1.1. This protocol sets out the procedure by which North Yorkshire Council will process changes of addresses including the investigation of fraudulent or intentionally misleading addresses used for application purposes.
1.2. This protocol should be read in conjunction with the “Information for Parents” and other information provided in the school admissions section of our website and the School Admissions Code on the Government's website.
2.1. Admission authorities have a duty to ensure school places are offered fairly and accurately in line with determined admission arrangements. Demand for school places in North Yorkshire has risen year on year and we take the duty to ensure that no school place is offered incorrectly seriously; where a child is allocated a place using a fraudulent or misleading address, another child loses their rightful place at the school.
2.2. Admission authorities have a legitimate interest in processing data that would prevent a school place being offered incorrectly. For community and voluntary controlled schools, the admission authority is the local authority. For other schools the admission authority is either the school’s governing body or the academy trust. These schools, referred to as own admission authority schools, include voluntary aided, foundation, trust and free schools, as well as academies.
2.3. When a school is oversubscribed the oversubscription criteria will be applied in accordance with North Yorkshire Council's determined admissions arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools. Any distance measurements use North Yorkshire Council's Geographical Information System (GIS).
2.4. The majority of own admission authority schools within North Yorkshire also prioritise by distance when oversubscribed, with the method for measuring these distances set out in their own admission arrangements.
2.5. In order to prioritise applicants fairly and accurately, admission authorities must be satisfied that applications have been made from a child’s principal permanent residence to ensure distances, where applicable, are measured from the appropriate address.
2.6. This protocol relates to the validation of addresses, prevention of fraudulent or misleading use of addresses and the detection of addresses of convenience for any application processed by North Yorkshire Council; either received directly or via another local authority as part of the co-ordinated admission scheme.
2.7. Where an application names an own admission authority school, any decision regarding the use of an address rests with the relevant governing body or academy trust and not with North Yorkshire Council, unless the school ask the local authority to act on their behalf. We will liaise with own admission authority schools with regards to an investigation. Own admission authority schools have the right to undertake their own investigations where they feel it is necessary.
3. Home Address
3.1. Home address
A child’s home address is defined within North Yorkshire Council’s admission arrangements as being their principal permanent residence, and excludes any business, relative’s or child-minder’s address. It is expected to be where the child’s parent or primary guardian resides. We will not accept a temporarily rented address to secure a school place for your child.
3.2. Split residency:
- where a child resides at more than one address, the address to be used should be where the child lives for the majority of the school week (Monday to Friday), either by private arrangement or as stipulated in a court order
- where there is a court order which states that the child will live an equal amount of school time with each of two parents/carers, then the address at which any Child Benefit is claimed should be used (if Child Benefit is not applicable the address at which the child is registered with a GP should be used)
- if the child resides equal time with each of two parents/carers, and there is no court order governing with whom the child is to live and when they are to live with those persons, then the address at which any Child Benefit is claimed should be used (if Child Benefit is not applicable the address at which the child is registered with a GP should be used)
Please note additional checks will be made and we may require sight of the court order. The final decision as to which parent’s address is used rests with North Yorkshire Council.
3.3. For the normal year of entry (Reception, Year 3 (Junior Schools only) and Year 7), the address to be used will be where the child lives on the closing date for applications, as stated in the Co Ordinated Admissions Arrangements, 2023/2024, (point 12). More information on available on the admissions statistics and policies page.
A change of address after this date, will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances, upon receipt of sufficient proof of residence, by North Yorkshire Council up to the last date for changes. Any changes which take place after this date will be considered after National Offer Day.
If the child lives abroad at the time of applying, the overseas address should be used, with the exception of children of UK Service personnel and Crown Servants who may use a UK Unit or quartering address on the production of an official Government letter declaring a relocation date.
We are not able to vary the process for parents who cannot complete house moves in time for us to use the new address for admissions purposes. For this reason, it is very important that you are aware of the key dates in our admissions process and ensure you move and provide us with evidence of this within the admissions deadlines.
