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Admissions policy

Adopted: March 2015

General

1. This policy may be amended in writing at any time by agreement between the Secretary of State and the Academy Trust.

2. The Academy Trust will act in accordance with, and will ensure that the independent appeal panel is trained to act in accordance with, all relevant provisions of the School Admissions Code and the School Admission Appeals Code published by the Department for Education ("the Codes") as they apply at any given time to maintained schools and with equalities law and the law on admissions as they apply to maintained schools. For this purpose, reference in the Codes or law to "admission authorities" shall be deemed to be references to the governing body of the Academy Trust.

3. Notwithstanding the generality of paragraph 2 of this Annex B, the Academy Trust will take part in the admissions forum set up by the LA and have regard to its advice; and will participate in the co-ordinated admission arrangements operated by Norfolk CC and the local in-year fair access protocol.

4. Notwithstanding any provision in this Agreement, the Secretary of State may:

  • Direct the Academy Trust to admit a named student to Hethersett Academy on application from a local authority. Before doing so the Secretary of State will consult the Academy Trust.
  • Direct the Academy Trust to admit a named student to Hethersett Academy if the Academy Trust has failed to act in accordance with this Annex or has otherwise failed to comply with applicable admissions and equalities legislation or the provisions of the Codes.

5. The Academy Trust shall ensure that parents and 'relevant children' will have the right of appeal to an independent appeal panel if they are dissatisfied with an admission decision of the Academy Trust. The independent appeal panel will be independent of the Academy Trust. The arrangements for appeals will comply with the School Admission Appeals Code published by the Department for Education as it applies to foundation and voluntary aided schools. The determination of the appeal panel is binding on all parties.

6. The Academy Trust shall prepare guidance for parents and relevant children about how the appeals process will work and provide them with a named contact who can answer any enquiries they may have about the process. The Academy Trust may, if it chooses, enter into an agreement with a LA or any other organisation for it to recruit, train and appoint appeal panel members, and to arrange for the process to be independently administered and clerked.

7 . In paragraphs 5 and 6 above, 'relevant children' means children who are above compulsory school age, or will be above compulsory school age by the time they start to receive education at the school.

Relevant area

8. Subject to paragraph 9, "relevant area for consultation" means the "Relevant Area" determined by the local authority for maintained schools in the area (in accordance with the meaning of "Relevant Area" within the School Admissions Code) .

9. If the Academy does not consider this meaning to be appropriate, it must apply to the Secretary of State by August 1 for a determination, setting out the reasons for this view.

10. The Secretary of State will consider the Academy's application and will by September 30 either:

a) Determine the area for consultation; or

b) Determine that the meaning within paragraph 8 should apply.

11. The Secretary of State may consult the local authority before making such a determination.

12. Within 14 days of the Secretary of State's determination, the Academy will notify the consultees listed in paragraph 14 of the determination.

13. In the event of a paragraph 10a determination, a map of the relevant area (or a list of postcodes) will be attached as an appendix to this annex B.

Annual procedures for determining admission arrangements

Consultation

14. The Academy Trust shall consult the following parties on the Academy's proposed admission arrangements for a minimum of eight weeks between November 1 and March 1 in the 'Determination Year'1

a) The LA

b) The admission forum for the LA

c) Any other admission authorities for primary and secondary schools located within the relevant area for consultation

d) Any other governing body for primary and secondary schools (as not falling within paragraph c)) located within the relevant area for consultation

e) Affected admission authorities in neighbouring local authority areas

f) Parents living in the relevant area for consultation whose children have attained the age of two but are not above compulsory school age and who are or will be eligible to apply to be admitted to the Academy

g) Community groups which the Academy considers relevant

h) Teaching unions if the consultation includes an increase in the admission number

Such consultation shall be in line with the requirements of the Codes and relevant admissions legislation, which at the date of this Agreement is section 89 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 as amended, and Regulations under that section.

15. Consultation in line with paragraph 14 is not required in any year where the following conditions are met:

  • The admission arrangements were consulted upon in one or both of the previous two years; and
  • There have been no changes, or proposed changes, since the last consultation.

16. As soon as any changes are made to arrangements, or proposed, the consultation cycle in paragraph 14 must be followed for the next determination year.

Academy Trust determination of admission arrangements

17. The Academy Trust will consider comments made by those consulted in accordance with paragraph 14, including any requests to amend the proposed admission number, before determining the admission arrangements for the Academy .

18. The Academy Trust will determine the Academy's admission arrangements annually by 15 April of the Determination Year and notify consultees listed in paragraph 14 what has been determined within 14 days of that decision being made.

