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Burton Fields School (formerly Kingfisher Academy)

Admission arrangements 2019/2020, 2020/2021, 2021/2022

1. Introduction

1.1) It is the Trust’s policy to try and meet parents’ wishes where possible, however in some cases there may be more applications than there are places available. Admission, when oversubscribed, is determined by the oversubscription criteria contained within this Policy.

2. Subscription Criteria

2.1) If the total number of preferences for admission to an Academy exceeds the Published Admission Number (PAN), the following order of priority is used to allocate the available places. (N.B., after applying the oversubscription criteria, where an applicant can be offered a place at more than one preferred academy or school then they will be offered a place at the academy/school ranked highest on their application)

  1. Children in care and children who ceased to be in care because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order).
  2. Children of staff employed at the Academy for two or more years, or who will fill a skills gap in the event of a shortage
  3. Children who have an older brother or sister in attendance at the Academy and who will still be attending at the time of the proposed admission date. (For admission purposes, a brother or sister is a child who lives at the same address and either: have one or both natural parents in common; are related by a parents marriage; are adopted or fostered by a common parent or are unrelated children who live at the same address, whose parents live as partners)
  4. Children living within the defined catchment
  5. Children who satisfy both of the following tests:

Test 1: the child is distinguished from the great majority of other applicants either on their own individual medical grounds or by other exceptional circumstances

Medical grounds must be supported by a medical report (obtained by the applicant and provided at the point of application). This report must clearly justify, for health reasons only, why it is better for the child’s health to attend the Academy rather than any other school

Exceptional circumstances must relate to the choice of Academy and the individual child, i.e. the circumstances of the child, not the economic or social circumstances of the parent/carer. They should be supported by a professional report (obtained by the applicant and provided at the point of application), e.g. social worker. This report must clearly justify why it is better for the child to attend the Academy rather than any other school

Test 2: the child would suffer hardship if they were unable to attend the Academy

Hardship means severe suffering of any kind, not merely difficulty or inconvenience, which is likely to be experienced as a result of the child attending a different school. Applicants must provide detailed information about both the type and severity of any likely hardship at the time of application.

2.2) Other children arranged in order of priority according to how near their home addresses are to the main gate of the Academy, determined by a straight-line measurement as calculated by the Local Authority’s Geographical Information System.

2.3) Where it is not possible to accommodate all children applying for places within a particular category, then the available places will be allocated in accordance with the remaining criteria. If, for instance, all the catchment area children cannot be accommodated, children who are catchment area children and satisfy category (3) will receive offers of a place, followed by children who live in the catchment area and satisfy category (4), etc.

2.4) Copies of catchment area maps are available from the Local Authority or individual academies/schools. There is no charge or cost related to the admission of a child to the Academy. Admissions are administered through a coordinated admission scheme and preferences for community, controlled, aided and foundation schools will be processed centrally by the Local Authority. Each child will receive only one offer of a place at a Staffordshire school

2.5) Attendance at a particular infant school or academy will not guarantee admission to the Academy. Parents must make a separate application for admission to the Academy at the appropriate time.

2.6) In accordance with legislation, children who have a statutory statement of Special Educational Need (SEN) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that names Kingfisher Academy as being the most appropriate to meet the child’s needs must be admitted. This will reduce the amount of places available to other applicants.

2.7) ‘Children in Care’ will mean children who at the time of making the application are in the care of, or provided with accommodation by, a local authority in accordance with section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989

2.8) It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide any supporting information required in order for the application to be assessed against the published admissions criteria, the Academy will not seek to obtain this information on behalf of the applicant.

2.9) The Local Authority uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to calculate home to school distances in miles. The measurement is calculated using Ordnance Survey (OS) data from an applicant's home address to the main front gate of the Academy. The coordinates of an applicant's home address are determined using the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and OS Address Point data.

2.10) The home address is that considered to be the child’s, along with their parent/carer’s, main and genuine principal place of residence at the time of the allocation of places i.e. where they are normally and regularly living. If a child is resident with friends or relatives (for reasons other than legal guardianship) the friend’s or relative’s address will not be considered for allocation purposes.

2.11) Where parents have shared responsibility for a child, and the child lives with both parents for part of the week, parents will be required to provide documentary evidence to support the address they wish to be considered for allocation purposes.

2.12) If a place is offered on the basis of an address that is subsequently found to be different from a child’s normal and permanent home address then that place is likely to be withdrawn.

2.13) If there are a limited number of spaces available and we cannot distinguish between applicants using the criteria listed, such as in the case of children who live in the same block of flats, then the child or children who will be offered the available spaces will be randomly selected. This process will be independently verified.

3. Waiting Lists

3.1) Unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a waiting list, in accordance with the oversubscription criteria stated above and not based on the date their application was received. If places become available at the Academy after the offer date they will be offered according to the child at the top of the waiting list.

