Beta

This is a new service - your feedback will help us to improve it.

School admissions policies

Walsall Council's policies and further information that you can use when you're applying for a school place.

Policy on school places and school admissions

1. When the council will use this policy 

The council will act in accordance with its statutory duties and powers and this policy when:

  • setting admissions arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools; 
  • responding to consultations on admissions arrangements by voluntary aided, foundation and trust schools, and by academies (together known as ‘own admission authorities’); 
  • planning and deciding on the provision of school places; 
  • responding to proposals by school proposers. 

2. The purpose of the policy 

The primary customers of the council are its residents, and the overriding principle of this policy is that the council should aim to meet the needs of its residents through school planning and school admissions arrangements that are consistent with the admissions code and are fair, clear and objective. 

There will be occasions when it is not possible to meet parental preferences, but in these cases the council must always be able to show clearly how its decisions are fair. 

The council will work with schools and academies that are their ‘own admissions authorities’ to promote consistency of practice, including definition and terminology, so that all Walsall residents have a positive experience, regardless of the type of school for which they are expressing a preference. 

There may be occasions when special circumstances require the council to vary the implementation of this policy. In such cases, the paragraph above will be the over-riding principle.

3. Distance 

Children should be able to attend a school within reasonable walking distance when using a safe walking route, and where this is not practicable, a school that is reasonably accessible by public transport. 

This principle maximises the convenience to parents, and minimises the cost and carbon footprint of home-to-school transport. 

The council has a statutory duty to provide free home-to-school transport when the distance from home to school is above a limit set in statute. Such provision is expensive and uses resources that could otherwise be expended on the provision of education services. 

4. Siblings 

Where a family has one child already attending a primary or secondary school, the parents should be able to expect that a second child living permanently at the same address would be admitted to the same school, provided that the first child is still on roll when the second child starts. 

Parents, particularly those with two or more primary aged children who need accompanying to school, should not be required to travel to different schools. In addition, parents should be encouraged to take an active part in a single school community rather than dividing their support between two or more schools. 

The council does not support admission arrangements which give priority to children with siblings who previously attended a school but are no longer on roll (other than in the case of paired infant and junior schools). 

Where a family has moved house since a former sibling left a school, admission arrangements which give priority for admission to children with former siblings could result in a child who lives a considerable distance away from a school being given priority for admission over a children who lives much closer and admission arrangements of this kind would be contrary to the council’s policy on distance (section 3).

5. Size of primary schools 

Primary schools should have an admission number of 30, 45, 60 or 90, allowing the year groups in key stage 1 to be arranged so that infant classes consist of no more than 30 children. 

Since infant classes are required to have no more than 30 children, an admission number that is not 30, 45, 60 or 90 could require the employment of an extra teacher at considerable cost. An admission number that does not allow pupils to be taught in infant classes of 30 makes the school vulnerable to successful admission appeals. 

6. The number of school places 

Where there are too few or too many primary or secondary school places in an area, or where demographic projections indicate that this might become the case in the foreseeable future, the council will act to increase or reduce school capacity either by increasing or reducing the size of existing schools, or by seeking to open new schools or close existing schools. 

The council will seek to increase provision of school places in an area where demographic projections indicate that the total of the planned admission numbers in an area falls short of the number of children who will be seeking a school place. 

The council will consider taking steps to reduce the provision of school places in an area where the reducing number of children attending any school is leading to its educational and financial viability being put at risk. 

Changing school provision in an area requires careful planning and consultation, but where schools are overcrowded new provision must be commissioned, and where schools have far too few children, there are problems of instability and management, and the surplus capacity must be reduced to a sensible level. 

7. Distance measurements 

Every school and academy should use distance as the final oversubscription criterion. 

Distance should be measured in a straight line between the child’s home and the school. Every school and academy should use the same basis of measurement. 

The council believes that the best, fairest and most transparent basis for the final over-subscription criterion is the distance from the child’s home to the school. It is important for public understanding and confidence that all schools and academies use the same basis for measuring home-to-school distance. 

The council will support schools and academies by providing distance measurements as assessed by the council’s GPS measuring system. 

8. Catchment areas 

Catchment areas should not be used as a basis of over-subscription criteria as these can lead to unfairness and unrealistic expectations. Instead the council supports the use of straight line distance (section 6). 

Where a school is under-subscribed, a catchment area has no effect, as every child applying must be admitted. 

Where a school is over-subscribed, it is entirely possible that some children living in the catchment area will not be admitted. Either case leads to confusion and complaints among parents. 

9. Feeder schools 

Feeder school arrangements, where attendance at one school gives priority in admission to another school, are not supported, with the exception of paired infant and junior schools. 

Linking a primary school to a secondary school through feeder arrangements can distort admissions and be seen by parents as unfair, leading to complaints and appeals. 

It is likely with feeder school arrangements that children living close to a secondary school may not be admitted while children living much further away may be admitted because they attended the feeder primary school. 

10. Social and medical need 

‘Social and medical need’ is a valid oversubscription criterion, with the supporting evidence being a letter from an appropriate medical practitioner or social worker setting out the reasons why the child should be admitted. 

This will be relatively rarely used but will enable the council, schools and academies effectively to support vulnerable families. 

11. Selection by aptitude 

Selection by aptitude is not supported. 

Selection by aptitude was linked to the specialist school programme which ended some years ago. No new selection by aptitude is allowed by the school admissions code. 

Assessing aptitude fairly has proved very contentious with many complaints that assessments and tests measure achievement not aptitude. So, for example, if a child has grade 4 piano, or demonstrates that they can play the piano, that is a measure of achievement not aptitude. 

12. Selection by banding 

Selection by banding is not supported. 

Selection by banding leads to considerable confusion among parents and leads to admissions arrangements in an area that are complex and confusing for parents and neither transparent nor fair especially where one school or academy uses banding and others do not. 

13. Faith-based oversubscription criteria 

The use of faith-based oversubscription criteria by schools designated as having a religious character is supported provided that the criteria are clear, reasonable and equitable. 

It is for the school to decide its faith-based over-subscription criteria, but these should avoid any possibility of being seen as discriminatory or unfair, or subject to abuse. 

14. Children of staff 

Giving of priority in school admission arrangement to children of school staff is not supported. 

It is unfair for any school to give priority for admission to the children of staff as that will result in fewer places being available for local children. 

15. Looked after children 

Looked after children and previously looked after children are to be given the highest priority for admission in the admission arrangements of all schools. 

Where a looked after child without a school place is seeking midyear admission, it is the view of the council that where necessary schools should admit above number to ensure that the child is admitted promptly to the most appropriate school. 

Where necessary the council will use its power of direction to direct other admission authorities to admit a looked after child. 

16. Midyear admissions 

Applications for midyear admission in all year groups should be admitted promptly. There must be no delay in the admission of any child who is without a school place. 

Annexe 

Excerpts from the Education Act 1996 as amended by later legislation.

Section 12: General responsibility for education

(1) A local education authority shall (so far as their powers enable them to do so) contribute towards the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of the community by securing that efficient primary education and secondary education are available to meet the needs of the population of their area. 

Section 13: A Duty to promote high standards in primary and secondary education

(1) A local education authority shall ensure that their functions relating to the provision of education to which this section applies are (so far as they are capable of being so exercised) exercised by the authority with a view to promoting high standards. 

Section 14: Functions in respect of provision of primary and secondary schools

(1) A local education authority shall secure that sufficient schools for providing (a) primary education, and (b) education that is secondary education by virtue of section 2(2)(a), are available for their area. 

Excerpts from the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 as amended by later legislation.

