Agenda item

Update on Admissions Service.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Children and Family Services which provided an update on the School Admissions Service’s performance for Autumn 2023. The report also provided an overview of recent service improvements and outlined a consultation on its admissions policy and associated arrangements which aimed to improve the admissions process and the parent journey. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.


Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:


      i.         In response to a question regarding the proposal to increase the number of school preferences from three to five on the Leicestershire school application form, Members noted that parents would continue to be reminded to make the maximum number of preferences on the form. The Department had run a media campaign regarding this and would continue to issue communications through schools as a reminder for parents. The application form contained instructions for completing it correctly and the Service would continue to monitor where parents had not filled it in correctly.


     ii.         In response to concern that some children had been placed in schools which were a significant distance from their home, the Director acknowledged that this had been the case for some children. However, this would usually have been the case where a mid-term application had been received and there was a lack of availability within the closest school. Any application received after 31 October would be treated as a mid-term application; this included when families moved into the County. In these cases, the Department would allocate a child with a place at the closest school with available places, and in some cases, this school could be some distance from the child’s home. Members noted that the Council had a statutory obligation to ensure that children in Leicestershire had access to education and members were assured that it had enough places to facilitate this. The Council could provide transport assistance to support children travelling more than two miles to a primary school or more than three miles to a secondary school, subject to an eligibility assessment. Members were assured that the Service worked closely with schools on admissions and negotiated with academies on school places. However, it was acknowledged academies were responsible for deciding their own number of places.


    iii.         Members noted that parents could contact the Council’s School Admissions Service which could provide advice on waiting list options for phased rounds, support with the right to appeal, and discuss the option for elective home education. The Department would continue to advise parents to apply for a school place for their child. If a parent decided to electively home educate their child, the Department would support the parent with this discission, but no resources would be made available.


   iv.         The Council had a positive relationship with Admissions Service at Leicester City Council. Members noted that there were popular schools in the County which attracted applications from families who lived in the city area. Where a child was allocated with a place at a county school, the child’s siblings would then also be likely to be offered a place at that school, as sibling groups were a high criterion within admissions criteria. The Council was prohibited from discriminating or prejudicing children from outside of catchment areas and would continue to deal with applications on a case by case basis.




a)    That the update on the admissions service, including a full performance breakdown of the year’s outcomes, service improvements and a consultation on the Council’s Admissions Policy, be noted.


b)    That the views expressed by Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be reported to Cabinet on 28 February 2024.


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