3.2) Inclusion on the Academy waiting list does not mean that a place will eventually become available.

3.3) A child’s position on a waiting list is not fixed and is subject to change during the year i.e. they can go up or down the list, since each added child will require the list to be ranked again in-line with the oversubscription criteria listed above.

3.4) Children who are subject of a direction by a local authority to admit or who are allocated to the Academy in accordance with the Fair Access Protocol will take precedence over those on the waiting list.

3.5) The waiting list will be held until the end of the Autumn term of the year of admission to year 3.

4. Late Applications

4.1) Application forms received after the closing date will, wherever possible, be considered alongside those applicants who applied on time. Where it is not practicable because places have already been allocated, or are shortly to be allocated, then late applicants will be considered only after those applicants who applied by the published closing date.

4.2) A late application does not affect the right of appeal or the right to be placed on the Academy waiting list.

5. Repeat Applications

5.1) Parents do not have the right to a second appeal in respect of the Academy for the same academic year unless, in exceptional circumstances, the Academy has accepted a second application from the appellant because of a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent, child or Academy but still refused admission.

6. In-Year Transfer Arrangements

6.1) Parents or carers seeking to transfer a child to the Academy may make an application using the appropriate application form. This application will be processed in the normal way but parents and carers must be aware that any date set for joining may be after the next term or half-term holiday, and those parents/carers are responsible for ensuring that their child continues to receive appropriate education in the interim.

7. Arrangements for appeals panels

Parents will have the right of appeal to an independent appeal panel if they are dissatisfied with an admission decision. The appeal panel will be independent of the Academy. The arrangements for appeals will be in line with the Code of Practice on School Admission Appeals published by the Department for Education as it applies to Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools. The decision of the appeal panel will be made in accordance with the Code of Practice on School Admission Appeals and is binding on all parties. Parents who want to appeal against the governors’ decision not to offer their child a place at the Academy must appeal directly to the Academy. The appeal should be addressed in writing to the Academy.

8. Admission Outside of the Normal Age Group

Parents may seek to apply for their child’s admission to the Academy outside of their normal age group, for example if the child is exceptionally gifted and talented or has experienced problems such as ill health.

These parents will need to make an application alongside children applying at the normal age which should explain why it is in the child’s best interest to be admitted outside of their normal age which may include information such as professional evidence as to why this is the case and why an exception should be made in the case of the child. A decision as to whether this is an appropriate course of action will be made by the Local Governing Body who will take into account the circumstances of the case and views of the Principal. Parents do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular year group.

Appendix A - In-Year Fair Access Protocol

Why is a Fair Access Protocol Required?

All admission authorities must have Fair Access Protocols in place and all schools must participate in the protocol in order to ensure that unplaced children are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible. This includes admitting children to schools that are already full. The Fair Access Protocol is triggered when an eligible child has not secured a place under in-year admission procedures.

Admission authorities are asked to ensure that no school, including those with places available, is asked to take a disproportionate number of children who have been excluded from other schools or have challenging behaviour. They must also ensure that all children who arrive outside the normal admission round who may have difficulty securing a place are covered by a protocol.

Agreement was reached with the Secondary Head Teachers’ Forum during November 2005 that the way forward was to develop the role of the Head Teachers' Panels (District Inclusion Partnerships) to take overall charge of the placement of children where a school place could not be found quickly. These partnerships deal successfully with a significant number of difficult issues, particularly with regard to excluded or children who are close to permanent exclusion.

Along with devolved funding and responsibility for alternative provision, an agreed protocol can encourage schools to work together in partnership to improve behaviour and tackle persistent absence.

Aims of the Fair Access Protocol

The Fair Access Protocol is designed to:

  • Be fair and transparent.
  • Acknowledge the need of young people who are not on the roll of any school to be dealt with quickly and sympathetically.
  • Recognise the success of proactive work already being undertaken cooperatively between schools to prevent exclusion, and to support children, e.g. through managed moves.
  • Reduce the time that these children spend out of school.
  • Ensure that schools admit children with challenging educational needs in a manner which takes account of the proportion of children they have already admitted through the District Inclusion Partnership (DIP) process.

Who is covered by the Fair Access Protocol?

It is a legal requirement that “looked after children and previously looked after children” be given first priority for admission to all schools within their oversubscription criteria.

Looked After Children, previously looked after children, children with statements of Special Educational Need are not covered by this Protocol as their needs are considered separately.

Although there is some evidence that at times other children not listed below experience difficulties in attaining a school place, there is already an agreed procedure for dealing with their applications that should be adhered to in all cases including an independent admission appeals system. This process is administered by the School Admissions and Transport Service.

The children covered by the Protocol will be the ones who are vulnerable and for whom it is even more important that they be admitted to a school quickly.

