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Agenda item

School Admissions (New Regulations) and Membership of the Local Admissions Forum

Minutes:

Martin Harrop, Principal Officer, Forward Planning, presented the submitted report on School Admissions (New Regulations) and Membership of the Local Admissions Forum.

 

There are a number of new regulations which cover school admissions and the salient points are shown at Appendix 1 of the report now submitted.

 

Changes will be required to the membership of the Local Admissions Forum (LAF).

 

The main changes to note are:

 

                   (i)      Admissions consultation now includes parents and ‘others who appear to have an interest’.

                 (ii)      Consultation can be undertaken every 3 years (rather than annually) where there are no proposed changes to the arrangements.

                (iii)      Co-ordination of admission arrangements will, from 10/11, fully cover Primary and Secondary applications (including late and in-year applications) and all applications will be made to the home authority from 2011/12 onwards.

                (iv)      The LA rather than the LAF will produce the main annual report on school admissions matters.

                 (v)      Appeals panels can consider the lawfulness of admission arrangements and can uphold an infant class size appeal if an unlawful admissions policy prevented a place being offered to the appellant.

                (vi)      New regulations amend the membership of the LAF.

 

It is point 6) above which requires particular consideration.

 

The current membership of the LAF is shown at Appendix 2. This was agreed by the Authority in line with the provisions contained within the Education (Admissions Forums)(England) Regulations 2002 as amended by the Education (Admissions Forums) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, which allowed for a core membership made up as follows:

 

The outcome of the DCSF’s recent consultation on admissions matters was that:-

 

‘There was general agreement by consultation respondents to our proposals to make Forums small advisory groups representing those with an interest in school admissions in the local area.  There were concerns that local authority schools are too heavily represented.  The most common consultation response was that Forums function differently in different areas and so need to reflect the local context, be less prescriptive and more flexible in operation.  We have therefore revised the membership of Admission Forums, through the revised School Admissions Code and Regulations, to set a maximum number of 20 and replace the current prescriptive and complex membership with a make-up that reflects the local area.’

 

The report set out the actual make up of the membership which should now be derived from Section 8 of the new regulations.

 

The changed regulations provide uncertainty for current members of the LAF.  The suggested make up of the new membership could allow for reappointments and mitigate against the risks of losing some expertise that has been built up over the years.

 

In addition, a Co-ordination Timeline for admission arrangements during 2009, 2010 and 2011 was made available at the meeting. 

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the changes, as outlined in Appendix 1 of the report now submitted, be noted.

 

(2)  That the report be submitted to the next meeting of the Local Admissions Forum to be held on 19th March, 2009, for their consideration of the proposed make-up of the Local Admissions Forum.

Supporting documents: