December 2017

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

Helping you be your best

For the last 27 years, ASCL Professional Development ( Expand

For the last 27 years, ASCL Professional Development (ASCL PD) has been delivering expert courses and conferences to tens of thousands of school and college leaders across the UK. Here, we’d like you to meet the team that makes it all happen.

Established in 1990, ASCL PD creates and delivers more than 200 courses and conferences each year. In the last academic year, more than 4,000 delegates attended our events with an overall satisfaction rate of 99% saying the content was either good or excellent. Our core offer divides into six key areas: courses, conferences, rapid-response seminars, longitudinal programmes including National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) and middle leader development, Leadership Appointment Service, and Bespoke Consultancy Services.

The team is based at our Leicester HQ and is led by Kcarrie Valentine. A former ASCL Council and Executive member, Kcarrie moved from a Head of School role to work for ASCL in 2015 and has been head of ASCL PD since March 2016. He has overall responsibility for the operational and business leadership of ASCL PD, including the development and growth of the PD programme. Kcarrie works closely with ASCL Specialists to determine the course and conference offer, ensuring that members are kept up to date with the very latest leadership developments, and works with a large number of external providers to diversify the PD offer.

Programme and Events Manager Barbi Rai has worked for ASCL PD since its inception and she brings vast experience to the team in managing the office day to day. An astute negotiator, Barbi ensures that venue costs are kept to a minimum and that value for money is at the forefront of all contractual arrangements with external suppliers.

Bespoke Training and Consultancy Co-ordinator Ramila Patel is the first port of call for anyone wishing to use our Leadership Appointment Service or Bespoke Consultancy Services. Ramila’s calm and methodical approach ensures that requests are dealt with in an efficient and timely manner no matter how complicated they may be. She forms strong links between schools and colleges who request our services and our team of specialists and consultants who deliver on our behalf.

In her role as Conferences Coordinator, Jasmine Rushton is a leading figure in ensuring that our larger and national conferences are a success. Jasmine is the administrative lead on ASCL Annual Conference, Northern Ireland Conference, Cymru Conference, Business Leaders’ Conference and on Inspiring Leadership. Jasmine has worked for ASCL PD since 2007 and during that time she has built an excellent rapport with our exhibitors who support events.

Jane Williams and Shamon Callo are our Programme and Events Assistants. In addition, Shamon administers much of our regional activity and our DVD portfolio while Jane ensures that any outside speaking requests for ASCL staff are efficiently handled. Jane and Shamon also administer a large number of our one-day courses. Together with the rest of the team, they also attend many of our events and ensure that delegates are given a very warm welcome.

The newest member of the PD team is Programme and Events Assistant Jo Marbrook. Jo has moved across from another role within ASCL to work for the PD team two days a week. Her infectious enthusiasm and excellent levels of customer service ensure that members’ needs are always at the forefront of the booking and administration process.

Find out more about how ASCL PD can help you with all of your professional development needs at www.ascl.org.uk/pd

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The benefits of ASCL membership

As a school or college leader, you need information and advice relevant to your role. Expand

As a school or college leader, you need information and advice relevant to your role. From financial management to understanding the latest Ofsted framework, ASCL gives you access to the very best professional advice through our publications, telephone Hotline and legal support.

To find out more visit: www.ascl.org.uk/join-us/

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ASCL Influence

Working on your behalf to influence government policy. Expand

Working on your behalf to influence government policy.

Primary assessment

ASCL has worked very closely this year with the Standards and Testing Agency (STA), helping to shape its consultation on primary assessment and submitting a detailed response (www.ascl.org.uk/primaryassessment). The extent of this influence is clear in the government’s response to the consultation (https://tinyurl.com/mka5mjd), which aligns very closely with our views. Key changes that we advocated include:

  • Teacher assessment of writing will allow for greater professional judgement, with immediate effect.
  • The statutory requirement to carry out teacher assessment in a specific format in reading and maths at Key Stage 2 will be removed from 2019.
  • A new Reception baseline assessment will be introduced from 2020. This will function as the input to the primary progress measure.
  • Key Stage 1 SATs will be made non-statutory from 2023.

