Schools Admissions and Schools Admissions Appeals Codes have recently been revised, containing amended instructions to all public bodies responsible for school admissions in England. The Service Personnel Command Paper instigated a review of school admissions in England which included the needs of Service families and their children, and as a result changes have been made.
Jeremy Watt, Deputy Head of the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) explains that:
"In February this year revised versions of the Schools Admissions and Schools Admissions Appeals Codes were published...Some media coverage suggested that Service children would now be given preferential treatment in the allocation of school places. Whilst you might think that this should be the case, it is important for you to know that, for the majority, it is not. None-the-less the changes are likely to be of welcome interest to Service families."
The changes to the School Admissions Code that are relevant to Service families are as follows:
- After ‘Looked After Children’ (those in public care), the next two highest categories of children for admissions to State boarding schools are:
1. Children of members of the UK Armed Forces;
2. Children of Service personnel who have died while serving or who have been discharged as a result of attributable injury.
- Local authorities and admissions authorities for all State Maintained Schools, day and boarding, must:
1. Allocate a school place in advance, if accompanied by an official government letter (eg. MOD, FCO or GCHQ) declaring a relocation date and intended address, if the applicant would meet the criteria on relocation;
2. Accept a Unit postal address, or if appropriate, a quartering area address in the absence of a new home postal address.
- Fair Access Protocols - These are agreements between local authorities and all admissions authorities which ensure that a range of vulnerable children gain access to school places if they have difficulty in securing them. Regulations published with the Code now require Service children to be included in such Protocols.
NB. A school place offered through a Fair Access Protocol (ie. when no school place is available to a child requiring one) will not necessarily be in a school preferred by parents. Protocols do not replace the admissions appeals process.
Please note that only the changes relevant specifically to Service families are listed here. For full details of changes made please contact the CEAS on: 01980 618244 or e-mail: