Skip to content

Fair Access Protocol

The School Admissions Code requires Local Authorities to agree a Fair Access Protocol in conjunction with its schools to support mainstream hard to place children who are otherwise unable to access education.

The current Fair Access Protocol is well established and strongly supported by Kent schools. We are fortunate that referral rates remain low as a result of the local inclusive practices which ensure that most pupils secure an appropriate education before its application is required. I would like to thank schools for their ongoing efforts in this area.

The Department for Education has published a new Admissions Code, which came into effect at the beginning of the current academic year and has made a number of changes to how Fair Access Protocols are expected to operate. As a result of these changes, KCC has been required to update our Protocol to ensure that the process remains on a firm legal footing. The DfE’s summary of changes included:

  • Making the purpose of Fair Access Protocols clearer;
  • Introducing timescales for placement decisions;
  • Ensuring Fair Access Protocols are only used to support the most vulnerable children (by provision of a definitive list of pupils who can be referred to IYFAP);
  • Clarifying the provisions relating to the use of Fair Access Protocols for children with challenging behaviour.

Schools were recently sent a copy of the updated Fair Access Protocol and can also find a more detailed overview of the changes required by the Code in our previously published Admissions Code Summary (PDF, 201.4 KB), which includes links to updated DfE Fair Access Protocol guidance.

Following these required updates, Kent’s process continues to put Headteachers in their localities at the centre of decision making about the identification of appropriate education provision. This updated protocol offers a fair and transparent process that can be applied consistently across the county, upholds the rights of individual students and schools; whilst recognising and retaining the opportunity for individual localities to develop their own inclusive practices.

As a result of the updates, Kent County Council is required to secure confirmation from the majority of schools that the Fair Access Protocol remains appropriate. If KCC fail to secure a response from the majority of Kent schools it will be required to have a protocol imposed by the DfE which would not benefit from the best working practices from across Kent schools which have informed this and previous Protocols.

Schools are therefore asked to confirm their support of the proposed protocol through this Microsoft Form by the end of Friday 4 February 2022. The form will also allow schools to raise queries or concerns, which I will respond to directly.

Craig Chapman
Head of Fair Access