Step 2: Check the admission policy

Community schools admission criteria

If the number of applications for a school is higher than the number of places available, the allocations will be made in the following order.

After the admission of children with a statement of Special Education Needs, where a school is named on the statement, the criteria will be applied in the order in which they are set out below.

1. Looked after Children and previously Looked after Children (see Note 1 below)

2. Siblings: children with a brother or sister who is reasonably expected to be in attendance at the school or linked junior school at the time of enrolment of the new pupil (see Note 2).

3. Medical: children with serious medical reasons for needing to attend a particular school. For primary age children, a serious and continuing medical condition of a parent which would prevent them taking their child to school may also be relevant. Supporting evidence should set out particular reasons why the school in question is the most suitable and the difficulties that would be caused if the child had to attend another school. The medical reasons must be verified by a GP or consultant and declared at the time of application if known at the time (see Note 3).

4. Distance: priority will be given to pupils living nearest to the school as measured in a straight line (see Note 4 and Note 5).

The local authority will use the equal preference model for deciding which school is offered. This means that all school preferences are considered together and the admissions criteria applied equally. The rank or order of preference will be used only if it is possible to offer more than one of the preferences. The highest ranked potential offer will be offered.

Note 1
Looked after children are defined as children in public care at the date on which the application is made.

Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order, immediately after being looked after. If an application is made under the ‘looked after’ criterion, it must be supported by a letter from the relevant Local Authority Children’s Services Department and/or relevant documents

Note 2
A sibling is defined as a brother or sister, half brother or sister, step brother or sister, foster brother or sister or adopted brother or sister whose main residence is at the same address.

Note 3
Claims for priority of admission on medical grounds will not be considered if submitted after a decision on the original application has been made. The decision to prioritise children on these grounds will be determined via Croydon CFL Admissions Panel (medicals) which is comprised of professionals from health and education.

All schools have experience in dealing with children with diverse social and medical needs. In a very few exceptional cases, however, there may be reasons why a child needs to attend a specific school. If you feel there are exceptional reasons for your child to be considered for a priority placement at a particular school, you must indicate this in the section provided in your application, giving reasons to support your case.

All requests for priority consideration must be supported in writing by a doctor or consultant. It must be made clear in the professional support which school you are making a special case for, the reason why it is necessary for your child to attend this school in particular, and the difficulties it will cause for your child to attend another school.

It is for you to decide how to support your case and what documents to provide, but these must be submitted by the closing date of Wednesday 15 January 2014. The admissions team is not responsible for contacting professionals for information about your case. Any decision will be based on documents you submit by the closing date.

Under this criterion applicants who submit supporting information will not be advised whether their application is likely to be successful prior to the offer of places on Wednesday 16 April 2014.

If evidence is received after the closing date of Wednesday 15 January 2014, it will not be taken into account until after places have been offered on the Wednesday 16 April 2014.

The admissions team is not responsible for contacting professionals for information about your case. Any decision will be based on documents you submit by the closing date.

Note 4
"Home" is defined as the address where the child normally resides as their only or principal residence. Addresses involved in child minders, business or relatives cannot be considered.

Parents will be asked to provide documentary evidence to confirm an address and parental responsibility. The LA should be notified of changes of address immediately. Failure to do so could result in the child being denied a place at a preferred school.

Note 5
Distance will be measured in a straight line from the centre of the pupils main home to the designated main entrance, nominated by the school using the LA's computerised measuring system with those living closer to the school receiving higher priority. For shared properties eg. flats, the centre will be taken from the centre of the building.

Note 6
Childminding arrangements cannot be taken into account when allocating places at oversubscribed community or voluntary-controlled schools. Parents of children attending the nursery class at an infant or primary school must apply in the usual way. These children are not guaranteed a reception class place at the school.

Note 7
Tiebreaker. In the event that the number of applications for places exceeds the number of places available after application of the admissions criteria, distance will be used to decide between applications.
Where distance is the same for two or more applications the authority will use random allocation, determined as follows. Every application has an identification number. It is these identification numbers that are randomly selected when the authority's computer system is asked to rank all applicants in accordance with the admission policy. Once the system has ranked all applicants, it indicates the highest offer available for the applicant. No human intervention takes place and the highest ranked child will be offered the next available place. Since applications are not entered onto the system in any particular order - eg, alphabetically - the numbers generated by the system are completely random.

Twins/triplets or other multiple births for admission into an infant class
If you are applying for places for twins, or children from a multiple birth, and there is only one place available at the school, legislation allows us to admit them all, ie. all siblings from a multiple birth. The government's School Admissions Code does state that infant classes must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher, but the code considers multiple births to be an 'exceptional circumstance' and they can be admitted in excess of the published admission number.

If you are applying for a place for more than one child as a result of multiple births, you must complete a separate form for each child.

Child's permanent address
The child's address should be that of the child's permanent place of residence. A business address, work place address, or childminder's address will not be accepted. A relative's or carer's address can be considered ONLY if those person(s) have legal custody of the child. In these circumstances, evidence of legal custody/parental responsibility - ie, a court order - must be supplied to
Croydon Council.

Shared custody
If parents share custody of a child, only one address must be provided in the application. It must be the address where the child normally resides, and the applying parent must prove the child's residency at this address, e.g. relevant court documents or the address where the child benefit is payable. If the child resides with each parent for an equal amount of time each week we will treat the address at which the child benefit is payable as the normal place of residence.

Custody issues cannot be resolved by the local authority. 

Change of address
Changes of address can be considered only where Croydon local authority receives either a letter from a solicitor confirming the exchange and completion of contract for the new place of residence, or a copy of the new tenancy agreement stating commencement date.

Croydon local authority should be notified of changes of address by Monday 10 February 2014. Failure to do so could result in your application being considered from the previous address.

Waiting lists
Where a school is oversubscribed and there are more applicants than places available, the School Admissions Code requires the admission authority to keep a waiting list.

In Croydon, those who cannot be offered a preferred place will be added to a waiting list. And in accordance with the School Admissions Code, waiting lists are kept in the same order as the admissions criteria of the school.

If you are offered a place at a school, and you have also expressed a higher preference for another school or schools, you will automatically be placed on the waiting list for your higher preference school/schools. If any of these schools are outside Croydon we will pass the child’s information to the relevant authority to be put on their waiting list.

One's position on a waiting list can change: it is not ordered on a first come first served basis. For example, if someone applies for a place after the date you submitted your application, and they have a higher priority status according to the admissions criteria, they will be added to the waiting list at a position above yours. On the other hand, if someone with a higher position on the waiting list accepts an offer of a place at another school, your position on the waiting list will move up. If a vacancy occurs and your child is at the top of the waiting list you will be offered a place. Waiting lists are kept open until the end of the 2014 autumn term. If, after this date, you wish to remain on the list you must write to the admissions authority (the local authority or school).

If you want to know where your child is on a waiting list you can contact the relevant admission authority (local authority or school). Croydon Council maintains waiting lists for its community schools and some non-community schools.

If you would like more information about the reason why your child was not offered a place at a higher preference school you should contact the admissions authority that is responsible for admissions to the school. Details of the different admissions authorities for schools in Croydon are listed in this prospectus. If the school is outside Croydon, the admissions authority will be either the local authority in which the school is situated or the school itself. Contact telephone numbers for neighbouring local authorities are also included in the prospectus.

In year admissions
Please see the separate document setting out how the LA will participate in the PAN London protocol for the co-ordination of in year admissions.

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