Section 84: Code of practice

(1) The Secretary of State shall issue, and may from time to time revise, a code of practice containing such practical guidance as he thinks appropriate in respect of the discharge by (a)local education authorities, (b) the governing bodies of maintained schools, (c) appeal panels, and (d)adjudicators, of their respective functions under this chapter. 

(3) It shall be the duty of each of the bodies and persons mentioned in subsection (1) when exercising functions under this chapter to have regard to any relevant provisions of the code. 

Section 86: Parental preferences

(1) A local education authority shall make arrangements for enabling the parent of a child in the area of the authority (a) to express a preference as to the school at which he wishes education to be provided for his child in the exercise of the authority’s functions, and (b) to give reasons for his preference. 

Note on academies and school admissions:

Academies are not covered by the requirements of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. However, as stated in the 2012 Admissions Code, “Academies are required by their funding agreements to comply with the code and law relating to admissions, through the Secretary of State has the power to vary this requirement where there is a demonstrable need.” The Secretary of State has not varied the requirement for any Walsall academy.

Schemes for co-ordinated primary, secondary and midyear admissions 2021/22

1. Secondary admissions

Walsall Council participates in an inter-local authority coordinated admission scheme with a number of neighbouring local authorities, namely Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Staffordshire and Wolverhampton.

Parents should complete an online application. This will enable Walsall parents of year 6 children (who will transfer to secondary education in September 2021) to name up to five secondary schools, rank them in order of preference and give reasons for their preference. The online application may be used to apply for a place at any secondary school in or outside the borough.

Parents who name Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Queen Mary’s High School, The Walsall Academy, a specialist music place at Aldridge School or a sports place at Ormiston Shelfield Academy on the online form must also complete the school’s own registration form.

Parents who name Blue Coat CE Academy, Brownhills School, Shire Oak Academy or St Francis of Assisi Catholic School, or St Thomas More Catholic Business and Enterprise College on the online form must also complete the school’s own supplementary information form.

Online applications must be submitted by the national closing date of 31 October 2020.

Preferences, which are changed or added after the closing date without a significant change in circumstances, will be processed as late applications. When notifying a significant change of circumstances the applicant must supply documentary evidence to confirm the change. An example of a significant change of circumstances is a house move that necessitates a change of preference(s). This would need to be validated by documentary evidence such as a solicitor’s letter confirming exchange of contract or a copy of the tenancy agreement.

All applications for named schools will be considered in accordance with each school’s published admission criteria. Schools, which are their own admission authority, will be informed of all applications naming their school, but not the rankings. These schools will inform the Admissions and Pupil Place Planning Team of the order in which all applicants meet their admission criteria.

By 13 November 2020 (tbc), Walsall Council will exchange application data and supporting documentation in respect of pupils resident in Walsall, who have applied for schools outside the borough, with the appropriate maintaining local authorities. Similar information will be received for applications from out of borough residents who have expressed preferences for Walsall secondary schools.

By 4 January 2021 (tbc), Walsall Council will input the results of all applications to Walsall schools and a list of potential offers will then be produced. These potential offers will then be exchanged with other local authorities in respect of the results of out of borough applications. The information received will state which Walsall residents have the potential offer of a place in an out of borough school. This information will be transferred onto the Walsall database, compared to rankings and will result in a list of provisional offers.

By 15 January 2021 (tbc), the provisional offers will be exchanged with other local authorities in respect of out of borough applications. The information received will state which Walsall residents have a provisional offer of a place in an out of borough school. These will be transferred onto the Walsall database, compared to rankings and the results will be the final allocation of places at Walsall secondary schools.

By 5 February 2021 (tbc), the final allocations will be exchanged with the other local authorities in respect of the results of out of borough applications. If a Walsall child does not meet the admission criteria for any of their preferred schools then Walsall Council will allocate a place at the nearest alternative secondary school with vacant places following consultation with the relevant admission authority.

On the national notification date, 1 March 2021 (or the next working day), email notification of the outcome of their application will be sent to all parents resident in Walsall who submitted an online application and requested email notification. The local authority will make just one offer of a school place to each child, further offers will only be made after the offer date if it is subsequently possible to offer a child one of their parents higher ranked preferences. An offer of a school place will not be withdrawn unless it is subsequently found to have been made in error, or as the result of a fraudulent, or intentionally misleading application, or the parent informs the local authority that they have made alternative arrangements for their child’s education and no longer require a secondary school place.

2. Primary admissions

Walsall Council participates in an inter-local authority coordinated admission scheme in partnership with a number of neighbouring Local Authorities, namely Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Staffordshire and Wolverhampton. Parents should complete an online application. This will enable Walsall parents of nursery children to name up to three primary schools and parents of year 2 children (for junior schools) to name up to three junior schools, rank them in order of preference, and give reasons for their preference. The online form may be used to apply for a place at any primary/junior school in or outside the borough. 

Parents of children who are in nursery provision in Walsall, and are resident in Walsall must apply online if they want their child to join a reception class in a Walsall primary school or in another local authority’s area.

Attendance at a Walsall school’s nursery provision or co-located children’s centre does not guarantee a place at a Walsall primary school. 

Online applications must be submitted on the Walsall Council website by the closing date of 15 January 2021. Preferences changed or added after the closing date without a significant change in circumstances will be processed as late applications. When notifying a significant change of circumstances the applicant must supply documentary evidence to confirm the change. An example of a significant change of circumstances is a house move that necessitates a change of preference(s). This would need to be validated by documentary evidence such as a solicitor’s letter confirming exchange of contract or a copy of the tenancy agreement. 

All applications for named schools will be considered in accordance with each school’s published admission criteria. Schools that are their own admission authority will be provided with a list of information in respect of all applications naming their school, but not the rankings, together with copies of any supporting documentation. These schools will use the information provided to apply their admission criteria and will then inform the School Admissions and Appeals Team of the order in which all applications meet their admission criteria.

Walsall primary schools that are their own admissions authorities
Foundation Schools Voluntary Aided Church
of England Schools
Voluntary Aided Catholic
Schools
Academies
Manor Primary Blue Coat CE (A) Infant St Anne’s Catholic Primary All Saint’s Academy
 
Pheasey Park Farm Primary Blue Coat CE (A) Junior St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary Birchills CE Primary Community School
  Cooper and Jordan CE(VA) Primary St Francis Catholic Primary  Bloxwich Academy
    St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Busill Jones Primary School
    St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary Caldmore Primary Academy
    St Mary’s the Mount Catholic Primary Croft Academy
    St Patrick’s Catholic Primary Edgar Stammers Primary Academy
    St Peter’s Catholic Primary  Fibbersley Park Primary Academy
    St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary Goldsmith Primary Academy
      Jubilee Academy Mossley
      Lodge Farm Primary Academy
      North Walsall Academy
      Park Hall Infant Academy
      Park Hall Junior Academy
      Reedswood E-Act Academy
      Rivers Primary Academy
      Ryders Hayes School
      Wood’s Bank Primary Academy
      Woodlands Academy of Learning


Where a child meets the admission criteria of more than one of the schools named on the online application form then Walsall Council will allocate a place at the highest ranked of those schools. Admission authorities will be advised of the pupils to be offered places. 

By 22 January 2021 (tbc), Walsall Council will exchange application data and supporting documentation in respect of pupils resident in Walsall, who have applied for schools outside the borough, with the appropriate maintaining local authorities. Similar information will be received for applications from out of borough residents who have expressed preferences for Walsall primary schools.

By 13 February 2021 (tbc), Walsall Council will input the results of all applications to Walsall schools and a list of potential offers will then be produced. These potential offers will then be exchanged with other local authorities in respect of the results of out of borough applications. The information received will state which Walsall residents have the potential offer of a place in an out of borough school. This information will be transferred onto the Walsall database, compared to rankings and will result in a list of provisional offers. 