Inspections

ASCL held high-level policy discussions with Ofsted regarding its strategic plan for 2017–22. In particular, ASCL has prompted Ofsted to explore ways of ensuring that safeguarding is a proportionate aspect of inspection, possibly involving the ‘decoupling’ of safeguarding compliance from routine inspection. Alongside this, ASCL has been in constructive dialogue with Ofsted about its recent short inspection consultations – pushing for a reduction in the ‘cliff-edge’ nature of inspection and time for leaders to make improvements. Members should also note that Ofsted‘s September school inspection update made specific reference to ASCL’s Progress 8 toolkit.

Progress 8

ASCL has pressed the DfE to develop a solution to the adverse impact of a small number of extremely negative scores on Progress 8. Pleasingly, as the recently published Statement of Intent indicated, the DfE is exploring this issue and we look forward to working with the department on it.

In a significant development, ASCL worked with SISRA to broker a ground-breaking collaboration between hundreds of schools that enabled us to accurately calculate Attainment 8 estimates weeks before this data was published to schools. This is an exciting development and may be repeated or extended next year.

Post-16 funding

Members were concerned that the move to two-year linear A levels could incur funding penalties if a student left at the end of Year 12. The DfE implied that their funding would be halved, rather than being fully funded as with AS students. ASCL argued with the DfE data and accountabilities team about the unfairness of this and they listened, confirming that a student dropping out of a two-year course in the summer of Year 12 would now be treated as fully retained and funded for their Year 12 (providing that they were on roll on 30 June).

EBacc

ASCL’s response to the EBacc consultation proposed that the existing EBacc attainment measure, reflecting the percentage of pupils who achieved the EBacc, should be suspended as a threshold measure. We pointed out that a measure designed to credit partial EBacc completion using a points-score reporting system would recognise the achievements of all pupils in EBacc subjects and not disadvantage different types of schools. This proposal has been included in the government’s EBacc response and will be one of the headline accountability measures from 2018 onwards.

School leadership and equalities

We sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Education about equality and diversity in school and college leadership (www.ascl.org.uk/equalitiesletter) and, since then, ASCL Parliamentary and Inclusion Specialist Anna Cole has been contacted by the DfE School Leadership and Equalities Unit for strategy input. The DfE plans to set up a roundtable in the New Year and has asked ASCL to work with the department and to ensure it has a more strategic, joined-up and proactive approach to equality and diversity in school leadership.

Primary children and Ramadan

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has been in touch with ASCL’s Parliamentary and Inclusion Specialist Anna Cole about writing a joint supplementary paper as an annex to Anna’s paper on Ramadan (full 2017 paper can be found here www.ascl. org.uk/ramadan2017) for primary students sitting SATs in 2018. More details to follow.

Flexible working

ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton chaired a summit organised by the DfE on flexible working in schools. ASCL Parliamentary and Inclusion Specialist Anna Cole also attended and will take this area forward as part of ASCL’s equalities work. ASCL has made the following pledges to move this agenda forward:

  1. ASCL will endorse and encourage flexible working options to our members as a way of recruiting and retaining good staff.
  2. ASCL will work with our members, the DfE, WomenEd, the Chartered College for Teaching, education unions and others to create and promote case studies of schools that are successfully adopting flexible working policies, and will share them with our members.
  3. ASCL will support TES to create and support a ‘best employer’ award at the TES Schools Awards, which recognises schools that invest in their teaching staff and support them with progressive working practices.
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New ASCL partner

ASCL is delighted to announce its partnership with CENTURY. Expand

ASCL is delighted to announce its partnership with CENTURY. Tech, the platform that has developed innovative technology with artificial intelligence, big data engineers, neuroscientists and teachers, to improve learner outcomes and empower teachers with a focus on driving performance while reducing workload.

By learning how every brain learns, CENTURY’s unique advanced technology provides a personalised path for every individual with differentiated resources, recommendations, gap analysis and feedback. The platform automates tasks like marking, tracking, planning and generating deep insights, including timely interventions, freeing up valuable time for teachers and assistants and promoting evidence-based strategies in the classroom. CENTURY also offers engagement, impact and progress metrics over time: meaningful data to present to SLT and the regulator.

