The Chief Schools Adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore, has today called for all admission authorities in England to comply fully with the admissions code on consulting, determining and publishing their arrangements to ensure fair access for all children.
In her annual report for 1 September 2011 – 31 August 2012, Dr Passmore sets out that while admission authorities have responded promptly to changes in the new admissions code by giving priority in their oversubscription criteria to children who were previously looked after by the local authority and have been adopted, they need to do more to comply fully with the requirements of the admissions code.
Concerns about admission arrangements continue to make up the largest part of the OSA’s work and accounted for 156 of the total of 265 cases of all types referred to the OSA. Objections increased a little this year with 156 cases, but this represents less than 2 per cent of admission authorities.
Dr Passmore concludes that the application of fair access protocol procedures are working well in placing children who do not have a school place in a school that best meets their needs, but calls for the following action to be taken to improve further fair access for all children to state-funded schools in England:
The Chief Schools Adjudicator said:
This is my first annual report since taking up post as Chief Adjudicator and it has been another busy year for the Office of the Schools Adjudicator. We have received increasingly complex cases and have needed to work within old and new legislation at the same time this year.
I would like to thank my team of adjudicators, administrative staff and legal advisers for the valuable work they do. Our aim is to address often difficult and emotional disputes with our professional and fair application of the legislation and guidance available to us.
1) The annual report is published in the OSA publications section of this site.
2) Dr Elizabeth Passmore was appointed to the post of Chief Schools Adjudicator on 1 November 2011.
3) There are currently eight adjudicators, including the Chief Adjudicator. All are part time and paid only for the work they are asked to undertake.
4) Adjudicators resolve differences over the interpretation and application of legislation and guidance on school admissions and statutory proposals concerning school organisation.
In relation to all state-funded schools adjudicators:
Rule on objections to and referrals about determined school admission arrangements (each LA is an admission authority and during the period of this report 6,728 schools are their own admission authority).
And in relation to maintained schools adjudicators:
decide on requests to vary admission arrangements;
resolve disputes relating to school organisation proposals;
resolve disputes on the transfer and disposal of non-playing field land and assets; and
determine appeals from admission authorities against the intention of the LA to direct the admission of a particular pupil.
5) The Chief Schools Adjudicator can also be asked by the Secretary of State to provide advice and undertake other relevant tasks.
6) The Office of the Schools Adjudicator is a tribunal, supervised by the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council. Once published decisions can only be challenged through the courts.
7) Adjudicators do not deal with complaints from parents whose child has not been offered a place at a particular school.
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