Local Authorities have a statutory duty to provide an admissions service for primary and secondary places, which families must use even if they are applying for schools outside of the borough. Applications for nursery places, voluntary-aided schools and academies (including free schools) are managed by the provider.
The admission authority sets the overall policy, procedures and admission criteria for all admissions and must meet the standards set in the DfE's School Admissions Code.
The Local Authority is the admission authority for all maintained primary and secondary schools, except voluntary aided schools who are their own admissions authority. The authority has delegated the day-to-day administration and operation of the admissions policy to individual governing bodies. There must be no change to the admission policy without the approval of the admission authority.
Academies and free schools are their own admissions authority.
Admissions authorities are required to set an admissions number for the years that children are normally admitted to the school (eg reception and year 7) for each of the schools they oversee. These must be published annually along with the admissions criteria. Schools can not refuse admission if the admission limit has not been reached.
Where schools have falling rolls they can discuss with their admissions authority the possibility of reducing their PAN. The admissions authority must following the School Admissions code requirement to undertake a consultation to change the PAN for the years that children are normally admitted to the school (eg reception and year 7).
Governing Boards are able to amend their admissions numbers for the years outside of these key admission years (eg Years 1-6 and 8-11) but must ensure that this is done in the agreement with their admissions authority and must let the Admissions team know to ensure the booklets that are published for prospective parents are updated.
Consultations and decisions regarding the change in pupil numbers must be made by the January prior to the school entry date, for example the decision must be agreed by January 2020 for changes to be implemented by September 2021.
Maintained schools wishing to discuss this should contact the LA's School Place Planning Team.
There is no formal appeal for refusal to offer a part-time place in a nursery class. A parental request for a review of a decision not to offer a nursery place should be managed as a complaint, the response should be according to the school’s published complaints procedure.