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Admission to Blackpool secondary schools 2022 – A guide for parents

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Introductions

This brochure is designed to support you through the process of applying for a secondary place. It explains how the process works, what your rights as a parent or carer are and how to appeal if you are not offered a place for your child in one of your preferred schools.Please read this brochure carefully and if you have any queries please contact the School Admissions Team on 01253 476637.

All Blackpool secondary schools are now academies. Some secondary academies (excluding voluntary aided academies) currently delegate responsibilities for admissions and appeals to the local authority. You will need to contact an academy to establish their appeal arrangements.

Note: The information contained in this brochure is accurate at the time of going to press. However, legislation may be reviewed and you are strongly recommended to consult the  ouncil’s and relevant school’s website for updates. Where this booklet refers to “schools” the information and advice applies to all state funded schools and academies.

You must complete and return an application form before the closing date of Sunday 31 October 2021. Do not wait until the final day to submit your application in case of computer failure or a delay in postal services.

You can apply online

Alternatively, you can apply on a paper application form, which is available from any primary school or the School Admissions Team. If you apply online you must not complete the paper application form.

Some voluntary aided academies may also require a supplementary form to be completed in relation to applications based on faith. It must be returned to the school, before the closing date.

The School Admissions Team can be contacted at: Children’s Services Department, PO Box 4, Blackpool FY1 1NA
Telephone 01253 476637. 

How old does your child have to be when you apply for a secondary school place?

Pupils normally transfer from primary school to secondary school at the end of Year 6.

To help you decide which schools to apply for, it’s important to:

Your child may need to stay in education until they are 18 

The age for leaving education has been raised to 18. 

Continuing in learning until 18 does not mean staying on at school. Young people will be able to choose one of the following routes:

  • Full time education, such as school or college
  • Work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship
  • Part-time training, alongside working or volunteering for over 20 hours a week 

If your child has special educational needs

Not all children with special educational needs require an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). If this is the case, you will need to follow the admissions process for mainstream applications and complete an application by Sunday 31 October 2021. This is because your child will have their special educational needs met by their mainstream school through the graduated response as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice 2015. 

If your child is in the process of obtaining an education, health and care plan (ehcp)

Your child will access the admissions process for mainstream applications so you will need to complete an application by Sunday 31 October 2021. Should your child receive an EHCP during Autumn Term 2021, your application will still be processed by the SEND Team who will contact you directly. 

If your child has an education, health and care plan (ehcp) in place

Your child’s primary school will let you know that an Annual Review will be held in the Autumn Term  2021 where a discussion will take place about the secondary school places you wish to consider. They will then consult with those schools and also make any amendments to the EHCP. If you have any questions about this, please contact our SEND team directly at send@blackpool.gov.uk. For children with an EHCP the phase transfer process needs to be completed by 15 February 2022.  

How to apply for a place at a Blackpool Secondary Academy online 

You must apply for a school place online before the closing date of Sunday 31 October 2021. 

Why should you apply online?

Some of the benefits of applying online are

  • It’s quick and easy to use
  • There is no risk that your
  • application will be lost in the post
  • You will receive an email confirming that your application has been received
  • You can change your application up to the closing date 

When can you use the online system?

This system will be available virtually 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There may be periods of time during the early hours of the morning that the system is closed due to technical reasons.

You will be able to apply online from Wednesday 1 September 2021 until midnight on the closing date of Sunday 31 October 2021.

Do not wait until the final day to submit your application in case of computer failure or difficulties in accessing the internet. 

Will your application be secure?

The system has a series of security features that will prevent others from seeing your information. You should not disclose your username and/or password to anyone else. 

Who makes the application?

The person who has parental responsibility should normally submit the application. If you do not have parental responsibility, you will need to explain why you are completing the application. 

If you cannot finish the application, can you go back to it later?

You have until the closing date to complete your application. Every time you make a change to your online application, you should press ‘submit’. You will receive an email confirming the status of your application. 

Once you are happy with your application

Press ‘submit’ before the closing date to ensure your application is received. If you do not receive an email acknowledgement immediately, please contact the School Admissions Team on 01253 476637, as there may be a problem with your application.  

Should you send a paper copy as well?

You do not need to send a paper application providing you receive an email acknowledgement that your online application has been received. 

If you are applying for a voluntary aided secondary school, additional information might be required to assist the governors  of the school in deciding whether your child qualifies for a place. If a supplementary form needs to be completed, it should be returned direct to the school before the closing date. You must still submit your online application. 

You may also need to provide the school with a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate. 

Please read the school’s admission policy carefully – available from the individual schools, or their website. 

How will you receive notification of the allocated school?

You will receive an email on the Tuesday 1 March 2022 confirming your child’s allocated school. You can also access your online account to find out the allocated school. 

What do you need to apply online?

You need access to a computer and an email account. The council offers free computer access at its libraries. Local library staff may be able to help you to set up a free email account. 

