West Herts Schools Trust: Admission arrangements for 2021/22
(Jupiter, Lanchester and Ascot Road community Free Schools)
The schools will each have a published admission number of 60
Section 324 of the Education Act 1996 requires the governing bodies of all maintained schools to admit a child with a statement of special educational needs that names their school. All schools must also admit children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that names the school.
If there are fewer applications than places available, all applicants will be offered a place. If there are more applications than places available, the criteria outlined below will be used to allocate places.
Rule 1 Children in care and children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a child arrangement order or a special guardianship order)
Rule 2 Medical or Social: Children for whom it can be demonstrated that they have exceptional social and medical reasons to attend this school including children previously looked by the state abroad and subsequently adopted.
Hertfordshire County Council will determine whether the evidence provided is sufficiently compelling to meet the requirements for this rule. The evidence must relate specifically to the school applied for under Rule 2 and must clearly demonstrate why it is the only school that can meet the child’s needs.
Rule 3 Sibling: Children who have a sibling on the roll of the school at the time of application.
This applies to reception through to Year 5
In Year admissions: the sibling may be in the school’s final year as long as they will still be in attendance at the time of admission
Rule 4 Children of Teaching Staff: children of teaching staff where (a) the member of staff has been employed at the school for two or more years at the time at which the application for admission to the school is made, and/or (b) the member of staff is recruited to fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage. To be eligible under this rule children of teaching staff must live at the same address as the member of staff. This includes step children.
Rule 5 Nearest School: Children for whom it is their nearest school or academy. This includes all schools except those which allocate on the basis of faith.
Rule 6 Distance: Children who live nearest to the school. Children not considered under Rule 5 will be considered under Rule 6.
These rules are applied in the order they are printed above. If more children qualify under a particular rule than there are places available, a tiebreak will be used by applying the next rule to those children. Where there is a need for a tie-breaker where two different addresses measure the same distance from a school, in the case of a block of flats for example the lower door number will be deemed nearest as logically this will be on the ground floor and therefore closer. If there are two identical addresses of separate applicants, the tie break will be random allocation.
Random allocation will be undertaken independently of the school by Hertfordshire County Council. Every child entered onto the county council’s admissions database has an individual random number assigned, between 1 and 1 million, against each preference school. When there is a need for a final tie break this random number is used to allocate the place, with the lowest number given priority.
The WHST schools will use the same definitions and measuring system as Hertfordshire County Council’s as outlined in the “Definitions" section below.
After places have been offered, the school’s continuing interest (waiting) list will be maintained by Hertfordshire County Council. A child’s position on the CI list will be determined by the admission criteria outlined above and a child’s place on the list can change as other children join or leave it. The county council, on behalf of the school’s governing body, will contact parents/carers if a vacancy becomes available and it can be offered to a child. Continuing interest lists will be maintained for every year group until the summer term (date to be confirmed). To retain a CI application after this time, parents must make an In Year application.
In Year Admissions
The schools will remain part of the county council’s coordinated In Year admissions scheme. Application forms can be accessed via www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/admissions or from the Customer Service Centre, 0300 123 4043. Parents should return the application form direct to the County Council (address on the form).
The school participates in the county council’s Fair Access protocol and will admit children under this protocol before children on continuing interest. Under the Fair Access Protocol the school will also admit and over the Published Admission Number (PAN) if required.
Parents wishing to appeal who applied through Hertfordshire’s online system should log in to their online application and click on the link “register an appeal”. Out of county residents and paper applicants should call the Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 4043 to request their registration details and log into www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/schoolappeals and click on the link “log into the appeals system”.
Appeals for in-year admissions
The county council will write to you with the outcome of your application and if you have been unsuccessful, will include registration details to enable you to login and appeal online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/schoolappeals
Definitions and Explanatory notes
The following definitions apply to terms used in the admissions criteria:
Children in public care (children looked after / previously looked after):
Places are allocated to children in public care according to Chapter 7, Section 2 of the School Admissions (Admission Arrangements and Co-ordination of Admission Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012. These children will be prioritised under rule 1.
Highest priority will also be given to children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted, or became subject to a child arrangements order or a special guardianship order.
A “child looked after” is a child who is
a) in the care of a local authority, or
b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (section 22(1) of The Children Act 1989)
All children adopted from care who are of compulsory school age are eligible for admission under rule 1.*
Child Arrangements Order - under the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, which amended section 8 of the Children Act 1989, residence orders have now been replaced by child arrangements orders which settle the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live
Special guardianship order – under 14A of The Children Act 1989, an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian or guardians
Children in the process of being placed for adoption are classified by law as children looked after providing there is a Placement Order and the application would be prioritised under Rule 1.