If you move into North Yorkshire from another local authority it is your responsibility to comply with the key dates in our admissions process. If you move out of North Yorkshire to another local authority it is your responsibility to comply with the key dates of the new local authority. Academies, foundation, free and voluntary-aided schools, and schools in other areas/ local authorities may have different deadlines so you must check their rules carefully.
3.4. Any offer of a school place on the basis of address is conditional on the child living at the relevant address. Applicants have a responsibility to notify the admissions team of any change of address.
4. In-Year Applications for children living overseas
4.1. Where we co-ordinate in year applications on behalf of schools we do not require applicants to currently live in the area (or country) before passing the application onto the admission authority to consider and they can use their overseas address
4.2. It is the responsibility of parents of foreign national children to check that their children have the right under the UK entry conditions to study at a school before applying for a place.in the UK.
4.3. Applications will be processed whilst families are still abroad up to 6 weeks in advance of the requested start date.
4.4. For families of service personnel with a confirmed posting, or crown servants returning from overseas, a place can be allocated in advance (as long as one is available) provided the application is accompanied by an official letter that declares a relocation date. All requests will be considered up to 6 weeks in advance of the requested start date.
Where a family is in the UK military or is a crown servant and they are returning from abroad to a specific area we will accept parents intended address where requested, as long as some evidence of the intended address is provided for example, a unit or quartering address and one document from group one of accepted documents if applicable.
5. Address Verification Process
5.1. There are a number of reasons why North Yorkshire Council may investigate an address. Addresses will be checked when information indicates that a specific address may not be the child’s principal permanent residence, whilst others may be randomly checked. Reasons for investigation may include, although are not restricted to the following:
- where a change of address is reported after an application is first submitted
- review of applications for oversubscribed or popular schools
- spot checking of applications
- applications for children whose current school is not in the local area of the address preferenced on the application form
- where information stored on our database indicates another family lives at the same address
- where the applicant’s address does not match the address provided to the child’s current or preferred school
- known short-term rental addresses near popular schools
- those who have been resident at an address for less than 18 months and who previously resided at an address further away from a popular school
- where correspondence is returned to North Yorkshire Council or school as ‘Addressee Unknown’
- where any other suspicions are raised about the permanence and authenticity of an applicant’s address
5.2. North Yorkshire Council may refuse to accept a temporary or rental address if an applicant still owns or rents an address at which their child previously lived. Renting out an owned property or putting it up for sale may not deem it unavailable to the family. A property would only be deemed unavailable to the family from the date of completion.
5.3. Applicants will initially be asked to provide one document from Group 1, one document from Group 2 and one document from Group 3. (3 documents) Please mark which group the document is from. We will not accept any other documents without prior agreement.
5.4. We will not accept documents that are sent in individually and the address change will not be considered until all proof of residency documentation is received.
Only one document from each of the groups below will be accepted. The documents required to verify an address are as follows:
|Please provide the 3 documents at the same time clearly mark which group they are from.
Documents sent individually on different dates will not be accepted
One document only from Group One
12 months tenancy agreement, fully completed and signed (by all parties) showing the applicant's name and the full address
- in this case, proof of the sale or rental of the applicant's previous address will also be required (see Group 3) - it is expected that this would be from the date the new rented property was taken out
- a 6 month tenancy maybe considered in exceptional situations for example you have relocated to North Yorkshire with a view to purchase a property and the distance from the applicants original address is not commutable - in this instance you would need to provide written confirmation from your landlord that they will not issue a 12 month tenancy agreement and the reason(s) why or confirmation that it is a 6 month rolling tenancy with the expectation that you will be in the property for longer than 6 months
Completion statement confirming house purchase, showing the applicant’s name and the full address of the property (in this case, proof of the sale or rental of the applicant's previous address will also be required).
We do not accept exchange of contract as proof of purchase.
Evidence of ownership- if returning to a property you already own, you will need to provide evidence you own the property for example, land registry document, along with the date you will resume living there.
