Schools ‘best placed’ to run admissions, says heads’ union as it rejects DfE academy shake-up plans

The country’s biggest secondary heads’ union has said there is no need to take any control over admissions away from academies.

TES revealed this morning that the Department for Education is considering handing responsibility for appeals against academy admissions decisions, and for academies’ in-year admissions, to local authorities.

A plan for further changes to admissions that could have an even more dramatic impact on academies is also being considered, TES understands.

But asked today what he thought of the plans, Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We already have a code of practice in place to deal with admissions and at the moment there appears to be no huge national problem.”

The changes being considered by the DfE follow a report published by Education Datalab in November which said academies were more likely than other schools to engineer moves of their most challenging students – often during the academic year – to neighbouring schools before they sat their GCSEs.

‘Problems can be dealt with’

Mr Trobe, who was being quizzed about the TES story as ASCL gathered for its annual conference in Birmingham, said: “There are individual problems that can be dealt with through [the chief schools adjudicator] who looks at admissions. Schools are best placed to make these decisions [over admissions].”

The DfE plans are being considered for a forthcoming schools white paper which is expected to set out the government’s vision for a completely academised schools system.

Asked what he thought about the potential for an all-academy future, Mr Trobe said: “ASCL has never made any clear decision or engaged itself about the specific structures of schools. We make no judgement on the way in which schools are set up.

“But there does need to be a clear strategic plan for the delivery of school places.”

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