I thought that it should be the case as well, but I have now assumed that the rules didn't apply inside a consortium. I wouldn't mind some clarification about this issue though.
I don't see how section 2.13(b) of the code could be interpreted to allow this:
2.13 In setting oversubscription criteria the admission authorities for all maintained schools must not:
b) give priority to children according to the order of other schools named as preferences by their parents, including `first preference first' arrangements;
In this case each of the schools is its own admissions authority. The governing body can delegate the work to the consortium, but they remain responsible.
There are two issues here, I think:
- The use of preferences described by the arrangements of Herschel and (it seems) the consortium contravenes the code. The LEA have not fulfilled their statutory duty to refer Herschel's non-compliance to the adjudicator, but it may be too late now.
- The arrangements published by Langley and St. Bernard's (with no mention of preferences) appear to contradict the consortium arrangements. If those schools don't follow their own arrangements they will have trouble with appeals. The consortium arrangements have no official status.