How can you get information about schools online?

The School Admissions team web page gives links to related pages such as Blackpool schools and external links to other web pages giving information about schools (such as the OFSTED site). 

You must only use the Blackpool online application if you are resident in Blackpool. Lancashire County Council also has an online system for people who live in the Lancashire area. 

Can I use the online system during the academic year?

The online school admissions system is only for applying for a school place for a child who is due to start secondary (or primary) school the following September – Reception and Year 7 starters. 

There is no online access for In Year Admissions. 

Parents who are new to the area should contact the Blackpool School Admissions team to request an application form and find out which schools have availability. If you are thinking about transferring your child from one Blackpool school to another during the academic year, you should initially speak to your child’s current school to discuss any issues. The school will advise you on the transfer process. 

How to apply for a place at a Blackpool Secondary School on a paper application 

You may apply on a paper application form, which is available on request from all Blackpool primary schools or the School Admissions team. Do not complete a paper application form if you have applied online.

Be sure to return the application before the closing date of Sunday 31 October 2021. If you are posting your application, please allow adequate time for this to be delivered.

Even if you have a child already attending your preferred school you must apply on time, as a late application will reduce your chances of obtaining a place for your younger child at that school.

Where to submit your application

If you are applying for a secondary school, you must apply to the local authority where you live. If you are unsure, for example if you live near council boundaries, it is to whichever local authority you pay your council tax.

You can apply for a secondary school in any area, but you must apply to your home local authority.

Application forms must be returned to: School Admissions Team, Children’s Services, PO Box 4, Blackpool FY1 1NA

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application within 14 days. Please ensure your email address is printed clearly.

If you do not receive this, please contact the School Admissions Team immediately as your application may not have been received.

A letter will be posted to you on Tuesday 1 March 2022, confirming your child’s allocated school. 

If you live outside of the Blackpool area, please contact your home local authority to request an application. 

A Lancashire County Council application can be requested by ringing the Pupil Access Team on 01524 581148 or writing to the Area Education Office, White Cross Centre, Quarry Road, Lancaster LA1 3SE 

Lancashire County Council also operates an online admissions system for residents in the Lancashire areas. 

If you are applying for a voluntary aided secondary school, additional information might be required to assist the governors  of the school in deciding whether your child qualifies for a place. If a supplementary form needs to be completed, it should be returned direct to the school before the closing date. You must still submit your application to the School Admissions Team. You may also need to provide the school with a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate. 

Please read the school’s admissions policy carefully - this is available from the school, or on it’s website.  

Important points to remember when completing your application 

Equal preference scheme 

Blackpool Council operates an Equal Preference Scheme, which is mandatory across the country. This scheme means that each school listed on your application will be considered independently and fairly against the school’s published oversubscription criteria. 

You have the opportunity to express three preferences. It is strongly recommended that you name three different schools to maximise your chances of securing a school that is acceptable to you. 

Do not be tempted to name the same school two or three times on your application as this will be considered as one preference only. Your three preferences should be listed in priority order. All preferences are circulated between admission authorities and are considered equally at the same time. Voluntary aided schools and academies are sent all the details they need in order to apply their own oversubscription criteria. Where parents have requested a school outside of Blackpool, the details of the application, together with any supporting information provided by the parent(s), are forwarded to the relevant admission authority. 

Where a place can be offered at any or all of your preferred schools, a place will be allocated at the one that is highest on your preferred list. 

If a place cannot be offered at any of the preferred schools, the local authority will allocate a school where places are available. 

Please note that the local authority will try to offer a place at one of your preferred schools, but in some cases this will not be possible, and a place will be offered at an alternative school. 

Co-ordinated admissions scheme 

All local authorities are required to co-ordinate admission arrangements for schools within their area. 

You must apply for secondary school places to your home local authority, the local authority where you live and pay Council Tax to. You can include Lancashire secondary schools on your Blackpool application – this information will be exchanged with Lancashire as part of the process to co-ordinate school admissions. 

Your home local authority will issue the offer of one secondary school, on behalf of all admission authorities who operate within the co-ordinated scheme. 

Supplementary forms

Voluntary aided (church) schools and some voluntary aided academies normally require a supplementary form to be completed.  This additional information is used by the governing board to apply their oversubscription criteria. If the school is oversubscribed, a failure to complete the supplementary form may result in the application for a place in the school being considered against a lower priority criteria as the governing board will have no information upon which to assess the worship attendance. You may also need to provide the school with a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate. 

You must still complete the common application in order for your application to be considered. 

Timetable for secondary admissions  

Secondary school admissions timetable
DateAction

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Parents can access the online application or obtain an application pack from Blackpool primary schools or the Schools Admissions Team

By Sunday 31 October 2021

online applications must be submitted before midnight. Paper applications must be returned to the School Admissions Team by this date.

Do not wait until the final day to submit your application in case of computer failure or a delay in postal services.

