in principle before that tiny window )

prh47bridge Sun 16-Aug-15 13:57:10

Would making an application from the Fcs address work if the child wasn't resident in the same local authority as might well be the case

Yes. An LAC living with FCs in Penzance could apply for a place at a school in Carlisle and they would still go in the top category for admission. The FCs would apply via their LA who would pass the application on to the school's LA.

TeenAndTween Sun 16-Aug-15 14:02:14

I don't think there is any issue on applying over LA boundaries when it comes to looked after children, so if matching/introductions were going ahead then in theory I don't see why the FCs couldn't apply to the AP's preferred school.

However, the risk would be of course that if intros didn't work out then the child might have lost out on the appropriate school near the FCs, and I can see why SWs would be reluctant to apply like that.

If I were the potential APs, I would be asking my SW and child's SW to bring out all guns to get the child considered as exceptional to let the numbers go over.
- the need to be settled and be part of the local community
- the need to not have to start in one school then relocate
- the need to have certainty as to where they were going
- the need to be in school near to home to aid feelings of security, etc,
- strong possibility they might be on part time hours as will still be in first year of placement so will still be building attachment

(adopter, not admissions expert)

TeenAndTween Sun 16-Aug-15 14:03:57

Especially if the child is placed before offers date, even a statement up front to say that a late application will be taken as an on time one may well be good enough, if such a thing is permitted.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sun 16-Aug-15 14:05:42

Teen, thank you. will pass that on if they get to appeals. They also have a biological daughter in juniors, so a different school would be a double disaster. Their nightmare is having to move the big one and that buggering up the relationship between the new siblings.

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-15 17:38:09

Previous posters are correct- distance is not a factor for LAC, so they could apply from the FC's address and still obtain a place at the school near their new family, even if this is hundreds of miles away.

Should the adoption fall through, the child should not be disadvantaged. As they will still be LAC, for the purposes of admissions, they will be an 'excepted child', and therefore do not count towards ICS regulations. They could make a late application, and the chosen school should go over numbers and admit them. This is also the case for children adopted from care (or leave care under a Special Guardianship or Child Arrangement order)- however, should the school decide not to offer a place, a LAC is in a slightly better position than an adopted child, as the LA which looks after them can direct the admissions authority of a school for which they are not the admissions authority to admit the child.

Confusingly, if the school is an academy, then the Secretary of State is the only person able to direct the school to admit the child- and here, provision is made for adopted children. I can find nothing in writing which refers specifically to LAs directing other schools to admit adopted children, even though they too are 'excepted'. I hope this means that children adopted from care are being admitted to their chosen schools, but I suspect that many are being refused places and adoptive parents have not been made aware of their status as excepted children, so do not challenge the decision.

Put simply, If the child is living with FCs in January, they and the SW should apply for a place at the school near their adopted family; they should obtain a place.

If the adoption breaks down for any reason, the FC and SW can make a late application to a school near the FCs, and they should obtain a place, even if this is via direction. LAC should not be placed on waiting lists.

TeenAndTween Sun 16-Aug-15 21:05:30

tethers A child placed for adoption is still a LAC until they have been to court, which will be a minimum of 3 months, and realistically for an approaching school age child will be 6 months.

Therefore by your reasoning a late application made by the new adoptive parents will count as an accepted child anyway so they don't need to worry? (Not that it will stop them worrying anyway).

OP - the APs should definitely include the fact that elder sibling goes to the school too in any letter, as it will promote sibling bond and be reassuring for new child.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sun 16-Aug-15 21:13:53

Thanks all. It's a very exciting time for them, but obviously also very stressful and emotional. I am trying to be helpful with a bit of the practical planning and you've been great.smile

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-15 21:35:46

Yes teen, sorry- I should've been clearer, but my post seemed confusing enough!

Just to clarify- a child who is adopted from care is also an excepted child for the purposes of ICS regulations, not just LAC. The difference between LAC and former LAC is only a factor in the event of a school ignoring this and refusing to offer a place- whilst the direction process for LAC is very clear, the process for former LAC is less so, with many adoptive parents having to appeal to obtain the school place they should have been given.

Either way, in this case there is no down side to applying to the school near the child's new family home in January, regardless of where they are living.

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-15 21:40:31

There shouldn't be a need for the new parents to make a late application- but if they do, they should still get a place at their chosen school. If the school does not offer a place, the process of challenging this differs depending on their legal status.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sun 16-Aug-15 21:43:58

Oh ok. So even if, say, the child was matched in June and moved in in July /August you could apply for a place late and, if you didn't get one, should hopefully be excepted for ICS? They don't think that will be the time line but that's brilliant. Especially with the sibling there and existing family relationships to the school, I do think they have a strong need for a place there.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sun 16-Aug-15 21:44:33

..when you appeal should have been in the middle there!

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-15 22:10:02

If it came to appeal, then yes. They wouldn't necessarily need to make a strong case- the child is excepted and should be admitted. The grounds for appeal would simply be that the admissions code had not been correctly followed See here, section 2.15.

The only circumstances in which they would need to put a case together to justify the choice of school would be if an application was made to direct the school to admit the child.

admission Sun 16-Aug-15 22:18:47

Having applied from the current address for the place in the preferred school, the other thing you should do is contact the "virtual head teacher" for care for children.
There is one in each LA, though they may not go under that absolute name. They are responsible for all cared for pupils which the LA has responsibility for. It gets slightly messy if the pupil is cared for in one LA but the intention is to go to a school in another LA, as the person with responsibility is the person in the LA which has responsibility for the child.

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-15 22:38:17

The SW must inform the Virtual Head when they make a school application for a LAC- the prospective adopters would not need to contact them.

Once the adoption order is finalised, the adoptive parents may wish to contact the Virtual Head of the LA they live in, as they may be willing to help secure a school place if it becomes necessary; However, Virtual Heads do not currently have a remit for adopted children (save Windsor and Maidenhead), so their willingness to intervene varies from LA to LA.

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