Academies: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Junior Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how the Government plans to give parents confidence that their child will be accepted by academies that determine their own admissions and ensure that the child's needs will be met.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Junior Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what powers local authorities have to ensure that academy schools accept children with special educational needs.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

The law requires all schools, including academies, to comply with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan which names the school.

Where a child or young person has Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities but does not have an EHC plan, academies are required to comply with the Schools Admission Code and the law relating to admissions in considering their parents’ application for a place. Academies must:

  • consider such applications on the basis of the school’s published admissions criteria as part of their normal admissions procedures;
  • not refuse to admit a child because they do not feel able to cater for those needs; and
  • not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they do not have an EHC plan.

In addition:

  • the Equality Act 2010 prohibits all schools from discriminating against disabled children and young people in respect of admissions for a reason related to their disability; and
  • where an academy has a pupil with SEN on roll, it must use its ‘best endeavours’ to ensure that the child get the support needed.

The Secretary of State also has powers under each academy’s funding agreement to direct the admission of a child to an academy. This power can be exercised if a school unlawfully removes a child from roll or if a school unlawfully refuses to comply with an EHC plan.

Finally, anyone applying for a place as a mainstream applicant, which includes those with SEN but without an EHC plan, can appeal to an independent appeal panel constituted and operating in accordance with the School Admission Appeals Code, if refused admission. The decision of the panel is binding on all parties.

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