During this period, all applications are processed and all preferences are considered against the published admissions policy. The local authority will liaise and exchange information with all other admission authorities, including Lancashire County Council

On Tuesday 1 March 2022

If you have applied online, you will receive an email confirming the allocated school. The online system will go live on the Tuesday 1 March 2022. If you have applied on a paper application, you will receive a letter in the post - this will be posted on Tuesday 1st March 2022. The letter may arrive at various times depending on the postal service in your area.

If you are not satisfied with the allocated

school, you may request an appeal form from the School Admissions Team, or from the school direct if you are appealing for a voluntary aided school. You will need to contact an academy to establish their appeal arrangements.

By mid April 2022

Appeal forms should be returned in order to be heard in the first round of appeals. Later appeals can be submitted but will not be heard until later in the year

June 2022

First appeals heard by the Independent Appeal Panels

September 2022

Pupils start secondary school

Secondary school open days/evenings

"It is strongly recommended that you check on each secondary academy's website what their arrangements will be for open days / evening in September and October 2021".

School open days/evenings
 School Date
Unity Academy Blackpool www.unity.blackpool.org.uk
Armfield Academy www.armfieldacademy.co.uk
South Shore Academy www.southshoreacademy.co.uk
St George’s School, A Church of England Academy www.stgeorgesblackpool.com
St Mary’s Catholic Academy www.st-mary.blackpool.sch.uk
Montgomery Academy www.montgomeryschool.co.uk
Blackpool Aspire Academy www.blackpoolaspireacademy.co.uk
Highfield Leadership Academy www.highfieldleadershipacademy.com

Secondary academies in Blackpool arrange annual open events for parents during September and October. They will be considering options for these in 2021, possibly including virtual or guided events.  Parents should consult academy websites to ascertain what arrangements each establishment will offer. 

It is strongly recommended that you participate in these events. 

Applying for a voluntary aided secondary academy and an academy 

Applying for a voluntary aided (faith) academy

Most voluntary aided schools have a faith basis and serve their local community, therefore, anyone can apply for a place. The governing board of a voluntary aided school decides the policy for allocation of places.

Parents who wish their application to a faith school to be considered against the faith criteria should also complete the supplementary form, if this is required. 

If the school is oversubscribed, failure to complete the supplementary form may result in the application for a place in the school being considered against a lower priority criteria. This   is because the governing board will have no information against which to assess the worship attendance or other relevant faith / denominational requirements. 

You may also need to provide the school with a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate. 

Please note that you must still complete the common application form in order for your application to be considered. 

Admission policies for  voluntary aided schools differ from school to school. It is important that you check the admission policy of the school carefully even if you have an older child already attending that school. 

Applying for an academy

Academies are publicly funded independent schools, free from local authority control. Other freedoms include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, freedoms concerning the delivery of the curriculum, and the ability to change the length of their terms and school days. 

Academies have the opportunity to manage their own admissions and appeals. However, some Blackpool academies have delegated the responsibilities in relation to allocations for admission in 2022, to the local authority. 

You will need to contact an academy to establish their appeal arrangements. 

Independent schools 

Independent schools set their own curriculum and admissions policies. They are funded through fees paid by parents. The School Admissions and Appeals Codes do not apply to them. If you are considering applying for an independent school and do not wish your child to be allocated an academy, please advise in writing which independent school you are applying for. 

Please be aware that if you do not apply for a secondary school before the closing date, and your child is not offered a place at an independent school, you reduce your chances of obtaining a place at a preferred secondary school. 

If you apply for an academy and an independent school, and are fortunate to be offered a place at both, please confirm in writing, which school place you are accepting. 

How places are allocated for Blackpool academies 

Academies

The governing board is the admission authority; however, some Blackpool academies have delegated the responsibilities in relation to allocations for admission in September 2022, to the local authority. 

If you are applying for a place at a Blackpool academy you should check the academy website for the admission policy and arrangements. 

Children with an education, health and care plan 

The vast majority of all secondary school children, including those with special educational needs, enjoy a successful education in a mainstream school. 

Where a particular school is additionally resourced or has the required expertise, then priority for a place at the school is given to children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan that names the school. 

Oversubscription criteria 

The ‘Published Admission Number’ is the number of pupils that the school can admit. 

Priority is given to parental preference, however, when there are more preferences than there are places available, the admission authority applies its oversubscription criteria to determine which children should be allocated a place at that school.

Please note, the oversubscription criteria is different for voluntary aided academies and academies, so it is a good idea to check the criteria for every school that you are interested in. You will need to contact individual schools to get a copy of their admissions policy. 

Some academies have policies that mirror the following oversubscription criteria that is applied to Blackpool community schools. 

Looked after children

Blackpool Council gives the highest priority to Looked After Children (LAC), as required by the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and the Education (Admission of LAC) (England) Regulations 2006.

