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Co-ordinated admissions scheme

The 'co-ordinated scheme' is an administrative process to make admission to school easier, more transparent and less stressful for parents.


In order to provide every parent with an offer of one place we will be working collaboratively with the governing bodies of voluntary aided, foundation and academy schools in Derbyshire and neighbouring local authorities (LAs).

Derbyshire authority will be the only body to transmit an offer on behalf of all Derbyshire admission authorities to a Derbyshire resident of a single place at any Derbyshire school during the normal admissions round.

The scheme for admission arrangements will not affect the duty of the governing body of voluntary aided, foundation and academy schools to set and apply their own admission arrangements.

Under this scheme the local authority responsible for the area in which the parent resides is known as the home authority.

Glossary of terms used

'Parent'

The word parent extends to any person having parental responsibility for a child in accordance with the terms of the Children Act 1989.

'Home authority'

This is the authority where the child lives. For Derbyshire residents (excluding residents of Derby) this is the Derbyshire Local Authority.

'Normal admission round'

This is the specified period for admissions as relates to the relevant year group to which children are normally admitted to the school and runs from the start of the application process to the offer day.

Mainstream schools

'Community and voluntary controlled schools' - these are funded by us with the headteacher and governing body responsible for running the school. We determine and administer the admissions policy.

'Voluntary aided schools' - we jointly fund these with a voluntary organisation, usually a church diocesan board. The headteacher and governing body run the school. The admissions policy is determined and administered by the governing body. Catholic schools are voluntary aided schools.

'Foundation schools' - we fund these but responsibility for running the school rests with the headteacher and the governing body. The admissions policy is determined and administered by the governing body.

'Academies' - academies are funded directly by the government and responsibility for running the school rests with the headteacher and governing body. The admissions policy is determined and administered by the academy trust.

Intake admissions

The intake scheme for admission to school is a mechanism that seeks to ensure that every parent resident in Derbyshire who has applied for a school place for their child in the normal admission round receives a single offer of a school place on the same day.

Intake admissions in Derbyshire relate to the normal point of admission to the school. For infant and primary schools this is reception class, for junior schools it is year 3 and for secondary schools year 7. Schools in other authorities may operate different points of entry. The intake scheme will apply from the opening of applications for the round until the point at which we cease to maintain the waiting lists.

Applying for a school place

  1. All applications from Derbyshire residents for admission to any mainstream school must be made on the common application form.
  2. Parents who reside in Derbyshire must use the Derbyshire common application form. Voluntary aided, academy, foundation and voluntary controlled schools may require parents to fill in other paperwork in addition to the common application form. This is called a supplementary form.
  3. Where a supplementary form is received it will not be regarded as a valid application unless the parent has also completed the common application form.
  4. Applications from parents not resident in Derbyshire must be made on the common application form available from their home authority.
  5. Any Derbyshire school that receives an application directly must ensure that it is forwarded to the home authority.
  6. Parents can state preferences for any combination of mainstream schools in Derbyshire or in the area of another authority.
  7. Parents will be invited to state 3 preferences on the common application form for schools in priority order and give reasons for those preferred schools. Preference order will not be revealed to other admission authorities. Where other LAs offer parents more than 3 preferences, Derbyshire will not consider any preference lower than a third preference prior to the offer date.
  8. In all cases the common application form must be received by the closing date in the specified timetable.

Application procedure

  1. By the date specified in the timetable we will notify other Derbyshire admission authorities and other LAs responsible for admission to any school stated on the common application form details of the applicants for their schools.
  2. For all the preferences stated on any common application form received, the respective admission authorities will apply their published admission criteria.
  3. Places will be offered up to the published admission number (PAN) for each school. If an admission authority decides that it is able to admit above its PAN, it must notify us in good time to allow us to deliver our co-ordination responsibilities effectively.
  4. By the specified date in the timetable we will aim to:
    a) have completed a list of provisional offers for schools for which we are the admissions authority;
    b) have received confirmation from voluntary aided, foundation and academy schools that they have applied their criteria and ranked their requests accordingly.
  5. By the date specified, we will aim to compare the lists from all schools in our area. Where it is the case that a child can be offered more than one provisional offer of a place, the parent will be offered the highest ranked of those provisional offers as determined by their stated priority order of preferences on the common application form.
  6. Derbyshire LA then adjusts the list for any other school for which a preference was expressed by that parent, moving another child, who was previously not eligible to be allocated a potential place up the list to a provisional place, which has been vacated.
  7. The process (points 1 to 6) is achieved via an auto allocation facility on the central admissions system which scans the entire database of pupils’ provisional preferences and assigns their highest possible preference based on the rank order. Once a place has been allocated, any lower preferences for each pupil will be withdrawn. Any higher preferences not offered will remain on a waiting list.
  8. Auto allocation will traverse the database allocating and withdrawing places.
    At the end of the auto allocation process it will be possible to identify those schools which have spare places or insufficient places and waiting lists for oversubscribed schools will be maintained.