The platform has gained worldwide recognition and is being used in schools and colleges nationwide. ASCL Professional Development will shortly be providing select CPD courses on CENTURY to schools and colleges.

Commenting on the partnership, ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton said:

“I am delighted that CENTURY is a preferred supplier of ASCL. It is producing ground-breaking insights into classroom assessment, using a richer data-set to motivate pupils, inform and empower teachers, and to explore how technology can personalise learning. I couldn’t be prouder that our Association – representing so many school and college leaders – is so closely aligned with a company at the cutting-edge of transforming the learning process.”

ASCL members can exclusively trial CENTURY for a full term, including receiving training sessions on the platform, at no cost. Quote ASCL17 and sign-up at www.century.tech

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ASCL Benevolent Fund

The ASCL Benevolent Fund ( Expand

The ASCL Benevolent Fund (ABF) is an important element in the association’s policy of providing protection and care for all of its members, past and present, and their dependants. While most members are unlikely to need help while they are active and in post, a serious accident, redundancy, chronic illness or disability can change the situation quite traumatically.

Whether it is a short-term financial crisis or a long-term problem, the fund stands ready to help. If you know someone who may benefit from the fund or if you think you would benefit yourself, please call 0116 299 1122 or find out more online at www.ascl.org.uk/benevolentfund

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School and college funding: lobby of Parliament

On 24 October, ASCL joined other unions at a lobby of Parliament in which some 800 teachers, parents and governors met their constituency MP to describe, face-to-face, the problems that the underfunding of education is creating ( Expand

On 24 October, ASCL joined other unions at a lobby of Parliament in which some 800 teachers, parents and governors met their constituency MP to describe, face-to-face, the problems that the underfunding of education is creating (see photo above of ASCL Specialist Anna Cole, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton at the event).

This was joint action coordinated by ASCL together with the other education unions. The combined approach shows the depth of our concerns about how the funding shortfall will damage the education of children and young people.

In addition to this, seven organisations, including ASCL, that represent sixth forms, colleges and students wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond calling for urgent action over the severe underfunding of 16–19 education.

Their letter, written as part of the Support Our Sixth-formers campaign (www.sixthformcolleges.org/sos-campaign), said that without further investment, there will be more cuts to courses, class sizes will continue to increase and school sixth forms in rural areas will simply disappear.

A ‘day of action’ was held on 10 November for post-16 funding, with schools’ and colleges’ heads and principals gathering together to meet their local MPs and press them to support the campaign, and urge them to write to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget.

The aim of all of this lobbying activity was to urge the government to deliver a better deal for schools and colleges, especially in the run-up to the Budget on 22 November (at the timing of Leader going to print, the Budget had not yet taken place).

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor must invest more in the future of our young people and recognise the urgency of an issue that nearly lost them the General Election.

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ASCL subscriptions frozen for the next year

We are pleased to announce that we are freezing member subscription rates for 2018. Expand

We are pleased to announce that we are freezing member subscription rates for 2018. We recognise that members are facing an uncertain economic climate and financial pressures due to cost-of-living increases therefore, subscriptions will not increase. While subscriptions remain unchanged, increasing membership numbers mean that we are still able to invest in the association to provide you with the high level of service you deserve.

Find out below how we used your subs in 2016 to provide you with support and guidance.

Your subscription, your support

Approximately 74% of ASCL’s income in 2016 was derived from members’ subscriptions. The largest proportion of our expenditure (about 60%) was spent directly on supporting our members. This includes regional, field and hotline officers; in-house solicitors and legal support staff; publications; legal fees; dealing with pensions and pay and conditions issues; and training and support for our local representatives.

Over the past year, ASCL has again expanded its field staff across the UK to ensure that the highest level of support for members can be maintained.

In addition, our reserve fund now stands at approximately £2.23 million and is there to draw on should ASCL need to support members facing significant legal challenges.

We continually look for opportunities for efficiency savings without compromising our service to members, and ensure our procurement policy optimises value for money.

We hope you will agree that, for the service and support provided, ASCL membership represents excellent value for money.

