Refusing admission – On what grounds?

By Becky Windmill

As academies are able to operate outside of the laws applied to local authority schools, some academies are unwilling to offer places to children with special needs. This is because some academies do not follow all of the requirements which normally apply to children with special educational needs.

As academies are governed by their funding agreements and their sponsors, not by the law, many children with special educational needs find themselves unable to attend many academies and unfortunately without any legal standing.

When a child with special educational needs is applying for entry to a school, whether maintained or academy, a statement is made by the child’s parent specifying which difficulties the child has and which measures should be taken to help them. If a particular school is mentioned in the statement that school can decide whether or not they are able to cater to the child’s individual needs. Maintained schools, by law are bound to Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) and therefore cannot refuse admission unless it would be beneficiary for the child. Whereas an academy, because they are not governed by SENDIST, are able to refuse admission if they wish.

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