Stories + Views
Schools Adjudicator finds fault with admissions criteria in two free schools
The Maharishi Free School, Lancashire, and the Langley Hall Primary Academy, Slough, have had to amend their Oversubscription Criteria for 2013 by order of the Schools Adjudicator.
Both schools had named privately-owned fee-paying schools as feeder schools – this is not allowed under the new Admissions Code. Both schools are required to amend their Oversubscription Criteria accordingly. In addition, both schools have to make other amendments including saying clearly what they mean by “catchment” and changing their policy towards children with a statement of special educational need which names the school – Langley Hall must amend its Oversubscription Criteria to say that it will admit such a child rather than just considering admittance.
Langley Hall had been under the impression that the Department for Education (DfE) had given permission for the academy to name an attached fee-paying nursery, Wellingtons, as a feeder school. However, notes of meetings between the DfE and the free school before it opened indicated that there were concerns about naming Wellingtons as a feeder school. The Schools Adjudicator said that whatever the free school thought was agreed in 2011 before the new Code came into force did not apply now. Langley Hall said “they may consider exploring again with the DfE whether there is any way the School could have an agreement to be exempt from some of the admission requirements so that priority could be given for attending Wellingtons Nursery.”
No state school should expect to be granted exemption from any part of the Admissions Code. The clauses in the Code are legal requirements not optional extras which schools can ignore if they wish to do so.