Holy Trinity Admissions Policy

The governing body of Holy Trinity Voluntary Aided Church of England School is the Admissions Authority for the school and they intend to admit up to 30 pupils to the Reception year group in September 2022. Governors have made every effort to ensure that these arrangements comply with the School Admissions Code 2021 and all relevant legislation, including that on infant class sizes and equal opportunities. This arrangement follows consultation with the Local Authority, all other schools in the area and all other Admission Authorities in the area.

Parents (see Note 1) wishing to apply for the Reception Year in September must complete the common application form provided by their home local authority (the home LA).  This form must be completed even if your child attends our Early Years Unit or other school nursery /pre-school setting.  The home LA is the LA in whose area the parents live at the time of the application. The form must be returned to that LA no later than mid-January.  Applications received after this date will normally only be considered after all those received on or before the cut-off date.  Offers and refusals of places will be posted by the home LA.

Over-subscription Criteria

Children with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan naming Holy Trinity First School will always be offered places.  If there is then greater demand for admission than there are places available, the following criteria will be applied in the order set out below:

 

  1. Children who are looked after, or have been previously looked after, but ceased to be so because, immediately after being looked after, they became subject to an adoption, child arrangements or special guardianship order (see Note 2), including children previously in state care outside of England who have ceased to be in that state care as a result of being adopted (see Note 3).
  2. Children with a sibling at the school at the time when they would be admitted to the school (see Note 6).
  3. Children who live in the catchment area as defined by the Local Authority (see Note 5).
  4. Children who have exceptional medical needs, these needs must be supported by written evidence from the appropriate professional person involved with the family (see Note 4).
  5. Children who have a parent who has been employed at the school for two years or more.
  6. Other children.

Tie Breaker

Where there are places available for some but not all applicants within a particular criterion, proximity of the child’s home, as measured by the straight-line distance (see Note 7) between the home and the school with those living nearer being accorded the higher priority, will serve to differentiate between children should the need arise.  In the event that two distance measurements are identical, the school will use random allocation to decide which child should be offered the place.  The process will be conducted in the presence of a person independent of the school.

All Other Admissions

Admission to the school during the school year depends on whether or not there are places available.  Applications must be made directly to the LA on their online admissions portal https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Education/Schools/School-admissions-places-appeals-1.aspx Admissions outside the normal age group will be dealt with as indicated below.

If there is a vacancy, and there is no child on the relevant waiting list with a higher priority (according to the oversubscription criteria) a place will be offered.  

In-year admissions or admissions at the beginning of school years other than Reception will only be considered by the Governing Body up to half a term [using the three-term year] in advance of the desired date for entry.  For example, for entry in January, the application will not be considered until after the October half term break.  

If parents are moving house, the school will ask for evidence of the move, before considering any application for a place. Documentary evidence in the form of a solicitor’s letter to confirm exchange of contracts, or a rental agreement for at least a period of six months will be required (Armed Forces personnel are exempt). If you are returning from elsewhere, to live in a home that you own, we will require evidence to show that you have returned.  We will also ask for evidence that any previous house owned has been sold or is being sold.   We would not accept an address where the one given is that of a second home with the main home being elsewhere.  If there are two or more homes, we will check which is the main home, and may refuse to base an allocation of a place on an address which might be considered only temporary.  Nor would we accept an address where the child was resident other than with a parent or carer unless this was part of a fostering or formal care arrangement.  We would not normally accept an address where only part of a family had moved, unless connected with a divorce or permanent separation arrangement, in which case we would require proof.

Waiting List

The school maintains waiting lists for those children who are not offered a place, and the parents ask for the child’s name to be added to the waiting list. The order of priority on the waiting list is the same as the list of criteria for oversubscription, and does not depend on the date on which an application is received.  No account is taken of length of time on a waiting list.  The school periodically seeks confirmation that parents wish a child to be kept on the waiting list.  Waiting lists will be maintained until 31 December of the admission year.  [can be longer but must be at least 31 Dec]

Fair Access

The school participates in Northumberland LA’s Fair Access Protocol. This cover, for example, children who have moved into our area after the normal admission round, or who need to move school as a result of severe bullying or social issues.  Children qualifying under the Fair Access Protocol may be offered a place even if there are no places available in the relevant year group and also take priority for admission over any child on the waiting list.  