- if you have rented out this property you need to provide evidence that you have given your tenants notice to leave
A third party declaration form for instance, where you have moved or are moving to live with another family member. The family member will be required to complete a declaration form to confirm you are living at their address. Please email the admissions team for the form.
One document only from Group Two
A current, valid full UK photo-card driving licence with signature, showing updated address
- a copy of the applicants motor insurance showing the updated address
- an official document from: the Benefits Agency, HM Revenue & Customs (P45s and P60s are not accepted)
- an addressed payslip showing updated address
A copy of your removal invoice showing both the address you have left and the new address.
- a copy of the completion statement showing the property has been sold
- confirmation from the landlord / agency that the tenancy has finished and confirming the date that you left or will be leaving the property
- a final exit bill for example, utilities, exit council tax bill for the property you are leaving
We reserve the right to seek any additional evidence deemed necessary.
Any other type of house move – Please contact us for specific advice.
All applications for a change of address and proof of residence will be considered by a panel consisting of 3 senior officers of the local authority. If we are not satisfied with the documentation provided further evidence will be requested.
5.5. We reserve the right to cross check address information with other departments, borough and district councils, local authorities, current/previous schools and other relevant agencies. We will require original documents or certified copies to validate the authenticity of any supporting evidence provided. If you are unable to provide the documentation required please contact school admissions.
5.6. If a previous property is still owned or rented by the applicant then evidence will be required showing that this property is no longer the principal permanent residence of the family. This would include evidence that the property is either let out on a long term rental (12 months or more), that the address is uninhabitable, or that the address is in the process of being sold (not just for sale) and the family live permanently in an alternative property. This evidence is required to prove that an applicant is not living at this property but does not, in itself, prove that a fraudulent or misleading address (see section 5) has not been used. In cases such as this, renting out the owned property on a short-term basis (for example, for a year during the application process) may not be treated as making it unavailable to the primary carer.
5.7. If sufficient documentation is received the application address will be changed, however, we reserve the right to check the validity of an address at any point following the allocation of a place.
5.8. If we are not satisfied with the evidence, correspondence will be sent to the applicant confirming this. This will explain:
- the reason why the address has not been accepted
- describe the council’s definition of an address of convenience
- set out why we have a duty to ensure the correct address is used
- that the application will be processed using the address believed by North Yorkshire Council to be the home address
- that the application will be returned to the local authority where this address is located (if applicable)
5.9. Applicant Response Received
On receipt of any additional supporting evidence, we will review the evidence provided and decide where, on the balance of probability, a child permanently resides and whether or not the address can be accepted as the child’s principal permanent residence.
If sufficient documentation is received and accepted the application address will be changed, however if this is outside of the timescales this maybe after national offer day. Please note we reserve the right to check the validity of an address at any point following the allocation of a place.
5.10. We have legitimate interest in detecting where a school place is being offered using a misleading or fraudulent address. Schools have a corresponding legitimate interest in sharing data with us in order for the detection of such cases. we will share any data deemed relevant as part of any investigation. Where any suspicion of a fraudulent or misleading address falls outside the administrative authority of North Yorkshire Council, we reserve the right to liaise with the relevant home local authority.
In accordance with the data protection act 2018 and the general data protection regulation (GDPR), we may share any information supplied as part of your application within the council and other agencies in order to prevent and detect fraud, but only the minimum amount of information necessary and only where it is lawful to do so.
5.11. Address Visits
We reserve the right to initiate visits to the applicant’s address or any other address suspected to be the residence of the family in order to verify the accuracy of address information. The aim of these visits will be to verify that the address information provided in the application form is accurate.
No visit will be undertaken in a covert manner but they will be unannounced in order to best assess the regular occupant at a specific address.
These checks are carried out by Veritau, a Local Authority shared service company, which provides internal audit, information governance and counter fraud services on behalf of us. If, following investigation, we are satisfied that, on the balance of probability, the address used on the application is the child’s principal permanent residence, the investigation will be closed.
