(This note is not part of the Regulations)
Section 90 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (“the 1998 Act”) enables objections to be referred to the National Assembly about admission arrangements for maintained schools which have been determined under section 89 of that Act.
These Regulations contain provisions relating to the conditions under which objections may be made and decided, and the implementation of any decisions.
They revoke the Education (Objections to Admission Arrangements) Regulations 1999 (“the 1999 Regulations”). The 1999 Regulations are largely re-enacted, and these Regulations also reflect amendments made to the 1998 Act by the Education Act 2002.
Section 89(2) of the 1998 Act sets out those bodies whom an admission authority is required to consult about proposed admission arrangements. The 2002 Act amended section 89(2) so as to include the governing bodies of all community and voluntary controlled schools in a relevant area.
Regulation 4 limits the right of such governing bodies to object. They cannot object to the admission arrangements for any other community or voluntary controlled school in the relevant area, nor can they object to admission arrangements for their own school unless the objection relates to the determination of the admission number for the school.
Regulation 4 also provides that an objection may not be made under section 90(1) if the substance of the objection is to seek an alteration to the admission arrangements which can only be made by way of publishing statutory proposals, for example, the introduction of pupil banding or single sex admissions.
Regulation 5 specifies the time limits within which any objection must be made. These are six weeks after the notification that the arrangements have been determined or, where the objection is by a parent, six weeks following the publication of relevant details in a local newspaper. In either case an objection received later will have been validly made if it was not reasonably practicable for it to have been received earlier.
Regulation 6 defines the parents who are eligible to make an objection. If an objection relates to pre-existing selection arrangements a parent must be an individual with a child of compulsory school age in primary education who resides in the consultation area for the school. If an objection relates to a proposed admission number set lower than that indicated by the capacity assessment method set out in the guidance document “Measuring the capacity of schools in Wales”, a parent must be an individual with a child who is between 2 and 5 years or who is of compulsory school age receiving primary education, who resides in the consultation area for the school. This guidance is available on the National Assembly's website at www.learning.wales.gov.uk.
Regulation 7 deals with the type of objections a parent may make. These are objections to certain pre-existing arrangements for selection of pupils by ability, and objections relating to the determination of an admission number lower than that indicated by the capacity assessment method set out in the guidance document referred to above.
Regulation 8 adds a condition that a parental objection may only be determined by the National Assembly if five or more parents make the same or substantially the same objection to the same admission arrangements.
Regulation 9 prescribes the way National Assembly decisions on objections are to be published. This includes notifying the parties to the objection and all other bodies whom the admission authority were required to consult under section 89(2) of the 1998 Act or would but for section 89(2A) have been required to consult, about their proposed admission arrangements. Where the objection relates to pre-existing selection arrangements or an admission number lower than the indicated admission number, the decision must also be published on the National Assembly's website at www.information.wales.gov.uk.
Regulation 10 provides that, when an objection to a school's admission arrangements has been decided, no further objection to the school's arrangements for that school year or the following year may be made on the same issue except where, in the following year the admission authority seeks to reintroduce arrangements to which an objection had previously been upheld.
In a case where an objection has been upheld against the admission arrangements of an admission authority, regulation 11 enables another relevant admission authority to revise their admission arrangements to achieve consistency with the decision upholding the objection. Conditions are specified, including a time limit for revising arrangements of two months from receiving the notification of the decision. There is a requirement to notify the admission authorities that they were required to consult under section 89(2) or would, but for section 89(2A) have been required to so consult, about the admission arrangements they are seeking to revise under this regulation.