Co-ordinated secondary admission scheme for 2021/22 academic year

The law requires Local Authorities (LAs) to establish a co-ordinated admission scheme that will apply to all secondary schools.

The purpose of co-ordinated admission schemes is to establish mechanisms for ensuring, so far as reasonably practicable, that every parent/carer of a child living in the LA area who has applied for a school place in the ‘normal admission round’ receives an offer of a school place on the national offer day. The scheme must also cover late applications made after the closing date but before the start of the school year.

The Local Authority must also provide information in the composite prospectus setting out how applications that are made during the academic year for admissions to age groups other than the normal year of entry i.e. ‘’In-Year applications’’ will be dealt with.

The Council is required to inform the Secretary of State of the agreed scheme by 28 February 2020. The Secretary of State will impose a scheme if the Council fails to notify him of the agreed scheme.

Co-ordinated scheme for the ‘normal admission round’

Equal preferences

It is a legal requirement on all admission authorities to consider equally all applications for admission to maintained secondary schools. The rank order of preference, whether a first, second or third preference, will not be taken into consideration at this stage. If the school receives more applications than the published admission number, the relevant oversubscription criteria will be applied by the school’s admissions authority to all applicants.

If it is possible to offer admission at more than one of the preferred schools then the school at which a place will be offered will be the one that is the highest ranked on the common application form.

Offers from lower preference schools will be removed and these places will be offered to other eligible children. This will ensure that each child is only offered a place at one school.

Fraudulent applications

If the Council or a school finds that misleading information has been given, the child may not be given a place at that school. If a place has been offered, that place may be withdrawn. If the place is withdrawn, the application will be considered again, based on the correct information. If the application is refused a right of appeal will be given. If the child is allowed to continue at that school, their sibling(s) will not be given priority for places at that school under the “sibling” category in the admission policy if they then apply for places at the school in question.

Stage 1 – common application form

The Council will publish an admission prospectus ‘’ Secondary School Admissions for September 2021’’. This will be available from the Council’s website. www.blackburn.gov.uk/admissions, any Blackburn with Darwen primary school and from the Children’s Services Department from 3 September 2020. Parent(s)/carer(s) are encouraged to apply using the on-line form which will be available from 3 September 2020.

The online application form or the common application form which is included in the prospectus for admission to all maintained secondary schools must be completed by parent(s)/carer(s) of Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) children (even if you are applying for a school place in another Local Authority area) by 31 October 2020 (“the closing date”).

The online application form / common application form (CAF) will allow parent(s)/ carer(s) to express three preferences in rank order and to state reasons for the preferences. The form will also allow parent(s)/carer(s) to provide denominational reasons in support of their application e.g. baptismal / church membership and attendance / mosque membership.

When applying for admission for the following schools parent(s)/carer(s) must also complete an additional school application form that is available within the Council’s prospectus and should be returned to the school:

  • St Wilfrid’s CE Academy
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School

Parent(s)/carer(s) who are applying for admission under the faith category for the following schools must also complete an additional school application form which is available within the Council’s prospectus and should be returned to the school.

  • Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School
  • Tauheedul Islam Boys High School

No application will be processed without an online application form or a common application form.

Parent(s)/carer(s) of Blackburn with Darwen children resident in the borough wishing to apply for admission at schools in neighbouring Councils must list the preference(s) on the Blackburn with Darwen common application form/online form.

Please note - Where more than one person with Parental Responsibility for the child submits an application for the same child, then neither application will be considered and the parents/carers will be asked to agree a single application. The local authority will require the parents to resolve matters between themselves, taking legal advice if necessary and inform the local authority which application should be processed. If agreement is not reached or a legal decision is not made before the closing date, this may affect the chances of your child being allocated a place at the preferred school(s).

Stage 2 – process for considering applications

The Local Authority will provide admission authorities with details of all children whose parent(s)/carer(s) have indicated the school as a preference on the common application form by 26 November 2020. The order of preferences will not be included in the details sent to each school.

By 17 December 2020 each admission authority will apply its own published admission criteria and return to the LA’s Schools Admissions Team a list of all applicants, in rank order, in accordance with the published admissions criteria.

Between 3 January 2021 and 4 February 2021 the LA’s Schools Admissions Team will consider the list of children that can be offered and refused admission for all schools. Where a child can be offered admission at more than one school, the LA will offer admission at the school that is the highest ranked preference. Any changes to the list of children to be offered and refused admission will be communicated to the schools.

Stage 3 – letters offering a school place

The LA’s Schools Admissions Team will send letters on 1 March 2021 to all parent(s)/carer(s) of Blackburn with Darwen children informing them of the outcome of the application for admission into a secondary school.