A looked after child is a child who is in the care of a local authority or provided with accommodation by that Authority, as defined in Section 22 of the Children Act 1989, at the time of application and allocation.

Under legislation, children who leave public care through adoption, a residence order or special guardianship order, will continue to be given the same priority although they are no longer looked after by the state.

Also children who were previously in state care outside of England and have ceased to be in state care as they have been adopted. These are children who were looked after outside of England by a public authority, a religious group or another provider of care whose sole purpose is to benefit society. Parents and carers will be expected to provide evidence of previous looked after status. 

Medical/Social/Welfare reasons

Children for whom the council accepts that there are exceptional medical, social or welfare reasons associated with the child and/or family which are directly relevant to the school concerned.

Only exceptional reasons which are directly relevant to a particular school will be considered. If you feel that there are exceptional medical,  social or welfare reasons associated with your child and/or family which support admission to a particular school you must indicate that this is the case on your application.

All applications will be considered  but supporting professional evidence will be required to demonstrate exceptional or compelling reasons why only a specific school can cater for a particular child’s needs. This must set out the reasons and the level of risk to the child or family and why the school in question is the only suitable school; plus any difficulties which would arise  if the child had to attend an alternative school.

It should be noted that all schools can make provision for special educational needs, and can also manage common conditions e.g. asthma, epilepsy, diabetes.

Only exceptional reasons directly relevant to a particular school will be considered. Priority will be given to the child for the preferred school only if  the submitted evidence unequivocally proves the circumstances and demonstrates why any alternative schools would be unsuitable. 

Medical evidence must be provided from a consultant/specialist. A GP’s letter is not sufficient. Evidence of social reasons must be provided by a social worker, police officer or educational psychologist. It is parental responsibility to provide the necessary supporting evidence. Priority will not be given if supporting evidence is not produced with the application.

Siblings

Priority will be given to brothers and sisters of children already attending the school at the time of application and allocation (the national statutory offer date).

This includes full brothers and sisters, half brothers and sisters, step brothers and sisters and adopted and foster brothers and sisters who are living within the same family at the same address.

Full brothers and sisters who do not live at the same address will still be given priority as siblings. Half, step, adopted and foster brothers and sisters who do not live at the same address will not be classed as siblings. 

Distance

Blackpool Council determines the distance from the applicant’s home address to the school with the nearest to a preferred school having priority for a place.

The distance between the applicant’s home and school is taken as a straight line between the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) address point of the applicant’s home address and of the school. The LLPG is a point within the boundary of the property and is usually located at its centre. Distances are measured using the council’s geographic information system.

If the local authority is unable to determine eligibility on distance, i.e. two or more addresses are equal distance from the school; a random allocation will be carried out. In the event of a random allocation, someone independent of the children’s services department and of the school would supervise the process, and parents/ carers would be invited to attend.

The address you must apply from is the one at which the child resides and will travel to/from school. Addresses of relatives or friends must NOT be used and neither should any other properties owned by the applicant.

You may be asked for proof of address. Such proof may include a tenancy agreement, council tax or utility bills. 

Its is important to note, the local authority will investigate any apparent or alleged inaccuracies which come to light at any time during the allocation process. 

School places will be withdrawn where they have been offered due to misleading or false information. 

Joint residency and transport 

A child’s residency may on occasion be 50/50 between two addresses over a school year. Parents may be required to provide evidence to support this information. However, it remains that only one address can be used for admission purposes. Parents will be given a short time to agree which is the child’s main address and to confirm preferences (this must be done quickly to allow the admissions process for all schools to proceed). If agreement is not possible the admission authority and / or the Council will decide which address will be used. This will consider information from third parties. For example -  child minders, nurseries, primary schools electoral and council tax records as well as child benefit arrangements (historic and current).Some children live with one parent part of the week and another for the rest. Only one address can be used for school admission purposes. This should be where the child lives for most of the school week. If advice is needed, please contact the Admissions Team (01253 476474). Parents should be aware that entitlement to assistance with transport is assessed separately after the admissions process. You cannot use one address to apply for and access a preferred school place and then flip to another for transport assessment. This will not be accepted, even if the child’s pattern of residence changes. There must be very exceptional reasons for the other address to be accepted; e.g. bereavement, house fire at one address, evidenced sale of one address. 

Feeder schools

Blackpool Council does not operate a ‘feeder’ school system – a child’s primary school is not taken into consideration when allocating a secondary school place. 

There are certain primary schools that are located near a particular  secondary school and may have close links with the school, but pupils who attend these primary schools do not automatically move into that secondary school. 

Unity Academy and Armfield Academy are ‘all through schools’.  Children in year 6 at the academy will automatically move into year 7.  

Additional information 

Late applications 

Applications received after the closing date will be treated as late applications. Only in exceptional circumstances, and where appropriate evidence is provided, will those applications received after the closing date (but before offers of places have been made) be considered alongside those received on time. 

