This guidance is for parents whose child has been referred to the Inclusion Support Panel, either at the request of the current school or following an in-year application where information from previous school indicated that the pupil may need additional support going into a new school because of difficulties experienced in education.
Advice and guidance for parents and carers of non-EHCP pupils
The school admissions code December 2014 states that:
“3.9: Each local authority must have a Fair Access Protocol, agreed with the majority of schools in its area to ensure that – outside the normal admissions round – unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable, are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible. In agreeing a protocol, the local authority must ensure that no school – including those with available places – is asked to take a disproportionate number of children who have been excluded from other schools, or who have challenging behaviour. Departmental Advice issued in November 2012 entitled Fair Access Protocols: Principles and Process gives local authorities and schools including Academies the freedom to develop and agree protocols which best serve the needs of children in their area. The documentation emphasises the importance of openness and fairness in all pupil admissions, but especially in cases where pupils may have more difficulty securing a place because of previous exclusion or risk of exclusion from school.
Non-Portsmouth residents’ cases will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Pupils considered Hard to Place will be referred back to their home authority initially.
The Inclusion Support Panel (Fair Access Protocol and Dual Registration (FAP/DR)) was devised by Portsmouth Head teachers as the process to arbitrate and make decisions (in line with the Fair Access Protocol) in an open and transparent way, involving representatives from all schools and other agencies.
At each panel meeting there is a member of senior leadership from each of the secondary schools within Portsmouth, at least 3 primary head teachers, an Educational Psychologist, a SEND Advisor, and a member of Social Care. The meeting is chaired by the Attendance, Admissions, Exclusions & Reintegration Service Manager.
Parents are welcome to attend this meeting though they will have been afforded an opportunity to present their views in advance rather than speaking at the meeting. All information you wish to be heard at the meeting should be shared in advance as due to the time limit on each case there is no time for additional discussion.
We would ask you to contact the Admissions, Exclusions & Reintegration Team (details below) to confirm if you wish to attend.
All schools will be represented as far as possible but decisions will be made even when not all schools are represented. All decisions will be made by open and transparent majority vote. Each school will have one vote as will the Local Authority SEN team, Social Care, Educational Psychology, primary school representatives and a parent representative if present (this is not the parent whose child’s case is being heard but a trained panellist). Votes are non transferable (i.e. a school or Academy representative must be present in order to vote).
The ISP FAP/DR will meet fortnightly and consider any pupils referred to it.
The change of provision form was devised to ensure fairness, consistent, objective data and information is provided for each case being referred to the panel.
This form should be completed by the current/or previous school and shared in its entirety with parent. The school should ask the parent/carer and pupil to give their views and comments.
Parents/carers will be asked to sign the form to acknowledge that they are aware their child is going through this process, that they understand it and that they agree with the information contained within the form.
The completed and signed form will then sent back to the Admissions and Exclusions Team with supporting evidence in a timely manner before the deadline for the next available Inclusion Support Panel.
Yes. When completing the parental and pupil comments, please indicate any school preferences you may have and the reasons for them.
The panel will always look to take parental preference into consideration however there is no guarantee the panel will agree a preference school.
A pupil generally should be considered hard to place if their behaviour or circumstances have caused undue concern and admission to school would require arrangements over and above those already made.
Indicators may include:
• Multiple exclusions including alternative exclusions.
• Pupils who may have accessed a reduced timetable/alternative provision for a period of time.
• Pupils who may have multi-agency involvement for concerns around behaviour.
• Pupils who have been permanently excluded or are at risk of permanent exclusion.
• Pupils who are or have attended specialist provisions such as The Harbour School or a Pupil Referral Unit and applying for a mainstream school.
• Pupils known to the criminal justice system.
• Pupils withdrawn from school by their family and /or
have been out of education for 2 months or more.
This is not necessarily a fully comprehensive list of all the circumstances where a pupil may be considered “Hard to Place”.
