Section 51: Further amendments relating to admission arrangements
135.This section introduces Schedule 4 which contains a number of other amendments to statutory provisions relating to school admission arrangements, as follows.
136.The definition of “appeal panel” in section 84(6) of the SSFA is amended to reflect the substitution of the provisions of Schedule 24 by regulations.
137.Section 86 of the SSFA is further amended to clarify that a parent may express more than one preference for the school they wish their child to attend, to which the duty to comply placed on LEAs and governing bodies by subsection (2) will apply. Provision is also made to clarify that this duty also applies in relation to preferences expressed for a school’s sixth form.
138.Section 87, which removes the requirement from LEAs and school governing bodies to comply with a parent’s request to admit their child if he or she has been permanently excluded from two or more schools, is amended. The effect is that a child is not to be regarded as having been permanently excluded from a school for the purposes of section 87 if, had it been practical to do so, either a governing body reviewing the head teacher’s decision to exclude or an exclusion panel hearing an appeal against the governing body’s refusal to direct reinstatement, would have directed that the child be reinstated.
139.Section 89 of the SSFA, which sets out the procedure for determining admission arrangements annually, is amended. The main change is to provide governing bodies of community and voluntary controlled schools with a right to be consulted about the admission arrangements which admission authorities for other schools in their areas propose to make. This, in turn, will give such governing bodies the right to refer objections about proposed admissions arrangements to the Schools Adjudicator, or the NAW, to the extent permitted by regulations. Admission authorities may also be required to publish their proposals in certain circumstances, such as where they intend to admit fewer pupils than the school has capacity for (as calculated under a formula); this is for the purpose of enabling (by regulations) groups of ten or more parents to refer an objection to the Schools Adjudicator about the proposed admission number.
140.In addition, where the admission authority is a school’s governing body, the new section 89(2A) allow for regulations to provide that the duty to consult may be disapplied in certain circumstances (for example, where their admission arrangements have not been the subject of previous objection to the Schools Adjudicator and remain unchanged).
141.Section 90 of the SSFA is amended to clarify that an objection about proposed admission arrangements can be referred to the Schools Adjudicator, or (in Wales) the NAW, by anyone in the local area who should have been consulted about them, even if they were not.
142.A new section 92 of the SSFA is substituted, enabling information requirements to be placed in regulations.
143.Section 94 is further amended to clarify that any refusal to transfer a pupil already admitted to a secondary school into that school’s sixth form carries the right of appeal. Section 95 of the SSFA is amended to reflect the repeal of Schedule 25 in relation to the making and hearing of appeals by governing bodies of community and voluntary controlled schools against an LEA’s decision (where it is the admission authority) to admit to that school a child who has been permanently excluded from two or more schools. The provision presently contained in Schedule 25 to the SSFA is now to be made by regulations.
144.Sections 96 and 97, which relate to the power LEAs have to direct a school to admit a child who has been refused admission to, or permanently excluded from, every other suitable school within a reasonable travelling distance of the child’s home, are amended. They clarify that such a direction may only be given to a school for which the LEA is not the admission authority. They also clarify that where (following a referral) the Secretary of State, or the NAW, decides that the child should be admitted to a different school for which the LEA is the admission authority, the LEA must admit the child to that school.
145.Section 98 of the SSFA is amended to clarify which of the LEA or the governing body of a maintained school has responsibility for any decision relating to the admission of a child to a nursery class at such a school. Provision is also made for regulations to make such provision in relation to maintained nursery schools.
146.Section 3 of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991 is amended to require an admission authority for a Church of England school to consult the Diocesan Board about its proposed admission arrangements before going out to the statutory consultation with other admission authorities.