Admissions Policy

Harewood Nursery School Pontefract

EARLY YEARS PART-TIME
ADMISSIONS POLICY

NURSERY SCHOOLS AND
SCHOOLS WITH NURSERY CLASSES
1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 This policy sets out the arrangements to be followed for part-time admissions to a designated nursery school or for schools with a nursery class. Wakefield Council recommends that Academies within the Wakefield District also follow this policy to ensure a fair, consistent and transparent process for part-time admissions in their local area.

1.2 All children are entitled to a part-time nursery place the term following their 3rd birthday and a full-time place at the September following their 4th birthday (see part-time and full-time admission dates). Parents are entitled to defer the offer of a full-time place and details are provided under section 8 – defering a full-time school place.

1.3 For nursery places, each school and their Governing Body are responsible for part-time admissions (non-statutory schooling). However, each school is requested to adhere to this part-time admissions policy. This is to allow schools to carry out their duty to admit part-time children on a consistent and fair basis with other schools and to support the Council to carry out its duty regarding the sufficiency and sustainability of all providers across all sectors.

1.4 Admission to full-time schooling is managed by the admissions policy for statutory aged pupils. This policy will either be set by Wakefield Council for community/voluntary controlled schools or the Governing Body for academies, voluntary aided/foundation schools.

1.5 Below is a brief explanation of the context in which nursery schools and nursery classes operate:

• Designated Nursery Schools – they offer part-time education only and admit children from the term following their 3rd birthday.

• Schools with a Nursery Class – they can admit children from the term following their 3rd birthday until they reach full-time school age. A nursery class will include only part-time children. Some schools operate a Foundation Stage Unit where both part-time and full-time children are based together.

1.6 This policy covers the following:

• Entitlement to a part-time nursery place

• Part-time and full-time admission dates

• Process for allocating part-time places

• Attendance issues

• Special Educational Needs

• Part-time admissions criteria to be applied when there are more applications than places available

• Deferring a full-time school place

• The purpose of a school’s designated nursery number

• Funding for part-time admissions

• Compliance with the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

• How to request an increase to a school’s nursery size

Any school that operates a part-time policy outside of this policy must have written exemption from the Council’s Childcare and Market Development Team.

2. ENTITLEMENT TO A PART-TIME NURSERY PLACE

2.1 Wakefield Council guarantees a part-time place for all 3 and 4 year olds within the District. This place will not always be within the maintained sector and it may not always be at the local school or a parent’s preferred choice. Where a place is not available at the chosen school, parents should be directed to contact the Council’s Families Information Service by telephoning 01924 305665 or 0800 5878042 or email FIS@wakefield.gov.uk

2.2 The free part-time entitlement is for 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year up to 570 hours over the course of a year. School’s traditionally offer 5 morning or 5 afternoon sessions (3 hours each). However the free entitlement can be available flexibly over a minimum of 2 days per week.

2.3 Where a parent requests less than 15 hours per week this should be granted. Any unfilled hours can be offered to children on the waiting list.

2.4 Parents must be made aware that there is no guarantee that a child, who is admitted to a school’s nursery class, will be admitted to the school full-time. Parents of children in nursery classes must complete an Admissions Preference Form in order to request a full-time place in school, because the admissions criteria have to be applied afresh to determine which school has places. Schools must not put pressure on parents for their child to attend nursery, in order to gain a full-time place at the school.

3. PART-TIME AND FULL-TIME ADMISSION DATES

3.1 The earliest a child can be admitted to nursery education is the term after their 3rd birthday unless the school has received Council approval to admit 2 year olds.

3.2 The part-time admission dates are:
Three Year Olds
Born Between Month of Part-time Admission Term of Part-time Admission
1 April – 31 August September Autumn
1 Sept – 31 Dec January Spring
1 Jan – 31 March after Easter Summer

• April-born children must be admitted part-time in the following September and not after Easter regardless of when Easter falls.

3.3 For each date of birth range the table below states the term each child becomes eligible for nursery education (term after 3rd birthday) and at what age they are deemed to be for each term until they reach the end of the reception year. See Appendix A for the actual date of birth ranges into reception and nursery for the next 4 academic years.

