Adoption and admission(22 Posts)
Friend of mine has two DS which she adopted at one. We were talking about school admissions today, and she said she doesn't like her local school so she was going to look further away. She said because they were adopted they would jumped to the top of the list. Is this true? She looking at schools at least 5 miles from her place. Just wanted to check for her as she wasn't very sure about the admission process.
Depends on the admission criteria in the borough she wants to apply for a school in
The majority do have 'looked after children' as one of the top priorities alongside SEN
Most do have "looked after children" as the first admission criteria that adopted children would still qualify under. You would have to check the schools admission criteria to double check.
Looked after and formerly looked after children will have top priority yes. As long as they were previously in local authority care she will be able to get them a place anywhere.
If they were adopted from abroad though she wouldn't.
They would go right to the top of the list in all of the schools I've looked at in my area. I imagine it is similar in most areas.
Yes, double check your LEA admission criteria. Previously looked after children, which adopted children will count as, are often 1st priority.
Yes. Fortunately the law changed a year or so ago, there is now an acknowledgement that signing a piece of paper doesn't make the issues that can come with trauma disappear, so kids who are adopted are now allowed access to the support opportunities available to looked after kids. If she is unsure the post adoption support services in her area will be able to help her (they may contact them to confirm that the children are adopted anyway).
Yes and this is so right and so important for many reasons
If they were fostered in the UK prior to being adopted, then they would usually be able to choose which school was the most suited to their needs, and usual catchment wouldn't apply. It depends on the precise criteria of the admissions policy of each school, but often the ranking of priorities is SEN (naming the school on EHCP), LAC/former LAC, siblings in catchment, children in catchment, siblings outside catchment... Some LA's also include children adopted internationally in this, and some do not.
Will get her to check with the local authority, but that sounds like good news! She was very confused about it all, so was worried she was wrong. Thanks!!
I think they'll also get Pupil Premium so she can ask how that will be spent when she visits the different schools.
Thanks! She didn't mention Pupil Premium, will check with her and make sure she know about it.
Just to be clear, ALL admission authorities are required by law to make LAC and former LAC first priority for admissions. It is not just that they are often first priority. They are ALWAYS first priority.
Things are slightly different for faith schools. There LAC and former LAC of the faith will be top priority while LAC and former LAC not of the faith may come a little way down the priority list. If your friend wants a faith school she will need to make sure she finds out their requirements for getting priority on faith grounds and complies with them.
The non-faith schools in my area all have LAC / former LAC as first priority.
Our nearest faith school is a Catholic school, and that has Catholic LAC / former LAC as top priority. Any other LAC / former LAC children are ranked below all other Catholic children in the admissions criteria (but still above all other non-Catholic children). So she may not be top of the list if she's looking at a faith school.
Just a quick note about the pupil premium. For adopted children it is called pupil premium plus and the school gets £1900 a year. It is the parent's responsibility to make sure the school applies for it. They need a copy of the adoption order and will then enter it on the school census in the January after the child starts in reception. Good idea to go into the school office early January.
What admission says.
Though it is a shame that faith schools are able to avoid (ex)LAC children via faith criteria.
Often chaotic families won't have got a child baptised.
Adoptive families may not have had the child with them long enough to prove they have fulfilled faith criteria (e.g. even if worshiping regularly may not have been signing in or whatever).
OP: The answers you have been given assume the following:
- Child adopted from UK care (not overseas or step parent)
Just one additional thing, c of e schools tend to have LAC as top priority regardless of whether children are baptised or not, whilst as PPs have said catholic schools don't tend to do this. Am not sure about other faith schools but I found this out when looking for schools a couple of years ago and was surprised there was a difference.
LAC children rightly get priority which means that the school that bests fits can be chosen. This could be based on a number of things that make it right : provision, support, size, diversity etc, not just a high performing school. Many choose a local school to their new home to ensure that the DC is part of a local community.
5 miles is a long way away for most primary schools however. We have a quite lot of LAC children at our school but most aren't visible and not everyone is aware of who they are. Many adoptive parents like it that way.
The only ones that are obvious, are those who live miles away and chose our school and hence other parents notice that they are from out of normal area. They don't tend to go to the same local after school activities and impromptu play dates etc as they live miles away. It may not bother OPs friend, but I do think it's worth being aware of.
There is no doubt that LAC and previously looked after children get top priority in every LA but there is a small wrinkle that your friend needs to check out. As is usual with government policy there is no joined up thinking, so there are some differences between the legal definition of LAC and previously looked after children in terms of school admissions and in terms of what social services understand by the terms (the latter is less prescriptive).
I had an appeal last year where this came up and although everybody thought this child had been adopted after being LAC there was an issue. I cannot remember the exact detail of the issue but it was to do with whether the child was a LAC or only had a supervision order prior to being adopted. (Social services believed that this meant they were LAC but not according to School admission law.)
Your friend needs to check out very specifically with the LA admission team involved whether her children was classed as LAC prior to being adopted. Get written confirmation off the LA admission team before she commits to her preferences that they are classed as previously LAC or she could have a real problem when it comes to school places for 2 siblings if they are only considered under the normal admission criteria.
My guess is that admission's case was where a child was placed and adopted with an extended family member rather than going the foster care -> unrelated adopter route.
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