Representations about admission arrangements

19. Where the Academy Trust has determined the Academy's admission arrangements and notified all consultees listed in paragraph 14, if any of those persons or bodies object to the Academy's admission arrangements, including the proposed admission number, they can make representations to the Secretary of State. Any representations must be made by June 30 in the Determination Year.

Secretary of State's consent for changes to admission arrangements

20. Where the admission arrangements determined in a Determination Year in accordance with paragraph 18 are different from the admission arrangements currently in existence for the Academy, the Academy Trust shall by June 30 in the Determination Year apply to the Secretary of State for him to consent to such amended admission arrangements.

Secretary of State's power to accept, modify or reject admission arrangements

21. Where the Secretary of State has received any representations made in accordance with paragraph 19, the Secretary of State must consult the Academy Trust on such representations. Following such consultation, by July 31 in the Determination Year the Secretary of State may direct that the Academy Trust amends the proposed admission arrangements for the Academy. The Academy Trust shall comply with any such direction.

22. Where the Secretary of State has received an application made in accordance with paragraph 20 seeking his consent to any amended admission arrangements, the Secretary of State must by July 31 in the Determination Year either approve the amended admission arrangements or direct that the amended admission arrangements are not implemented or must be modified. The Academy Trust must comply with any such direction.

Publication of admission arrangements

23. The Academy Trust shall each Determination Year publish Hethersett Academy's agreed admission arrangements by:

  • Copies being sent to the persons consulted in paragraph 14;
  • Copies being sent to primary and secondary schools in the LA's area;
  • Copies being made available without charge on request from the Academy;
  • Copies being sent to public libraries in the area of the LA for the purposes of being made available at such libraries for reference by parents and other persons;
  • A copy being uploaded to the Academy's website (if it has one).

24. The published admission arrangements will set out:

  • The name and address of Hethersett Academy and contact details;
  • A summary of the admission policy, including full oversubscription criteria and any arrangements for any post-16 admission
  • A statement of any religious affiliation if relevant;
  • Numbers of places and applications for those places in the previous year; and
  • Arrangements for hearing appeals.

Proposed changes to admission arrangements by Hethersett Academy after arrangements have been published

25. Subject to paragraph 26, once the Academy's admission arrangements have been determined for a particular year and published, the Academy Trust will not make any change to such arrangements unless there is a major change of circumstances and the following procedures have been followed:

  • The Academy Trust has consulted those who are required to be consulted under paragraph 14 above on the proposed variation;
  • Following such consultation, the Academy Trust has applied to the Secretary of State to approve the change setting out:
    • The proposed change;
    • Reasons for wishing to make such a change;
    • Any comments or objections to the proposal from those consulted; and
    • Following such application, the Secretary of State has provided his consent to the proposed variation.

26. The Academy Trust shall following the prior written agreement or direction of the Secretary of State vary the Academy's admission arrangements where such changes are necessary to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of admissions law or the Codes as they apply to maintained schools. Such changes may be made at any time.

27. Any changes to the Academy's admission arrangements brought about through the variation processes in paragraphs 25 or 26 above must be published within the Academy's prospectus and on its website (if it has one) and be communicated within 7 days to those persons who must be consulted under paragraph 14 .

28. The Academy Trust must make arrangements for a parent of a child who has attained the age of two but is not above compulsory school age and who has been, is or will be eligible to apply to be admitted to the Academy to make representations to the Secretary of State that any aspect of the Academy's admission arrangements does not comply with the relevant provisions of admissions law or the Codes as they apply to maintained schools.

29. Where a representation is made in accordance with paragraph 28, the Secretary of State may, after consulting the Academy Trust, direct that the Academy Trust modify its arrangements for the admission of students to the Academy so that they comply with the relevant provisions of admissions law and the Codes as they apply to maintained schools. The Academy Trust must comply with any such direction.

30. Records of applications and admissions to the Academy shall be kept by the Academy Trust for a minimum period of ten years and shall be open for inspection by the Secretary of State.

Procedure for admitting students to the Academy

Admission number

31. The Academy Trust has the following agreed admission numbers for the Academy and, subject to any changes approved or required by the Secretary of State, for subsequent years:

  • 158 for students in Year 7
  • Hethersett Academy is a 11-16 provider.

32. In any specific year, the Academy Trust may set a higher admission number than Hethersett Academy's agreed admission number for an applicable year group. Before setting an admission number higher than its agreed admission number, the Academy Trust will consult those listed at paragraph 14. Students will not be admitted in any year group above the published admission number for that year group unless exceptional circumstances apply and such circumstances shall be reported to the Secretary of State.

