School admissions guidance for social workers
'Mainstream schools must give the highest priority to the admission of a looked-after and previously looked after child.'
'Schools cannot refuse to admit a looked-after-child on the basis of challenging behaviour or refer a child for action under the Fair Access Protocol on this basis.'
- Admissions Code Ref: 1.7, 3.21 (GOV.UK)
- 'Promoting the Education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children' (GOV.UK) - Statutory Guidance, pp.11-14
How to apply for a school place
Visit the Department of Education website to find the closest suitable school to the child's placement.
Schools must be judged by Ofsted to be Good or better.
Note: Where possible, it is good practice to secure education prior to the move and for the child to visit the school(s) before the application is made.
If you do not apply to the closest school, you will need to provide strong justification for this decision.
The Virtual School strongly recommend that a change of school for a child during years 6 of primary school and year 10 or 11 of secondary school should be avoided.
Moving schools within the academic year
If a school place is needed during the school year, then an in-year transfer application should be completed. This is different for each LA so scrutinise schools' admissions process to ensure application is correctly made into either the local authority or direct to the school. Copy in your VS Lead when submitting applications.
Once the school has received the in-year application, a decision should be made within seven working days. Allow 15 days for consultation with Special Schools.
We must not allow drift
Contact Admissions; (SEND) and alert the Virtual School if this deadline has passed.
Surrey County Council will use its powers of direction where a school has not observed the law and is refusing to admit a child without robust reason.
The local authority will consider direction once the timescale for response has expired. In the week that follows, liaise with Admissions and consult Virtual School. Virtual School will escalate to direction or suggest an alternative strategy.
Every academy has its own admissions policy. This means you will need to go onto the academy's website and apply directly to them.
You can apply to more than one academy at once.
Please apply directly to the college's website. If you are unsure of local provision (especially for UASC) then don't hesitate to contact the Virtual School.
Find more information on school admissions, early years, statutory, and post-16.
Placing children out of their chronological year group
Please read our latest guidance and policy for details.