The New Admissions Code and Fair Access Protocol
As you will be aware, the DfE has published a new School Admissions Code, which came into force on 1 September 2021. There are some critical changes for your school to act upon, so please take some time to ensure that they are fully understood, shared and implemented as needed.
The key changes are:
- Improvements to, and additional detail for, the in-year admission process of vulnerable children, including the effectiveness of Fair Access Protocols (FAP) and changes in the FAP criteria.
- Children adopted from state care outside of England now have equal admissions priority as those children who were previously looked after within England.
- Clarification of which address to use for the admission of service or Crown servant children.
It is the responsibility of all schools to ensure they understand the full details of these and various other additional updates and clarifications. The full document is here.
The introduction of this new Admissions Code means that a new Warwickshire FAP will need to be developed. We’ve outlined the process for this below. In the meantime, we will work to the FAP adopted in 2019 (WCC FAP 2019), recognising that this means there will be a period when we have a crossover between the current FAP and the regulations outlined in the new Admissions Code.
Within this context, we’d like to draw your attention to the requirement within the new Admissions Code that schools in essence cannot refuse admission for any child unless they can evidence that they have “significant challenging behaviour”. This is defined in paragraph 3.10 of the new Code as: “[behaviour] where it would be unlikely to be responsive to the usual range of interventions to help prevent and address pupil misbehaviour or it is of such severity, frequency, or duration that it is beyond the normal range that schools can tolerate. We would expect this behaviour to significantly interfere with the pupil’s/other pupils’ education or jeopardise the right of staff and pupils to a safe and orderly environment”.
In practice, this means that parents or carers may exercise their right under the new Admissions Code to insist a school admit their child, even if they meet the criteria outlined in our existing FAP 2019. If a parent or carer does exercise this right, your school must admit the child in line with the current legislation.
Creating a new Fair Access Protocol for Warwickshire
The creation of a new FAP will be co-produced with school leaders and parents. A Development Group has been established to lead the work, with membership drawn from the representatives nominated by the Ethical Inclusion Partnership Steering Group on behalf of secondary and primary school headteachers. Their meetings are scheduled for:
- 14 September 2021
- 5 October 2021
- 9 November 2021
- 14 December 2021
During this period, please take every opportunity to engage with your network/consortia reps to ensure your views are heard.
The draft FAP 2022 will be finalised by 11 January 2022, after which it will be circulated to all Warwickshire schools for agreement. It is our intention that the new FAP will be adopted by April 2022, at which point the previous version will no longer be used.
If you have any questions about either the new Admissions Code, or the Fair Access Protocol, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org