Admission to academies

Can academies refuse statemented children? IPSEA asks parents to tell us their experiences via our online survey

IPSEA has been aware for a long time that parents of statemented children do not have the same right to obtain a place at an academy as they do if they want a maintained school place. We are asking parents with experience of academies refusing to take statemented children to contribute to our academies survey. Please tell us your stories and we will make sure they are heard! Our survey is here.

We have raised this difference with Government repeatedly and over many years. Time and again we have received reassurances from them that this isn’t true, and that parents can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal to obtain a place if an academy refuses their child.

For a long time political fudges have kept this situation from becoming an issue: academies have accepted that Tribunals can hear appeals about them, and have rolled over when decisions have gone against them.

But now the sticking-plaster has come off: Mossbourne, one of the older academies and a flagship for the Government’s policy, has refused to be named in nine children’s statements, the children’s local authority supports the Academy’s position, and the Tribunal has decided it cannot hear appeals to challenge the refusal to admit them.

IPSEA is supporting the parents and is joining the appeal to the Upper Tribunal to test whether the Tribunal can hear the appeals, whether it can order the local authority to name the academy, and whether that will force the academy to accept the children.

This is a case of enormous consequence for parents of statemented children, especially in areas where most secondary schools have become or are becoming academies, or where the only suitable school is an academy.

We attach IPSEA’s explanation of the law here.

The Special Education Consortium is a group of organisations who protect and promote the rights of disabled children and children with special educational needs (SEN) under the umbrella of the National Children's Bureau. Their strong statement on this case can be downloaded here.

See also:
http://davidwolfe.org.uk/wordpress/archives/1312
http://www.maxwellgillott.com/news-may2012-sen-academies.htm