The offer of a place

  1. If a child can be offered a place at more than one school, then a place will be offered at the highest ranked school possible.
  2. Derbyshire parents will receive a single offer of a school place on the specified offer dates in the timetable.
  3. Non-Derbyshire parents requesting a place at a Derbyshire school will be notified of their decision by their home authority.
  4. All offers of places at Derbyshire schools will be treated as accepted unless the parent contacts us to advise that they have secured a place at an alternative school. This should be done within 10 school days.

Unallocated preferences

  1. Where we cannot make a single offer for any of the preferences expressed by a parent resident in Derbyshire, a place will be allocated to the child at the normal area school (if places are available), or next nearest Derbyshire school, with places available, to their normal place of residence.

Late applications (received after the specified closing date, but before the offer date)

  1. Late applications received after the closing date will only be considered alongside other applications if the reason for the delay is considered exceptional (such as if a parent has been ill for some time, or if a family is returning from abroad) and documentary evidence is provided.
  2. Any other applications will be considered as late and will not be dealt with until after places have been allocated to those who met the closing date.

No applications received

Places will first be offered to those who have expressed a preference. Where no preference is expressed on behalf of a Derbyshire child for the junior or secondary intake rounds we will allocate a place at the normal area school if places are available or at the next nearest school with places.

Waiting lists

  1. We will establish a waiting list for all Derbyshire schools where the number of applications for those schools has exceeded the places available.
  2. Names of children will automatically be placed on the waiting list for a school where it has not been possible to offer a place and they have given this preference a higher priority than the school at which they have been offered a place.
  3. A vacancy arises only when the number of offers to a particular school falls below the published admission number (PAN), or in cases where admission authorities have admitted above their PAN, below the maximum number of places offered for the year group (this excludes places secured through the appeals process).
  4. Waiting lists will be established on the offer day and be maintained up to the end December. Voluntary aided, foundation and academy schools may maintain waiting lists beyond this date for intake years and for other school years if they wish.
  5. Priority on the waiting list is determined according to the admission authority's published oversubscription criteria.
  6. Children allocated to a school in accordance with the Fair Access Protocol must take precedence over other children on the waiting list.

Right of appeal

Any parent whose child is refused a school place has the right to an independent appeal.

Applications to schools with different age of transfer

  1. Where another admission authority operates a different point of entry, Derbyshire, as the home authority, will make an application available to any parent in our area who wishes to apply to a school in neighbouring area which operates a different age of transfer.
  2. Where the application is for a school with an entry age over 11 this will be treated as an application for secondary school and the same timetable will apply.
  3. Where the application is for a school with an entry age under 11 this will be treated as an application for primary school and the same timetable will apply.

Derbyshire's Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme

Secondary intake timetable 2023 to 2024

  • Applications available from: 12 September 2022
  • Closing date: 31 October 2022 (DfE)
  • Application exchange with other LAs: 7 November 2022
  • Confirmation of F/VA/A of all applications available: 28 November 2022
  • F/VA/A to have confirmed ranking complete: 12 December 2022
  • First offer exchange with other LAs: 3 January 2023
  • Final offer exchange with other LAs: 6 February 2023
  • Allocations complete: 10 February 2023
  • Offer day: 1 March 2023 (DfE)
  • Closing date for appeals: 20 school days from offer date - requested by 22 March 2023
  • Main round of appeals normally heard by: 16 June 2022
  • Waiting list maintained until: 31 December 2023

Primary intake timetable 2023 to 2024

  • Applications available from: 7 November 2022
  • Closing date: 15 January 2023 (DfE)
  • Application exchange with other LAs: 23 January 2023
  • Confirmation of F/VA/A of all applications available: 6 February 2023
  • F/VA/A to have confirmed ranking complete: 27 February 2023
  • First offer exchange with other LAs: 6 March 2023
  • Final offer exchange with other LAs: 17 March 2023
  • Allocations complete: 24 March 2023
  • Offer day: 17 April 2023 (DfE)
  • Closing date for appeals: 17 May 2023
  • Main round of appeals normally heard by: 15 July 2022
  • Waiting list maintained until: 31 December 2023

In-year admissions

In-year admissions relate to applications by parents to move their child to another school other than at the normal point of entry, for example: following a change of address. These are also known as 'casual' or 'admissions outside of the round'.