Multiple Births

In cases where there is one place available, and the next child on the list is a twin, triplet, etc., we would admit both twins (and all the children in the case of other multiple births) even if this meant exceeding the agreed admission number for Reception or the number of places in other year groups in the relevant admission year.

Admission of children below compulsory school age and deferred entry to school

The School Admissions Code requires school admission authorities to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday. However, a child is not required to start school until they have reached compulsory school age following their fifth birthday. For summer born children (those born after 1 April) this can sometimes be almost a full school year after the point at which they could first be admitted. 

Some parents may feel that their child is not ready to start school in the September following their fourth birthday.

Parents are entitled to request in writing that: -

  • their child attends part-time until they reach compulsory school age, or
  • that the date their child is admitted to school is deferred until later in the same academic year or until the term in which the child reaches compulsory school age. The school will hold any deferred place for the child, although, in the majority of cases, we find that children benefit from starting at the beginning of the school year, rather than part way through it.
  • that the date their child is admitted to school is deferred until the term after the child reaches compulsory school age.

The child must, however, start school full-time in the term after their fifth birthday.

If parents of summer born children wish to defer entry as outlined above and wish them to be admitted to the Reception Year in the term following their fifth birthday, rather than year 1, then parents should apply at the usual time for a place in September of the current academic year together with a written request that the child is admitted outside of his or her normal age group to the Reception Year in September the following year providing supporting reasons for seeking a place outside of the normal age group. This should be discussed with the Head Teacher as soon as possible. If their request is agreed, and this should be clear before the national offer day, their application for the normal age group may be withdrawn before any place is offered and they should reapply in the normal way for a Reception place in the following year.  If their request is refused, the parents must decide whether to wait for any offer of a place in the current academic year (NB it will still be subject to the over-subscription criteria in this policy) or to withdraw their application and apply for a year 1 place the following year.  Parents should be aware that the Year 1 group may have no vacancies as it could be full with children transferring from the previous Reception Year group.

Further information and advice on the admission of summer born children is available from the Northumberland website www.northumberland.gov.uk  

Admission outside normal age group 

Requests from parents for places outside a normal age group will be considered carefully e.g. for those who have missed education due to ill health.  Each case will be considered on its own merits and circumstances. However, such admissions will not normally be agreed without a consensus that to do so would be in the pupil’s interests. It is recommended that parents discuss their wishes with the head teacher in advance of applying for a place.  Parents should apply in the normal way together with a written request that the child is admitted outside of his or her normal age group to the requested year group in September the following year providing supporting reasons for seeking a place outside of the normal age group.  The governors may ask relevant professionals for their opinion on the case.  It should be noted that if a place in the requested age group is refused, but one in the normal age group is offered, then there is no right of appeal.

Appeals

There are established arrangements for appeals against non-admission. Details are available from the school, including the date by which an appeal should be submitted.  It should be noted that, in the event of an unsuccessful appeal against non-admission to the school, the school does not consider any further application in the same school year  (1 September – 31 August), unless there has been a material change in circumstances, for example a change of address which results in a move from outside the catchment area to inside it.

Parents who wish their children to attend the school are most welcome to visit.   Arrangements can be made through the school office. 

 

Notes

Note 1 

“Parent” is defined in law (The Education Act 1996) as either:

  • any person who has ‘parental responsibility’ (defined in the Children Act 1989) for the child or young person; or
  • any person who has care of the child or young person. If you are in any doubt, please contact the school for advice.

Note 2 

By a “looked-after child” we mean one in the care of a local authority or being provided with accommodation by a

local authority in the exercise of its social services function.  An adoption order is one made under the Adoption Act 1976 (Section 12) or the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (Section 46).  A ‘child arrangements order is one settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live (Children Act 1989, Section 8, as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014, Section 14).  A ‘special guardianship order’ is one appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian/s (Children Act 1989, Section 14A).  Applications under this criterion must be accompanied by evidence to show that the child is looked after or was previously looked after (e.g. a copy of the adoption, child arrangements or special guardianship order).

Note 3 

Children previously in state care outside of England means children who have been looked after outside of England by a public authority, a religious organisation or another provider of care whose sole purpose is to benefit society. The care may have been provided in orphanages or other settings.   In the case of children adopted from state care overseas, the admissions authority will require evidence that a child is eligible by asking the child’s parents or carers for appropriate evidence of their previously looked-after status. 

