Fair Access Panel
Local authorities need to ensure that all children and young people who need a school place are offered one. However, some children and young people are deemed as vulnerable or difficult to place.
In addition, if a child is at risk of permanent exclusion then a change of school may be the best course of action, with a fresh start.
The following children are considered vulnerable or difficult to place:
- children from the criminal justice system or Pupil Referral Units who need to be reintegrated into mainstream education
- children who have been out of education for 20 school days or more
- Gypsy, Roma and traveller children
- refugee and asylum seeker children
- homeless children
- children with unsupportive family backgrounds where a place has not been sought
- young carers
- children with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions (but without a statement or Education, Health and Care Plan)
- those pupils who are at risk of permanent exclusion and may require a ‘Managed Move’
The Fair Access Panel
To support these children, we have in place a Fair Access Panel that meets to consider in year applications and to ensure that these children are found a place as soon as possible.
If your child’s current headteacher or a professional involved with your child feels that it would be best for your child’s application be dealt with by this panel then they will speak to you and your child. They will then complete the relevant application form but this is always with the agreement of the parents. Parents cannot apply themselves for the Panel to consider an application
Fair Access Panel meeting
The Panel meets every 4 weeks and is attended by representatives of a number of agencies within the local authority to look at the best education provision to support your child.
The Panel will discuss your application and decide whether it feels that your child’s needs can be met at the preferred schools listed on your form. Your child’s most recent school and any professionals involved in your child’s case, may be invited to make representation at the meeting.
The Panel will also take into consideration any comments or information that you or your child have submitted.
If the panel feels that your preferred choice is the most appropriate school, then the panel will agree for admission to that school and ensure that the correct support is put in place for your child’s change of school to be successful.
However, the panel may feel that your preferred school cannot best meet your child’s needs. They will therefore determine an alternative school for your child to be admitted to; this could also be to the Pupil Referral Unit at College Hall where appropriate.
After the meeting
You will be contacted and advised of the panel decision and what support and arrangements have been put in place to ensure that this is a smooth transition for your child. The start date may not be immediate; this is to ensure that everything is in place for your child to start. If you are unhappy with the panel decision you can discuss this when you receive your letter.