By 4 March 2021 (tbc), the provisional offers will be exchanged with other local authorities in respect of out of borough applications. The information received will state which Walsall residents have a provisional offer of a place in an out of borough school. These will be transferred onto the Walsall database, compared to rankings, and the results will be the final allocation of places at Walsall secondary schools. 

By 26 March 2021 (tbc), the final allocations will be exchanged with the other local authorities in respect of the results of out of borough applications.

If a Walsall child does not meet the admission criteria for any of their preferred schools then Walsall Council will allocate a place at the nearest alternative primary school with vacant places, after consultation with the relevant admission authority.

On the national notification date, 16 April 2021 (or next working day), email notification of the outcome of their application will be sent to all parents of Walsall resident children who submitted an online application and requested email notification. The local authority will make just one offer of a school place to each child, further offers will only be made after the offer date if it is subsequently possible to offer a child one of their parents higher ranked preferences. An offer of a school place will not be withdrawn unless it is subsequently found to have been made in error, or as the result of a fraudulent, or intentionally misleading application, or the parent informs the local authority that they have made alternative arrangements for their child’s education and no longer require a secondary school place.

3. Late application policy

The online portal will close for secondary applications on 31 October 2020. Late applications and, where appropriate, schools’ own registration forms, received after the closing date, are processed as late applications. Any request to change the name or ranking of a school made after the closing date will be processed as a late application. 

The online portal will close for primary applications after 15 January 2021. Late applications and, where appropriate, schools’ own registration forms, received after the closing date, are processed as late applications. Any request to change the name or ranking of a school made after the closing date will be processed as a late application.

Late applications will normally be considered for places after all the applications that were received by the closing date therefore, it is very likely that late applicants will not be offered a place at one of their preferred schools.

Applications received after the closing date will be passed to the appropriate admission authority for consideration under its late application policy. Each admission authority is required to publish its own late application policy which explains how late applications will be dealt with. The late application policy for all Walsall community and voluntary controlled schools is shown below.

3.1 Late applications received up to 4 weeks after the closing date

Late applications received up to four weeks after the closing date may be considered as being on-time but only where there are exceptional circumstances, including:

  • Where the family were unable to submit their online application to Walsall Council on time because they moved into Walsall Borough after the closing date;
  • The family were unable to comply with the admission timetable because of exceptional circumstances which prevented them from submitting their online application;
  • When a single parent has been ill for some time.

In these cases, the circumstances must be given in writing at the time of application they will be subject to verification by the Director of Children’s Services.

This applies to applications for secondary schools received between 1 November 2020 and 29 November 2020. For primary schools, this applies to applications received between 16 January 2021 and 13 February 2021.

3.2 Late applications received more than 4 weeks after the closing date

Applications for schools received more than 4 weeks after the closing date but before the notification date will be considered only after all other applications.

This applies to applications for secondary schools received between 30 November 2020 and 28 February 2021. For primary schools, this applies to applications received between 14 February 2021 and 15 April 2021.

3.3 Late applications received after the notification date (once places have been offered)

Applications received after the notification date: a place will be offered at the highest ranked school if places are available. For Walsall residents, if a place is not available at any of the preferred schools a place will be offered by Walsall Council at the nearest alternative Walsall school with vacant places, after consultation with the relevant admission authority and the child’s name will be added to the waiting list for schools listed as preferences in admission criteria order.

4. Waiting list policy

Waiting lists for all Walsall schools, other than Walsall Academy, will be maintained by Walsall Council until 31 December 2021. Parents may enquire about their child’s position on any waiting list by telephoning the School Admissions and Appeals Team (01922) 652585.

Looked after children, previously looked after children and those who are allocated to a school in accordance with the fair access protocol must take precedence over those children on the waiting list.

Waiting lists are kept of all children who have been refused a place at any school that was ranked higher than the school at which they have been offered a place, for example

  • If a child is offered a place at the school that was ranked 2nd on their application, then the child’s name will only be placed on the waiting list for the school that was ranked 1st
  • If a child is offered a place at their parent’s first preference school the child’s name will not be added to any waiting list kept for lower ranked schools.

After 1 March 2021 (or next working day) for secondary transfers, or 16 April 2021 (or next working day) for primary admissions, a parent may contact the School Admissions and Appeals Team to apply for a place at an oversubscribed Walsall school. Their child’s name will be placed on the school’s waiting list in admission criteria order. Any vacancies will be offered on the basis of the admission criteria for the school.

Waiting lists will be kept for one term only and then discarded. From 1 January 2021, parents who wish their child to be added to a new waiting list for a Walsall primary school should re-submit their online application or write to the Admissions and Pupil Place Planning Team to request this. Parents who wish their child to be added to a new waiting list for a Walsall secondary school should write directly to the school.

5. Midyear admissions

5.1 Applications for mid-year admission to Walsall primary schools:

The local authority will coordinate the midyear admission process for applications to all Walsall primary schools and academies.

Parents who wish to apply for admission to any Walsall maintained mainstream primary school other than at the usual point of entry (reception or year 3 when transferring from an infant school to a junior school) should submit an online application through the school admissions pages of the Walsall Council website. Applications may not be made directly to any maintained mainstream primary school or academy. Any supplementary information forms required by a school must be returned to the relevant school. Where a parent completes a supplementary form, it will not be regarded as a valid application unless the parent has also listed a preference for the school on their online mid-year admission application.

Parents who wish to apply for places at schools outside of Walsall should contact the relevant local authority directly.

All Walsall maintained mainstream primary schools and academies must provide the School Admissions and Appeals Team with accurate details of the number of vacancies in each year group on a weekly basis to enable places to be offered to applicants for primary midyear admission without unnecessary delay.

On receipt of an application for primary midyear admission, the School Admissions and Appeals Team will assess the application to determine if it meets the criteria for consideration under the Walsall fair access protocol, and where appropriate a referral will be made to the fair access panel. Once an application has been assessed in accordance with the published admission criteria of the preferred
schools, the Local Authority will write to the applicant to indicate one of the following outcomes:

  • Where the child is eligible for a place at one or more of their parent’s preferred schools they will be offered a place at the highest ranked preference;
  • Where it is not possible to offer the highest ranked preference, where possible a place will be offered at a lower ranked preference and the offer letter will contain details of how the parent may appeal against the decision to refuse a place at the higher ranked school, and where there is a waiting list their child’s name will be added to it. Waiting lists will be held for one term only and parents who wish their child’s name to be added to the new waiting list will need to resubmit their online application at the start of each new term;
  • If it is not possible to offer the applicant a place at any of their parent’s preferred schools and the child is currently without a school place, a place will be offered at an alternative Walsall school, which has places available, following consultation with other admissions authorities where appropriate. 

Parents of children with a statement of special educational needs or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) must contact Walsall Council’s SEN Team or the local authority that issued their statement or EHCP if they wish their child to move to a new school.

5.2 Applications for mid-year admission to Walsall secondary schools:

Parents who wish to apply for admission to any Walsall maintained mainstream secondary school other than at the usual point of entry (year 7) can submit an online application through the school admissions pages of the Walsall Council website, or may apply directly to their preferred schools. 

Parents who submit an online application to Walsall Council must also submit any supplementary information forms required by a school directly to the relevant school. Where a parent completes a supplementary form it will not be regarded as a valid application unless the parent has also listed a preference for the school on their online mid-year admission application or applied directly to the school.

Parents who wish to apply for places at schools outside of Walsall should contact the relevant local authority directly. 

