Local Government Ombudsman
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Northampton School for Boys (06B01255 and 2 others)

School admissions                     Complaint upheld

19 July 2007

The complaint

Three sets of parents complained about the procedures followed by the Boys’ School in considering applications by their sons to join Year 7 of the School. They also complained about the conduct of the appeals held to consider the refusal of offers of places to their sons.

What happened

Parents did not receive copies of all documents relevant to their appeals, as required by the School Admission Appeals Code of Practice. The Ombudsman found that the appeal panel had failed to scrutinise the operation of the School’s admission policy properly.

The Ombudsman’s view

The Ombudsman said the School’s use of an application form as part of its admission process had to meet the tests set out by government guidance – in particular, that it was designed and marked in such a way that was lawful, fair and objective. He did not consider that the particular form used by the School for admissions was capable of meeting those tests.

The Ombudsman said the fundamental requirement that school admission policies must be ‘objective’ had been overlooked by the appeal panel.

The outcome

The Ombudsman recommended that each of the complainants’ sons should be offered a place at the School.

The Ombudsman noted the School’s intention to revise its admission criteria for Year 7, and recommended that those should be subject to consultation with central Government and that the School sought legal advice prior to publication.

Date Updated: 10/05/14