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 - otherwise known as the School Determined Admission Arrangements - to individual governing bodies. The School Determined Admissions Arrangement (policy) is updated on an annual basis and agreed by cabinet by 28th February. Maintained schools can access Waltham Forest's School Determined Admission Arrangement after the 15th March each year via the LBWF website. 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 and must determine their admissions arrangements on an annual basis. These must be published on their websites by 15th march for the year ahead.
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 temporarily 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 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 must occur between 1st October and 31st January for a minimum of six weeks. 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 Admissions Team.
A child reaches compulsory school age the term after their 5th birthday. Some parents will feel their child is simply not ready to start school in the September following their fourth birthday and there is flexibility in the admissions code to allow for this.
Parents can request that:
For more details of the process and for guidance on Summer born children please see Children being education outside their normal age group.
Unnecessary transfers between schools are discouraged and families are encouraged to discuss their reasons for looking to move their children with their current school before applying.
Continuity of education is extremely important and so once a place offered and accepted, schools are encouraged to ensure that children are added to roll and the earliest possible start date provided.
School admissions for children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans are managed by the borough's Disability Enablement Service (DES). Parents must submit their SEND Primary/ Secondary transfer form by the 5th October and are able to name two schools (either primary or secondary) as their preferences.
Parents may have already named their school preferences in their annual review meeting but may wish to confirm their final choices after attending school open days.
Places at special schools or special resources provisions within mainstream schools are authorised by the DES Phase Transfer Panel.
Parents who wish to request an in-year transfer for a child who has an EHC Plan must contact the DES on 020 8496 6503 or 6505.
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.
If a child is not offered a place at your community school and the family wish to appeal please direct them to the process outlined on the Schools Admissions Appeals page.
For academies and free schools, appeal forms and information should be available on your website.