All Walsall maintained mainstream secondary schools and academies must provide the School Admissions and Appeals Team with accurate details of the number of vacancies in each year group on a weekly basis to enable the local authority to provide accurate information on the availability of places to parents who enquire about midyear admission.

On receipt of an online application for secondary midyear admission, the School Admissions and Appeals Team will assess the application to determine if it meets the criteria for consideration under the Walsall fair access protocol, and where appropriate a referral will be made to the fair access panel. 

The local authority will forward details of all applications received to the schools that are listed as preferences. Schools must write to notify the applicant of the outcome of their application. Schools must notify the local authority promptly of all direct applications that are received, and of the outcome of all applications for midyear admission.

Schools must not refuse to process an application which has been submitted on the local authority’s online common application form, or require that an applicant completes the school’s own application form.

Parents of children with a statement of special educational needs or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) must contact Walsall Council’s SEN Team or the local authority that issued their statement or EHCP if they wish their child to move to a new school.

Determined admission arrangements 2021/22

1. Admissions numbers for community and voluntary controlled primary schools for 2021/22

The following pages show the capacities and proposed admission numbers for community and voluntary controlled primary schools for 2021/22.

The admission number is the capacity of the school to admit children at the normal age of entry in the 2021/22 academic year, that is:

  • Admissions into reception in infant and primary schools
  • Admissions into year 3 in junior schools.
Community or voluntary controlled primary schools Indicated admission number based on existing net capacity assessment (NCA) Proposed admission number
Abbey Primary 36 30
Alumwell Infant 90 90
Alumwell Junior 77 90
Barcroft Primary 60 60
Beacon Primary 61 60
Bentley West Primary 74 60
Blackwood 90 90
Blakenall Heath Junior 60 60
Brownhills West Primary 29 30
Butts Primary 30 30
Castlefort JMI 30 30
Christ Church CE (C) JMI 59 60
Chuckery Primary 60 60
County Bridge Primary 37 30
Delves Infant 90 90
Delves Junior 81 90
Elmore Green Primary 41 45
Greenfield Primary  50 45
Hillary Primary 95 90
Holy Trinity CE Primary 29 30
King Charles Primary 61 60
King's Hill Primary 92 60
Leamore Primary 41 30
Leighswood 75 60
Lindens Primary 60 60
Little Bloxwich CE (VC ) Primary 30 30
Lower Farm Primary 53 60
Meadow View JMI 55 60
Millfield Primary 30 30
Moorcroft Wood Primary 37 30
New Invention Infant 90 90
New Invention Junior 84 90
Old Church CE (C) Primary 60 60
Palfrey Infant 90 90
Palfrey Junior 90 90
Pelsall Village 45 45
Pinfold Street Primary 58 60
Pool Hayes Primary 37 30
The Radleys Primary 30 30
Rosedale CE (C) Infant 90 90
Rushall JMI 30 30
Salisbury Primary 45 45
Short Heath Junior 90 90
St Giles CE Primary 60 60
St James Primary 30 30
St John's CE Primary 45 45
St Michael's CE (C) Primary 60 60
Sunshine Infant and Nursery 60 60
Walsall Wood 30 30
Watling Street JMI 30 30
Whetstone Field Primary 30 30
Whitehall Nursery and Infant 86 90
Whitehall Junior Community 90 90

2. Oversubscription criteria for community and voluntary controlled primary schools

If there are more applications than there are places available, places will be allocated using the oversubscription criteria in the following order of priority:

  1. Children in public care (looked after children) and previously looked after children (see 3.1 below);
  2. Pupils who have a sibling already in attendance at the school, or paired junior school when the application is made and who will be still attending the school at the proposed admission date (see 3.2 below);
  3. Pupils for whom a place at the school is essential on medical or social grounds as supported in writing by a medical practitioner or a social worker (applications will be subject to verification by the Director of Children’s Services) (see 3.3 below);
  4. For applications to junior schools only. Attendance by the child at the relevant paired infant school, when the application is made (see 3.4 below);
  5. For applications to voluntary controlled Church of England primary schools only. Up to 25% of places may be allocated as ‘church places’ to children, regardless of distance between home and school, whose parents are regular worshippers at a Christian church and whose application is supported in writing by the minister of the church where they worship (see 3.5 below);
  6. Distance between the home address and the school as measured in a straight line with those living closer to the school receiving the higher priority (see 3.6 below)

If there is oversubscription in criteria 2 to 5, priority will be given to those living closest to the school as measured in a straight line.

3. Explanatory notes for oversubscription criteria

3.1 Children in public care (looked after children) and previously looked after children

Children who are in the care of a local authority or provided with accommodation by a local authority and previously looked after children who ceased to be looked after because they were adopted or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order.

3.2 Sibling

A sibling is a child who resides at the same address as the child for whom a place is being requested and is one of the following:

  • A brother or sister sharing the same parents;
  • A half-brother or sister sharing one common parent;
  • A step-brother or sister (i.e. related by their parent’s marriage);
  • Any other child for whom it can be demonstrated that he or she is residing permanently at the same address (e.g. under the terms of a residence order).
3.3 Social or medical factors

If parents believe there are specific medical or social reasons for claiming priority for a child to attend a particular school, the relevant part of the application must be completed and evidence to support the claim must be submitted to the local authority.

Requests for such consideration will be subject to verification by the Director of Children’s Services. This is necessary because parents will be asking the Authority to assess the child as having a stronger case than many other children, some of whom may live closer to the school.

3.3a Medical evidence

Medical evidence must be submitted in writing from a medical practitioner and should state why the preferred school is the only school that can meet the child’s needs. This must relate to either the child or
the parents, for example where the parent(s) or the child has a disability that may make travel to a school further away more difficult. Medical evidence, which relates to parent, will be considered in the following circumstances:

  • Where the child lives with a single parent who has a medical condition or disability that may make travel to a school further away more difficult
  • Where the child lives with both parents and both parents have a medical condition or disability that may make travel to a school further away more difficult
  • Where a child lives with both parents and one parent has a medical condition or disability that may make travel to a school further away more difficult medical evidence may be considered if the other parent is unable to accompany the child on the journey to and from school because they are the sole carer for the other parent.
3.3b Social evidence

Social evidence must be submitted in writing from an appropriate professional and should state why the preferred school is the only school that can meet the child’s needs.

Please note that preferences are only given priority under the medical/social criterion in very exceptional cases where medical or social evidence clearly demonstrates that the preferred school is the only school which can meet the child’s needs.

3.4 Paired infant and junior schools

The paired infant and junior schools are:

  • Alumwell Infant paired with Alumwell Junior
  • Delves Infant paired with Delves Junior
  • New Invention Infant paired with New Invention Junior
  • Palfrey Infant paired with Palfrey Junior
  • Rosedale CE (C) Infant paired with Short Heath Junior
  • Sunshine Infant and Nursery paired with Blakenall Heath Junior
  • Whitehall Nursery and Infant paired with Whitehall Junior Community
3.5 Church places at voluntary controlled Church of England primary schools

Voluntary controlled Church of England primary schools with an admission number of 30 will offer a maximum of seven church places; schools with an admission number of 45 will offer a maximum of 11 church places; schools with an admission number of 60 will offer a maximum of 15 church places; schools with an admission number of 90 will offer a maximum of 22 church places.

If there is oversubscription for church places, priority will be given to those living closest to the school as measured in a straight line.

‘Regular worshipper’ is defined as attending a place of worship on at least one occasion per month over the past twelve months. 

3.6 Distance

Distance will be measured in a straight line from the centre point of the home address to the centre point of the school address using the local authority’s computerised measuring system with those living closer to the school receiving the higher priority.

