All local authorities are required to formulate and consult on a scheme for each academic year for coordinating admission arrangements for all maintained schools within their area (excluding maintained special schools and maintained nursery schools) at the normal point of entry.
Coordination schemes are intended to simplify the admission process for parents whilst reducing the likelihood of any child being left without a school place. Coordination establishes a mechanism that ensures that, as far as is practical, every child living in a local authority area who has applied in the normal admissions round receives one, and only one, offer of a school place on the same day.
Each local authority to decide the scheme that best suits its residents and its schools, they must ensure they:
- comply with law and regulations, including all the process requirements (for example, the common application form allowing at least three preferences, information sharing with other local authorities, sending out not more than one offer to all seeking places at its maintained schools or Academies on the same day)
- don't disadvantage applications to their schools from families resident in other local authorities.
Coordination schemes don't affect the rights and duties of the governing bodies of academies, foundation, free, studio, trust, voluntary aided schools and UTCs to set and apply their own admission arrangements and oversubscription criteria. Admission authorities don't have to determine the same or similar oversubscription criteria, but must ensure that their own admission arrangements are compatible with, and don't undermine, the coordination scheme for their area.
In respect of admissions other than at the normal point of entry, Plymouth City Council operates a locally agreed coordinated scheme for admissions which is adopted by many of the schools in Plymouth.