This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SecEd The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Inside this issue

Dyslexia and dyspraxia

Appeals warning over new Admissions Codes

by Dorothy Lepkowska

SEN expert Sal McKeown looks at how you can better support students with dyslexia and dyspraxia, especially when it comes to revision and preparing them for exams Pages 8 and 9

Popular and oversubscribed schools could find themselves inundated with appeals from families who have failed to get a place for their children, following the publication of the new Admissions Codes, it has been claimed. The codes, which came into

effect last week and will affect admissions in 2013/14, were intend- ed to be simpler and more straight- forward and to remove some of the complexities of the existing system. They were designed to give

Flipping the class

What is more important? Teaching? Or student learning? Teacher Ben Solly on the success he has found by flipping his classroom Page 13


One headteachers outlines the dos and don'ts when it comes to carrying out successful community consultations Page 14


For regular news updates and our full editorial archive, visit You can also sign up to receive SecEddigital, a virtual edition of SecEd, by emailing editor@ and we can be found on Twitter at www.

greater freedoms to successful schools, including enabling them to increase the number of places they offer to children in their area. Academies and free schools

will be able to prioritise places for pupils who come from the poor- est backgrounds, according to the codes, and parents will be able to apply for places directly to schools, rather than going through the local authority. The codes also ban local author-

ities from using controversial lot- teries as the principal method of allocating places, and the consulta- tion stated that parents would have greater rights to complain to the Adjudicator – a clause that has now apparently been modified. Legal experts and campaigners

claim the changes to the codes are a “missed opportunity” because they risk causing major bureaucratic problems for schools themselves. Hayley Roberts, an education

law expert at Browne Jacobson, said: “The code is certainly a little shorter, but ambiguity and com- plexity remain. “What it won’t do is reduce

the number of appeals faced by schools and academies. Many oversubscribed academies will find themselves facing a signifi- cant number of appeals and could

Paralympic Post: The chance to report on this year’s Paralympic Games alongside professional journalists from across the globe is up for grabs for 10 UK students. The budding reporters will work alongside students from Germany as part of The Paralympic Post project. Pictured here are students taking part in the project in Beijing 2008. See page 2.

well be crippled with numerous and time-consuming questions from parents exercising their rights under the code. “This was the opportunity for

the government to reconsider the point and amend the codes accord- ingly, an opportunity they have missed.” Under the proposals, which were

drawn up following a 12-week con- sultation which attracted more than 1,300 responses, the children of staff who have worked in a school for at least two years, or who have been recruited to meet a school’s particular skills shortage, may be given priority for places to help headteachers retain good staff. Adopted children who were pre-

viously looked-after and youngsters who leave care under a special guardianship or residence order will

be given the same priority at looked- after children. This is expected to benefit about 5,000 pupils a year. Nick Gibb, the schools minis-

ter, said in December, at the time the codes were published, that the previous guidance was “too com- plex, confusing and unfair for par- ents. They undermined parental choice and rationed places at good schools”. He added: “The new Admissions

Codes are slimmer, less repetitive and easier to read and use. For these reasons alone they should help to reduce the stress confronting parents as they navigate the schools admissions system and find a place for their child.” The revised codes contain half as

many of the 650 existing mandatory requirements placed on admissions authorities and are significantly

slimmer – 61 pages long compared with the previous 138 pages. Among the clauses was one

aimed at cutting bureaucracy by requiring admission authorities to consult on arrangements only every seven years, rather than every three years. Also, anyone can now object to admissions arrangements where- as previously only a very restricted list of people could do so. The Local Schools Network

(LSN) has also raised objections to the new codes, pointing out that free schools can opt out of the codes because of a clause in their special “model” funding agreement. LSN chief Fiona Millar also said

that a new clause bans objections when governing bodies have decid- ed to increase their planned admis- sions number. Also objections are not allowed in respect of “an agreed

Issue 308 • February 9 2012 Price £1.00

variation from the code in relation to admission arrangements for an academy”, according to the code. Ms Millar said this allowed

schools potentially to implement “dodgy admissions practices if the secretary of state will permit it”. She added: “How long before interviews, lengthy supplementary forms, primary school records, priority places for certain groups, and even feeder schools in the private sector start to resurface in some schools’ entry criteria?” Meanwhile, Comprehensive

Future, which campaigns for equitable state schooling, said the government had moved the goalposts since the original consultation by making applications to academies exempt from complaint to the Adjudicator in certain circumstances.

Join today to ensure high quality trade union and professional support


3,000 senior school and college leaders joined NAHT last year

Make becoming a member one of your priorities during half term

JOIN US Online:

Phone: 01444 472414 to speak to the Membership Recruitment Team

Email: UK news n SecEd: On Your Side n Independent thinking n NQT diary n Once a Teacher... n Managing ICT n At the chalkface

Photo: Thilo Rueckeis

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16