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New School Admissions Code Effective 1 September 2021

on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.

As you will no doubt be aware, the DfE consulted on various changes to the School Admissions Code towards the end of 2020.

The DfE has now considered the responses received and published a new School Admissions Code (May 2021) (2021 Code) which will come into force on 1 September 2021. Until 31 August 2021, the current School Admissions Code (December 2014) (2014 Code) remains in force. The DfE has also published Changes to the School Admissions Code - Consultation Summary and Government Response summarising the changes made following consultation.

We have also seen an advice note being cascaded down to schools about "internationally adopted previously looked after children" and the action the DfE says schools need to take by 31 August 2021 in respect of these children. Usually, when a new code is published, its effect is not retrospective and its provisions only apply to admission arrangements yet to be determined (ie at this time, for the 2023 intake). However, this time the DfE has confirmed that it expects priority for these children to be given from 1 September 2021, which therefore requires the variation of already determined admission arrangements for both 2021 and 2022.

Admission authorities should note that the 2021 Code has not yet received parliamentary approval (anticipated by 2 July 2021, according to the DfE).  In addition, the DfE has confirmed that further non-statutory guidance on how this will work in practice will follow in the next few weeks. We therefore recommend that changes to admission arrangements are not effected until that process has completed (although they can be prepared in advance). Further detail in respect of this change can be found below.

In addition, the Schools Adjudicator has published their annual report Office of the Schools Adjudicator - Report of our work - 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020 (slightly extended this year, to cover the substantial increase in requests for variations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic). This report is self-explanatory.


Get Training on School Admissions with VWV Plus

We're hosting a two-part training session on 29 June 2021 and 1 July 2021 in which we'll cover:

  • the current School Admissions Code (2014) and the new School Admissions Code coming into effect on 1 September 2021 (subject to parliamentary approval), along with other relevant legislation
  • the roles of the school/trust and local authority
  • the duty to determine fair, clear, objective and compliant admission arrangements
  • information on the inclusion of mandatory, prohibited and best practice information, including discussion on best practice wording for oversubscription criteria
  •  specific considerations for primaries, secondaries, nurseries and sixth forms
  • and much more.

Book your place today to ensure you're ready for the new School Admissions Code coming into effect on 1 September 2021.

If you would like specific advice on any aspect of admissions, please contact Yvonne Spencer on 0207 665 0870 or Joanna Goddard on 0207 665 0805 in the Regulatory Compliance team. Alternatively, please complete the form below.

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