Schools

Adjudicator backs council’s objections to trust’s year 7 intake cut

Case is another example of the disconnect between councils and trusts in school admissions system

Case is another example of the disconnect between councils and trusts in school admissions system

17 Sep 2023, 5:00

More from this author

The schools' adjudicator has snubbed an attempt to cut pupil numbers at a West Midlands school

Attempts to slash a school’s pupil numbers by more than a quarter have been snubbed in another example of the disconnect in the admissions system between councils and trusts. 

The George Eliot Academy in Nuneaton wanted to reduce its year 7 cohort from 190 to 150 next September, ahead of the opening of a new secondary free school nearby in 2025. 

Warwickshire County Council objected, saying the resulting shortfall in places would have to be met by two neighbouring schools with less-than-good Ofsted grades.   

While local authorities can determine reductions in maintained schools, their powers do not extend to academies. 

The Midland Academies Trust, which runs George Eliot, said the council’s objection was based on “short-term need”.

“We do not feel that compelling George Eliot to retain an educationally and financially unsustainable admission number is in the best interests of its pupils”, a spokesperson for trust said.

In evidence submitted to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, the trust also pointed to a government publication that found Warwickshire “one of the least accurate local authorities in terms of accurately predicting pupil numbers”. The authority was said to have a “strong tendency towards over-estimation”.  

But the adjudicator upheld the council’s objection, saying the reduction would have made “more likely the possibility that some children will… have to travel out of the area to secure a school place”. 

The adjudicator ordered the trust to revise its admission arrangements by October 13. 

Sam Freedman, a former adviser to the Department for Education, said he expected more rows between trusts and local authorities as birth rates fell over the next decade.

“Messy” situations would be avoided if regional directors were given “overall responsibility for commissioning”.

Latest education roles from

Procurement Officer

Procurement Officer

RNN Group

Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment

Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment

Barnet and Southgate College

Professional Practice (TLA) Lead

Professional Practice (TLA) Lead

RNN Group

Health & Care Coordinator

Health & Care Coordinator

MidKent College

HR Assistant

HR Assistant

MidKent College

Principal, Cedar Mount Academy Bright Futures Educational Trust

Principal, Cedar Mount Academy Bright Futures Educational Trust

Satis Education

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Navigating NPQ Funding Cuts: Discover Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs

Recent cuts to NPQ funding, as reported by Schools Week, mean 14,000 schools previously eligible for scholarships now face...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How do you tackle the MIS dilemma?

With good planning, attention to detail, and clear communication, switching MIS can be a smooth and straightforward process, but...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

Schools

‘Children are our future and it’s for them that Tim dedicated his life’ 

Hundreds gather to remember the late Sir Tim Brighouse

Samantha Booth
Schools

Birmingham withdraws schools from £100m IT system

Heads were unable to make financial plans as glitches left them waiting months to learn the size of their...

Jack Dyson
Schools

Hinds says ‘all schools’ restrict phones, and 5 more key findings

Schools minister also says the 'option' of statutory mobile phone guidance remains

Freddie Whittaker
Schools

CST calls for policy changes over ‘unsustainable’ parent complaints

Academy body says rise in complaints is putting 'significant pressure on school leaders’

Jack Dyson

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *