The DfE is consulting on a revised version of the Schools Admissions Code
The current schools admissions code means that some schools are able to reject pupils with SEND, as places can be refused on the basis of ‘challenging behaviour’, even when such behaviours may be attributable to pupils’ SEND. There have been concerns around the numbers of children and young people with SEND without a school place, and it is hoped that the proposed changes will help to ameliorate this.
The aim of the proposed changes is that schools can admit pupils with SEND under Fair Access Protocols at any point in the school year. The intention is to introduce a maximum 20-day time limit for a school place to be allocated to a child where it has been agreed they will be considered under Fair Access Protocols.
The Draft Schools Admissions Code states: ‘Admission authorities must not refuse to admit a child thought to be potentially disruptive, or likely to exhibit challenging behaviour, on the grounds that the child is first to be assessed for special educational needs’ (para. 3.12). Schools must also comply with their duties under the Equality Act 2010, including the requirement to put reasonable adjustments in place to support needs.
The proposed changes seem likely to have a positive impact for children and young people with SEND and we recommend that you contribute to the consultation if possible.