Children Looked After – definition (rule 1)
Rule 1: Children looked after and children who were previously looked after, including those who appear (to the admission authority) to have been in state care outside of England, and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted or became subject to a child arrangements order¹ or a special guardianship order².
Places are allocated to children in public care according to Chapter 7, Section 2 of the School Admissions (Admission Arrangements and Co-ordination of Admission Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012.
These children will be prioritised under rule 1.
Highest priority will also be given to children who were previously looked after, including those looked after outside England, but ceased to be so because they were adopted, or became subject to a child arrangement order or a special guardianship order.
A “child looked after” 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 (section 22(1) of The Children Act 1989).
All children adopted from care are eligible for admission under rule 1.
Children in the process of being placed for adoption are classified by law as children looked after providing there is a Placement Order and the application would be prioritised under Rule 1.
Children who were not “looked after” immediately before being adopted or made the subject of a child arrangement order or special guardianship order, will not be prioritised under rule 1. Applications made for these children, with suitable supporting professional evidence, can be considered under rule 2.
¹ Child arrangements order Under the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, which amended section 8 of the Children Act 1989, residence orders have now been replaced by child arrangements orders which settle the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live.
² Special guardianship order Under 14A of The Children Act 1989, an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian or guardians.
Children previously looked after abroad and subsequently adopted will be prioritised under Rule 1 if the child’s previously looked status and adoption is confirmed by Hertfordshire’s “Virtual School”.
The child’s previously looked status will be decided in accordance with the definition outlined in The Children & Social Work Act 2017:
- to have been in state care in a place outside England and Wales because he or she would not otherwise have been cared for adequately, and
- to have ceased to be in that state care as a result of being adopted.
A child is in “state care” if he or she is in the care of, or accommodated by –
- a public authority,
- a religious organisation, or
- any other organisation the sole or main purpose of which is to benefit society.
Particular medical and social needs to support an application (rule 2)
Rule 2 applications will only be considered at the time of the initial application, unless there has been a significant and exceptional change of circumstances within the family since the initial application was submitted.
All schools in Hertfordshire have experience in dealing with children with diverse social and medical needs. However, in a few very exceptional cases, there are reasons why a child has to go to one specific school.
Few applications under Rule 2 are agreed.
All applications are considered individually, but a successful application should include the following:
- Specific recent professional evidence that justifies why only one school can meet a child’s individual needs, and/or
- Professional evidence that outlines exceptional family circumstances making clear why only one school can meet he child’s needs.
- If the requested school is not the nearest school to the child’s home address clear reasons why the nearest school is not appropriate.
- For medical cases – a clear explanation of why the child’s severity of illness or disability makes attendance at only a specific school essential.
Evidence should make clear why only one school is appropriate. A Rule 2 application will generally not be upheld in cases where more than one school could meet the child’s need.
In exceptional cases relating to a disability, where more than one school in the county can meet the child’s specific needs, a clear and compelling case can be made for the “nearest” school with the relevant facilities, environment or location. You must clearly explain why attendance at the “nearest” school with these facilities is essential.
Applications under Rule 2 can only be considered when supported by a recent letter from a professional involved with the child or family, for example a doctor, psychologist or police officer. The supporting evidence needs to demonstrate why only one named school can meet the social/medical needs of the child.
Applications for children who were not “looked after” immediately before being adopted or made the subject of a child arrangement order or special guardianship order may be made under this rule.
Sibling definition (rule 3)
- brother or sister.
- half brother or sister.
- adopted brother or sister.
- child of the parent/carer or partner.
- children looked after or previously looked after. This doesn't include children temporarily living in the same house. For example, a looked after child in a short-term foster or bridging placement.
In every case, the sibling must be living permanently in the same family home (at least Monday to Friday).
A sibling must be on the roll of Bridgewater School (in Y5 or below), or have been offered and accepted a place, at the school at the time of application (and when the applicant starts Nursery).
Multiple births – the school can admit over the school’s planned admission number where the last place is allocated to a child who is a sibling from a twin/multiple birth so to allow their twin/multiple birth sibling to attend the school nursery with them.
The address provided must be the child’s current permanent address at the time of application.
- “At the time of application” means the closing date for applications
- “Permanent” means that the child has lived at that address for at least a year
Where a family has not lived at an address for a year, they must be able to demonstrate that they own the property or have a tenancy agreement for a minimum of 12 months and the child must be resident in the property at the time of application.
The application can only be processed using one address. If a child lives at more than one address (for example due to a separation) the address used will be the one where the child lives for the majority of the time. If a child lives at two addresses equally, parents/carers should make a single joint application naming one address.
If a child’s permanent residence is disputed, parents/carers should provide court documentation to evidence the address that should be used for admission allocation purposes.
Home to school distance measurement for purposes of admissions will be via the Hertfordshire County Council ‘find your nearest school’ (please choose, from the drop down, ‘find your nearest school for admission to reception class in September 2023’)
Address evidence may be requested. If it is found the address information you have provided is purposely provided as incorrect then Bridgewater School may withdraw your child(ren)s offer or place at the school Nursery.
If you have any queries regarding admissions at Bridgewater School, please contact the school office.