Many schools break the rules on admissions

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The outgoing chief schools adjudicator, Elizabeth Passmore, has said that too many schools in England are breaking the rules on admissions arrangements, reports the BBC.

In her final report, she claims that the worst offenders are schools which are their own admissions authorities, like academies or faith schools.

The report says: "Adjudicators have again found that not all schools that are their own admission authority have met the requirements for consultation, determination and publication of their admission arrangements.

"Objections have often resulted from a lack of consultation with parents and failure to publish the determined arrangements as required by the Code.

"We continue to see arrangements that do not include all the information specified in the Code. We also see too many supplementary information forms for schools with a religious character that do not comply with the Code, in particular because they ask for information that is prohibited as it is not required to apply the oversubscription criteria."

According to the report, admission arrangements run by local authorities for community and voluntary controlled schools are almost always clear and uncomplicated so it is easy for parents and others to understand how places will be allocated. But the complexity of some schools' admission arrangements continues to be a matter of concern, said the report.

These complex arrangements can include numerous oversubscription criteria, different sub-categories of places, more than one catchment area, feeder schools, banding tests and aptitude assessments - withe the net effect that some schools do not serve local children well.

Too often, says the report, admission arrangements are hard to find on school websites or not published at all, while some faith schools ask parents to fill in supplementary forms, asking for information prohibited under the code.

Dr Passmore said she was: "surprised and concerned by an increase in schools operating as their own admissions authorities, employing lawyers when they receive objections to the criteria they use to admit children.

"Schools should be able to construct lawful arguments to their arrangements without recourse to legal advice."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "The chief adjudicator's annual report helps us identify how we can continue to improve the admissions framework to ensure fair access for all children. We will review her findings and take action where appropriate."

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