Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Admissions of hard to place pupils

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From calls to the ASCL hotline it appears that, despite government guidance, protocols for the admission of hard to place children are either not in place or not being implemented properly in some schools.

A basic principle is that there should be a limit on the number of excluded children that any one school (regardless of whether it is full or not) should have to take in. This limit should take into account children admitted up to two years previously. The impact of the protocol should be monitored by the Admissions Forum and should form a part of its report.

The recommendation from Sir Alan Steer's committee on behaviour, that schools should accept the principle of 'one out, one in', is not law but the impact of the principle does seem to be less than intended.

It appears that some schools which are their own admission authorities are still failing to meet the basic requirements of legislation and, some would say, fairness. In one case, for example, the appeals panel met privately with the head and the chair of the admissions committee.

Clearly there may be a difference of opinion with the schools adjudicator on what constitutes a fair admissions policy and constant changes in the law and codes do not help, but admissions policies must be implemented as stated.

Members in such schools may need to take a proactive stance in ensuring that legality and fairness prevail.

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