Note 4 

When applying under criterion four (exceptional medical), you must include supporting evidence from an independent professional person who is aware of the situation and supports your reasons for preferring our school.  This supporting evidence must clearly demonstrate why the school is the most suitable and must illustrate the difficulties that would be caused if your child had to attend another school.  The person supplying the evidence should be a doctor, heath visitor, social worker, etc. who is aware of your child’s or your own case.  The school reserves the right to ask for further evidence or clarification where necessary and may seek the advice of appropriate educational professionals where necessary.

Note 5 

By normal home address, we mean the child’s home address.  This must be where the parent or legal carer of the child lives with the child unless it is proved that the child is resident elsewhere with someone else who has legal care and control of the child.  The address should be a residential property that is owned, leased or rented by the child’s parent/s or person with legal care and control of the child.  

To avoid doubt, where a child lives with parents with shared responsibility, each for part of a week or month, the address where the child lives will be determined having regard to a joint declaration from the parents stating the exact pattern of residence.  If the residence is not split equally, then the relevant address used will be that at which we are satisfied that the child spends the majority of the school week.  Where there is an equal split or there is any doubt about residence, we will make the judgment about which address to use for the purpose of determining whether or not to offer a place.  We will take into account, for example, the following:

  • any legal documentation confirming residence
  • the pattern of the residence
  • the period of time over which the current arrangement has been in place
  • confirmation from any previous school of the contact details and home address supplied to it by the parents
  • where the child is registered with his/her GP
  • any other evidence the parents may supply to verify the position.

We may ask for evidence of the normal home address in the form of a recent bill.  This could be, for example, the most recent Council Tax bill, utility bill no more than three months old, a current TV licence, buildings and contents insurance, mortgage statement or rent book which shows the address concerned.  Parents who are unable to provide this evidence should contact the school to discuss what evidence might be acceptable.  If it becomes clear or if there is any doubt that the parents and child are not living at the address given on the application form, the school may seek further evidence.  The school works closely with the LA to ensure that places are not obtained at the school on the basis of false addresses, and, in cases of doubt, will take steps to verify the information provided.  If a place at the school is offered, and it later becomes clear that the offer was made on fraudulent or misleading information (e.g. a false claim to living in the catchment area), and the school has denied a place to a child with a stronger claim, the school will withdraw the offer of a place.  The offer can also be withdrawn even after the child has started at the school.

We regard a child’s home address to be where he or she sleeps for the majority of the school week (Monday to Friday).  We may ask to see official documentation, such as a child benefit book or medical card if there are reasons why a child does not live at his or her parent’s address.  For example, if he or she is resident with a grandparent, this needs to be made clear on the application form.  If such arrangements are not declared or a relative’s address is used on the application, we may consider that a false declaration has been made, and withdraw the offer of a place.  Childcare arrangements are not sufficient reason for listing another address.  

If parents move house after the application has been made, but before any offer of a place has been made, the home LA must be informed.

If parents are moving, we will ask for evidence of the move, before considering any application for a place under the co-ordinated scheme.  

We would not accept an address where the one given is that of a second home with the main home being elsewhere. If there are two or more homes, we will check which is the main home, and may refuse to base an allocation of a place on an address which might be considered only temporary.  Nor would we accept an address where the child was resident other than with a parent or carer unless this was part of a fostering or formal care arrangement.  We would not normally accept an address where only part of a family had moved, unless connected with a divorce or permanent separation arrangement, in which case we would require proof.

Note 6 

By sibling we mean a brother or sister, half brother or sister, adopted brother or sister, step brother or sister, or the child of the parent’s/carer’s partner where the child for whom the school place is sought is living in the same family unit at the same address as that sibling.  It is helpful if parents make it clear on the application form where the sibling has a different family name.  Where there is more than one sibling at the school, only the youngest should be listed on the application form.

Note 7 

The straight-line distance used to determine proximity of the home to the school will be measured by the geographical measuring system as described in the LA admissions booklet.


APPENDIX 

School catchment areas:

 

Wide view of our catchment area. Zoomed in to show streets in the town. 

 

Link to Northumberland County Council school catchment areas page