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The Chief Schools Adjudicator, Dr Elizabeth Passmore, has today called again 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 2012 to 31 August 2013, Dr Passmore states that overall admission authorities have responded promptly to changes in the 2012 Admissions Code by amending their arrangements to give the highest priority as the first oversubscription criterion to both looked-after children and previously looked-after children.
Concerns about admission arrangements continue to make up the largest part of the OSA’s work and accounted for 162 of the total of 212 cases of all types referred to the OSA. Objections to admission arrangements increased a little this year but the figure of 162 cases represents less than 2% of admission authorities.
Dr Passmore concludes that the application of fair access protocol procedures is again mostly working effectively in placing children who do not have a school place in a school that best meets their needs. However, to improve further fair access for all children to state-funded schools in England, Dr Passmore calls for:
The Chief Schools Adjudicator said:
“This is my second annual report since taking up post as Chief Adjudicator and it has been another busy year for the Office of the Schools Adjudicator. There has been considerable variety in the cases referred to us and a trend towards increasingly complex cases.
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.”
Notes to editors
1. View the annual report.
2. Dr Elizabeth Passmore was appointed to the post of Chief Schools Adjudicator on 1 November 2011.
3. There are currently eleven 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:
And in relation to maintained schools adjudicators:
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 and until its abolishment in August 2013 was 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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