Children who were not “looked after” immediately before being adopted, or made the subject of a child arrangement order or special guardianship order, will not be prioritised under rule 1. Applications made for these children, with suitable supporting professional evidence, can be considered under rule 2.
* This definition has been amended in accordance with paragraph 1.7 (footnote 17) of the School Admissions Code that came into force on 19 December 2014.
Rule 2: Children for whom it can be demonstrated that they have a particular medical or social need to go to the school:
Rule 2 applications will only be considered at the time of the initial application, unless there has been a significant and exceptional change of circumstances within the family since the initial application was submitted.
All schools in Hertfordshire have experience in dealing with children with diverse social and medical needs. However in a few very exceptional cases, there are reasons why a child has to go to one specific school.
Few applications under Rule 2 are agreed. All applications are considered individually but a successful application should include the following:
a. Specific recent professional evidence that justifies why only one school can meet a child’s individual needs, and/or
b. Professional evidence that outlines exceptional family circumstances making clear why only one school can meet the child’s needs
c. If the requested school is not the nearest school to the child’s home address clear reasons why the nearest school is not appropriate
d. For medical cases – a clear explanation of why the child’s severity of illness or disability makes attendance at only a specific school essential.
Evidence should make clear why only one school is appropriate. Applications under Rule 2 can only be considered when supported by a recent letter from a professional involved with the child or family, for example a doctor, psychologist or police officer. The supporting evidence needs to demonstrate why only one named school can meet the social/medical needs of the child.
Applications for children previously “looked after” but not meeting the specific criteria outlined Rule 1, may be made under this rule. This includes children previously looked after from abroad (outside England) and subsequently adopted.
Further details on the Rule 2 process can be found in the “Rule 2 protocol” available at: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/docs/pdf/admissions/Rule2pross.pdf
Definition of sibling:
A sibling is defined as: the sister, brother, half brother or sister, adopted brother or sister, child of the parent/carer or partner or a child looked after or previously looked after* and in every case living permanently** in a placement within the home as part of the family household from Monday to Friday at the time of this application.
A sibling must be on the roll of the named school at the time the younger child starts.
If a place is obtained for an older child using fraudulent information, there will be no sibling connection available to subsequent children from that family.
*Children previously looked after are those children adopted or with a special guardianship order or child arrangements order. This definition was amended following a determination by the OSA in August 2014.
**A sibling link will not be recognised for children living temporarily in the same house, for example a child who usually lives with one parent but has temporarily moved or a looked after child in a respite placement or very short term or bridging foster placement.
The school will admit over the published admission number when a single twin/multiple birth child is allocated the last place at a school.
The address provided must be the child’s current permanent address at the time of application. ‘At the time of application’ means the closing date for applications. “Permanent” means that the child has lived at that address for at least a year and/or the family own the property or have a tenancy agreement for a minimum of 12 months. The application can only be processed using one address. If a child lives at more than one address (for example due to a separation) the address used will be the one which the child lives at for the majority of the time. If a child lives at two addresses equally, the address of the parent/carer that claims Child Benefit/Child Tax Credit will be considered as the child’s main residence. If a family is not in receipt of Child Benefit/Tax Credit alternative documentation will be requested. If a child’s residence is in dispute, parents/carers should provide court documentation to evidence the address that should be used for admission allocation purposes.
The school, in liaison with Hertfordshire County Council, will do as much as possible to prevent applications being made from fraudulent addresses. Address evidence is frequently requested, monitored and checked and school places will be withdrawn when false information is deliberately provided. Action will be taken in the following circumstances:
- When a child’s application address does not match the address of that child at their current school;
- When a child lives at a different address to the applicant
- When the applicant does not have parental responsibility
When a family move shortly after the closing date of applications when one or more of the following applies:
- The family has moved to a property from which their application was less likely to be successful
- The family has returned to an existing property
- The family lived in rented accommodation for a short period of time (anything less than a year) over the application period
- Council tax information shows a different residence at the time of application
- When a child starts at the allocated school and their address is different from the address used at the time of application
Home to school distance measurement for purposes of admissions:
A ‘straight line’ distance measurement is used for all home to school distance measurements for admission allocation purposes. Distances are measured using a computerised mapping system to two decimal places. The measurement is taken from the AddressBase Premium address point of your child’s house to the address point of the school. AddressBase Premium data is a nationally recognised method of identifying the location of schools and individual residences.
Rule 5: Definition of “nearest school”
The definition of “nearest school” under Rule 5 includes all schools and academies (regardless of status) unless that school prioritises applications and allocates places on the basis of faith.
Applications from children* from overseas
All children of compulsory school age (5 to 16 years) in England have a right of access to education. However, where a child is in England for a short period only, for example less than half a term, it may be reasonable to refuse admission to a school.