33. If the Academy admits a total of 26 students in excess of its admission number in any 3 year period it will determine a higher admission number, after consulting those bodies listed at paragraph 14.

Process of application

34. Arrangements for applications for places at Hethersett Academy will be made in accordance with Norfolk's co-ordinated admission arrangements and will be made on the Common Application Form provided and administered by the relevant local authority.

35. The Academy Trust will use the LA's timetable for applications to Hethersett Academy each year (exact dates within the months may vary from year to year). This will fit in with the timetable for the coordination of admission arrangements within Norfolk as agreed by the Admissions Forum, other local LAs' admissions forums, local schools and academies.

  • By September, the Academy Trust will publish in the Academy's prospectus information about the arrangements for admission, including oversubscription criteria, for the following September. This will include details of open evenings and other opportunities for prospective students and their parents to visit the school. The Academy Trust will also provide information in relation to Hethersett Academy to Norfolk Authority for inclusion in the composite prospectus, as required.
  • September/October - the Academy Trust will provide opportunities for parents to visit Hethersett Academy.
  • October - Common Application Form to be completed and returned to the students' home LA to administer.
  • Norfolk CC sends Hethersett Academy applications to the Academy Trust.
  • Academy Trust sends list of students to Hethersett Academy to Norfolk CC.
  • February - Norfolk CC applies agreed scheme for own schools, informing other LAs of offers to be made to their residents where this might apply.
  • March 1 - offers made to parents with a closing date for applications of October 31.

The Academy will ensure its application processes enable parents to apply before these deadlines.

36. The Academy Trust will consider all applications for places at Hethersett Academy. Where fewer than the published admission numbers for the relevant year groups are received, the Academy Trust will offer places at Hethersett Academy to all those who have applied.

Procedures where Hethersett Academy is oversubscribed

37. Where the number of applications for admission is greater than the published admission number, applications will be considered against the criteria set out below. After the admission of students with statements of special educational needs where Hethersett Academy is named on the statement, the criteria will be applied in the order in which they are set out below:

  1. Children in public care;
  2. Children who have an older sibling already in attendance at the school when the application is made and who will continue to do so on the date of admission;
  3. Children in catchment who attend named feeder schools (Hethersett CE Junior Primary School, Little Melton Primary School, Mulbarton Primary School and Cringleford CE Primary School);
  4. Children in catchment not attending named feeder schools (see above);
  5. Children out of catchment attending named feeder schools;
  6. Children out of catchment.

38. If all children (but not including looked-after children or those with statements of SEN where the Academy is named) within any of the above rules cannot be offered a place, the highest priority will be given to the children living nearest to the Academy. To determine who lives nearest, distance will be measured on a straight line basis using Ordnance Survey data. The Academy will use Post Office address points for the precise measurement. If, following the application of admission rules and distance, two applicants cannot be separated for a final place at the Academy, the Academy will use random allocation to determine the priority for the remaining places.

Operation of waiting lists

39. Subject to any provisions regarding waiting lists in the LA's co-ordinated admission scheme, the Academy will operate a waiting list for each year group. Where in any year Hethersett Academy receives more applications for places than there are places available, a waiting list will operate until the end of the first term (normally late December). This will be maintained by the Academy Trust and it will be open to any parent to ask for his or her child's name to be placed on the waiting list, following an unsuccessful application.

40. A child's position on the waiting list will be determined solely in accordance with the oversubscription criteria set out in paragraph 37 above. Where places become vacant they will be allocated to children on the waiting list in accordance with the oversubscription criteria.

Arrangements for admitting students to other year groups, including to replace any students who have left Hethersett Academy

41. Local authorities will co-ordinate admissions for in-year applications and for applications for year groups other than the normal points of entry. This will not affect an Academy's right to determine which applicants have priority for admission.

42. Subject to any provisions in the LA's co-ordinated admission arrangements relating to applications submitted for years other than the normal year of entry, the Academy Trust will consider all such applications and if the year group applied for has a place available, admit the child unless one of the permitted reliefs apply. If more applications are received than there are places available, the oversubscription criteria in paragraph 38 shall apply. Parents whose application is turned down shall be entitled to appeal.

1 A 'determination year' is the Academy financial year beginning two years before the Academy financial year which the admissions arrangements will be for e.g. consultation to end in March 2010 and determination to be in April 2010 for admissions in September 2011.