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School Admissions Policy Consultation

Consultation on LCC Schools Admission Policy 2017

Under the Admissions code, admitting authorities are required to consult on any proposed changes to the admissions code. Leeds City Council is the admitting authority for all community and voluntary controlled schools, and is consulting on the option of the amendments described in this document. We welcome feedback and comments on the consultation, and these will inform any recommendation that is then made to the Executive Board of the Council for a final decision.

Consultation will run from Monday 2 November 2015 until Monday 14 December 2015. The result of the consultation will be considered at the Council’s Executive Board on 10 February 2016.

You can submit your views online through our questionnaire or use the form in the documents section and send it to: education.admissions@leeds.gov.uk.

Click to expand1. Changes to refine the definition of Priority 1b

1b admissions priority is specifically for pupils who have a significant physical disability or complex sensory impairment - e.g. pupils with a visual, hearing, or physical difficulty or those with pragmatics difficulties/autism, who do not have an EHCP and where higher level FFI funding is in place. Please see the briefing note in the download section.

Click to expand2. Proposal to set the ‘nearest’ priority definition for community Secondary schools as catchment areas

In Leeds we now only have 6 community secondary schools. All other schools and academies are their own admitting authority and as such may choose an admission policy that differs from that of the local authority. This can leave schools that use the current ‘nearest’ definition subject to changes outside by other neighbouring schools that are not within their control.

Whilst almost all non-faith schools have continued with a policy similar to that of the local authority, there are a number of differences being included. It is proposed that for each of the remaining community secondary schools a catchment area be set that reflects the ‘nearest’ non-faith school. Please see the briefing note in the download section.
For the majority of parents the situation would remain unchanged from that of previous years. Parents can apply for any school they wish to, and parents living within a catchment area are not guaranteed a place at that school. For those own admitting authority schools and academies who have continued to use the ‘nearest’ priority, we would suggest that adopting and consulting on a catchment area defined in the same way as the local authority, would provide similar stability, and as with the local authority proposal, does not materially affect parents priority for a place.
Please note that this proposal relates only to secondary school admissions and there is no current intention to change primary school admissions arrangements.

Click to expand3. Consideration of future changes to primary admission arrangements.

The availability of places in some areas of the city for Reception entry in September 2015 highlighted some concerns about the current admission policy. Of the 222 primary schools only 30 were so oversubscribed that there were unable to offer places to all the children who had the school as their nearest.
Children living furthest from the school were unable to gain a place. A small number of those schools find that this situation occurs over a number of years. Families who live in those areas can find themselves at a disadvantage in gaining a place in a preferred school.
Whilst the local authority is continuing its programme of expansion of school places it is worth considering whether changes to the Admission policy may also be required.
Some modelling has taken place on a very simple change whereby the nearest priority was omitted. So after children who are looked after, and siblings, further places were allocated on purely a distance basis. The percentage of successful first preferences, and the numbers of children who were not offered any of their preferences remained almost unchanged. However for families who would not have been offered any of their preferences, they were generally worse off in being allocated a school further away. Please see the briefing note in the download section.
Consideration was also given to keeping the current admissions policy but making a change to the way in which places were allocated to children who have a school as their nearest. Children who are looked after and siblings would be allocated in the normal way. For schools that are oversubscribed AND where the nearest children could not all be offered a place (30 of the 222 primary schools), the places could be allocated randomly rather than by distance.
This would ensure that everyone who has the school as their nearest would then have the same likelihood of gaining a place as each other, regardless of their distance from the school. As this would be different every year, it is not possible to model the overall changes.
At this stage we are not proposing a change to the policy but are seeking feedback on whether to do so for 2018. We welcome views on either of the options above, or on moving to catchment areas as we are proposing to with secondary admissions.

Click to expand4. Changes to Published Admission Numbers for Reception and Year 7

Following statutory proposals to change the size and/or nature of some schools the following PANs will change for 2017 entry:

Roundhay School year 7 increase from 250 to 300.

In addition, Executive Board will make a final decision on the expansion of Park Spring Primary, Carr Manor Community school primary phase and Greenside Primary during the coming few months.

Click to expand6. Minor wording changes

There has been some confusion by the use of ‘nearest’ as defined in the admission policy, and allocating a child the nearest school that has a vacancy when their preferences cannot be met. In this latter context the word refers only to closest and we are amending the clarifying notes in the policy to avoid any future confusion. Please see the briefing note in the download section.

Click to expand7. Admissions outside of the normal admission round

​When the School Admission Code changed and local authorities were no longer required to coordinate ‘in year transfers’ Leeds stopped doing this in September 2013. The expectation was that this would speed up the process and allow children to start on roll more quickly. In many cases this works well.

The Code requires schools to notify the local authority of every request for a place, and the outcome. There is a further requirement that the local authority will always be in the position of knowing which schools have vacancies in each year group so that they can advise parents when asked. This is proving very challenging, particularly at times when there are high numbers of transfer requests. After two years of operating without co-ordination we are seeking feedback on whether this should continue, or whether the local authority should take back on co-ordination of ‘in year transfers’.

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