*Children who hold full British Citizen passports (not British Dependent Territories or British Overseas passports), or have a UK passport describing them as a British citizen or British
subject with the right of abode or are European Economic Area nationals normally have unrestricted entry to the UK.*
An application for a school place will only be accepted for such children currently overseas if, for In Year applications, proof is provided that the child will be resident in Hertfordshire within two weeks. In Year allocations are made on the assumption that the child will accept the school place and be on roll within that timescale.
For the Primary application process applications will not normally be accepted from, nor places allocated to, an overseas address. The exception to this (for both In Year and transfer processes) is for children of UK service personnel and crown servants (and from military families who are residents of countries with a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK). In these cases HCC will allocate a place in advance of the family arriving in the area provided the application is accompanied by an official letter that declares a relocation date and a HCC Unit postal address or quartering area address, for consideration of the application against oversubscription criteria. If the family already has an established alternative private address, that address will be used for admission purposes.
The schools, in liaison with HCC, will also consider accepting applications from children* (as defined above) whose family can evidence intent to return to and/or permanently reside in Hertfordshire prior to the start of the new academic year. These applications, if accepted, will be processed from the overseas address until sufficient evidence is received to show the child is permanently resident in Hertfordshire. Evidence must be submitted at the time of application.
Evidence submitted after the date for late applications can not be taken into account before National Allocation Day. Decisions on these applications will be made by a panel of senior officers and communicated with parents within 6 weeks of the closing date for applications.
If an applicant owns a property in Hertfordshire but is not living in it, perhaps because they are working abroad at the time of application, the Hertfordshire address will not be accepted for the purposes of admission until the child is resident at that address. Other children, than those mentioned above, from overseas do not generally have automatic right of entry to the UK. An application for a school place will not therefore be accepted until they are permanently resident in Hertfordshire. Proof of residency such as an endorsed passport or entry visa will be required with the application, in addition to proof of Hertfordshire address, for example a council tax bill or 12 month rental agreement.
Age of Admission and Deferral of Places
The school’s policy is that children born on and between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 would normally commence primary school in Reception in the academic year beginning in September 2021. All Hertfordshire infant, first and primary schools provide for the full-time admission of all children offered a place in the Reception year group from the September following their fourth birthday. If a parent wants a full-time place for their child from September (at the school at which a place has been offered) then they are entitled to that full-time place.
Parents can defer the date their child is admitted to school until later in the same academic year or until the term in which the child reaches compulsory school age. Summer born children are only able to “defer” entry to Reception class until the beginning of the final term of the school year for which the offer was made.
Where parents wish, children can attend part-time until they reach compulsory school age. Any parents wishing to take up a part-time place or deferred entry should contact the individual school(s) to discuss their child’s requirements.
Reception intake and summer born children
Legally, a child does not have to start school until the start of the term following their
fifth birthday. Children born between 1st April 2016 and 31st August 2016 are categorised as summer born and if parents / carers do not believe that their summer born child is ready to join Reception in September 2021 you may instead make an application for your child to start Reception in September 2022. Parents /.carers should contact Hertfordshire County Council for guidance before deferring an application. Currently summer born children are expected to start Reception at the age of 4.
Children Out of Year Group (except applications for reception from summer born)
The school’s policy is for children to be educated within their correct chronological year group, with the curriculum differentiated as necessary to meet the needs of individual children. This is in line with DfE guidance* which states that “in general, children should be educated in their normal age group”.
If parents/carers believe their child(ren) should be educated in a different year group they should, at the time of application, submit supporting evidence from relevant professionals working with the child and family stating why the child must be placed outside their normal age appropriate cohort. DfE guidance makes clear that “it is reasonable for admission authorities to expect parents to provide them with information in support of their request – since without it they are unlikely to be able to make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case”.
The school’s governing body, as the relevant admission authority, will decide whether the application will be accepted on the basis of the information submitted. The governors’ decision will be based upon the circumstances of each case including the view of parents, the Principal, the child's social, academic and emotional development and whether the child has been previously educated out of year group. There is no guarantee that an application will be accepted on this basis. If the application is not accepted this does not constitute a refusal of a place and there is no right to an independent statutory appeal. Similarly there is no right of appeal for a place in a specific year group at a school. The internal management and organisation of a school, including the placement of pupils in classes, is a matter for the Principal and senior leadership of the school.
*Advice on the admission of summer born children” December 2014
The admission arrangements detailed in this document do not apply for those being admitted into any nursery or pre-school provision. The arrangements for nursery and pre-school provision at the WHST schools are through Squirrels Nurseries who can be contacted at email@example.com .
Parents of children who are admitted to a nursery provision at a school must apply in the normal way for a place at the school if they want their child to transfer to the reception class. Attendance at the nursery or co-located children’s centre does not guarantee admission to the school.