Jane Austen College plans to be the first school in Norfolk to introduce fair banding

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December 4th 2020

We are consulting on plans to be the first school in Norfolk to introduce fair banding to ensure every child has a fair chance to secure a place.

Jane Austen College is a free school in Norwich and we achieve some of the best results in the city. We currently care for more than 1,000 students and we're oversubscribed, with a waiting list of families wanting to join. To make sure everyone has a fair chance of securing a place, we are consulting on plans to introduce a new admissions approach - fair banding. 

What fair banding involves

Fair banding is a good way to make sure the school can welcome children at all levels of ability. 

  • As a part of the new admissions approach, each child applying to Jane Austen College will take a non-verbal reasoning assessment. This assessment isn’t a test, it isn’t a pass or fail - it maps what level a child is working at currently. 
  • Children are placed into nine groups, based on ability. 
  • The school will then look at the national average for how many children from each ability group attend schools across the country. 
  • Next, places will be offered to a certain number of children from each group (in-line with the national average) based on their proximity to the school.

David Thomas, Principal of Jane Austen College, said:

“We’re proud to have students from all walks of life, however our current admissions policy means we can’t guarantee it. As a free school, we don’t have a catchment area. This means when we’re oversubscribed, places are allocated by Norfolk County Council based on who lives closest to our school. 


"To make sure that everyone has a fair chance to secure a place at Jane Austen College, and to make sure we remain a mixed ability school, we would like to introduce fair banding.” 

The school will continue to offer priority places to children with an EHCP, looked after children, children with siblings at our school and those at our feeder schools.

If approved, fair banding will be introduced at the school in September 2022.

Read the consultation to find out more