The local authority has a statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient places in their area for every child of school age whose parents want their child to attend school.
The School Organisation and Admissions Board (SOAB) is a discretionary board that provides support to the council in its statutory obligation to provide sufficient school places for all children within its geographical areas.
The board is made up of local authority officers and headteachers and provides advice and support to the local authority in the planning of school places and monitoring of the admissions process.
Since 2011, new providers of school places have been able to set up state-funded free schools, which like the growing number of schools that have converted to become academies, are also independent from local authority control.
This gives them the ability to increase or decrease the number of school places they offer. This means, whilst the local authority is responsible for ensuring there are enough school places available for local children it does not have the power over the creation of places.
Waltham Forest Pupil Place Plan 2018-2022 is the borough’s planning framework and provides key partners with trends and data to inform future decision-making.
The board has five headteacher representatives, one from a faith school, one trust school, one from a maintained primary two from an academy secondary and one from a maintained secondary school.
The head reps are now as follows:
SOAB meets at least once a term with the schedule of meetings based around key school dates, such as school census’ dates, admission booklet creation and national place offer days.