Term Date of Birth Range
1 Sept to 31 Dec 1 Jan to 31 March 1 April to 31 Aug
Autumn
Spring Age 3 – P/T (nursery)
Summer Age 3 – P/T (nursery) Age 3 – P/T (nursery)
Autumn Age 3 – P/T (nursery) Age 3 – P/T (nursery) Age 3 – P/T (nursery)
Spring Age 4 – P/T (nursery) Age 3 – P/T (nursery) Age 3 – P/T (nursery)
Summer Age 4 – P/T (nursery) Age 4 – P/T (nursery) Age 3 – P/T (nursery)
Autumn Age 4 – F/T (reception) Age 4 – F/T (reception) Age 4 – F/T (reception)
Spring Age 5 – STAT (reception) Age 4 – F/T (reception) Age 4 – F/T (reception)
Summer Age 5 – STAT (reception) Age 5 – STAT (reception) Age 4 – F/T (reception)
Autumn Age 5 – Year 1 Age 5 – Year 1 Age 5 – Year 1

P/T = part-time F/T = full-time STAT = statutory school age

• Children born between 1 September and 31 December receive 5 terms part-time and 1 term full-time prior to reaching statutory school age.

• Children born between 1 January and 31 March receive 4 terms part-time and 2 terms full-time prior to reaching statutory school age.

• Children born between 1 April and 31 August receive 3 terms part-time and 3 terms full-time prior to reaching statutory school age.

4. ALLOCATING PART-TIME PLACES

4.1 Schools that are eligible to admit children on a part-time basis are responsible for administering part-time admissions. Parents must contact schools directly when applying for a part-time nursery place. Each school should then allocate places in accordance with the Council’s part-time admission criteria.

4.2 Each school should have their own application form for part-time admissions, which all parents applying for a part-time place at the school must complete and sign.

4.3 Schools must identify a date, each term, when part-time admissions for the following term will be allocated. It is recommended that this is around half-term.

4.4 Parents should be notified in writing when a part-time place will be available. Parents should be requested to confirm that they accept the offer of a part-time place within 2 weeks of the place being offered. If a parent does not respond to the offer letter the school must make reasonable efforts to contact the parent before the place is offered to the first child on the waiting list.

4.5 Following notification that a place is available, a child should be expected to take up the place within 2 weeks of the expected start date. If the child has not taken up the place after 2 weeks and a satisfactory explanation has not been provided to the Headteacher then the offer of a part-time place can be removed.

4.6 The only circumstance where a late application for a part-time place can be considered and be successful is an application from a child with SEN who is undergoing a statutory assessment or who has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan. In such an event the application must be supported by the relevant professionals involved with the child. You should also contact Childcare and Market Development to discuss the implications of the statutory guidance and for a decision to be made whether to offer the place to another child or to go above the school’s designated nursery size.

4.7 Where a school receives a late application for a part-time place this must only be considered after all other applications have been dealt with. Children of late applications should be placed on the waiting list in the order in which they appear following the part-time admissions criteria.

4.8 The parents of children who have not been allocated a place should be contacted in writing informing them of the decision. It is good practice to state where they are on the waiting list. Parents should also be asked to confirm if they wish to remain on the waiting list and/or if they wish for their application to be considered afresh the following term. When writing to parents you should also include the details of the Wakefield Families Information Service who can provide free information and advice on alternative nursery places. Telephone 01924 305665 or 0800 5878042 or email FIS@wakefield.gov.uk or visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/earlyyears

4.9 The school should record they have seen evidence to verify a child’s date of birth and identity. Examples are a birth certificate, or passport. Parents should also be asked to provide valid proof that the address given for the child is the address at which they are ordinarily resident. Parents should be asked to sign the application form stating that all of the information provided is correct.

4.10 If a child is refused a part-time nursery place then the parent/carer may appeal to a committee of governors. Governors should adhere to the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework and they cannot admit children over their designated nursery number. Therefore, the only grounds for upholding an appeal should be where a parent demonstrates that an error has been made by the school, when processing the application that may have resulted in a place being offered to another child.

