Agenda Item No. 4
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 7 APRIL 2014
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 24 MARCH 2014
C2255 SCHOOL ADMISSION ARRANGEMENTS 2015/2016 (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –
Members were advised of the conclusion of the Council’s statutory consultation exercise on school admission arrangements for Community Schools in accordance with the Education (Determination of Admission arrangements) (Wales) Regulations 2006.
A local authority had a statutory duty to consult on school admission arrangements annually. The School Admission Arrangements must be determined by 15 April 2014 for implementation for the academic year 2015/ 2016.
The report outlined that the Local Authority had consulted on minor changes to the existing admissions policy which were based on the requirements of the School Admissions Code July 2013. These changes are as follows:
- A requirement that admission authorities’ oversubscription criteria included alongside "looked after children", "previously looked after children" as the first criterion in all instances.
- The setting of common offer dates on which decision letters must be issued on a phased basis. (Refer to table in Appendix A)
- A requirement that waiting lists were maintained until 30th September where schools were oversubscribed.
- Additional exceptions to the class size legislation.
- More opportunities to vary existing admission arrangements without reference to Welsh Ministers.
The LA received seven written responses to the consultation exercise of which one respondent was in favour of the change in admission arrangements, five were opposed or had serious concerns with regard to the proposed catchment changes and one sought clarification. Four of the respondents were parents, one was a Chair of Governors, one was an AM and one was a parent governor.
The main themes emanating from the consultation exercise in terms of the proposed change to catchment areas and the councils response to each issue was attached at Appendix C to the report.
The Council was committed to ensuring that the views of residents are considered in any consultation and had carefully considered respondents views.
The admission arrangements detailed in the School Admissions Policy 2015/2016 attached at Appendix A to the report, if approved would be operational for the 2015/16 academic year.
In consideration of this matter the Leader and the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services declared an interest in this item but remained in the room as they were able to speak and vote on the matter.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the Schools Admissions Policy for 2015/2016 attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved so that the requirement to determine the policy by 15 April 2014 was met and the admission arrangements would be implemented for the academic year 2015/2016.
(2) T H A T the outcome of the recent consultation exercise on proposed changes to catchment areas be approved.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for information.
Reasons for decisions
(1) The Council was required to review school admission arrangements annually and to determine the arrangements for 2015/16 following appropriate consultation by 15 April 2014.
(2) The Council was required to review catchment areas in order to ensure that they reflect the needs of the schools they serve whilst recognising that parental preference is also important.
(3) To inform the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) of the changes to the admission arrangements and catchment areas.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 24 MARCH 2014