Venue: Virtual Meeting via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Dawn Mitchell, Governance Adviser
Appointment of Chair/Vice Chair for 2020/21 Academic Year
Agreed:- (1) That Mrs. I. Hartley be appointed as Chair of the Rotherham Local Admissions Forum for the 2020/21 academic year.
(Mrs. I. Hartley in the Chair)
(2) That Mrs. C. Cockayne be appointed Vice-Chair of the Rotherham Local Admissions Forum for the 2020/21 academic year.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the previous meeting held on 25th June, 2020.
Agreed:- That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 25th June, 2020, be approved as a correct record with the inclusion:-
Apologies for absence from Ms. M. Jordan and Mrs. J. Unwin
Mr. D. Fenton and Mr. C. Stones in the list of those being present.
Matters Arising from Previous Minutes
There were no matters arising.
Details of the current membership of the Rotherham Local Admissions Forum were discussed.
It was noted that Mrs. Scutt represented Aston Academy in the place of Mrs. E. Newton resulting in a vacancy under the Academies heading.
Information regarding the current vacancies would be circulated to schools in an attempt to seek further representation.
Agreed:- (1) That the information regarding membership be circulated.
(2) That an information be sent to schools highlighting the vacancies on the Forum and seeking representation under the various headings.
Consideration was given to the submitted document which set out the Terms of Reference for Rotherham Local Admissions Forum.
Agreed:- That the document be received and accepted as the Local Admissions Forum’s Terms of Reference for the 2020/21 academic year.
Consideration was given to the consultation document sent to all schools regarding the proposed admission arrangements (i.e. criteria and admission number) which would apply for school admission in the 2022/2023 academic year. Amendments made had been highlighted in red text for ease of reference e.g. summer born children and the National Offer Day for Primary Schools (19th April due to the Bank Holiday)
The timetable for the year was:-
The report made reference to the admission criteria and numbers for both community and controlled schools and for voluntary aided schools, academies and trust schools.
Consultation was currently taking place on admission numbers with a report being submitted to the next meeting of the Forum.
It was noted that the children first agreed under the summer born protocol would shortly start to reach the end of Key Stage 2. Schools/Academies would need to consider whether they were in agreement with a child transitioning to Year 7 with their “adopted” cohort rather than their chronological age group and a parent would likely need to request this approval a year in advance in order to know when they needed to apply for a Year 7 place as part of the normal admissions process.
As it stood at the moment, a parent would have to re-apply for delayed education to secondary school at the point where the child entered Year 6.
The DfE issued Summer Born Guidance in September and committed to the passing of the Legislation.
Included within the report were also details of each school and academy’s proposed admission number for 2022/2023 (Appendix two of the report submitted).
It was also reported that during the lockdown, the DfE had started local authority consultation on the School Admission Code looking at timescales for admissions, timescales for processing requests for Fair Access and as well as children who had been in State Care outside England. The outcome of the consultation would be fed back to the Forum.
Agreed:- (1) That the report be noted.
(2) That the finalised document be submitted to the February meeting for approval.
Update on School Organisation, Admissions, Appeals and Primary & Secondary Fair Access Protocol
An update was provided by relevant officers of the Access to Education Team relating to school organisation, admissions, appeals and primary and secondary Fair Access Protocol.
In relation to school organisation:-
- Waverley Junior Academy had opened at the start of the 2020/2021 academic year albeit by the use of marquees for the first 4 weeks of term. At the end of September all pupils, approximately 250, had transitioned into the new school building. It was built as a 2 form entry school thereby providing capacity as the housing estate surrounding it grew. Due to the pandemic an official opening had not taken place as yet
- Aston Academy’s 2 year expansion build was underway which included the demolition of some temporary buildings and replaced with permanent buildings providing extra capacity
In terms of admissions:-
- 2021/2022 Year 6-7 Transitions - the next couple of weeks would see the final push to get applications in with the 4th reminder having been sent to schools on 27th October when there had been 656 outstanding; as of 18th November it stood at 157
- The online application process had now ended and was open for telephone applications due to the postal situation
- Primary-Year 2 Transition – the closing date was not until 15th January, 2021 but the first reminder to school would be sent shortly
In terms of Fair Access:-
- At the point of lockdown, the Monitoring and Placement Officer had referred all the cases that were outstanding at that time to Children Missing Education Officer along with other colleagues to carry out safe and well checks
- The Fair Access Panel had resumed meeting, remotely, when the schools opened back up in September
- There had been issues raised about “bubbles” if a child was accessing a PRU as well as a school but these had now been resolved
In terms of appeals:-
- The hearing of appeals had recommenced on 18th June in accordance with the new Covid Regulations with more than 200 appeals having been heard since
- The DfE had confirmed on 18th November that it was planned to extend the Regulations up to 30th September, 2021 subject to Parliamentary approval
Agreed:- (1) That the information be received and duly noted.
(2) That a visit be arranged to Waverley Academy when it was safe to do so.
(3) That the appreciation of all those concerned for the hard work that had gone into the facilitating the appeals be recorded as well as those of the Appeal Panel members.
Further to Minute No. 40 of the previous meeting, consideration was given to the updated list of Rotherham schools which had converted/about to convert to academies as at October, 2020.
Agreed:- That the update be noted.
The Forum noted that the consultation for term dates for 2022/23 would commence in January, 2021 and details had been shared with neighbouring authorities.
An update following the consultation would be provided at the next meeting in February, 2021.
In previous years Rotherham had been out of step with neighbouring authorities with the fixed Easter model, however, Easter in 2023 fell within the first 2 weeks of April so would be in line.
One of the neighbouring authorities had previously reduced their summer holiday by a week and having 2 weeks holiday at October half term, if this was to be continued this would be the main variation across South Yorkshire for 2022/23.
Discussion ensued on the 2020/2021 examinations and whether the results dates had been amended. At present work was taking place on the presumption the results would be announced as normal even if the examinations were pushed back 3 weeks but until the Secretary of State for Education made a formal announcement it was unknown.
Agreed:- That the information be noted and the update be received in due course.
Date of next meeting
Thursday, 18th February, 2020, commencing at 10.00 a.m.
Agreed:- That a further meeting be held on Thursday, 18th February, 2021, commencing at 10.00 a.m.