If admission is refused to any of the preferred schools, a letter will be sent which will inform parent(s)/carer(s) of the alternative school to be offered. The LA’s letter will advise parent(s)/carer(s) of their right of appeal and provide details of the appeals process.

All parent(s)/carer(s) will be asked to confirm acceptance/refusal of the school place offered, either by using the on-line system or by telephone to the Council’s Schools Admissions Team, by 15 March 2021. After this date the LA will inform the relevant Admission Authorities of the children whose parent(s)/carer(s) have not accepted the places offered at their schools.

The Admission Authorities will write to these parent(s)/carer(s), informing them that if the place is not accepted within 7 days (either via the on-line system or by telephone), the place will be withdrawn. If after 7 days the place has not been accepted, the Admission Authorities will tell the LA which children to withdraw from the offer list. If the school has a reserve list the LA will make further offers and inform the schools of these children. The process will continue until all places have been allocated.

Late applications

Late applications received between the closing date and the allocation date

The closing date will as far as possible be observed. If there are exceptional reasons for the delay, then provided the application is received before 29 January 2021 (“the cut- off date”), a late application may be considered alongside the applications which were submitted on time. The exceptional reasons may include the following:

  • Parent(s)/carer(s) who have moved or are moving into the borough after the closing date
  • Parent(s)/carer(s) were abroad for the whole period between the publication of the LA’s admission booklet and the closing date for the application form
  • Parental/carer(s)/child illness which required hospitalisation for the major part of the period between the publication of the LA’s admission booklet and the closing date for the application form

If the Admission Authority is not satisfied that there were relevant exceptional circumstances for the delay then any application form received after the closing date but before places are allocated will only be considered after all the on-time applications have been considered and allocated places.

Please note that if a late application is received after the cut-off date, it will not be possible for the Admission Authority to consider it alongside the on-time applications even if there are exceptional reasons for the delay.

Parent(s)/carer(s) of BwD children will be sent letters from the LA informing them of the outcome of the application for admission to secondary schools on 1 March 2021.

Applications received after the allocation date

The LA will continue to manage the co-ordinated admission arrangements after the allocation date i.e. 1 March 2021 until 31 December 2021.

Anyone applying after places have been allocated must still complete the LA common application form. The application form and any relevant documents will be passed on to the appropriate admission authority for consideration. The LA will retain responsibility for informing parent(s)/carer(s) about the outcome of their application.

If admission is refused to any of the preferred schools, a letter will be sent to inform parent(s)/carer(s) of the alternative school to be offered. The LA’s letter will advise parent(s)/carer(s) of their right of appeal and provide details of the appeals process.

Waiting lists

All admission authorities must maintain a waiting list until at least 31st December in the academic year of admission for every oversubscribed school. The admission authority must use the existing oversubscription criteria to rank the children. As no distinction will be made on the waiting list between applications received on time and late applications, the waiting list will remain fluid.

Change of preferences

A change of preference after the closing date (but before the cut off date) will only be acceptable in exceptional circumstances. This is likely to be when there is a change of address. Verification must be provided e.g. letter from a solicitor exchanging contracts or a tenancy agreement.

If parent(s)/carer(s) wish to change a preference after the cut-off date, then they must follow the process outlined in the section Applications received after the allocation date. Since this is effectively a request for admission to a school(s) not previously indicated on the original application form, the parents/carers must complete a fresh application form. Where a place cannot be offered, the child’s details will be placed on the waiting list and parent(s)/carer(s) will be advised of alternative schools which have places available.

In year admissions

The LA has formulated a scheme for the co-ordination of all in year admissions.

Timetable

  • Admission booklets and common application forms published:
    3 September 2020
  • Parent(s)/carer(s) complete online application form / return common application form to the Local Authority by:
    31 October 2020
  • All preferences circulated between admission authorities by:
    26 November 2020
  • Each admission authority applies its own admissions criteria and must inform the Local Authority of the outcome of all applications by:
    17 December 2020
  • The Local Authority checks all proposed offers against the secondary school preference which parent(s)/carer(s) provided on their application and ensures that an alternative offer is made where necessary.
  • If there are exceptional reasons for the delay, then provided the application is received before ‘’the cut-off date’’ (i.e. 29th January 2021) a late application may be considered alongside the applications which were submitted on time.
  • The Local Authority confirms offers with all maintained, academy and free secondary schools which includes confirmation of alternative offers by:
    24 February 2021
  • Offers made to parent(s)/carer(s) by the Local Authority on:
    1 March 2021
  • Parent(s)/carer(s) to accept or decline place by:
    15 March 2021
  • Closing Date for receipt of appeal forms for appeals to be heard in June/July 2021:
    1 April 2021
  • Appeals:
    May/June/July 2021