School admissions ‘discriminate against looked-after children’

Campaigners have claimed that looked-after children’s right to education is being breached after a survey found many schools may not be honouring the admissions code. The Independent Children’s Home Association (ICHA) has called for the Department for Education to intervene and do more to support admissions after 58 per cent of children’s home providers who responded to a survey said they do not think the Schools Admissions Code for Looked-After Children is being honoured by mainstream schools. The code specifies that looked-after children should be given the highest priority in school admissions, even where there is oversubscription for places, according to the ICHA, which commissioned the poll of 53 members. The average period before a mainstream place is secured is 3.1 months, with 54 per cent of providers reporting one or more instances where children have waited for up to three months – around a term and a half – for a mainstream school placement. Some 43 per cent reported waiting more than three months and 24 per cent of respondents report they have lost a lot of referrals due to the inability to source a mainstream education place for the referred child. A similar level reported local authorities moving children on after the child had already been placed in the home, because of the lack of a school place. Read more.