The Fair Access Protocol in Staffordshire covers children who fall into one of the following categories:

  • they have been permanently excluded from their previous school
  • they are ‘children in care’ or were previously in care
  • they are returning to maintained education from secure units or
  • they are deemed vulnerable due to their circumstances, e.g. history of poor attendance or fixed term exclusions, new arrivals to the UK
  • they are attending PRUs and need to be reintegrated back into mainstream education
  • they have been out of education for longer than two months
  • they are children whose parents have been unable to find them a place after moving to the area, because of a shortage of places
  • they have been withdrawn from schools by their family, following fixed term exclusions and unable to find another place
  • they are children of refugees and asylum seekers
  • they are homeless children
  • they have unsupportive family backgrounds, where a place has not been sought;
  • they are known to the police or other agencies
  • they are without a school place and with a history of serious attendance problems
  • they are Gypsies, Roma or traveller children
  • they are carers
  • they have special educational needs (but without a statement)
  • they have disabilities or medical conditions
  • they are returning from the criminal justice system and
  • they are children of UK Service personnel and other Crown Servants

Main Principles of the Fair Access Protocol

  • All schools take part in the Fair Access Protocol
  • There is a general expectation that if a child moves into an area, he/she is admitted to the local catchment area school unless there are very exceptional reasons as to why this should not be the case. Having reached the admission number is not usually considered to be very exceptional unless other circumstances apply
  • Schools cannot cite oversubscription as a reason for not admitting pupils under the protocol
  • Children considered under this protocol have priority for admission over others on a waiting list or awaiting an appeal
  • Schools cannot refuse to admit a child who has been denied a place at that school at appeal, if the protocol identifies that school as the one to admit the child
  • It is essential that all children are found places quickly. All parts of the Local
  • Authority should be prepared to deal with school admission requests as a matter of urgency

The majority of pupils are already admitted through routine admission procedures. If parents approach the Local Authority for a school place and there appear to be issues that could make the school reluctant to admit, then the procedure is set out in the action table included within this document.

Each case will be considered on an individual basis and, where appropriate, may be referred to the District Inclusion Partnership (DIP), which will make a recommendation. In exceptional circumstances, District Inclusion Partnership’s may consider that particular pupils would be better placed in an alternative to a school placement, such as a short-stay school (PRU), a local FE College, or a place provided by a voluntary organisation.

Where Partnership’s work well, shared ownership at local level means all services share information and take joint responsibility for placing children in the District. There are now eight District Inclusion Partnerships operating across the county whose function is the prevention of permanent exclusions, managed moves and other strategies to support fair access for young people. These Partnerships also play a strategic role in developing and supporting ways of working in each district regarding Inclusion. It is not necessary for all the areas to have identical practice however, there does need to be common outcomes for the children involved. It is expected that schools will organise a meeting with District Support Staff to discuss the arrangements for the child’s admission if necessary.

What happens where no panel exists?

Where there is no DIP then a procedure exists for ensuring admission of children within a reasonably short time scale as follows:

Voluntary Aided, Foundation and Trust Schools

Where a foundation, voluntary aided or trust school has been approached by the Local Authority and has refused to admit the child concerned, parents must be advised of their decision and provided with a right of appeal to an independent appeals panel. Details of the appeal hearing and the outcome afterwards must be provided to the School Admissions     and Transport Service. An officer of the School Admissions and Transport Service will then liaise with the designated officer over the appropriate course of action. This will either be the issuing of a direction letter or an alternative placement found.

Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools

In all cases the decision as to whether or not a child can be admitted to a community or voluntary controlled school will be made by the Local Authority who is the admitting authority. If a school feels unable to admit a child, the school will need to provide full reasons for this refusal to the School Admissions and Transport Service. An officer of the School Admissions and Transport Service will then liaise with the designated officer over the appropriate course of action. This will either be the issuing of an instruction to admit letter or a refusal letter to parent advising them of their statutory right of appeal. Where the local authority refuses to admit the child an alternative placement must be found.

Academies

Where an academy has been approached by the Local Authority and has refused to admit the child concerned, parents must be advised of their decision and provided with a right of appeal to an independent appeals panel. Details must be provided to the School Admissions and Transport Service of the appeal hearing and the outcome afterwards. An officer of the School Admissions and Transport Service will then liaise with the designated officer over the appropriate course of action. This will either be a referral to the Secretary of State for the issuing of a direction letter or an alternative placement found.

Fair access protocol - actions

1)

Actions:

If parents approach a school requesting a place, they should be given an application form to complete.

The school must: admit the child, or

  • community and voluntary controlled schools: indicate in writing, detailed reasons why they feel unable to accommodate the child
  • academies, trust, foundation and aided schools: refuse in writing and provide a right of appeal with copy to School Admissions and Transport Service, or refer the child to the DIP (where available)

Notes:

An application form for use by parents is available from the School Admissions and Transport Service or via the intranet / internet.

