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Determined Admission Arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled Secondary Schools for 2025/26

1. General Information Status: Determined Admissions Arrangements 2025/26

Wiltshire  Council's determined admission  arrangements for  admission  to Voluntary Controlled and Community (VC and C) Secondary Schools for the 2025/26 academic year.

This policy applies solely to applications for places at Voluntary Controlled (VC) and Community(C) Secondary Schools in Wiltshire. Foundation (F) Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools and Academies(A) are their own admission authorities, and the governing bodies are responsible for determining their own procedures and policies.

Determined arrangements for the co-ordination of secondary admissions are made within the co-ordinated admissions scheme 2025/26.

The application round for entry into Year 7 for September 2025 opens on 1 September 2024.  The deadline date for applications to be received is midnight on 31 October 2024. The home address given for the child must be the address where the child is resident as of the deadline date.

a. Designated Area

A designated area is a discrete geographical zone served by a school. The address that determines a child's designated area is the place where he or she is ordinarily resident with his or her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) for the majority of the school week. Most schools have  a  discrete  designated  area but  some  addresses  fall  within  areas shared  by  two  or more schools. Children who live outside the designated area for the school may still express a preference for the school.

In the case of  children from the boating community (Boaters) proof  of  mooring will  be required. Those without a permanent mooring, must provide details/proof of their sorting office, post office/poste restante address and this will be used for admissions criteria and allocation purposes.

b. Preferences

Parents will be invited to state up to three ranked preferences. Each  preference will be considered equally. This means that Wiltshire Council will consider all applications against the published admissions criteria without reference to how the school applied for has been ranked on the application form. As far as possible applicants will be offered a place at a school to which they have expressed a preference. Where the applicant has made more than  one  preference, the  Local Authority (LA) will make an offer for the highest  ranked preferred school possible with available places in accordance with the standard admission criteria. Where it is not possible to offer a place at a preferred school, and the applicant lives in Wiltshire, the LA will allocate a place. Allocations will be made after all expressed preferences have been considered. An alternative school may be allocated in cases where the designated school is full and the alternative school is within the safe statutory 3 mile walking distance and has places available or it is a school to which free home to school transport would be provided.

In the case where there are more children living within an area, than there are places available and the parent has not named the designated school(s) as one of  their preferences, the remaining places will be randomly allocated.

c. Children with an education, health and care plan

All children whose education, health and care plan that names a school, must be admitted.

d. Published Admission Number

A Published Admission Number (PAN) is agreed for each school annually and defines the number of places available for the year of entry. All applications must be agreed until the PAN has been reached and this figure will not be exceeded other than in  exceptional circumstances. For example, a child living within a school's designated area and for whom no reasonable alternative school place is available, may be allocated a  place at  the designated school even if  this exceeds the PAN. In this circumstance, reasonable is defined as a school within the statutory three mile safe walking distance from the child's home address or a school to which free home to school transport would be provided.

A list of PAN's for Voluntary Controlled and Community Schools can be found at the back of this policy document.

e. Address

The child's address provided on the application form should be that of the child's normal place of residence. Only one address can be considered for application purposes. The address provided will be used to determine the child's priority for a school place. The Local Authority reserves the right to confirm the address provided by the applicant using the council tax reference number which is provided as part of the application.

For YR 7 September entry, the address used to determine priority of school for on time applications submitted in the main round, will be the child's normal place of residence as at deadline date of 31 October 2024. A future address from an applicant who is moving can be considered if the Local Authority receives evidence in the form of an exchange of contracts or a tenancy agreement of a minimum of six months by the 16 December 2024.

Where children spend time with parents at more than one address then the address given on the form should be the one at which they are normally and habitually resident, i.e. sleep at, for the majority of term-time school nights (Sunday night to Thursday night). If children spend time equally at different addresses, then the address which will be used for admissions purposes will be the one registered for child benefit. The Local Authority may request proof of the registered address, which must pre-date the application.

Future addresses from applicants who currently own a property that is unoccupied or rented out, for which they plan to return to, will not be used when allocating places, unless a formal notice  to terminate the rental agreement has been received by the deadline date or exceptional circumstances date. Such applications will be checked to confirm the applicants have returned to the property. If the applicant has not returned to the address, it will  be considered a fraudulent application and the place will be taken away, even if the child has already started school. If no proof is provided, the current address will be used to determine the child's priority of a school place.

For in year transfer applications the current address at the time of application will be used.

f. Shared Parental Responsibility

Where two (or more) adults have parental responsibility for a child it is preferable that they should  agree which  school(s)  to  name as their preference(s) before submitting an application form. In cases of dispute, or where two application forms are submitted, the LA will process the application received from the adult who has a residence order. If no such order has been made, preference will be given to the parent with whom the child is living for the majority of the school week.

If  both parents are in dispute as to whom the child lives with the majority of the school week, the LA will process the application received from the adult who is in receipt of the child benefit, if this is not available then the address used on the NHS card will be used.

In the event of  a further dispute regarding  the address used, parents may wish to take independent legal advice on whether they should seek a specific issue order from the court to decide on where the child is schooled. For an in-year transfer application, the placement will continue in the  best interest of securing educational provision for the child, with a minimum of disruption until any such order is made.

For year of entry, a place will be offered in accordance with the preferences to the parent who can provide evidence that they are in receipt of child benefit.

g. Multiple Births

The LA will endeavour to place siblings (e.g. twins, triplets  etc) in the same school. If necessary schools will be required to admit over PAN to accommodate such children.

h. Children of UK Service Personnel (UK Armed Forces)

Applications for children of UK service personnel with a confirmed posting to the county will be considered in advance of the family moving into the county. Where possible, an application must be included in the normal admission round.

An official letter, such as a posting note or letter of support from the commanding officer should be sent to the LA as soon as possible. This should include the relocation date and unit postal address or quartering area address.

Until a fixed address is available, the unit postal address will be used and a school place allocated accordingly. For service personnel moving back to a property that they own and this is currently rented out, then this address can be considered providing a signed letter from  the Commanding Officer or a formal notice to terminate the rental agreement is received stating the future address.

If there is a tie-break situation then the criteria of the relevant admissions authority will be applied.

The LA will not refuse a child of UK service personnel a place because the family does not currently live in the area. It is also not permitted to reserve places for these children. If a place  is  not secured at  the  preferred school and the applicant has provided proof  of  a Wiltshire address, then an alternative place will be allocated. This will be at the next nearest school to the unit postal address or quartering address with available places.

Children will be considered as siblings, if any brother or sister (including step siblings living at the same address) has been formally offered a place at the school which has been accepted. The sibling link will not apply if the child on roll is in Yr11, YR12 or YR13 for VC & C's schools.

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