4.11 Where a parent demonstrates that an error has been made by the school when administering part-time admissions a school can only admit over its agreed nursery number if it has both written approval from the Council and that the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Requirements continue to be met. Particularly those relating to space requirements and staffing ratios. Therefore, if a nursery cannot go over its nursery size then the Governing Body must make the decision to withdraw the offer of a place to another child or to place the complainant at the top of the waiting list.

5. ATTENDANCE

5.1 It is a schools responsibility to ensure that children are attending regularly and for the number of hours per week that are being claimed. Occasional holidays and sickness absences are acceptable.

5.2 However as part of safeguarding arrangements all schools must contact the parent/carer when a child does not attend and no information relating to the reason for the absence has been received. The school must contact the parent on the first day of the child’s absence; reasons for absence must then be recorded on the child’s file along with the expected return date.

5.3 If the child does not return on the expected date then the provider must make a follow-up call to the parent/carer to establish reasons and whether the child is going to continue with their free place.

5.4 If any child has what is deemed to be irregular attendance then it is the schools responsibility to remind the parents that the free place is a funded place and continued irregular attendance could lead to a reduction of hours or the place being withdrawn and offered to another child.

5.5 Where there is a persistent absence of more than two weeks in any term without a justifiable reason then the school should notify parents/carers that the place will be offered to another child. The school must specify to the parent the date that the place will be removed.

5.6 It is not acceptable to remove a place if the child attends for a reduced number of hours. The hours of non-attendance can be offered to another child.

6. SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS

6.1 No child should ever be admitted prior to the term following their 3rd birthday unless there are very exceptional circumstances, which must be discussed with the Council’s Childcare and Market Development team, initially. Each case would be considered on its own merit taking into account the views of the appropriate professionals. A decision would be made by the Council’s Sufficiency and School Organisation Board whether to admit the child prior to the term following their 3rd birthday and to provide funding.

Examples of exceptional circumstances are:

• A child with a complex disability;

• A child involved in an active Child Protection Plan where there is no suitable age appropriate provision within the local area that could be accessed.

7. PART-TIME ADMISSIONS CRITERIA

7.1 If the number of applications received for a part-time nursery place does not exceed the number of places available then all children will be admitted on a part-time basis.

7.2 Where a school receives more applications than places available then children should be admitted in the following order:

1 Children undergoing special educational needs statutory assessment or with a statement of special educational needs or Education Health and Care Plan (which names the school);

2 Looked after children and all previously looked after children (see definition under explanatory notes);

3 Children who live in the school’s catchment area or parish area, who have brothers or sisters attending the school at the time of admission;

4 Other children who live in the school’s catchment area;

5 Children who live outside the school’s catchment area but have brothers or sisters in attendance at the school;

6 Other children by age order (admitting eldest first).

7.3 Explanatory Notes

• Where any criterion category is over-subscribed then children within that category should be admitted in an age order basis (eldest first). Priority should be given to Wakefield District children.

• Brothers and sisters are defined as children with brothers or sisters (including step-brothers or sisters) living at the same address, in attendance at the same school or a school on the same site, on the date of admission.

• The home address for each child is the permanent address of the parents/carers and their child. That is taken to be the address of the parent/carer who receives child benefit for the child and is assumed to be the address where the child spends the majority of the time, even if he or she lives at a different address for some days of the week.

• Looked after children and previously looked after children are defined as:

 A ‘looked after child’ is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989) at the time of making an application to a school.

 This includes children who were adopted under the Adoption Act 1976 (see section 12 adoption orders) and children who were adopted under the Adoption and Childrens Act 2002 (see section 46 adoption orders).

 Under the provision of s.14 of the Children and Families Act 2014, which amend section 8 of the Children Act 1989, residence orders have now been replaced by child arrangement orders.

 See Section 14A of the Children Act 1989 which defines a ‘special guardianship order’ as an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian (or special guardians).