The revised version of the 'Schools Admissions Code' which came into force in December 2014 removed the requirement for local authorities to co-ordinate in-year admissions for the offer year 2013 to 2014 and all subsequent years. The code does however still require:

  • Local authorities provide on request information to parents about the availability of places in schools within its area, and provide a suitable form for parents to complete when applying for a school place at any school (2.21).
  • Own admission authority schools to, on receipt of an in-year application, notify the local authority of both the application, and its outcome, to allow the local authority to keep up to date figures on the availability of places in the area. The admission authority must also inform parents of their right to appeal against the refusal of a place (2.32).

Procedure

Applications will fall into 3 categories:

  • direct to the admissions and transport team
  • approaches directly to schools where the local authority is co-ordinating in-year admission for these schools
  • applications where the school is co-ordinating its own in-year admissions

Applying for a school place

  1. We will provide a common application form for parents to apply for a place at any mainstream school in Derbyshire.
  2. Applications from parents for schools outside Derbyshire should be made direct to the school or the local authority in whose area the school is located.
  3. Parents will be invited to state up to 3 preferences on the common application form for schools in priority order and give reasons for those preferred schools. Preference order will not be revealed to other admission authorities.
  4. Where a parent approaches a school direct and chooses to express only one preference for the school approached, if a place is available the school may verbally offer the place.
  5. Where a parent approaches a school direct and there are either no places available or they wish to express preferences for more than one school, then the parent should be advised to complete an application form.

Procedure for schools participating in in-year co-ordination

  1. Schools must notify us of all verbal offers and refusals. We will then confirm the decision in writing.
  2. Where we receive an application form, we will make available to all schools listed on the form full details of the application.
  3. All applications will be subject to scrutiny to determine if they meet the criteria for consideration under the Fair Access Protocol.
  4. Unless by prior arrangement, where schools notify us in advance of the availability of places in each year group, no decision will be sent by us without the school having considered the request.
  5. Schools must consider requests with regard to their published admission number, the current number on roll and, in respect of infant and primary schools, key stage 1 class size limits. The school must inform us of the availability of places and if a place is available within 5 school days.

The offer of a place

  1. If a child can be offered a place at more than one school, then a place will be offered at the highest ranked school possible.
  2. Where a school has advised that a place is available they will be informed if the place is the one to be offered to the parent or not.
  3. Parents will receive a single offer of a school place.
  4. All offers of places at Derbyshire schools will be treated as accepted unless the parent contacts us or the school to decline the offer. This should be done within 10 school days.

Procedure for schools not participating in in-year co-ordination

  1. Where schools receive applications direct, they must notify us of both the application and the outcome within 2 days of the decision being notified to parents.
  2. Where an application form is received, we will make available to schools full details of the application. Schools must notify us of the outcome of the application within 2 days of the decision being notified to parents.
  3. All applications received via the admission authority will be subject to scrutiny to determine if they meet the criteria for consideration under the Fair Access Protocol.
  4. Schools must inform parents of the outcome of their application and, if the application is refused, of their right of appeal.
  5. Where parents express preferences for more than one school, we will not apply the coordinated scheme to preferences for schools not participating in coordination and this may result in multiple offers or offers not being taken up by parents.
  6. Schools are required to notify us of the number of places available in each year group on at least a monthly basis in order for us to provide information to parents.

Unplaced children

Where no place can be offered to a Derbyshire child, and the child has no current school place, the admission and transport team will ensure that a place is secured either through the appeals process, by the parent expressing further preferences, or placement through the Fair Access Protocol where appropriate. This to be done in liaison with the education welfare service.

Waiting lists

  1. We will not maintain waiting lists for in-year admissions for community and controlled schools.
  2. Voluntary aided, foundation and academy schools may choose to maintain waiting lists for in-year admissions. Priority on the waiting list is determined according to the school's oversubscription criteria.
  3. Where voluntary aided, foundation and academy schools do maintain a waiting list it is the responsibility of the school to communicate with parents where places become available.
  4. Parents already on the waiting list and wishing to place their child's name on the list for the next academic year should be advised to make a new application in the term preceding the new academic year to update their application details and confirm their continuing interest.
  5. Children allocated to a school in accordance with the Fair Access Protocol must take precedence over other children on the waiting list.

Right of appeal

Any parent whose child is refused a school place will be informed in the decision letter sent by us or the admission authority of their right to an independent appeal against the decision.