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ASCL Hotline: Key figures 2016/17

We are pleased to announce that we are freezing member subscription rates for 2018. Expand

 

  • Our Hotline dealt with 6,665 enquiries from members.
  • That’s 30-40 calls a day on average. l Restructuring, and discipline and capability were the top two topics for calls from members.
  • 1,285 members were supported for ongoing individual professional issues.
  • If you need any help or advice, please call our Hotline on 0116 299 1122 or email hotline@ascl.org.uk
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Government must review decline of arts subjects

Commenting on the report Entries to Arts Subjects at Key Stage 4 ( Expand

Commenting on the report Entries to Arts Subjects at Key Stage 4 (https://epi.org.uk/report/entries-arts-subjects/) by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton, said:

“The government must stop burying its head in the sand. The evidence is clear that arts subjects are being driven to the fringes of the curriculum by accountability measures which heavily prioritise a narrow range of academic subjects, and an education funding crisis which means schools are having to cut courses.

“We entirely agree with the EPI report’s conclusion that the government needs to acknowledge the pressure on arts subjects, and consider the impact which reduced access to the arts is likely to have, both on pupils and on the creative industries more widely.

“Nobody is disputing that the curriculum should have a rigorous academic core, but it also needs to maintain a breadth which preserves student choice, and protects the huge importance of arts subjects in our cultural life. The government must review how its policies are squeezing the life out of the arts.”

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Do we have your correct details?

Make sure you don’t miss out on the latest information and tell us of any change in job title, school/college address, home address and email. Expand

Make sure you don’t miss out on the latest information and tell us of any change in job title, school/college address, home address and email.

You can change your personal information online; simply log on to www.ascl.org.uk using your password and then click on ‘edit your details’ (in the gold ‘my account’ box on the left-hand side) and update your details.

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Call for an immediate 5% pay rise for teachers

ASCL, alongside other education unions, called for an immediate, fully funded, 5% pay rise for all teachers. Expand

ASCL, alongside other education unions, called for an immediate, fully funded, 5% pay rise for all teachers. In a letter – sent before the Budget – to Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening, we set out our concerns about the adverse impact that teachers’ pay is having on teacher supply because pay levels have fallen behind that of other graduate professions.

After seven years of real terms pay cuts due to the government’s public-sector pay policy, we urged the government to make a significant pay increase for all teachers and school leaders.

We noted the School Teachers’ Review Body’s (STRB’s) view “that uncompetitive teacher pay, in a strong labour market with increasing opportunities for graduates, makes it a difficult environment in which to recruit and retain high quality graduates as teachers. The situation is now so critical that it requires firm and decisive action” and “presents a substantial risk to the functioning of an effective education system”. We urged the government to:

  • restore teachers’ pay levels to at least the levels that existed before the start of pay restraint in 2010
  • give teachers a pay rise of 5% in 2018 as a first step towards restoration
  • make teachers’ pay a priority in discussions within government
  • provide sufficient additional funding for this increase in teachers’ pay in the Chancellor’s Budget statement this autumn
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Spent disciplinary sanctions

When issuing a disciplinary sanction against an employee in the form of a written warning, in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice there is a requirement for the employer to notify the employee how long the warning will remain current. Expand

When issuing a disciplinary sanction against an employee in the form of a written warning, in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice there is a requirement for the employer to notify the employee how long the warning will remain current. Once this time period has elapsed, the warning will be regarded as spent.

Employers may decide how they record and retain spent warnings. The Data Protection Act 1998 does not state employers cannot retain warnings, spent or not. The Information Commissioner’s Employment Practices Data Protection Code (https:// tinyurl.com/j7p7vdf) recommends that employers have clear procedures in place on how ‘spent’ disciplinary warnings are handled. An employer does not have to remove an expired warning from an employee’s file, unless it has this clearly stated in its disciplinary policy. Warnings (expired or otherwise) should not generally be taken into account when deciding whether an employee is guilty or innocent of misconduct, but they may occasionally be relevant.

Relevant circumstances may be where there is historical evidence of a pattern of behaviour. For example, it would be reasonable to suppose an employee accused of harassment should have realised that his or her behaviour was inappropriate, if s/he had been previously warned for the same offence.