If you move into the area after the closing date, it is possible that your preferred schools will be fully  allocated. A place will be allocated at the closest school with availability. 

Even if you have a child attending your preferred school, submitting a late application will reduce your chances of gaining a place for your younger child at that school. 

Change of preference 

You can only request a change of preference up until the closing date.  The request must be put in writing by letter or email to the Blackpool school admissions team. Once an application has been submitted, and the closing date has passed, a change of preference can only be actioned if there is a significant change of circumstances, for instance a house move. 

You will be unable to access the online system after the closing date. Any requests for a change of preference should be made in writing, but evidence must be provided to demonstrate the reasons for your change. It may not be possible to action any changes after 31st January 2022. 

Moving house 

If you are planning to move house, you will need to notify the School Admissions Team as soon as you have details of your new address. If you have exchanged contracts or have evidence of a confirmed offer of a tenancy, you can ask for your child’s application to be considered from the new address. If you move after you have applied but before places are allocated, you will need to contact the School Admissions Team to discuss the situation. If you move temporarily during the admissions process you must also contact the School Admissions Team, as temporary addresses may not always be accepted for admission purposes. 

Fraudulent applications 

The local authority will investigate any apparent or alleged inaccuracies which come to light at any time during the allocation process. 

If it is found that a child has been allocated a school place due to misleading information having been provided, for example an incorrect address, then the local authority will withdraw the offer of the place and an alternative school will be allocated. 

Blackpool Council has a  statutory duty to co-ordinate annual admission intakes and must ensure a school or academy offer for every child.  We will share your information with and request information from other admission authorities in order to complete this statutory process including, where required, those in neighbouring local authority areas and the relevant support agencies for your child. For further information about how Blackpool Council uses your personal information, including your rights as a Data Subject.

The local authority will investigate each application individually by means which are most appropriate in the particular circumstances. The local authority reserves the right to seek information from any relevant third party when investigating disputed information. 

The relevant address is where the child lives and will travel to and from school. Addresses of relatives, friends or childminders must not be used and neither should addresses of any other properties owned by applicants. 

Waiting lists 

Waiting lists for all secondary schools will be set up in the week following the letters being sent to parents. If you would like your child to be placed on a waiting list for an alternative school you will need to contact the School Admissions Team. 

If a place becomes available, the child highest on the waiting list will be offered the place. This is not dependent on whether an appeal has been submitted. 

The School  Admissions  Team will maintain the waiting lists for academies, until the end of the autumn term, when schools finish for the Christmas break. 

Voluntary aided secondary academies will maintain their own waiting lists in accordance with the school’s admissions policy, so you should contact the school direct regarding the waiting list. 

Children will be placed on the waiting lists using the oversubscription criteria. Late applicants will be slotted into the list according to where they meet the oversubscription criteria. 

Therefore, a child who moves into the area later can have a higher priority than one who has been on the waiting list for some time. This is a statutory requirement, stipulated in the School Admissions Code, that all admission authorities have to follow. 

UK service personnel 

Families of UK service personnel, other crown servants and British Council employees are subject to frequent movement within the UK and from abroad, often at relatively short notice. 

The local authority will allocate a school place in advance, subject to an official government letter (e.g. MOD, FCO or GCHQ) declaring a relocation date and intended address. A Unit postal address, or, if appropriate, a ‘quartering area’ address (the address of the closest house in the nearest ‘quartering area’), will be accepted on applications in the absence of a new home postal address. 

Applications from abroad and other areas of the UK 

It is required that families must be resident in Blackpool (or nearby) in order to apply within the annual intake process. 

Exceptions will include UK service and crown servants and British Council employees (as above).  

Families returning to an address in Blackpool (or nearby) will need to provide evidence of ownership - whether the address is pre-owned or not. In addition they must be physically resident during the application period for an application to be accepted. This means that the child must be resident with the parents or carers (or a parent or a carer). This applies to new to country applicants and to those returning from work placements or secondment abroad. 

The local authority will decide whether or not applications can be accepted within the process to coordinate admissions. Where required individual admission authorities will be consulted. 

Admission to blackpool secondary schools after 1st September 2022 

All parents requesting a secondary school place, because they are new to Blackpool, will be required to complete an in-year school admissions application form, allowing them to express up to three preferences. The admission of all students to Blackpool schools will be co-ordinated by the School Admissions Team. 

Blackpool secondary schools operate a separate application process for transfers between Blackpool schools. Contact your child’s current school for more information. 

In-year fair access protocol 

Blackpool Council has an In Year Fair Access Protocol that operates for in-year admission requests (outside of the annual intake process). This aims to ensure that unplaced and vulnerable children receive an offer of a school place or alternative provision as quickly as possible. Details of the fair access protocol are on the council’s website. 

Appeal arrangements

If you are unhappy that you have not been offered a place at one of your preferred schools, you have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel. 

