Schools' admission rules

A number of schools' admission rules (including all 13 grammar schools) are being considered by the Office of the School's Adjudicator (OSA). Updates to the rules will be available on schools' websites when available. The OSA ruling may also impact on the moving deadline of 1 October 2017 for most grammar schools

Moving up to secondary school

8. Understanding the terms we use

These are some of the terms we use for the admission rules and policies for Community schools. Many Academies, Foundation, Free and Voluntary-Aided schools, use the same terms as us.

The Community schools in Buckinghamshire are:

  • The Buckingham School
  • The Mandeville School
  • The Misbourne

Parent

The person who is the child’s ‘parent’ should make the application.

  • A parent is defined in law (the Education Act 1996) as ‘Any person who has ‘parental responsibility’ (defined in the Children Act 1989) for the child or young person.’

Or

  • Any person who has care of the child or young person.

If two parents with parental responsibility live at different addresses, the parent to whom the Child Benefit is paid should make the application with the full knowledge and consent of the non-resident parent.

If Child Benefit is not received, then the parent living at the address at which the child is registered with a GP should make the application, or failing that, then the parent with whom the child spends the greater proportion of the school week from Sunday evening to Thursday evening.

We may ask for evidence if circumstances have changed in the past 18 months. Please see the information about shared or joint residence that we cover below.

Normal Home Address

This is your child’s home address; it is where you and your child live together, unless you can show that they live elsewhere with someone with legal care and control of your child. For admission purposes, this must be a residential property that is your child’s only or main residence. It cannot be an address at which your child may sometimes stay or sleep due to your domestic arrangements.

The property must be owned, leased or rented by the child’s parent(s) or person with legal responsibility for the child. A child’s Normal Home Address is where he or she spends most of the week, unless it is accommodation at a boarding school.

Please make sure you tell us if you move house after you have made your application.

In deciding which is your Normal Home Address we would not usually accept an address if:

  • You or your family has a second home elsewhere as a main residence. We expect that you have sold, or leased, through an agency, your previous property or that a lease agreement on a property you previously rented has expired and that you have no other residence.
  • Only part of a family has moved out of the Normal Home Address unless this was part of a divorce or permanent separation arrangement. If this is the case we will ask for evidence.
  • Two or more families claim to be living together in a property which is not suitable for the number of adults and children present and for which there is no formal record of this arrangement.
  • A child moves to a home other than with their parent, unless this is part of a formal fostering or care arrangement. We may check this information.
  • The address is that of a holiday home. A family living at a known holiday home address will be asked to provide leasing evidence and if there is a limitation on the tenancy then it will not be accepted.

We can refuse to accept where you say your child lives if we have any doubts, in which case we will continue to ask for evidence to show that you and your family actually live where you say you live. We may ask our legal team to investigate or ask that you provide legal confirmation of your address. We may check the evidence you have provided with other agencies, including your child’s current school.

If we offer a place at a school and then discover that the offer was made on the basis of fraudulent or misleading information (for example, a false claim to living in a catchment area), and this denied a place to another child, the offer of that place will be withdrawn by the admission authority for the school. This has happened in previous years.

Shared or joint residence

To avoid doubt, where a child lives with parents/carers (with or without parental responsibility) whether for part of a week, or month, the address where the child lives for admission purposes will be determined by confirmation of the registered address to which Child Benefit is currently being paid.

If Child Benefit is not received, we will require evidence to show the address at which a child is registered with a GP.

Where a child is not registered with a GP then we will use the address at which the child spends the greater proportion of the school week from Sunday evening to Thursday evening, evidence will be required.

You must therefore send us a copy of your latest benefit entitlement notice or your child’s medical card. We may ask for further evidence.

Looked After Child

For admission purposes, a ‘Looked After Child’ is a child:

  • in the care of a local authority or who is being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions.  This covers accommodated children and those who are in care under a Care Order or Interim Care Order. This can include living with family or friends, in foster care, in a children’s home, residential school, special school or in supported lodgings.

Or

  • who was previously looked after and immediately after being looked after became the subject of an adoption, child arrangements order or special guardianship order. A child arrangements order is an order setting the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live under the Children and Families Act 2014.

A Residence Order sets out the arrangements as to the person with whom the child is to live under Section 8 of the Children’s Act 1989.

A Special Guardianship Order appoints a child’s special guardian(s) under Section 14A of the Children’s Act 1989.

For applications under this rule, please provide a letter from your child’s Social Worker  or other documentary evidence confirming this situation.

Sibling

A sibling is a brother or sister – for admission purposes, we mean one of two (or more) individuals who have one or more parents in common or any other child (including an adopted or fostered child) who lives at the same address and for whom the parent also has parental responsibility, or, (in the case of a fostered child) delegated authority.

We will only consider a pupil in a secondary school as a sibling if they are at the school in Years 7 to 10 at the time the allocations are made (March 2018). The child must also be expected to still be at the school at the time the younger child would start (September 2018).

When we are allocating places, if we have one place left and the next child on the list is a twin, triplet or of another multiple birth group, we will offer to both twins (or all siblings in the case of other multiple births) even if this goes above the admission number for the school.

Some schools also consider siblings at a linked school, or siblings of pupils who attended the school in the past, so make sure you check the rules for the schools you are applying for.