General advice, however, is that any sanction must be justified without the need to refer to an expired warning.

In relation to matters regarding a safeguarding issue, schools are legally required to retain child protection information on a child until their 26th birthday.

However, the DfE circular 2016/20 Child Protection Record Keeping in Schools (https://tinyurl.com/yajd45pr) states that records in relation to child protection and disciplinary procedures should be held on an employer’s file for five years, child protection file for Date of Birth + 30 years, and the record of child abuse complaints indefinitely.

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Adding value

As schools migrate into collaborative federations and formal multi-academy trusts ( Expand

A joined-up approach

As schools migrate into collaborative federations and formal multi-academy trusts (MATs), there is an urgent need to establish operational practices that are transparent and consistent in order to build trust and co-operation, reflecting the direction of travel across the MAT.

Trust improvement personnel are charged with managing developmental programmes between schools for everyone from newly qualified teachers (NQTs) through to aspiring heads, as well as driving improvement and prepping for MAT inspections.

BlueSky has developed brand new functionality that enables schools to retain a degree of autonomy (if appropriate) while ensuring that the trust is able to monitor and evaluate performance at individual, team and school/trust leadership level, as well as proactively ensuring quality assurance.

This new module provides a perfect mechanism for standardisation and an excellent basis for trust inspection. In this way, schools can progress their own improvement, but under the management and guidance of the trust whose CEOs and central operations teams can organise, manage and evaluate staff performance across a network of partner schools, produce reports using aggregated evidence-based data, and review the impact of strategic decision-making at the touch of a button.

For more information visit www.blueskyeducation.co.uk

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Notes on guidance

Leader contains general guidance on the law that has been supplied by our Premier Partner for legal and HR services, Browne Jacobson LLP. Expand

Leader contains general guidance on the law that has been supplied by our Premier Partner for legal and HR services, Browne Jacobson LLP. If you have a specific legal issue relating to your role as an employer, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified legal professional. Members can also call the ASCL Hotline on 0116 299 1122 with respect to legal issues relating specifically to their own employment.

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Segregation by gender

The Court of Appeal has ruled that segregation of pupils by sex in a co-educational school did result in discrimination, even though both male and female pupils were treated equally. Expand

The Court of Appeal has ruled that segregation of pupils by sex in a co-educational school did result in discrimination, even though both male and female pupils were treated equally. This decision overturns the previous decision of the High Court that determined that this kind of segregation was not contrary to the Equality Act. Ofsted appealed the decision of the High Court, which was a wider case that concerned an Ofsted report, on the point around segregation.

The case concerned Al-Hijrah School, an all-through school in Birmingham. Pupils were segregated by sex from Year 5 for all lessons and breaks so that boys and girls could not mix. The Court of Appeal held that although both boys and girls had access to the same lessons and were treated separately but equally, not allowing girls to mix with boys, or boys to mix with girls had an impact on their education because the students were less prepared for modern life in Britain, where they would inevitably have to socialise with members of the opposite sex. When Ofsted inspected the school, pupils in the school apparently selected at random were critical of the segregation but parents were largely supportive of the policy.

Ofsted also argued that the segregation was more detrimental to girls, because it emphasised the power imbalance in society and implied that girls were inferior. The Appeal judges dismissed this ground of appeal by a majority of two to one.

Ofsted explicitly stated during the appeal that if it was successful, it would seek to apply these principles to other similarly organised schools. The appeal judges did though make clear that given that both the DfE and Ofsted had previously allowed such schools to continue to segregate, despite it being against the Equality Act, time should be given to affected schools to make changes to bring them into line with the act. Ofsted has said that it is considering the judgment and what its next steps will be for other schools that will be affected. It is understood that DfE officials are in the process of drawing up new guidance to issue to faith schools.

It is important to note that this judgment does not directly affect single-sex schools, which have a specific exemption under the Equality Act in order to only admit pupils of one sex.

Schools affected by the judgment should seek advice about what their options are, based on their circumstances, to bring them into line with the Equality Act.