• Where the admission of siblings from a multiple birth (eg twins, triplets) would cause the school to rise above its agreed Nursery Number, you must contact Childcare and Market Development to agree a resolution.

• If a child has a change to their circumstances (change of address) once an application for a part-time place has been submitted it is the responsibility of the parent to inform the school of the change. However, if a parent applying for a school place already has a sibling in school and they have a material change then the school should check all addresses when considering part-time places to ensure that they have the correct information for all children to ensure that all part-time places are allocated correctly.

• All voluntary aided and foundation (trust) schools and academies should admit part-time children following their own full-time admissions criteria as in the published Primary Guide for Parents.

• A school providing wrap-around-care must not include this in the admissions criteria. A parent must not be expected to purchase additional services in order to gain a part-time place at the school.

• Where required the Council will provide support to a school in applying the part-time admissions criteria.

8. DEFERRING A FULL-TIME SCHOOL PLACE

8.1 The statutory School Admissions Code of Practice allows parents to defer their child’s offer of a full-time place until they reach statutory school age. For advice on this please contact the School Admissions Team on 01924 305616/17/18/19.

8.2 If a parent wishes to defer their offer of a full-time place at their allocated school and they wish their child to continue attending nursery provision on a part-time basis then the below must be followed:

1. Parents must formally put in writing to the local authority’s School Admissions Team and the school that they wish to defer the offer of a full-time place.

2. The School Admissions Team will contact the school where a full-time place has been offered.

3. The School Admissions Team will write to the parent to confirm the deferral of a place explaining that they will have to make alternative arrangement with either their existing or an alternative nursery provider.

4. The Wakefield Families Information Service can provide support and advice in securing a part-time nursery place.

If a parent contacts a school direct then the school should inform the School Admissions Team as outlined above.

8.3 Not all parents are being offered a full-time Reception place at the school of their preferred choice. Where this occurs some parents are requesting to stay within their current nursery in the anticipation that a full-time place will become available at that school. This is highly unlikely to occur unless the child is towards the top of the waiting list and there are no guarantees that a place will then become available.

8.4 When such a request to stay in the nursery is made then it is up to each school and their Governing Body to make the final decision as any parental complaint / appeal would be made through the School’s Governing Body.

8.5 Wakefield Council advises that if there are spare places available in the nursery class then the school should allow the child to continue in the nursery until such time that the place is required for another child. If the school nursery is full or the school is stating that they have decided that the child cannot continue in the nursery then the parents should be advised to contact the Wakefield Families Information Service on 0800 5878042 they will provide advice and support in obtaining an alternative nursery or reception place.

8.6 The legal position remains that parents who wish to defer taking their full-time place are still entitled to a part-time place with another early years provider from September for 15 hours. The Council must ensure a provision is available if the child cannot remain in their current placement.

8.7 A school would receive part-time funding if a full-time eligible child remained part-time (ie up to 15 hours) in a schools nursery class.

9. NURSERY NUMBER

9.1 Each school has a designated nursery number, which must be agreed by the Council and must meet standards as stated in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework. The nursery number is based on available space and facilities. Requests for a change to a school’s designated nursery number will be considered by the Sufficiency and School Organisation Board which will take into account issues relating to the Local Authority’s duty to manage the sufficiency and sustainability of the childcare market. See 12.1

9.2 Where a school exceeds this limit they are in breach of health and safety and Ofsted regulations. Schools that exceed their nursery size will be funded at £0.02p per hour.

9.3 Most schools’ nursery numbers are based on multiples of 1:13 in line with the staffing ratios. Therefore, if a school has a nursery number of 26 fte (full-time equivalent) then a school can admit a maximum of 52 children and this would be 26 in the morning and 26 in the afternoon session.

9.4 Once a designated nursery number has been reached, only a child that has a statement of special educational needs that names the school or is under statutory assessment can be admitted – thus exceeding the school’s nursery size. Where this occurs, the school must contact Childcare and Market Development immediately to discuss ways to resolve issues relating to Ofsted regulations and compliance with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

10. FUNDING FOR PART-TIME ADMISSIONS

10.1 All nursery providers in the Wakefield District are funded in accordance with the criteria for the Early Years Single Funding Formula (EYSFF). The EYSFF is a fair and transparent way in which funding is allocated to providers who deliver the Early Years Free Entitlement.