Before deciding whether to appeal, you may find it helpful to visit the school that you have been offered. You may find that this school is an acceptable alternative option. 

Blackpool academies

If you wish to appeal for a Blackpool academy, you should contact the School Admissions Team for advice. Telephone: 01253 476474 or 01253 476637. 

Voluntary aided academies

If you wish to appeal for a place in a voluntary aided academy, you should contact the school direct to request an appeal pack, as a different appeal form is used. 

Schools within the Lancashire County Council area

To request an appeal form, please contact: Pupil Access Team, Area Education Office, White Cross Centre, Quarry Road, Lancaster LA1 3SE. Telephone: (01524) 581148, Web: www.lancashire.gov.uk 

Can you submit more than one appeal?

There is no restriction on how many appeals you can lodge at any one time. You do not have to wait for the decision from one before you initiate an appeal for another school. This applies if you wish to appeal for a Lancashire community school, an academy, or a voluntary aided school/academy. 

If you are moving house

If you are moving house, firm written evidence will be required with the appeal form. The minimum which is normally accepted is a solicitor’s letter confirming an exchange of contracts. 

How is the appeal arranged?

The Independent School Appeals Team arranges all appeal hearings for schools in Blackpool. You will receive an acknowledgement of your appeal form. A letter will then follow which gives the date, time and place of your hearing, together with information on how the appeal is organised. You will receive at least two weeks notice of the hearing. A copy of the admission authority’s case will be sent to you at least one week before the hearing. 

Where will the appeal be heard?

Appeals for schools within Blackpool are normally held in Blackpool Town Hall. 

When will the appeal be heard?

Appeal hearings take place during the summer term during office hours. 

What happens at the hearing?

You are advised to attend the hearing if possible. This gives you the opportunity to state your case, and it also helps the appeal panel should they have any questions for you. If you cannot make the date of the appeal hearing, the appeal may go ahead in your absence. If you are ill on the day of the hearing, or are unable to attend for any other reason, please contact the Independent

School Appeals Team at the Town Hall on 01253 477157, who will try to arrange a suitable alternative date. Due to statutory timescales, this may result in a delay in hearing your case. 

How are you notified of the decision?

The appeal panel will come to a decision after considering all aspects of your circumstances as well as the difficulties the school would experience through the admission of another pupil. 

A letter notifying you of the panel’s decision will be sent to you as soon as possible. The clerk to the panel will advise when you should expect your letter. 

What happens if your appeal is not successful?

The appeal panel’s decision is final and binding on all parties. You cannot appeal twice for a place at the same school in the same school year unless the admission authority agrees that your first appeal was not conducted properly or accepts a significant change in your circumstances This must be a change since the original hearing or information which was not known at that time.

If you feel that the procedures have not been followed correctly or that there have been irregularities in the way your appeal has been handled, you can write to:

Local Government Ombudsman PO Box 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH Telephone: 0300 0610614

www.lgo.org.uk email: advice@lgo.org.uk 

The Local Government Ombudsman cannot look at complaints about academies. You should speak to the academy initially about how to complain to them. They will provide you with a copy of their complaints procedure. 

The secretary of state has no power to review the decisions of individual appeal panels. You can contact the Education Funding Agency if you feel that the admissions authority has acted unreasonably with regard to the appeals process. 

Complaints about academies should be made by completing the Department for Education’s schools complaints form, which can be accessed via www.gov.uk/government/publications/complain-about-an-academy. Or, by post to Ministerial and Public Communications Division, Department for Education, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD. 

In-year appeals

In relation to new to area applications and transfer requests the amended School Admission Code (May 2021) requires some changes from November 2021. Details will be available on the Council’s website. Please note that Blackpool schools and academies operate a locally agreed first day of the next school term protocol for the majority of transfer requests.

Where any admission authority refuse a request for a school place, you are entitled to know the reason for their decision and to have a right of appeal. These are statutory requirements.

We schedule appeals every 4-6 weeks during the school year and once you have submitted an appeal form we will arrange a hearing as soon as possible in accordance within the set deadlines. 

School transport

When choosing a preferred school for your child you should carefully consider how your child will travel to school. Where possible you should encourage your child to travel independently; on foot; by bicycle or by bus. Information on local bus routes can be obtained from Blackpool Transport on 01253 473001, at www.blackpooltransport.com or by downloading the mobile app. 

It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children get to and from school at the appropriate time each day. 

What is the criteria?

There are certain circumstances when Blackpool Council will provide support or pay for your child to receive school transport. Full details of the eligibility and decision criteria is outlined in the Home to School and College Transport policy which can be downloaded from www.blackpool.gov.uk 

The policy also explains about what action you can take if you feel your application has not been fairly considered and wish to make an appeal. 