3.6a Definition of a home address

The home address of a child is considered to be the permanent residence of a child in a residential property when the place is offered. The address must be the child’s only or main residence and is either:

  • owned by the child’s parent(s) or guardian; or
  • leased to or rented by the child’s parent(s), or guardian under lease or written rental agreement of not less than six months duration.

Documentary evidence of ownership or rental agreement may be required together with proof of actual permanent residence at the property concerned. In certain circumstances the child’s current school will be asked to verify the address given.

Where parents have shared responsibility for a child and the child lives with both parents for part of the week, the main residence will be determined as the address where the child lives for the majority of the week. Parents may be requested to supply documentary evidence to support the address used for the application. 

The offer of a place is based upon the address of the child when the offer is made. If a child is offered a place at an oversubscribed school the place may be withdrawn if it is found that the child moved (before the place was offered) to a new address, which was further away from the school, and the child would not have qualified for a place under the distance criterion. 

In the event that a family moves between the application and the date of offer, the School Admissions and Appeals Team must be informed as soon as possible of these circumstances.

If the home address is a flat (or apartment) and there is more than one flat at the same address, priority will be given to applicants living at the lowest numbered flat on the lowest floor. 

4. Oversubscription criteria for nursery schools 

Applications for nursery places should be made directly to the school. If there are more applications than there are nursery places available then places will be allocated using the oversubscription criteria in the following order of priority:

4.1 Priority for nursery places will be given to children born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018. 

If places are oversubscribed, the following oversubscription criteria will apply:

  1. Children in public care (looked after children) and previously looked after children (see 3.1 above).
  2. Pupils who have a sibling already in attendance at the school, or paired junior school when the application is made and who will be still attending the school at the proposed admission date (see 3.2 above).
  3. Pupils for whom a place at the school is essential on medical or social grounds and supported in writing by a medical practitioner or a social worker. (Applications will be subject to verification by the Interim Director of Children’s Services). (see 3.3 above)
  4. Distance between the home address and the school as measured in a straight line with those living closer to the school receiving the higher priority. (see 3.6 above)
4.2 Where places are still available schools may only offer places to children who have attained the age of 3. 

If the remaining places are oversubscribed the oversubscription criteria 1-4, shown above, will apply. If there is oversubscription in criteria 2 and 3, priority will be given to those living closest to the school as measured in a straight line.

5. Policy for deferred entry to reception

Children reach compulsory school age on the first day of the term following their fifth birthday. However, all Walsall primary schools provide full time places for pupils in a reception class from September in the year before children reach their fifth birthday.

If parents prefer their child to start school later than 1 September 2021, they have the option of deferring the child’s entry until later in the 2021/22 school year. Parents opting for this must notify the school in writing of the date they wish their child to start in a reception class.

Parents are not able to defer entry beyond the beginning of the term following their child’s fifth birthday or beyond the academic year for which admission is sought. The effect of this is that the place is held for that child and is not available to be offered to another child.

6. Admission of ‘summer born’ children to reception

Summer born children, (born between 1 April and 31 August) reach compulsory school age in the September following their fifth birthday (or on their fifth birthday if it falls on 31 August). Parents of summer born children may submit a request for their child to be admitted to a reception class in the September following their fifth birthday, at the point at which other children in their age group are moving from the reception class to year 1.

Parents seeking deferred admissions to reception in a community or voluntary controlled primary school should make a request in writing to Walsall Council, providing details of the reason for the request and supporting medical evidence or evidence from the child’s current head teacher, if appropriate, demonstrating that deferred admission to reception would be in the child’s best interests.

Requests for deferred admission to reception in respect of children who would normally be admitted in September 2021, should be submitted by 15 January 2021 where possible.

When an application for deferred admission to reception at the point at which other children in their age group are moving into Year 1 is received for a community or voluntary controlled primary school, Walsall Council, as admission authority for the school, will make the decision on whether or not to grant the request based on the individual circumstances of each case. Requests will only be approved in
circumstances where it is in the bests interests of the child to defer admission to reception.

Parents seeking deferred admission to reception in a voluntary aided school, foundation school or in an academy should submit a request directly to their preferred school. They must also notify the local authority in writing of the request and must complete a local authority application for the year of admission.

Admission to a year group outside of a child’s chronological year group.

Parents who wish to apply for their child to be admitted to a Walsall community or voluntary controlled primary school, in a year group other than that which is designated by their chronological age should submit a written request to the local authority. Walsall Council, as admission authority for the school, will make the decision on whether or not to grant the request based on the individual circumstances of each case. Requests will only be approved in circumstances where it is in the bests interests of the child to be educated outside of their chronological year group. 

Parents wishing to make an application for their child to be admitted out of their chronological year group to a voluntary aided or foundation school or academy, should write to the admission authority for the school. In either case, the letter should include details of why the  parents/carers believe it is in the best interests of their child to be educated out of their chronological year group, and should include
supporting evidence from an appropriate professional. 

Parents applying for midyear admission to a year group outside their child’s chronological age, in a Walsall primary school will also need to submit an online midyear admission application to the local authority.

Primary fair access protocol 2016

1. Introduction

The School Admissions Code (2014) requires each local authority to have a fair access protocol. The main purpose of this policy is to ensure that – outside the normal admissions round – unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible. The policy will also ensure that all Walsall primary schools admit their fair share of pupils with challenging behaviour including pupils excluded from other schools who are ready for reintegration back into a mainstream placement. The protocol applies to all Walsall mainstream primary schools and academies. 

2. Principles of the primary fair access protocol

2.1 The protocol will apply to all mainstream primary schools and academies.

2.2 All maintained community, voluntary controlled, foundation, voluntary aided schools, and academies will participate in the protocol.

2.3 The fair access protocol will operate in conjunction with the primary fair access panel who will decide on an appropriate placement for each child referred under the protocol.

2.4 The interests of the pupil are paramount and consideration must be given to the circumstances of the individual pupil, in terms of what is best for them, whether they are ready for mainstream schooling and, if so, which mainstream school will be best able to meet their needs.

2.5 Schools will exceed their published admission number where necessary in order to admit pupils under the protocol, (subject to infant class size regulations – see appendix 1).

2.6 Pupils identified for placement under the primary fair access protocol will be given priority over those on waiting lists for the same school.

2.7 Where parents have expressed a preference for a school this will be considered by the panel, but there is no requirement to comply with parental preference when placing a child under the primary fair access protocol.

2.8 Where possible a pupil with a religious affiliation will be placed in a school with the same affiliation, but this will not always be possible.

2.9 The allocation of pupils should be equitable with no one school or academy being required to take a disproportionate number of challenging pupils.

3. Criteria to be used to identify pupils to be placed under the primary fair access protocol

Pupils who fall into the following groups will be placed under the primary fair access protocol:

  • 3.1 permanently excluded pupils
  • 3.2 children moving to Walsall where there is information from the previous school/local authority to show the pupil was at a high risk of permanent exclusion
  • 3.3 children who have been out of education for two months or more
  • 3.4 children on the children missing education (CME) list
  • 3.5 children from the criminal justice system who need to be reintegrated into mainstream provision
  • 3.6 children who are homeless
  • 3.7 children with unsupportive family backgrounds, where a place has not been sought
  • 3.8 children known to the police or other agencies
  • 3.9 children without a school place and with a history of persistent absence
  • 3.10 children of Gypsies, Roma, Travellers, refugees and asylum seekers
  • 3.11 children who are carers
  • 3.12 children with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions who are without a statement or an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • 3.13 children of UK service personnel and other Crown servants
  • 3.14 children with a history of challenging behaviour at their previous school(s)
  • 3.15 children who are without a school place and are not suitable for mainstream provision and require a placement in alternative provision or at the Shepwell Centre and pupils with special educational needs who require a placement in a mainstream school in order to collate evidence for the statutory assessment process
  • 3.16 children who have been withdrawn from elective home education.

