Fair access protocol for parents
The 2021 School Admissions Code requires all state-funded mainstream schools to take part in their local authority's Fair Access Protocol (FAP).
The protocol ensures that we offer unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable, a place:
- at a suitable school
Why do we have a protocol?
The protocol helps us to work with all schools in the area so that places are found for children, 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.
We only use the protocol for the in-year admission of children who have not been placed by the in-year coordinated scheme.
Where the Admissions team refers a case to the FAP panel, an additional 20 days are available for the panel to review the case and ensure a place is offered.
To ensure the needs of vulnerable young people, who are not on roll of any school, are dealt with quickly and sympathetically:
- 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 difficulty regulating their behaviours
- a fair and transparent process is followed
Which pupils can be considered under the fair access protocol?
There are a number of categories of children of compulsory school age who the DFE state must be considered under this protocol if they have difficulty securing a school place.
See the School Admissions Code for further details.
How does the fair access protocol work?
All fair access admissions are considered at a panel made up of school representatives and Local Authority officers.
How are decisions made?
The panel considers all information so that appropriate education provision can be offered to your child. A request for background information is made to the existing or previous school. This information is submitted to the panel for consideration.
The panel also considers the following:
- Circumstances of the family, pupil or young person's needs
- Which school is best able to meet the pupil's needs
- Readiness for mainstream school
- Parental school preferences (this is taken into account but will not be able to guarantee them)
- Transport implications - where the school is based and the journey from home
- Current pupil numbers
- Recommendations made by professionals and those agencies currently working with your child
- The views of you and your child
The protocol does not apply to a looked after child or a child with an education, health and care plan (EHCP).
Can I still make an in year application?
A parent can apply for a place for their child at any school at any time. All applications must be processed by the relevant admission authority in accordance with the School Admissions Code 2021 (“the Code”).
FAPs must not be used in place of the usual in-year admissions process. A parent can make an in-year application at any time and is entitled to have their preference met wherever possible, as well as the opportunity to appeal a decision when a place is not offered.
Where it can be demonstrated that reasonable measures have been taken to secure a school place through the usual in-year admissions process and this has not been successful, or where a school place has not been sought due to exceptional circumstances.
Where the Admissions Team received a referral to the FAP panel, an additional 20 days are available for the panel to review the case and offer a school place.
See the Fair Access Protocol for full guidance and support.