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The Norwood School

Important Changes to Lambeth Test 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

Thank you for submitting an application listing The Norwood School as a preference.

We are writing to you with an update regarding the admissions process. As you will be aware, the school was due to hold our banding test on Saturday 14 November 2020 for all applicants for the Year 7 cohort. As you may have already seen on the school’s webpage and the Lambeth secondary school admissions page (, in light of the ongoing pandemic and the national lockdown recently announced by the government, Lambeth Council has applied for a formal variation to cancel the admission test this year. The school’s shared test arrangements usually involve thousands of children and we believe that it is not feasible nor safe in the current climate to run the test this year. We can confirm therefore that the test will not be held on Saturday 14 November. 

After we have received the outcome of our variation request submitted to the Office of School Adjudicator (OSA), we will publish on the school’s and Lambeth Council’s webpages the OSA  decision and required changes to the school’s admissions policy, in due course. 

The above statement relates to Lilian Baylis Technology School and The Norwood School, and you will receive a separate email if you have applied for both. If you have applied to any of the other schools that share the test arrangements (Archbishop Tenison's School, Dunraven School, Lambeth Academy, The London Nautical School, Platanos College and St Martin-in-the-Fields High School for Girls), please check directly with them to find out about any possible changes to their admissions this year. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Lambeth School Admissions Team by email to



Response to the 2021/22 variation for The Norwood School and amendments to the admissions policy

The 2021 determined arrangements for The Norwood School did include the use of an ability banding test to ensure that the school has a balanced and comprehensive intake for the school (the full range of ability of applicants for the school), ie an equal number of applicants are admitted from each ability band. In September 2020 it was agreed by the Headteacher, Chair of Governors and Lambeth Council that due to COVID-19 restrictions it was not safe on health grounds for children and staff for mass testing to take place in the pandemic. Therefore, the LA sought a ‘variation’ with the Office of Schools Adjudicator (OSA), as required by the School Admissions Code. The variation was to remove the banding requirement completely and just use the over-subscription criteria for offering places. The OSA did not agree to this, as it responded with the following:

I am prevented from approving the proposed variation by section 103(3) of the Act. This is because the banding arrangements are designed to produce an intake which is representative of the full range of ability of the applicants for the school and the proposed variation would produce an intake representative of the socio-economic area around the school.

It would not be right for me to leave the Council in a situation where it could not safely test children, yet was required to do so by its admission arrangements which could not be varied in the way proposed by the Council. This predicament was exacerbated by the late submission of the request for a variation. Therefore, I discussed possible ways forward with the Council. This determination requires, by virtue of section 88K of the Act, the Council to revise its arrangements. I am of the view that there is at least one way in which the Council could revise these arrangements so that they conform with the Code and secure the same objective as the banding process was designed to achieve.

And I have discussed with the Council how it would be possible to achieve the current objective of an intake representative of the full range of ability of applicants for the school safely. One way that the objective could be achieved without holding any test would be to admit the majority of pupils (after looked after, previously looked after children, siblings, those with exceptional social and medical needs and children of staff) by random allocation.

As a result of this, the following process will be implemented instead of ability banding. Children will be placed within four bands.

The first band is the Bursary Band will be for those are eligible for the bursary band, and ranked according to the over-subscription criteria stated below.

The second band will comprise of those with the over-subscription criteria 1, 2, 3 and 4 listed below will be used and children ranked according to distance as the tie breaker (distance measurement details as stated below).

The third band will comprise of children who have been assigned the 5th criterion of ‘distance’ and live at a distance between 0 and 2km from the school (measured as details below). This distance is a rounded distance from 2,001.93m, which is the mean average distance that children were offered a place in all five ability bands on National Offer Days in 2020 and 2019 (details on the Council’s webpage for secondary transfer). The distance element has been included because distance is known to be a key reason why parents/carers apply for a school. Children in this band will be assigned a randomly generated rank (order) number. This will be undertaken using Excel formula by the LA.

The fourth band will be for children who live over 4km from the school and have a ‘distance’ criterion. Children in this band will be assigned a randomly generated rank (order) number. This will be undertaken using Excel formula by the LA. This band will not be opened until all those listed in Bands 2 and 3 are offered a place at the school, or have received a higher preference offer.

The capacity of the Bursary Band will remain the same at 18 places. The capacity of Bands 2, 3 and 4 will vary, as all those in Band 2 comprises of those who meet criteria 1-4 and applied on time will be considered for a place before Band 3 children. Only when Bands 2 and 3 have no remaining children to be offered will Band 4 children be considered. The number of children in each band will not be known until all applications have been ranked. If vacancies arise in the Bursary Band, staff at The Norwood School will provide Lambeth LA with names of those on their bursary reserve list, ie those who are gifted in the specialisms, but less so than those in the original list. The new children will be moved from their previous band to the Bursary Band and the over-subscription criteria applied afresh in that band. If after this action, spaces remain in the Bursary Band, more offers will be made from Band 2, then Band 3 and then 4 as mentioned above.

The over-subscription criteria for the school remain unchanged:
1. Looked After Children and previously Looked After Children
2. Siblings
3. Children with Exceptional Medical or Social Needs
4. Children of staff at the school
5. Distance

Other changes to the policy include:
Waiting lists and Year 7 in-year applications for The Norwood School
(in addition to ‘Waiting list’ information below)

Lambeth School Admissions Team, in accordance with the School Admissions Code, will maintain the school’s secondary transfer (i.e. entry to year 7) waiting list and processes until 31 December 2021, as this will be until the end of the first Year 7 term.

Waiting lists will be re-ordered each time there is a vacancy and new applicants are added to the waiting list, in accordance with the published admissions criteria and arrangements for the school.
This means that the banding set up for secondary transfer remains effective until 31 December 2021. Each time a vacancy arises in Band 2 or 3 a fresh allocation of rankings will take place before an offer is made, where there are new applicants added to them.

A full updated copy of the 2021/22 Lambeth school admissions