Schools: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th November 2021.

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Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Party Chair, Labour Party, Chair of Labour Policy Review, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many times he has been received representations from local authorities requesting powers to compel schools to take on pupils who are out of school.

Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Party Chair, Labour Party, Chair of Labour Policy Review, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average response time from his Department is to local authorities that have requested powers to compel schools to take on pupils who are out of school.

Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Party Chair, Labour Party, Chair of Labour Policy Review, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many successful requests there have been from local authorities for powers to compel schools to take on pupils who are out of school.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

All children are entitled to an efficient full-time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.

Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.

If it appears to the local authority that a child of compulsory school age is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, then they have the power to begin procedures for issuing a school attendance order. The order will name a school at which the parent is required to register their child.

Where a pupil is not regularly attending school, local authorities and schools have a range of measures they can put in place to support school attendance.

In the 2020/21 academic year, local authorities made three requests for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to issue a direction to comply with a school attendance order for academy schools. None of these requests resulted in a direction to admit. The time taken to issue a decision on these cases ranged from 4 days to 63 days, owing to the complexity of the individual cases.

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