10.2 The Council has agreed to have the same base rate of funding for all Early Years Free Entitlement providers across all sectors.

11 STATUTORY FRAMEWORK FOR THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE

11.1 Each school and their Governing Body must adhere to the The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Reference: DFE-00337-2014. The document can be downloaded at www.gov.uk/government/publications

12 REQUEST TO INCREASE NURSERY SIZE

12.1 If a school is interested in exploring the possibility of increasing their nursery capacity then they must complete and submit a Business Request Form which will be considered at the Schools Organisation and Sufficiency Board. Your proposal may be for a short-term increase for a particular year/term or a permanent change. Or if you prefer in the first instance contact Childcare and Market Development Team for an informal discussion.

12.2 If a school nursery becomes full it is good practice to inform Childcare and Market Development. This is because the Council has the duty to manage the sufficiency of the childcare market. Where there is a shortage of places in a particular area it is then the responsibility of the Council to try and create extra places on either a short or long-term basis. This supports the Council to manage its sufficiency duty to provide places for all 3 and 4 year olds.

USEFUL CONTACTS

Childcare and Market Development
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB
Tel: 01924 305630
Email: information@wakefield.gov.uk

Wakefield Families Information Service
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB
Tel: 01924 305665
Email: FIS@wakefield.gov.uk

Early Years Improvement Team
Chesney Centre
Regent Street
Featherstone
WF7 5EW
Tel: 01977 721508

Portage / Pre-5 SEN Service (Area SENCO’s)
Block C, Normanton Town Hall
High Street, Normanton, WF6 2DZ
Tel: 01924 307403

School Admissions
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB
Tel: 01924 305616
admissions@wakefield.gov.uk

(COUNTY AND VOLUNTARY CONTROLLED SCHOOL)

Admissions to the school are controlled by Wakefield Local Authority (WMDC Children and Young People).  Full details of the Authority’s policy on admissions are given in the “Guide to Parents”.  This is available in all schools and through Children and Young People.
At this school, 78 pupils will normally be admitted in the school year beginning in September 2012.  This is the admission level set by the Authority.

If there are more applications for admission to the school than there are places available, the Authority will give preference to children in the following order:

  1. Children for whom there are specific reason, e.g. medical, social;
  2. (i) Children who live in the school’s catchment
  3. (ii) Children who live in that part of the school’s catchment area which is designated as an option area
  4. Children who have brother or sisters in attendance at the school
  5. Other children, with priority being given to those living nearest to the school, measured as the crow flies.

Children will be placed in the appropriate category depending upon their circumstances at the proposed date of admission.
In the event of any category being over-subscribed, places will be offered in the order of priority detailed above.

(INFANT/JUNIOR AND INFANTS/PRIMARY SCHOOL)

APPLYING FOR THE SCHOOL

If your child is going in to a reception class for the first time during the school year September 2017 – July 2018, you should contact the head teacher of the primary school during September/October 2016.
You must fill in an admission preference form and return it to the address provided by the date stated on the form.  You will be sent an admission preference form directly through the mail.

In all other cases, you should contact Children and Young People/Schools see address as given in further information.  Transfers between schools will normally only take place at the beginning of a school term and you should not remove your child from their current school until then.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Full details of the admissions arrangements for schools in Wakefield Metropolitan District are given in the “Guide for Parents”.  This is produced by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council/Children and Young People/Schools and is available in all schools and through Children and Young People.

Children and Young People/Schools is happy to advise parents on all aspects of admissions to the Authority’s Schools.
Please write to:

The Corporate Director (Children and Young People)

Children and Young People
School Admissions Team
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB

The telephone number is Wakefield (01924) 305616, 305617, 306627, 306650, 306676 or 306766
E-mail: admission@wakefield.gov.uk