Fair access protocol - guide for parents
What is the protocol?
The law requires each local authority to have an agreement or protocol to set out how children, who are requiring places outside of the normal admissions round, should be admitted to schools if they are considered “hard to place”.
What is the point of the protocol?
It is to help Staffordshire to work with its schools so that places are found for children fairly and quickly whilst ensuring that no school, including those with available places, is asked to take a disproportionate number of children who have been excluded from other schools, or who have challenging behaviour. It is also important that head teachers and partner agencies can work together to make sure each child has the chance to achieve their full potential.
What is a 'hard to place' child?
The protocol sets out a list of features that would make a child hard to place. Normally these are children who have behaviour or attendance difficulties which means they may need some extra support to help them cope.
The protocol does not apply to a looked after child, a previously looked after child or a child with an education, health and care plan (EHCP).
Does the protocol apply to all schools?
Yes it applies to all schools whether they are community, voluntary aided or academies.
What happens if a school is full?
An admission under the protocol is not like a normal admission. A school that is full can be asked to admit a child under the protocol. This even overrides the maximum size for infant classes, whether or not there is a waiting list in operation and whether or not appeals have already been heard for the school and year group concerned.
The fair access protocol is there to make sure that both children and schools get a good deal. It is about 'hard to place' children being admitted quickly to a school that is best placed to meet their needs. It is about protecting their learning and the learning of all children.
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