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A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

14 June 2018 weekly update

14 June 2018

This week, Matt gives an update on the recently updated Kent Fair Access Protocol which has now been agreed by the majority of Kent schools, which will be formally implemented in September 2018.

Dear Colleagues

Kent Fair Access Protocol

You may recall that Kent recently updated its Fair Access Protocol (PDF, 338.3 KB) having been made aware of some unlawful amendments to Protocols operating in some parts of the county. In recognition of the complex nature of this work and in light of the fact that in excess of 450 Primary Headteachers and almost 100 Secondary Headteachers may present differing views about its content, a small working group of officers looked at existing best practice from across Kent and in other local authority areas to develop an enhanced version of the existing fair access protocol.

In order for KCC to formally implement its protocol, we are required to secure agreement to it from the majority of schools in the local authority area. This was explained in the accompanying documentation to the Protocol and I am pleased a significant response was received. We had a range of positive feedback from across the county to the protocol, with two thirds of both Primary and Secondary schools confirming their agreement. Some schools did express a concern that a more formal consultation was not undertaken. I am sorry if this has caused concern, however, we used a group of informed professionals to update the protocol in light of practical learning experiences from across the county and formulate guidance to complement and inform this complex process.

At the request of a number of schools, a helpful Pupil Information Form (PDF, 606.0 KB) has been developed. The use of this form will bring an element of consistency across the county for when panels deliberate on individual cases. I hope colleagues will find this helpful and I should like to thank everyone for taking the time to read and consider the updated protocol and indeed, for agreeing to its implementation. Now that the protocol has been agreed by the majority of schools in the county, it will have a formal implementation date of 1 September 2018.

Schools may choose to with immediate effect collectively implement it if this is agreed at your district level meetings. If there are any schools that have any concerns at the content of the updated Protocol and would like to discuss how these might be resolved through future reviews, we would be more than happy to hear from you during the course of the next school term. Please contact Scott Bagshaw, Head of Fair Access to arrange any such meetings by emailing Scott.Bagshaw@kent.gov.uk. Given the scale of Kent, there is no current intention to review the protocol until 2021. However, if a pressing argument can be made for a particular amendment to the updated arrangements, the review timeframe can be amended accordingly.

Thank you all once again for your continued support in enabling children without a school place to quickly find suitable education.

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education