If a school considers that they have admitted a vulnerable child outside of this protocol they should inform the District Inclusion Partnership (DIP) / Inclusion Officer so that this may be recorded.

On arrival of the application form/letter of notification to refuse, the number of days for the admission of the child begins to be counted.

2)

Actions:

An officer of the School Admissions and Transport Service consults the designated officer to determine if the case should be covered under the protocol.

Notes:

It may be decided that a referral should be made tothe DIP through the Fair Access Protocol or to theChair of DIP for power to act between meetings.

3)

Actions:

The DIP should decide which school is to admit, a meeting should then be arranged between school, parent and others to agree an admission plan. If the child cannot be placed within 10 days, go to step 4.

Notes:

If case is referred to the DIP a decision should be reached within 10 school days.

The DIP may recommend that alternative provision is required (this would usually be in a short-stay school (PRU) but this will usually require entry onto a school roll with a reintegration planned in most cases.

4)

Actions:

If the school does not admit following the recommendation of the DIP, the school will be asked to make a detailed written case for not admitting if they have not already done so.

Notes:

Officers will consider the case, including the reasons for the schools refusal and make a recommendation.

A decision will then be taken as to whether or not it is appropriate to direct admission or refer back to the District Inclusion Partnership for an alternative placement.

5)

Actions:

If it becomes clear within the operation of the procedure at any stage that a place is not to be offered at a school requested by the parents, parents must be notified and given a right of appeal to an independent admission appeal panel.

Notes:

Officers will consider the case, including the reasons for the school’s refusal and make a recommendation.

A decision will then be taken as to whether or not it is appropriate to direct admission.

6)

Actions:

If no DIP exists.

Notes:

Officers will consider the case, including the reasons for the schools refusal and make recommendations.

A decision will then be taken as to whether or not it is appropriate to direct admission or identify an alternative placement.

Rules Governing Directions

Children in care

Power: In relation to a Child in their care, a Local Authority may direct the  child's admission into the school of another Admission Authority, provided the child was not permanently excluded from the school.

Legal Authority: Section 97A of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSAFA 1998).

NB: If their circumstances comply with the Education (Infant Class Size) (England) Regulations 1998, a child in care can be admitted to an infant class, above the class size limit.

Procedure: Before deciding to give a direction, the Local Authority must:

  • consult with Admission Authority of the school that it is proposing to specify and
  • consider representations from the Admission Authority, supplied within seven (7)
  • days of consultation

If the Local Authority wishes to proceed with the direction, it must:

  • give written notice of its intention on the school's
  • Admission Authority
  • Local Education Authority, if it is not also the school's Admission Authority
  • Head Teacher and
  • governing body, if it is a community or voluntary controlled school
  • wait seven (7) days from day on which the written notice was served, to enable any of the above to refer the matter to the Schools Adjudicator and
  • only issue the direction to those listed above:
    • at the end of that period
    • once the referral to the Schools Adjudicator has been resolved

Legal Authority: Section 97A to 97C of the SSAFA 1998 and Section 25(3A) of the SSAFA1998.

Other children

Power: In relation to any child within their area, a Local Authority may direct that the child is admitted into the school of another Admission Authority, where:

  • the child has been refused admission to the school
  • the child was not permanently excluded from the school
  • their admission would not cause class size prejudice
  • the school is a reasonable distance from the child's home and
  • the school provides a suitable education

Legal Authority: Sections 96 and 86(3) of the SSAFA 1998.

Procedure: Before deciding to give a direction, the Local Authority must consult with:

  • the parent of the child and
  • the governing body of the school that it is proposing to specify

If the Local Authority wishes to proceed with the direction, it must:

  • give written notice of its intention on the school's:
    • head Teacher and
    • governing body

Wait fifteen (15) days from the day on which the written notice was served, to enable either of the above to refer the matter to the Schools Adjudicator and

  • only issue the direction to those listed above
  • at the end of that period or
  • once the referral to the Schools Adjudicator has been resolved

Legal Authority: Section 97 of the SSAFA 1998.

Community and voluntary controlled schools

Duty: The governing body of a community or voluntary controlled school must implement any decision relating to the admission of pupils to their school, taken by or on behalf of the school's Admission Authority; this includes a decision to admit in order to comply with parental preference.

Legal Authority: Sections 86(2) and 88(1) (A) of the SSAFA 1998.

Complaints: If the governing body of a community or voluntary controlled school does not wish to implement the decision of the Admission Authority, a complaint about the matter can be referred to the Secretary of State by either the Admission Authority or the governing body.

Legal Authority: Sections 495 and 496 of the Education Act 1996.

Academies

The Secretary of State has the power under an Academy’s Funding Agreement to direct an Academy to admit a child, and can seek advice from the Adjudicator in reaching a decision.

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