Blackpool Council may provide transport assistance where a child lives further away from the nearest suitable school than the specified walking distance. The specified walking distance is 

  • For a child under the age of eight years: 2 miles
  • For a child aged between eight and sixteen: 3 miles 

Blackpool Council may also provide transport assistance where pupils are entitled to free school meals or their parents are in receipt of maximum working tax credit if 

  • The nearest suitable school is beyond 2 miles (for children over the age of 8 and under 11)
  • The school is between 2 and 6 miles (if aged 11-16 years and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools)
  • The school is between 2 and 15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (aged 11-16 years) 

Further information about how the nearest suitable school is defined for transport purposes is contained in the Home to School and Transport Policy

What support is available? Where transport is necessary Blackpool Council will  arrange  this in the most cost effective way that is consistent with what is reasonable for the child’s individual needs. 

At the discretion of Blackpool Council support may be provided in the following ways:

  • Bus passes for journeys to and from school on Blackpool Transport services
  • Transport on Blackpool Council vehicles or contractors vehicles
  • Cycle maintenance grants
  • Mileage allowances
  • Support with independent travel training

Children unable to walk to school (accompanied if necessary) by reason of their special educational need, disability or mobility. 

Blackpool Council may provide transport assistance for pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans in accordance with the criteria outlined in the Home to School and College Transport policy. 

Each child will be assessed individually and a formal application and assessment will be based on individual needs. For any application there must be substantive medical evidence in support. All applications are considered by a panel of council officers and you will normally be notified of the outcome of your application within 28 days. 

When and how to apply

If your child is starting primary or secondary school for the first time in September and you think you may be entitled to support you should apply once your child has been offered a school place. 

If you child is transferring schools at any other time you can apply at the appropriate time. 

Application forms for mainstream and Special Educational transport support 

Applications can also be made online or telephone 01253 476795 or 01253 476174

Email: transportdirect@blackpool.gov.uk 

Where to get further information 

Blackpool Family Information Service

This is a free, impartial, service offering information on a wide range of services for children, young people and their families and professionals working with families. Blackpool Family Information Service  also offers impartial and free advice on the admissions process and can be contacted on 0800 092 2332. 

OFSTED Reports

OFSTED Reports are produced by the Government’s school inspectors. For the most recent reports you may contact the school or they are available at: http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/ 

School Performance Data

Performance data is available by contacting the school or on www.compare-school-performance. service.gov.uk 

DfE Parents’ Centre

The Department for Education has a website which can support and advise parents on a wide range of issues www.education.gov.uk 

There are a number of links to other parents’ organisations and support groups on this website. 

The DfE has also produced a booklet ‘Primary and Secondary School Admissions and Appeals: A Guide for Parents’. This can be accessed at http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/8152/ 

Advisory Centre for Education

The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) is an organisation that advises parents on state education. The website is www.ace-ed.org.uk. You can also contact them on 0300 0115 142. 

Schools Adjudicator

To object to an admission authority’s admissions processes or oversubscription criteria, you may contact: The Secretary, Office of the Schools Adjudicator, Mowden Hall,

Staindrop Road, Darlington, DL3 9BG. Telephone: 01325 735303,

email: osa.team@osa.gsi.gov.uk 

Website: www.education.gov.uk/schoolsadjudicator/ 

Legislation

School Admissions is based on the Education Act 1996, the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, the Education Act 2002, and the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (www.legislation.gov.uk).

The School Admissions Code 2014 and School Admissions Appeals Code can be found on www.gov.uk  

Secondary school information 

Blackpool Aspire Academy 

Blackpool Old Road, Blackpool FY3 7LS

Telephone: 01253 353155 
Email: admin@aspire.fcat.org.uk
Website: www.blackpoolaspireacademy.co.uk 

Executive Principal: Mr C Lickiss 

Principal: Mr J Woods 

Blackpool Aspire Academy is a mixed secondary academy catering for pupils between the ages of 11 and 16 years, and is located in the Layton area, in the east of Blackpool. 

Blackpool Aspire Academy is supported through sponsorship by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust. 

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 180 

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

Highfield Leadership Academy 

Highfield Road, Blackpool FY4 3JZ

Telephone: 01253 965750
Email: info@highfield.staracademies.org
Website: www.highfieldleadershipacademy.com 

Principal: Mr A Galbraith 

Highfield Leadership Academy is a mixed secondary school catering for pupils between the ages of 11 and 16 years, and is located in the South Shore area of Blackpool. 

Highfield Leadership Academy is supported through sponsorship by the Star Education Trust.

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 150 (this may vary subject to local agreement).

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

Montgomery Academy 

All Hallows Road, Blackpool FY2 0AZ

Telephone: 01253 356271
Email: admin@montgomery.fcat.org
Website: www.montgomeryschool.co.uk 

Executive Principal: Mr S Bullen 

Principal: Mr S Careless 

Montgomery Academy, is located to the north of Blackpool and caters for students between the ages of 11 and 16 years. 

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 250. 

Montgomery Academy became a member of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) in October 2014. 

The Academy Council is the school’s Admission Authority and is the employer of teaching and associate staff. 

