Inclusion ( SEN )

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29th January 20
Trail : home / Inclusion and Special Education Needs / Advice / School Self-Evaluation for Inclusion / Statutory Requirements : School admissions for pupils with Special Educational Needs

School admissions for pupils with Special Educational Needs

School Admissions for Children with Special Educational Needs.

 

The School Admissions Code (the Code) came into force on 10 February 2009.  The Code applies to admissions to all maintained schools including grammar schools, Trust schools, boarding schools and entry into sixth forms.  Academy Funding Agreements require Academies to adopt practices and arrangements that are consistent or in accordance with the Code, the School Admission Appeals Code and admissions law as it applies to maintained schools. Any differences between the admissions requirements for Academies under the model Funding Agreement and maintained schools, particularly in relation to objections and appeals, are set out in the Code.

 

In reading the code, where mandatory requirements are imposed (or statutory provisions) it is stated that relevant bodies ‘must’ comply with the particular requirement or provision.  Where the Code prohibits practices or criteria it is stated that relevant body or bodies ‘must not’ use the practices or criteria. Where the requirement is imposed by primary or secondary legislation this is indicated.

 

To view the DCSF School Admissions website click HERE.

 

To view the full School Admissions Code click HERE.

 

The Code applies to:

 

a)  Admission authorities: local authorities are the admission authorities for community and voluntary controlled schools, unless the function has been delegated to the governing body. For foundation schools (including Trust schools), voluntary aided schools and Academies, governing bodies are the admission authority.

b) Governing bodies (when not admission authorities).

c) Local authorities (when not acting as admission authorities).

d) Admission Forums.

e) Schools Adjudicators.

f) Admission appeal panels.

 

In relation to admissions for pupils with SEN, the following is of note:

 

Admission numbers.

Children with statements of special educational needs admitted during a normal admission round to a relevant age group must be taken into account when determining and applying a school’s admission number.  Accordingly, children with statements already admitted to a school must be counted towards the admission number when considering whether there is still a place available for another child without a statement.  (Para 1.23)

 

Statements of Special Educational Need

Governing bodies of all maintained schools are required to admit a child with a statement of special educational needs that names their school. (Para 1.56)

 

Ensuring equity and fair access

In drawing up their admission arrangements, admission authorities must ensure that the practices and the criteria used to decide the allocation of school places are procedurally fair for all groups of children (including those with special educational needs and disabilities, children in care and young carers). (Para 1.71(c))

 

Ensuring fair access – Implications of wider policies

Admission authorities and governing bodies must ensure that their admission arrangements and other school policies are fair and do not unfairly disadvantage, either directly or indirectly, a child from a particular social or racial group, or a child with a disability or special educational needs.  Local authorities and schools have duties under Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 not to discriminate against disabled children and this is an important principle that should underpin all schools’ policies, not just admissions. Admission authorities must also ensure that their admission arrangements comply with all other relevant equalities legislation.  Admission authorities and governing bodies should develop and implement admission arrangements, practices and oversubscription criteria that actively promote equity, and thus go further than simply ensuring that unfair practices and criteria are excluded. (Para 1.72)

 

Practices and policies that may undermine fair admission arrangements

Admission authorities must not use supplementary application or information forms that ask for details about parents’ or children’s disabilities, special educational needs or medical conditions, unless this is in support of positive action.  (Para 1.78(d))

 

Setting Fair Oversubscription Criteria.

When determining oversubscription criteria all admission authorities must ensure that they comply with their statutory responsibilities in respect of children with statements of special educational needs and children in care. (Para 2.5)

 

All governing bodies are required by section 324 of the EA 1996 to admit to the school a child with a statement of special education needs that names the school. This is not an oversubscription criterion. Schools must admit such children whether they have places or not. Admission authorities must not imply in their published admission arrangements that they have discretion over the admission of children with statements of special educational needs.  (Para 2.8)

 

In setting oversubscription criteria admission authorities must not discriminate against or disadvantage children with special educational needs or disabilities.  Governors have no discretion over the admission of children with statements of special educational needs.  (Para 2.16(g))

 

Social and medical need

If admission authorities propose to give higher priority to children for social or medical reasons they must ensure that in doing so they are not failing to comply with paragraph 2.16(g) of the Code, which prohibits the use of oversubscription criteria that discriminate against or disadvantage children because of their special educational needs or disabilities.