4. The primary fair access panel

4.1 The remit of the primary fair access panel is to decide on an appropriate placement for each child referred under the primary fair access protocol.

4.2 The primary fair access panel will be made up of three primary head teacher representatives to be agreed by Walsall primary head teachers each of whom will serve on the panel for no longer than three consecutive school terms, the head teacher of the New Leaf Centre, one governor representative, a representative from the school improvement team, a representative from the SEN team, a representative from the access and entitlement team, a representative from the early help team, the service manager – admissions and pupil place planning and the specialist officer, education coordinator for children missing from education. The primary fair access panel will be chaired by a member who is independent from all Walsall schools and from the local authority, to be approved by the panel members. The panel will be quorate with five members in attendance.

4.3 The chair of the primary fair access panel may from time to time invite other professionals to attend a panel meeting to provide information on a particular case.

4.4 Parents will not be invited to attend fair access panel meetings, but may submit a statement to the panel if they wish to do so.

4.5 The primary fair access panel will meet on a monthly basis in term time during the week following the monthly children missing education (CME) panel meeting, but additional emergency meetings can be convened if there is an urgent need to place a child.

5. Procedures

5.1 All referrals to the panel are to be made to the admissions and pupil place planning team who will generate a file information sheet for each pupil directly from the Capita One database and provide details of all schools within statutory walking distance (2 miles of the child’s home address for children under 8 years old and 3 miles for children aged 8 and above) in order of proximity.

5.2 Referral documents will be submitted to the fair access panel administrator who will collate the referrals, prepare the agenda and take the minutes for each meeting and maintain a database to record the outcomes of all referrals to the panel.

5.3 At each primary fair access panel meeting the panel members will review referrals and will agree on a placement for each child, subject to the following conditions:

  • Children will not be placed at a school where they have previously had an unsuccessful managed move
  • Children will not be placed at a school from which they have previously been permanently excluded
  • Children will not be placed at a school for which they have had an unsuccessful admission appeal during the current school year
  • Children will not be placed into an infant class at a school if the admission of an additional pupil would cause a breach of the infant class size limit of 30 pupils with a single teacher – unless the child would be classed as a permitted exception to the infant class size limit as defined in paragraph 2.15 of the School Admissions Code (2014) see Appendix 1.

5.4 The panel will attempt to place the child at a school that is within statutory walking distance of the child’s home address and, if possible is consistent with parental preference. However, if none of the schools that are within the statutory walking distance of the child’s home address are eligible to receive a fair access placement the child may be allocated a place that is further away and they will be eligible for assistance with travel to and from the school.

5.5 All Walsall primary schools will take turns to receive a child under the protocol to ensure that no school receives a disproportionate number of challenging pupils. Once a school has received a child under the protocol they will not be required to admit another child into the same year group as a fair access placement until all other schools have received a child into that year group.

5.6 After each primary fair access panel meeting the chair of the panel will write to the head teacher of each school that is to receive a placement to inform them of the panel’s decision and provide a copy of the child’s referral document.

5.7 The fair access panel administrator will circulate details of the panel decisions on all referrals to head teachers of all Walsall secondary schools.

5.8 Receiving schools should arrange to admit the child as soon as possible within a maximum of 10 school days.

5.9 In the event that any school fails to comply with the decision of the panel the local authority will exercise its powers of direction to direct admission in the case of foundation or voluntary aided schools, or will ask the secretary of state to direct admission to an academy.

5.10 To support the reintegration of pupils placed under the protocol by the primary fair access panel, schools will receive additional funding in the form of a one off payment of up to £500 for each pupil admitted under the protocol. The purpose of this payment is to assist the school with funding support for the pupil such as the purchase of additional resources, teaching assistant support etc. This payment will not be made until the child has been placed on roll at the school. The full sum paid to the school must be refunded to the local authority if the child does not remain fully on roll at the school for a minimum period of 12 months from the date of admission.

6. Managed moves

6.1 A managed move is an admission which is arranged on a 12 week trial basis. This is a voluntary agreement between head teachers.

6.2 Managed moves are only to be arranged in circumstances where a child is at serious imminent risk of permanent exclusion.

6.3 All managed moves are to be arranged through the primary fair access panel. Any managed moves which are arranged outside of the panel will be designated as ‘unofficial’ managed moves and will not be considered under paragraph 5.3 of this policy.

6.4 Managed moves must always be in the best interest of the child and careful consideration should be given by the Headteacher of the home school to the school which is best suited and able to meet the needs of the child.

6.5 Managed moves should not be arranged on a reciprocal basis between schools, unless this is in the best interests of the children concerned.

6.6 Schools which accept a pupil on a managed move will not be exempt from receiving a child into the same year group under the fair access protocol when it is their turn to do so.

6.7 Parental consent must be obtained before a managed move is agreed. Schools cannot refuse to place a child fully on roll under the usual midyear admissions procedures if a parent is unwilling to consent to a trial basis managed move unless the child is offered a place elsewhere under the fair access protocol.

6.8 Head teachers who wish to arrange a managed move must complete a referral form stating which school is recommended to receive the pupil and submit it to the primary fair access panel administrator before the panel meeting. The referral should clearly demonstrate what has been done previously to support the child, including details of multi agency involvement – documentary evidence should be provided to the panel at the time of referral.

6.9 During a managed move the child will remain on roll at their home school and will be enrolled as a guest pupil at the receiving school. Throughout the move the pupil’s attendance at the receiving school must be monitored by the home school which remains responsible for safeguarding the wellbeing of the pupil.

6.10 A managed move is to run for a maximum of 12 weeks and will be subject to a review after 6 weeks. A report on the outcome of the 6 week review is to be submitted to the primary fair access panel.

6.11 If the managed move breaks down during the 12 week period, the child is to be returned to the home school.

6.12 If the managed move is deemed to be successful at the end of the 12 week trial period, the pupil must be placed fully on roll at the receiving school. Managed moves cannot be extended beyond the 12 week period without the agreement of the panel.

6.13 If the managed move is deemed to be unsuccessful at the end of the 12 week trial period, the pupil must be immediately returned to the home school.

Appendix 1

The infant class size limit

Infant class size regulations and the permitted exceptions to the infant class size limit are detailed in paragraph 2.15 of the School Admissions Code (2014).

Infant classes must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher. Additional children may be admitted under limited exceptional circumstances. These children will remain an ‘excepted pupil’ for the time they are in an infant class or until the class numbers fall back to the current infant class size limit. The excepted children are:

a. children admitted outside the normal admissions round with statements of special educational needs or Education Health and Care Plans specifying a school

b. looked after children and previously looked after children admitted outside the normal admissions round

c. children admitted, after the initial allocation of places, because of a procedural error made by the admission authority or local authority in the original application process

d. children admitted after an independent appeals panel upholds an appeal

e. children who move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is no other available school within reasonable distance

f. children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round

g. children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted otherwise than as an excepted pupil

h. children with special educational needs who are normally taught in a special educational needs unit attached to the school, or registered at a special school, who attend some infant classes within the mainstream school.

Secondary fair access protocol 2018

1. Introduction

The School Admissions Code (2014) requires each local authority to have a Fair Access Protocol. The main purpose of this policy is to ensure that – outside the normal admissions round – unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible. The policy will also ensure that all Walsall schools admit their fair share of pupils with challenging behaviour including pupils excluded from other schools who are ready for reintegration back into a mainstream placement. The protocol applies to all Walsall mainstream secondary schools and academies.

