Agenda item - Admission Arrangements 2018/9

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Agenda item

Admission Arrangements 2018/9

Report of the Executive Director Families, Children & Learning (copy attached)

 

Decision:

That the Committee agreed:

 

(1)  That the proposed school admission numbers set out in Appendix 1 to the report be adopted for the admissions year 2018-19;

 

(2)  That the admission priorities for Community Schools set out in Appendix 2 to the report be adopted for all age groups;

 

(3)  That the co-ordinated schemes of admission and relevant area be approved.

 

 

Minutes:

65.1    The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director Families, Children & Learning regarding school admission arrangements for 2018-19. The report was introduced by the School Admission Manager.

 

65.2    Councillor Phillips accepted that this report related to admissions for 2018-19, but was aware that there was a possible shortfall of 80 places for children living within the Dorothy Stringer/Varndean catchment area for the academic year 2017-18, and asked why it wasn’t possible, given that there would most likely be a new secondary school in the future, to have had a new year 7 in place for September 2017. The Executive Director Families, Children & Learning said that the decision on a new school was one for the Department for Education, so the Authority was constrained in what it could do, and therefore a new school could not be opened until a formal decision had been made. The Committee were advised that the allocation of places for September 2017 had not yet been undertaken, and so at this stage it was only a predicted shortfall of places. The Assistant Director Education & Skills confirmed that the situation was being monitored, and would be discussed at the next Cross Party School Organisation Working Group meeting in February 2017.

 

65.3    Councillor Wealls noted that paragraph 3.4 of the report stated that the admission arrangements for the new school would not include a defined catchment area. He said that the expectation was that it would have a catchment area, and suggested that that paragraph be amended to read “The free school will act as its own admission authority and it is anticipated that its admission arrangement will not initially include a defined catchment area” to reflect that. Councillor Phillips agreed and seconded the proposed amendment. The Chair and the Executive Director Families, Children & Learning both agreed that the anticipation was that the new school would indeed have a catchment area as part of its admission arrangements, but reminded the Committee that that would not be a decision for the Council. The solicitor referred to the proposed amendment, and said that as that matter was not part of the recommendations there was no need to vote on that proposal.

 

65.4    Councillor Wealls suggested that an additional recommendation be added to read “The Committee notes that the admission arrangement referred to in paragraph 3.4 for the Brighton University Academy Trust School were anticipated for one year only”. Councillor Phillips seconded the proposed amendment. The Executive Director Families, Children & Learning noted the proposal but was concerned that if it were agreed, the Committee would be locking themselves into something over which it had no control. The Chair asked the solicitor for their advice. The solicitor stated that she was concerned that such a recommendation could be perceived as the Committee having agreed admission arrangements which were contingent on an understanding of what the Free School were going to have in the future as their admission criteria, but on which the Committee had no control. There was a risk that the Free School could adopt different admission criteria, and it could then potentially be said that the basis on which the Committee adopted the admission criteria for 2018-19 was based on misinformation. It would be perfectly safe to note this discussion that there was an understanding, but no guarantee, on what the Free School would do. The Free School were initially looking at having city-wide criteria, but would have a consultation in early 2017 on future admissions. However, such consultation would not be concluded prior to 28 February 2017 when the Council must have confirmed its admission arrangements as set out in the School Admissions Code. The solicitor therefore advised that the recommendations should not be amended to have wording which could indicate that the Committee’s decisions were contingent on issues on which the Committee had no control. It was therefore agreed that the recommendations would not be amended. 

 

65.5    RESOLVED: That the Committee agreed:

 

(1)  That the proposed school admission numbers set out in Appendix 1 to the report be adopted for the admissions year 2018-19;

 

(2)  That the admission priorities for Community Schools set out in Appendix 2 to the report be adopted for all age groups;

 

(3)  That the co-ordinated schemes of admission and relevant area be approved.

 

 

Supporting documents:

 


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