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ADCS criticises academies for refusing to take on new pupils

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) argues that too many academies are refusing to take pupils that move into their local area, saying it would not be cost effective for them.

The ADCS claims this is happening despite academies having enough space and resources to take on new pupils mid-term. 

The Education Funding Agency (EFA), which distributes academy funding, can compel academies but too often it is siding with those who claim admitting new pupils is not a good use of their resources, said Debbie Barnes, chair of the ADCS’s educational achievement committee and director of children’s services in Lincolnshire.

ADCS are calling on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to urge the EFA to toughen up its stance on academies that refuse to take new pupils mid-term. 

Barnes said that due to a current low secondary school age population, a typical large local authority area may have spare capacity in local schools and academies to take 500 more pupils. 

“But when a new pupil moves into the area we can’t get them into academies as they are arguing that it is not an effective use of resources even though for example they may have capacity in one year to take 120 but have only admitted 90,” she said.

There are some academies that are working well with councils to ensure pupils coming into the area mid-term can find a place but the ADCS wants all of them to operate that way. 

“Some academies will come to directors of children’s services and work with us and look to take more pupils on. Those are the sorts of dialogues we’d prefer to have with all of our academies. There are good academy heads who will do that but there are others who won’t.”