If no communication is made, the Local Authority will assume the decision of the allocated school is final and they should be in contact with parents to arrange admission.
The information from the CoP form will be used to form a presentation on your child, with the supporting evidence shared with the attendees prior to the meeting.
On seeing and hearing all the evidence, the panel will agree whether a pupil should be deemed “hard to place”.
If a pupil is agreed as ‘hard to place’ the panel members with then look to vote on a school placement for secondary aged pupils.
In the case of primary aged pupils the decision on a new school placement will be made by the head teachers of the cluster in which you live. The primary Headteacher representative at the Inclusion Support Panel will organise a meeting for all schools within 1.5 miles of your home address. This will take place within 10 schools days following the Inclusion Support Panel. At the meeting they will also consider the distribution of pupils allocated via the Fair Access Protocol, whole school and year group data, contextual information and parental preferences.
If a pupil is not agreed as ‘hard to place’:
- in cases where a parent has made an in-year application, the application will return to the Admissions Team to process the application in line with parental preferences (the pupil will not have been disadvantage as a notional space will have been held).
- in cases where the case has been referred by a school, further discussion will need to take place between the school and the parent as to the next steps and/or additional support that should be offered.
The panel refer to data which indicates the numbers of pupils that have moved via the Fair Access Protocol and how they have been distributed between schools in Portsmouth. The panel / cluster meeting of Headteachers consider whole school and year group data in a number of different areas including contextual information, alongside parental preference and geographical location in relation to each case before voting on a school placement.
In relation to secondary school pupils – after the meeting schools have until the Friday lunchtime following the Inclusion Support Panel to raise any issues in relation to pupils allocated to their school.
In relation to primary school pupils – Once a school placement is agreed at the cluster meeting of headteachers the chair will contact the Local Authority and the parent to advise of the cluster’s decision.
Letters detailing the outcome of the meeting will be sent to parents on the Friday afternoon, following the Inclusion Support Panel, via second class post. Parents may also call the number below for an update at this time.
Letters for a primary aged child will be sent once confirmation is received from the chair of the cluster meeting.
It is an expectation that the receiving school will have admitted a pupil allocated under the Fair Access Protocol within 10 days of the panel meeting and any deemed not-HTP within 5. A representative from the exiting school (where this is a Portsmouth school including the Harbour School) should be invited to the induction meetings. Where this is a pupil from out of city, the Fair Access Protocol Reintegration Support Worker should be invited (a representative of the Exclusions and Reintegration team should be invited where this is not practicable). A minimum of 48 hours’ notice should be given for this meeting. These meetings must be conducted in an open, honest and welcoming manner as should apply to all induction meetings. A reintegration support plan should be developed.
Each pupil deemed ‘hard to place’ and offered a new school placement will be allocated a Reintegration Support Worker (based at The Harbour School). They will support at meetings and liaise with school, pupils and parents for at least the first 6 weeks upon starting at the new school.
Any additional support needed for the pupil should be discussed at the induction meeting or within the reintegration support plan.
In the first instance you should contact the Local Authority to advise that you do not wish to accept the placement offered by the Inclusion Support Panel. You should detail why you would not want your child to take up the placement and list any reasons.
In exceptional circumstances cases are able to be re-heard if the reason for not accepting the allocated school is reasonable and detailed. In these cases the panel will revisit their decision – their options will either be to re-agree their first decision or in exceptional circumstances name an alternative.
In cases where a decision has been re-agreed and parent/pupil is still unhappy with the decision a meeting/discussion with the parent will take place with the Local Authority which will establish whether the pupil remains at the originating school or accepts the allocated school. An outcome letter of this meeting / discussion will then be sent to parent.
In cases where there is non-attendance from school the information will be passed to the School Attendance Team for legal action.
Admissions, Exclusions & Reintegration Team
Portsmouth Local Authority
Floor 2, Core 5
Telephone: (023) 9284 1568