Exceptional medical or social needs

If you would like your application for your highest preference school to be considered under this rule, you must have a very strong reason for your child attending this particular school.

We would not normally expect a parent to apply under this rule for more than one school. Exceptional reasons for attending a particular school should not normally apply to a number of schools.

Not all schools have this rule so make sure you check their admission rules before applying. Should you be applying for a school in another area that has a similar rule please send your independent evidence to us and we will forward it to the Local Authority in whose area the school is situated.

You must tell us that you would like us to look at your application under this rule and send us some supporting evidence. This supporting evidence should be from an independent professional person (this might be a doctor, health visitor or Education Welfare Officer, for example) who knows about your situation and supports your case. It must clearly show why the school is the most suitable for your child and what difficulties there would be if your child went to a different school.

There is more information about applying under the Exceptional Medical or Social Needs rule here.

We will not collect information for you. You must indicate that you are applying under this rule against your preference on your application and then submit your evidence using our contact us form. Both the application and evidence must be submitted by the deadline of 31 October 2017.

Applications made under this rule for later allocation rounds should be submitted by the deadlines in this table. We would only expect later applications under this rule where you had not made a secondary school application previously or circumstances have changed/new evidence has come to light since your original application. We will not reconsider an application under this rule where relevant information was known at the time of the original application that you chose not to share with us.

A panel comprising of education professionals other than admissions officers will decide which children can be considered under this rule before we make each round of allocations.

Catchment Areas

Most Buckinghamshire secondary schools have a catchment area, which is a geographical area that can give priority for admission to children who live there. Whilst living in a catchment area can help your child’s chances of being offered a place, there is no guarantee that this will be possible. You can work out which catchment areas you live in and which schools are near to you by using the Find my child a school place service.

There are four Buckinghamshire schools that do not have a catchment area:

  • The Highcrest Academy
  • Khalsa Secondary Academy
  • St Michael’s Catholic School
  • Sir Thomas Fremantle School

Home to School Distance

We use straight line distance for admission purposes. This is the distance from your child’s Normal Home Address, as set out by Ordnance Survey, to the nearest open school gate available for pupils to use. We use a computerised system to measure straight line distance.

The point we measure to at your child’s address is determined by the Ordnance Survey ADDRESS-POINT which is an Ordnance Survey data product that provides a National Grid coordinate and a unique reference for each postal address in Great Britain that is on the Royal Mail’s Post Office Address File.

This is different to the shortest walking route which is used for transport purposes – more information is in the School Transport Policy and Guidance.

Where Service families or families of other Crown Servants are posted to the area, we will allocate school places in advance of the move if an official government letter declaring the relocation date and intended address is provided.

Make sure you look at each school’s admission rules to see in which situations distance from home to school is used.

Supplementary forms

Some schools ask you to fill in a Supplementary Form to help them gather extra information about your child. This will help them decide where they would come in the admission rules. The four Buckinghamshire schools that use a Supplementary Form are:

For Year 7 admission in September 2018, the deadline for you to return the form to the school is 31 October 2017. Supplementary forms for these Buckinghamshire schools are also available through the online application portal.

Children with Special Educational Needs

Many children with Special Educational Needs go to a local school and are provided with extra support. There are also Special Schools which support children with particular needs. If your child has (or you expect them to have) an Education, Health & Care Plan (formerly a Statement of Special Educational Needs), you should contact the Special Educational Needs Team by emailing sen@buckscc.gov.uk or calling 01296 382269. Most parents of children with an EHCP or Statement will know about their child’s secondary school place before March 2018.

School Admissions Code and Scheme

The School Admissions Code is provided by the Department for Education (DfE) to guide Admission Authorities when dealing with school admission.  Please visit the Department for Education website for more information.

The Education Act 2002 also requires all LAs to have a ‘Scheme’ to show the arrangements for admission to secondary schools in their area.

The Scheme is in place to make sure that every parent of a child living in the LA area who has applied for a school place in the ‘normal admission round’ receives the offer of one school place. You can read our Scheme on our policies page.

It covers how we allocate school places; we will put your child on the lists for the schools you have on your application. If your child is qualified for grammar school, this will include any Buckinghamshire grammar schools. If your preferred school, or schools, has more applications than there are places available, then whether we can offer a place will depend on where on the school’s rules your child is listed and how many other children had higher priority for the places available. We use the admission rules to put children into order and then offer the number of places we have available.

Full details of all the Buckinghamshire secondary schools are available in our school directory. You can use our ‘Find my child a school place’ service to show schools near you and to check whether your child would be entitled to free school transport.

Admission rules for schools in other areas 

If you are interested in a school located in another LA area, you should contact the LA or school direct for more information about their admission rules. 

If you want to apply for a Year 7 place at one of the following out of county schools, you will not be able to do this online or on the paper form:

  • Fulbrook Middle School
  • Leighton Middle School
  • Linslade Academy Trust
  • The Windsor Boys’ School
  • Windsor Girls’ School

This is because September 2018 is not the normal time to start at these schools. We have explained the arrangements for making an In–Year application for a Year 7 place at one of these schools on the Find my child a school place service.

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Last updated: 1 September 2017

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