Purpose of the Group

The Group has the following key purposes:

  1. To evaluate how the School Admissions Code is operating.


Group members will need to:

  • work comprehensively within the group, accommodating differing views, seeking consensus and accepting compromise to reach agreement on the issues

  • be open minded and consider the whole picture, not seeking to promote local interests
  • be able and willing to do follow-up work or contribute to some developments between meetings when appropriate
  • membership is a continuing commitment.  Members should participate on the basis that they fully intend to remain members for the duration of the Stakeholder meetings
  • members of the group will maintain the confidentiality of discussions and should not brief the media either before or after the meetings
  • the group will be consultative but there may be occasions when ministers indicate an issue on which they wish to explore whether consensus can be reached
  • ministers will make clear, at the outset of discussions, whether consensus or comment is being sought. When consensus is sought but where differences remain, ministerial decisions will be final


Participation takes the form of regular meetings (occurring every 6/8 weeks hosted by the Department, and chaired by the relevant group chair.  Other DfE staff (e.g. lead members of policy teams) may be invited to attend as appropriate.

All correspondence for meetings will be sent via email. Members must ensure that the secretariat has an up to date email address for this purpose. Meetings will be conducted under Chatham House rules and no formal minute will be taken. 

Role of the Secretariat

The Education Choice and Access Division will provide secretariat support to the group by organising meetings, responding to enquiries, providing updates on policy and activities, drawing up agendas in collaboration with the chair and requesting, in advance, contributions from all members.

The secretariat will take forward action points from meetings and report back to the group on outcomes, where feasible between meetings to maintain momentum. In particular, the secretariat will communicate to the policy colleagues, and other stakeholder groups as appropriate, any issues or questions that the group collectively asks to be raised.

DfE policy colleagues presenting to the group will provide a short presentation with key questions they want the group to answer, and provide feedback to the group about how they have used their input.

The lead official and sponsor Director will evaluate the effectiveness of each group through regular feedback and an annual review, including appraisals of group Chairs and members. This will ensure that the group remains aligned to the Department’s developing aspirations and needs.

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