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

South Shore Academy 

St Anne’s Road, Blackpool FY4 2AR

Telephone: 01253 336500
Email: admin@ssa.bfet.uk
Website: www.southshoreacademy.co.uk 

Principal: Mrs R Warhurst 

South Shore Academy is a mixed secondary school catering for students between the ages of 11 and 16, and is located in the South Shore area of Blackpool. 

The new three storey building and sports hall opened in September 2017. 

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 175. 

South Shore Academy became part of the Bright Futures Educational Trust in December 2013. 

As an academy, the governing board is the employer, with direct responsibility for all teaching and support staff in the academy. 

The Governors of the Academy Trust have delegated the responsibilities in relation to allocations and appeals to the local authority. 

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

St Mary’s Catholic Academy 

St Walburga’s Road, Blackpool FY3 7EQ

Telephone: 01253 396286
Email: admin@st-mary.blackpool.sch.uk
Website: www.st-mary.blackpool.sch.uk 

Executive Director: Mrs H O’Neill

Headteacher: Mr S Eccles

St Mary’s Catholic Academy is a catholic academy catering for pupils between the ages of 11 and 18, and is located in the Layton area. It is part of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust 

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 210.

The school has a sixth form facility providing advanced level education

Voluntary aided academies are mainly religious or ‘faith’ schools, although anyone can apply for a place. The process for applying for a place at a voluntary aided academy is similar to applying

for a place at a community secondary school, except that the academy board is the admissions authority, having responsibility for determining the arrangements for admitting pupils. 

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

St Mary’s Catholic Sixth Form 

St Walburga’s Road, Blackpool FY3 7EQ

Telephone: 01253 396286
Email: admin@st-mary.blackpool.sch.uk or info@6thform.co.uk
Website: www.st-mary.blackpool.sch.uk 

Executive Director: Mrs H O’Neill

Headteacher: Mr S Eccles

St Mary’s Sixth Form is part of St. Mary’s Catholic Academy, catering for pupils between the ages of 16 and 19, located in the Layton area. 

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 115. 

Application forms and the Sixth form prospectus are available on the academy’s website or from Mrs E Murray, Senior Head of Sixth Form. The closing date for applications is 31st March 2022. Students attaining a minimum of 5 A* - C (including English and Maths) at GCSE are offered a place to study A levels. 

Details of the sixth form open evening will be posted on the Academy’s website. 

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

Unity Academy Blackpool 

Warbreck Hill Road, Blackpool, FY2 0TS

Telephone: 01253 355493
Email: admin@unity.fcat.org.uk
Web Site: www.unity.blackpool.org.uk

Executive Principal: Mr C Lickiss

Principal: Mr S Cooke

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 120.

Unity Academy is an all-through academy. Located in the North Shore area of Blackpool and it is Blackpool’s first all through school, providing education for children and young people from 4 -16 years. It also offers nursery provision for 2 and 3 year olds.

Unity Academy is supported through sponsorship by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

Pupils already in Year 6 at Unity Academy at the time of secondary applications are already on roll at the academy and are guaranteed a place in Year 7, should they wish to take up the place there.

The academy also provides primary provision for children 4-11 years old.

The Admission Number for Reception in September 2022 is 60.

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

St George’s School, a Church of England Academy 

Cherry Tree Road, Marton, Blackpool FY4 4PH

Telephone: 01253 316725
Email: enquiries@stgeorgesblackpool.co.uk
Website: www.stgeorgesblackpool.com 

Headteacher: Mr G Warnock 

St George’s School is a mixed voluntary aided academy located in the Marton area, to the south east of Blackpool town centre, catering for pupils between the ages of 11 and 16. It is part of the Cidari Blackburn Diocese multi academy trust.

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 210.

Voluntary aided academies are mainly religious or ‘faith’ schools, however,  St George’s does not make faith commitment a first priority as in some faith schools - please see the school’s admissions criteria. The process for applying for a place at a voluntary aided academy is similar to applying for a place at a community secondary school, except that the governing board of the school is the admissions authority, having responsibility for determining the arrangements for admitting pupils.

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information. 

Armfield Academy 

Lytham Road, Blackpool, FY4 1JG

Telephone: 01253 207702
Email: admin@armfield.fcat.org.uk
Website: www.armfieldacademy.co.uk 

Executive Principal: Mr C Lickiss 

Head of School: Mr M Kilmurray 

The Admission Number for September 2022 is 160. 

Armfield Academy is an All-Through Academy with a Nursery and provides continuous education for children age 2-16 years old. 

The Fylde Coast Academy Trust is the admissions authority. 

The academy is in South Shore, Blackpool and in line with other FCAT academies, operates within an equal preference scheme which welcomes all children. 

The academy provides primary provision for children 4-11 years old. 

The Admission Number for Reception in September 2022 is 60. 

The academy’s website and prospectus provides further information.

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