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Fair Access Protocol


All applications outside the normal admissions round must be considered as a matter of urgency. We have a policy called Fair Access Protocol to ensure that children without a school place, particularly those deemed vulnerable, are found a place as soon as possible.

The protocol exists for those who cannot obtain a place through normal admissions procedures.

Key information

In most cases a formal decision to offer or refuse a place must be made and notified within 10 working days. 

Fair Access Protocols exist for those children who cannot obtain a place through normal admissions procedures, as outlined within the In-Year co-ordination arrangements, to ensure that:

  • access to education is secured quickly for children who have no school place but for whom a place at a mainstream school or alternative provision is appropriate
  • all schools in an area admit their fair share of children with challenging behaviour, including children excluded from other schools
  • local authorities and schools work together in partnership to improve behaviour, tackle persistent absence and help support improving behaviour partnerships
  • balance is struck between finding a place quickly, when the place might be in an undersubscribed school or one facing challenging circumstances, and finding a school place that is appropriate for the child
  • no school, including those with places available, is asked to take a disproportionate number of children who have been excluded from other schools or who have challenging behaviour or who are known to have a history of behavioural problems.

Definition of challenging behaviour

In consultation with the Peterborough Secondary and Primary Heads a Peterborough definition of challenging behaviour has been agreed as follows:

A child with challenging behaviour in Peterborough will be identified as such in the following circumstances:

  • A child subject to a managed move;
  • A child previously permanently excluded from school;
  • A child currently attending a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Peterborough or another local authority area;
  • Children from the Criminal Justice System or attending a PRU who need to be reintegrated back into mainstream education;
  • A child identified as being at significant risk of permanent exclusion; or
  • A child who is Elective Home Educated (EHE); this is only appropriate where there is evidence that the child meets any of the criteria above.

Vulnerable children

The School Admissions Code (2014) has identified as vulnerable the following categories as a minimum:

  • children from the criminal justice system or Pupil Referral Units who need to be reintegrated into mainstream education;
  • children who have been out of education for two months or more;
  • children of Gypsies, Roma, Travellers, refugees and asylum seekers;
  • children who are homeless;
  • children with unsupportive family backgrounds for whom a place has not been sought;
  • children who are carers; and
  • children with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions (but without a statement or Education, Health and Care Plan

For any further questions Contact

School Admissions Team
Sandmartin House
Bittern Way

Telephone: 01733 864417