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Spotlight on mental health

There is a growing focus on the adequacy of mental health support available for pupils in schools and colleges following the outcome of recent research studies, high-profile media coverage and a heightened awareness of the range of issues young people are facing in the digital age. Expand

There is a growing focus on the adequacy of mental health support available for pupils in schools and colleges following the outcome of recent research studies, high-profile media coverage and a heightened awareness of the range of issues young people are facing in the digital age.

A DfE report on supporting mental health in schools and colleges (August 2017) (see https://tinyurl.com/yact8k9n) looked at what institutions currently do to support pupils’ mental health and found that the perceived keys to success included having a whole-school approach and a shared vision, and an understanding of how to support mental health alongside a clear teaching and learning strategy. Respondents felt that barriers to effective mental health support included difficulties in commissioning local services, a lack of funding, long waiting lists and high thresholds for specialist provision, rising mental health needs among pupils and a lack of internal capacity. While further mental health training for staff and increased funding for specialist services are proposed solutions, there are no guarantees such support will materialise. It is likely that schools will continue to have to draw from their own, already stretched, resources to provide the necessary support.

Schools and colleges already have legal responsibilities to support pupils with medical conditions (statutory guidance December 2015 – https://tinyurl.com/ydgyngmk). This covers physical and mental health to ensure pupils can play a full and active role in school and college life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential. In addition, schools and colleges have responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils, which often include those with mental health issues. Local authorities also have legal duties to promote co-operation between relevant partners – such as schools, clinical commissioning groups and NHS England – with a view to improving the wellbeing of children with regard to their mental health. Despite this, there is a growing consensus that this is not enough and more needs to be done.

Given that schools and colleges are in a unique position because of the time children and young people spend in their care, the next version of the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance on safeguarding is expected to focus on schools’ obligations to support pupils’ mental health. Such revisions to the guidance may include reference to: cultivating an environment that promotes positive health and wellbeing; raising awareness of how and where pupils can access support; and supporting the development of emotional literacy and resilience to help pupils explain, understand and find ways to manage their emotions and mental health.

Now is a good time for schools and colleges to reflect on how they currently address mental health issues and what ways the support could be improved.

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Consulting on admissions arrangements

The School Admissions Code 2014 ( Expand

The School Admissions Code 2014 (the Code) introduced a more flexible approach for admission authorities to make changes to their admission policies. The approach is based on three key requirements:

  1. Ensure that the policy is fair, objective and lawful, that is, it must comply with admissions and equality law and the Code.
  2. Ensure that any changes are subject to consultation with relevant stakeholders.
  3. Ensure that the changes are approved after consultation by the admission authority before 28 February in the year before the admission.

Admission authorities must act in accordance with the Code. It provides useful guidance on what an admission policy must cover, what elements are mandatory and those that are prohibited (usually any priority based on non-objective or discriminatory factors). It also sets out criteria to be used to allocate places when the school is oversubscribed.

Once the proposed admission arrangements have been agreed within the school, it is necessary to undertake a public consultation. Under the Code, the consultation must last for a minimum of six weeks sometime from 1 October to 31 January, and for the full duration of the consultation, the school must publish on its website a copy of the proposed admission policy together with where comments should be sent and the deadline for doing so. Problems with consultation have been a constant theme of reports made by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) which is tasked with investigating complaints arising from admission arrangements. It is worth remembering the following key principles:

It is the admission authority’s responsibility to ensure that a lawful consultation is undertaken even if the admission authority delegates the task to another body, such as the LA.

The consultation must include parents of children aged from 2 to 18 years, other admission authorities, the LA, the relevant faith body (for faith schools) and other persons who may have an interest in admissions in the opinion of the admission authority. The admission authority must ensure that all stakeholders are signposted towards the consultation via whatever means are appropriate in that locality – it is not sufficient just to place the policy on the website. Therefore, letters home to existing parents; letters to feeder schools; notices in local shops, doctors and libraries; and publication in local papers may all be used.

Retain evidence of consultation and the steps taken to bring the changes to the attention of stakeholders and any responses in case of challenge to the Schools Adjudicator.

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LEADING READING