I’d be interested to hear the views of other HTs on this matter, and also to find out what other LAs do. I’m HT of a maintained primary. Last week 2 parents, both of whom have named our school 1st in their preferences for a Reception place for Sep, said they have received letters from a local academy. The letters offer a “welcome to our school”, promote the school by commenting on strengths etc, urge parents to choose the school and mention that places are available, and invite parents to a meeting to see the school and meet staff etc. Since then, we’ve discovered that other parents have received these letters, including parents with children in other schools. We know this because some of these parents have children in our a Nursery...however there will be other families, in other local private nurseries, so will have received these letters, and therefore we do not know who they are. When I rang our LA admissions dept, they said that they give all contact details to academies, in February, because the academy is the ‘admissions authority’. However, as a maintained school, we get no contact information at all, and simply have to wait till mid April to see which families are allocated to us by the LA. Last year, our Reception admissions plummeted, and obviously that hit the budget. I though it was a local birthdate issue...not so sure now. I had no idea last year that the LA was handing out contact information to academies. Presumably, the academy should use the info simply to produce ranked lists, in line with the pre-derptermined admissions criteria? Using the information to try to poach families who would otherwise have gone to other schools is surely unethical...perhaps unlawful...I’m sure it isn’t part of the Admissions Code. Because we are so close, geographically, to this particular academy, it’s obvious that when parents make their 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences, both schools could feature on the same list (as well as a couple of other local schools). Therefore, a parent could name us 1st preference, but the academy 2nd or 3rd. Then, the academy is given the contact details of ALL 1st, 2nd and 3rd preference families, and are using this information to make personal contact with families - in effect to ‘poach’ them. I’ve heard that other LAs, realising the risk, do not give out contact details to academies, and that the LA retains the role of sorting admissions for all schools, or provides anonymised information. Could readers comment on what happens in your LA, please? Apologies for the length of the post - it’s a rather complex issue to describe. I’d be grateful for any insights, from colleagues who may have experience of this, or who know more about how school admissions work. Thanks.