2. Principles of the Fair Access Protocol

2.1 The protocol will apply to all mainstream schools and academies.

2.2 All maintained schools will participate in the protocol including foundation, voluntary aided schools, and academies.

2.3 The Fair Access Protocol will operate in conjunction with the Fair Access Panel who will decide on an appropriate placement for each child referred under the protocol.

2.4 The interests of the pupil are paramount and consideration must be given to the circumstances of the individual pupil, in terms of what is best for them, whether they are ready for mainstream schooling and, if so, which mainstream school will be best able to meet their needs.

2.5 Schools will exceed their published admission number where necessary in order to admit pupils under the protocol.

2.6 Pupils identified for placement under the Fair Access Protocol will be given priority over those on waiting lists for the same school.

2.7 Where parents have expressed a preference for a school this will be considered by the panel, but there is no requirement to comply with parental preference when placing a child under the Fair Access Protocol.

2.8 Where possible a pupil with a religious affiliation will be placed in a school with the same affiliation, but this will not always be possible.

2.9 The allocation of pupils should be equitable with no one school or Academy being required to take a disproportionate number of hard to place pupils.

3. Criteria to be used to identify pupils to be placed under the Fair Access Protocol

Pupils who fall into the following groups will be placed under the Fair Access Protocol:

  • 3.1 permanently excluded pupils;
  • 3.2 children moving to Walsall where there is information from the previous school/local authority
  • to show the pupil was at a high risk of permanent exclusion;
  • 3.3 children who have been out of education for two months or more;
  • 3.4 children on the Children Missing Education (CME) list;
  • 3.5 children from the criminal justice system who need to be reintegrated into mainstream provision;
  • 3.6 year 11 pupils seeking admission to a Walsall school who cannot be easily assimilated into appropriate courses at the Walsall school preferred by their parents/carers;
  • 3.7 children who are homeless;
  • 3.8 children with unsupportive family backgrounds who may not have applied for a school place;
  • 3.9 children known to the police or other agencies;
  • 3.10 children without a school place and with a history of persistent absence;
  • 3.11 children of Gypsies, Roma, Travellers, refugees and asylum seekers;
  • 3.12 children who are carers;
  • 3.13 children with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions who are without a statement or an Education, Health and Care Plan;
  • 3.14 children of UK Service Personnel and other Crown Servants;
  • 3.15 children with a history of challenging behaviour at their previous school(s) which is evidenced through a history of fixed term exclusions and behaviour records;
  • 3.16 children who are without a school place and are not suitable for mainstream provision but require a placement at a mainstream school in order to access a placement in alternative provision or at the Shepwell Centre and pupils with special educational needs who require a placement in a mainstream school in order to collate evidence for the statutory assessment process;
  • 3.17 children who have been withdrawn from a Walsall school for Elective Home Education will be placed at the school at which they were last on roll where it is appropriate to do so.

4. The Fair Access Panel

4.1 The remit of the Fair Access Panel is to decide on an appropriate placement for each child referred under the Fair Access Protocol.

4.2 The secondary Fair Access Panel will be made up of:

  • 3 secondary head teacher representatives to be agreed by Walsall secondary head teachers each of whom will serve on the panel for no longer than three consecutive school terms;
  • the head teacher of the New Leaf Centre;
  • 1 governor representative;
  • 1 representative from the School Improvement Team;
  • 1 representative from the SEN Team;
  • Service Manager – Admissions and Pupil Place Planning;
  • 1 representative from the Early Help Team;
  • Specialist Officer, Education Coordinator for Children Missing from Education.

The Fair Access Panel will be chaired each year by a former member of the panel from the previous year, or by an independent chair and the panel will elect a vice chair from within its membership. The panel will be quorate with five members in attendance. The chair and the vice chair will serve for no longer than one school year.

4.3 The chair of the Fair Access Panel may from time to time invite other professionals to attend a panel meeting to provide information on a particular case.

4.4 Parents will not be invited to attend Fair Access Panel meetings, but may submit a statement to the panel if they wish to do so.

4.5 The Fair Access Panel will meet on a monthly basis in term time usually during the week following the monthly Children Missing Education (CME) Panel meeting, but additional emergency meetings can be convened if there is an urgent need to place a child.

5. Procedures

5.1 All referrals to the panel are to be submitted directly to the Admissions and Pupil Place Planning Team who will administer the Fair Access Panel.

5.2 Referral documents will be submitted to the Fair Access Panel administrator who will collate the referrals, prepare the agenda and take the minutes for each meeting and maintain a database to record the outcomes of all referrals to the panel.

5.3 At each Fair Access Panel meeting the panel members will review referrals and will agree on a placement for each child, subject to the following conditions:

  • Children will not be placed at a school where they have previously had an unsuccessful managed move;
  • Children will not be placed at a school from which they have previously been permanently excluded;
  • Children will not be placed at a school for which they have had an unsuccessful admission appeal during the current school year.

5.4 The panel will attempt to place the child at a school that is within statutory walking distance (3 miles) of the child’s home address and, if possible is consistent with parental preference. The receiving school will usually be the closest school to the child’s home address that is eligible to receive a child under the protocol. However, if none of the schools that are within 3 miles are eligible to receive a Fair Access placement the child may be allocated a place that is further away and they will be eligible for a bus pass to assist with travel to and from the school.

5.5 All Walsall secondary schools will take turns to receive a child under the protocol to ensure that no school receives a disproportionate number of challenging pupils. Once a school has received a child under the protocol they will not be required to admit another child into the same year group as a Fair Access placement until all other schools have received a child into that year group. 

5.6 After each Fair Access Panel meeting the Chair of the panel will write to the head teacher of each school that is to receive a child to inform them of the panel’s decision and provide a copy of the child’s referral document.

5.7 The Fair Access Panel Administrator will circulate the database of pupils placed to all headteachers on a monthly basis and this document will also be published on the Walsall Link website.

5.8 Receiving schools should arrange to admit the child as soon as possible and usually within a maximum of 10 school days from the date of the placement letter. The Admissions Inclusion Coordinator will liaise with schools, parents and other agencies to ensure that the pupil is admitted promptly.

5.9 In the event that, following appropriate discussion, any school fails to comply with the decision of the panel the Local Authority will exercise its powers of direction to direct admission in the case of foundation or voluntary aided schools, or will ask the secretary of state to direct admission to an academy.

5.10 To support the reintegration of pupils placed under the protocol by the Fair Access Panel, schools will receive additional funding in the form of a one off payment of up to £500 for each pupil placed by the Fair Access Panel, this payment is made at the discretion of the Local Authority. The purpose of this payment is to assist the school with funding support for the pupil such as the purchase of additional resources, teaching assistant support etc. This payment will not be made until the child has been placed on roll at the school. The full sum paid to the school must be refunded to the local authority if the child does not remain fully on roll at the school for a minimum period of 12 months from the date of admission. Where a pupil requires reintegration support this will be discussed with the receiving school after they have been notified of the placement.

6. Midyear admissions

6.1 Schools who are not eligible to admit a child under the Fair Access Protocol, because they have already admitted a child under the protocol into the same year group, may refuse a midyear admission application to the same year group in respect of a child who falls under the Fair Access Protocol.

6.2 When an application is refused under the Fair Access Protocol, the school must complete a Fair Access Protocol referral and submit to the Fair Access Panel before the next meeting, so that the panel can place the child. The school must also write to notify the parent that their application has been refused; the refusal letter must:

  • explain that the application has been refused because the child falls under the Fair Access Protocol and the school is not eligible to admit a Fair Access Child;
  • give details of the FAP criterion under which the child was refused;
  • inform parents of their right of appeal against the decision and explain how they can lodge an appeal.