 

Random allocation

Random allocation may be used as the sole means of allocating places or alongside other oversubscription criteria, but only after criteria giving priority to children in care and the admission of children with a statement of special educational needs.  (Para 2.33)

 

Class size legislation

The class size legislation makes allowance for the entry of an additional child in very limited circumstances.  Such circumstances include:

 

  • The admission of children with statements of special educational needs where they are admitted to the school outside the normal admissions round.  (Para 2.63(a))
  • Children who are registered pupils at special schools and by arrangement with another school which is not a special school, receive part of their education at that other school.  (Para 2.63(f))
  • Children with special education needs who are registered pupils at a school which is not a special school and are normally educated in a special educational needs unit attached to that school, and attend, an infant class in the school (i.e. not in the unit), where this has been deemed as beneficial to the child.  Para 2.63(g))

 

(In the case of Paragraphs f) and g) above, the child will remain an exception for any time they spend in an infant class at the mainstream school or outside the special educational needs unit.  In all other circumstances the child will only remain an exception for the remainder of the school year in which they were admitted. Measures must be taken for the following year to ensure that the class falls within the infant class size limit. (Para 2.64)

 

Secondary Schools - Partial selection by aptitude and banding

Section 101(5) of the SSFA 1998 allows admission authorities which use banding also to admit up to 10 per cent of children in total on the basis of aptitude for one or more of the prescribed subjects. In these cases admission authorities must band children first and then apply its oversubscription criteria within each band, including any provision to admit 10 per cent of children on the basis of aptitude in the relevant subject(s). So, for example, having given first priority to children in care, and admitting children with statements of special educational needs, admission authorities are then able to admit a further 10 per cent of places available on the basis of the relevant aptitude from within the bands.  (Para 2.89)

 

Children in care, who apply in the normal admissions round, must be included in any banding arrangements and given top priority within each band. Children with special educational needs can be included in banding arrangements, that is they can be allocated to the band appropriate to their ability, but schools must not refuse to admit a child with a statement that names the school.  (Para 2.90)

 

Test arrangements for banding and partial selection by aptitude

Admission authorities must ensure that tests are accessible to children with special educational needs and disabilities, having regard to the reasonable adjustments required under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.  For example, it may be appropriate to make available test material in an adapted format, or allow additional time, or a scribe, depending on the individual needs of the child.  (Para 2.97)

 

Children who have been permanently excluded twice

Protocols for admissions where a child has been permanently excluded from two or more schools do not apply to children with statements of special educational needs. (Para 3.30)

 

Children with challenging behaviour

Admission authorities must not refuse to admit children in or outside the normal admission round on the basis of their poor behaviour elsewhere, unless paragraph 3.30 applies.  They also must not refuse to admit a child thought to be potentially disruptive, or to exhibit challenging behaviour, on the grounds that the child is to first be assessed for special educational needs.  The law disapplies the normal principle that applicants’ preferences are complied with only in the ‘twice excluded’ situation (further details in Para 3.30).  A child with challenging behaviour may also be disabled as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and require reasonable adjustments to be made for them in the school or require particular support for any special educational needs.  (Para 3.31)

 

Exceptionally, outside the normal admissions round, where a governing body considers that the admission of child with challenging behaviour would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources at the school it may refuse to admit that child even though there are places available. This will normally only be appropriate where a school has a particularly high proportion of children with challenging behaviour or previously excluded children and one or more of the following exceptional circumstances exists, namely that the school:

a)      requires special measures or has recently come out of them (within the last two years);

b)      has been identified by Ofsted as requiring significant improvement and therefore given ‘notice to improve’;

c)      is subject to a formal warning notice by the local authority;

d)      is a Fresh Start school or Academy open for less than two years; or

e)      is a secondary school where fewer than 20 per cent of children are achieving 5 or more A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics, or a primary school where fewer than 55 per cent of pupils achieve Level 4 or above at Key Stage 2 in both English and mathematics for four or more consecutive years. 

 

(Para 3.32)