If a school has 120 places, and 115places are initially accepted, how do they decide on who gets the remaining 5 places?
[Assuming that there are no complicating factors such as 'non-qualification'] - if there are 5 vacancies, then the waiting list is likely to come first.
Remember that oversubscription appeals are by definition additional
to the PAN.
Do waiting list people get priority over appeal pupils, or vice versa? Sometimes, appeals are not decided until quite late on.
It's a matter of what happens first. I sometimes used to be in the middle of a batch of appeals when an appellant withdrew because they'd suddenly got a place from the waiting list! Someone had declined their place and, because we hadn't yet taken any decisions on the appeals, there was a vacancy to be filled. The appellant must have been top of the waiting list at that point in time. (In theory the waiting list could change from day to day.)
The more successful appeals there are, the harder it becomes subsequently to get a place from the waiting list because the numbers have to fall back to below PAN before another place becomes available.
Do schools keep a few places available for these children?
It would be unlawful to reserve places.
If they can find room for a few extra places in September, why can't they have these places available on M arch 1st?
I would hope they're acting strictly in accordance with the Admissions Code!
1.18 Once an admission number has been set by the admission authority, schools should not admit children above the published number unless the school and the local authority agree that admitting above that number will not adversely affect the school in the longer term and will not have a detrimental effect on neighbouring schools. A school can make representations to the local authority (or the Secretary of State in the case of an Academy) to admit above their published admission number. They should submit their request before 31 January in the offer year, at which time the local authority needs to know where places will be allocated as part of their co-ordinated scheme. Additionally, requests can be made after national offer day. Children can also be admitted above the published admission number as part of fair access protocols (see Chapter 3) or as a transitional measure in the case of a closing school (see paragraph 1.47).
1.19 In the case of maintained schools, the local authority, as the strategic commissioner of school places, has the final decision over whether a school can admit above its published admission number. For Academies the final decision rests with the Secretary of State. Admission authorities must consider the overall effect on the school in continually admitting over the admission number and where they admit more than a total of 26 children above their admission number in any three year period, they must determine a higher admission number at the next opportunity. Admitting above the admission number does not amount to an increase in the school’s admission number which can only be changed via the determination of admission arrangements or once determined, for a maintained school, via a referral to the Schools Adjudicator.
1.20 It is proposed that statutory proposals will no longer be required for schools that wish to increase their published admission number by 27 or more pupils . However, statutory proposals are still required for schools proposing an enlargement to their premises which would increase the physical capacity of the school by more than 30 pupils and either by 25 per cent or by 200 pupils (whichever is the lesser). Any admission authority wishing to increase a school’s published admission number can propose to do so during the consultation and determination of admission arrangements for all schools in the area. Consultation requirements are set out in paragraphs 1.25 to 1.30. The governing bodies of community and voluntary controlled schools for whom the local authority is the admissions authority can make representations to the local authority to increase their published admission number by writing to them with their proposal. Although the local authority, as the admissions authority, will determine the final published admission number of the school, section 88H of the SSFA allows for community and voluntary controlled schools to object to the Schools Adjudicator if they do not agree with the admissions number which has been determined for them (see Chapter 4).
1.21 If an admission authority for a maintained school wishes to increase the admission number of a
school after their admission arrangements have been determined, as a result of a major change in circumstance, they must refer a variation to do this to the Schools Adjudicator (see paragraphs 4.23 to 4.27), except in very limited circumstances. The determination by the Schools Adjudicator should follow the approval by the local authority of any related proposals for enlargement of the school. A request to the Schools Adjudicator to increase admission numbers should not delay the local authority in co-ordinating admissions in order to make all offers to parents.
1.22 Local authorities and the Schools Adjudicator, when making decisions over setting an admission number or admitting above them, should have regard to the presumption that proposals to expand successful and popular schools, except grammar schools, should be approved. The existence of surplus capacity in neighbouring schools should not in itself be sufficient to prevent expansion, but the local authority should consider how they can take parallel action to remove surplus places.