6.3 The Fair Access Panel will review the application and if it is agreed that the child meets the FAP criteria and the school is ineligible to admit, the panel will identify a placement at an alternative school for the child. If it is the panel’s view that the child does not meet the FAP criteria, or the school is not ineligible to admit the child must be admitted by the referring school.

6.4 When a school admits a child who meets the FAP criteria through the usual midyear admission process, they may make a retrospective referral to the Fair Access Panel. The referral must be made to the next panel meeting and retrospective referrals will not be accepted for any pupil admitted more than 1 month prior to the date of the panel meeting (unless the pupil was admitted immediately prior to the start of a main school holiday). The Fair Access Panel will review all retrospective referrals and where the panel agrees that the child meets the FAP criteria the school will be award with credit for admitting the child.

7. Managed moves

7.1 A managed move is an admission which is arranged on a 12 week trial basis. This is a voluntary agreement between head teachers.

7.2 Managed moves are only to be arranged in circumstances where a child is at serious imminent risk of permanent exclusion.

7.3 Managed moves may either be arranged directly by headteachers or through the Walsall Inclusion Partnership (WIP).

7.4 The head teacher of the home school should identify the most suitable school to receive the child on a managed move and should seek the consent of the head teacher of the proposed receiving school before the managed move is referred to the Fair Access Panel. Managed moves must always be in the best interest of the child and careful consideration should be given by the Headteacher of the home school to the school which is best suited and able to meet the needs of the child.

7.5 Managed moves should not be arranged on a reciprocal basis between schools, unless this is in the best interests of the children concerned.

7.6 Schools which accept a pupil on a managed move will not be exempt from receiving a child into the same year group under the Fair Access Protocol when it is their turn to do so.

7.7 Parental consent must be obtained before a managed move is agreed. Schools cannot refuse to place a child fully on roll under the usual midyear admissions procedures if a parent is unwilling to consent to a trial basis managed move unless the child is offered a place elsewhere under the Fair Access Protocol.

7.8 Head teachers who wish to arrange a managed move through WIP must complete a referral form pupil and submit it to the Chair of WIP before the WIP meeting. The referral must clearly demonstrate that the child is at risk of permanent exclusion and must also explain what has been done previously to support the child, including details of multi agency involvement – documentary evidence should be provided to the panel at the time of referral.

7.9 After each WIP meeting managed move referrals will be referred the Fair Access Panel for review. If the panel agrees that the child was at risk of permanent exclusion and falls under the Fair Access Protocol , the receiving school will be awarded credit for admitting the child under the Fair Access Protocol. If the referral is incomplete or does not demonstrate that the child was at risk of permanent exclusion, or that the admission does not fall under the Fair Access Protocol the panel will not award FAP credit for the move.

7.10 If a managed move is arranged outside of WIP, the Headteacher of the home school should submit a referral directly to the Fair Access Panel for review.

7.11 During a managed move the child will remain on roll at their home school and will be enrolled as a guest pupil at the receiving school. Throughout the move the pupil’s attendance at the receiving school must be monitored by the home school which remains responsible for safeguarding the wellbeing of the pupil.

7.12 A managed move is to run for a maximum of 12 weeks and will be subject to a review after 6 weeks.

7.13 If the managed move breaks down during the 12 week period, the child is to be returned to the home school and any credit awarded under the Fair Access Protocol will be removed.

7.14 If the managed move is deemed to be successful at the end of the 12 week trial period, the pupil must be placed fully on roll at the receiving school. Managed moves cannot be extended beyond the 12 week period without the agreement of the Fair Access Panel. Where a concern arises in the final phase of a managed move and it is not possible to refer back to the panel before the move is due to end, the move must be referred to the next panel meeting following the extension.

7.15 If the managed move is deemed to be unsuccessful at the end of the 12 week trial period, the pupil must be immediately returned to the home school and any credit awarded under the Fair Access Protocol will be removed. 

Late application policy

Extract from Determined Scheme for coordinated Primary, Secondary and Midyear Admissions for Walsall for 2021/22

The online portal will close for secondary applications on 31 October 2020. Late Applications and, where appropriate, schools’ own Registration Forms, received after the Closing Date, are processed as late applications. Any request to change the name or ranking of a school made after the Closing Date will be processed as a late application. 

The online portal will close for primary applications after 15 January 2021. Late Applications and, where appropriate, schools’ own Registration Forms, received after the Closing Date, are processed as late applications. Any request to change the name or ranking of a school made after the closing date will be processed as a late application. 

Late applications will normally be considered for places after all the applications that were received by the closing date therefore, it is very likely that late applicants will not be offered a place at one of their preferred schools. 

Applications received after the closing date will be passed to the appropriate Admission Authority for consideration under its Late Application Policy. Each Admission Authority is required to publish its own Late Application Policy which explains how late applications will be dealt with. The Late Application Policy for all Walsall community and voluntary controlled schools is shown below. 

3.1 Late Applications received up to 4 weeks after the closing date

Late applications received up to four weeks after the closing date may be considered as being on-time but only where there are exceptional circumstances, including: 

  • Where the family were unable to submit their online application to Walsall Council on time because they moved into the Borough of Walsall after the Closing Date;
  •  The family were unable to comply with the admission timetable because of exceptional circumstances which prevented them from submitting their online application;
  • When a single parent has been ill for some time. 

In these cases, the circumstances must be given in writing at the time of application they will be subject to verification by the Director of Children’s Services. 

This applies to applications for secondary schools received between 1 November 2020 and 29 November 2020. 

For primary schools, this applies to applications received between 16 January 2021 and 13 February 2021.

Late applications received more than 4 weeks after the closing date

Applications for schools received more than 4 weeks after the closing date but before the notification date will be considered only after all other applications.

This applies to applications for secondary schools received between 30 November 2020 and 28 February 2021. 

For primary schools, this applies to applications received between 14 February 2021 and 15 April 2021.

Late applications received after the notification date (once places have been offered) 

Applications received after the notification date: a place will be offered at the highest ranked school if places are available. For Walsall residents, if a place is not available at any of the preferred schools a place will be offered by Walsall Council at the nearest alternative Walsall school with vacant places, after consultation with the relevant admission authority and the child’s name will be added to the waiting list for schools listed as preferences in admission criteria order.

Waiting list policy

Extract from Determined Scheme for coordinated Primary, Secondary and Midyear Admissions for Walsall for 2021/22

Waiting lists for all Walsall schools, other than Walsall Academy, will be maintained by Walsall Council until 31 December 2021. Parents may enquire about their child’s position on any waiting list by telephoning the School Admissions and Appeals Team.

Looked after children, previously looked after children and those who are allocated to a school in accordance with the Fair Access Protocol must take precedence over those children on the waiting list.

Waiting lists are kept of all children who have been refused a place at any school that was ranked higher than the school at which they have been offered a place, for example:

  • if a child is offered a place at the school that was ranked 2nd on their application, then the child’s name will only be placed on the waiting list for the school that was ranked 1st
  • if a child is offered a place at their parent’s first preference school the child’s name will not be added to any waiting list kept for lower ranked schools.

After 1 March 2021 (or next working day) for secondary transfers, or 16 April 2021 (or next working day) for primary admissions, a parent may contact the School Admissions and Appeals Team to apply for a place at an oversubscribed Walsall school. Their child’s name will be placed on the school’s waiting list in admission criteria order. Any vacancies will be offered on the basis of the admission criteria for the school.

Waiting lists will be kept for one term only and then discarded. From 1 January 2021, parents who wish their child to be added to a new waiting list for a Walsall primary school should re-submit their online
application or write to the Admissions and Pupil Place Planning Team to request this. 

Parents who wish their child to be added to a new waiting list for a Walsall secondary school should write directly to the school.