We reserve the right to re-open any closed case at any time if new and credible information is received that questions the validity of an address.
6. Fraudulent or Misleading Investigations
6.1. A fraudulent or misleading address is considered to be an address used when applying for a school place which is not the child’s only or principal permanent residence, and is used by a parent/carer solely in order to gain an advantage in accessing a school place for that child. The only or principal permanent residence is considered to be the place where the child resides for the majority of the school week and where the child’s primary guardian, normally a person with parental responsibility, resides.
6.2. There are no set criteria to define or confirm a fraudulent or misleading address. It is for the admission authority to determine if, on the balance of probability, the address given on an application is a child’s principal permanent residence. Some examples of the use of a fraudulent or misleading address are as follows:
- an applicant applies from an address where the child does not ordinarily reside, for example a relative’s address
- a family buys a new property or rents accommodation during the admissions round and uses this address in order to gain a school place, whilst continuing to own or rent an alternative property - in cases such as this, the property which is still owned by the family would be considered as the appropriate address to assess admission from, even if this property is not currently being occupied by the family
- a family moves to live with someone else, often a relative/friend/partner, and uses this address in order to gain a school place whilst continuing to own or rent an alternative property
- where parental responsibility is split between two parents living at different addresses and an application is made from the address where the child does not spend the majority of the school week
6.3. Any individual or organisation may refer the suspected use of a fraudulent or misleading address to ourselves by contacting us with all the relevant information. The identity of any individual who has made a referral will be kept confidential as part of any investigation and will not be divulged to any party being investigated. Anonymous referrals will be reviewed and investigations instigated where appropriate.
6.4. Fraudulent or Misleading Address Decision
If, following investigation, we conclude that, on the balance of probability, a fraudulent or misleading address has been used on an application, a letter will be sent to the applicant confirming this. This letter will state clearly the factors taken into account in order to make the decision as well as the steps that will now be taken with the application, as set out in section 6. It will also set out which address will be treated as the family’s home address for the purpose of their application for admission to school. This letter will give the applicant ten working days to respond and make any final representations. If no further substantial information is received by this time, then our decision will stand.
6.5 Fraudulent or Misleading Address Confirmed
Where a fraudulent or misleading address has been confirmed we may take a variety of steps, depending on the current status of the application. These are set out below.
6.5.1. No school place allocated
The application will be withdrawn and the applicant requested to make a new application from the correct address. If the address we believe to be the child’s principal permanent residence falls outside North Yorkshire then the applicant will be directed back to their home authority. The new application will be processed in the same way as any other application received on that date and may be treated as late by the admissions authority.
6.5.2. Place allocated but pupil yet to start
Where a place has been allocated but the pupil has not yet started at the school, we will assess the address to see whether the school place would still have been allocated on the basis of the believed principal permanent residence. If the pupil would have been offered a school place from their principal permanent residence, as determined by ourselves, then the offer will remain and no further action will be taken. If the allocated place would not have been offered if the address we have accepted had been used, the place offered will be withdrawn.
Where the child is determined by ourselves to live within North Yorkshire, a place will be offered at the catchment or nearest school to the home address with a place available. The parent will be able to make a new application from the accepted address; however, the new application will be processed in the same way as any other application received on that date. If the child’s accepted address falls outside North Yorkshire, the school place will be withdrawn and their home authority informed. It will then be up to their home authority to allocate a school place.
Where a school place has been withdrawn the application will be assessed based on the address believed by us to be the child’s principal permanent residence and the child will be placed on the waiting list(s), in the appropriate position, for the schools for which a preference was made. Parents will also have the right to an admission appeal.
6.5.3. Place allocated and pupil has started at the school
Where it is believed by the admission authority that, on the balance of probability, a school place was gained using a fraudulent or misleading address and the child has started at the school, but attended for less than one academic term, we reserve the right to withdraw the place offered (in accordance with Section 2.14 of the school admissions code 2021). If the place is withdrawn and the child is determined by us to live within North Yorkshire, an alternative school place will be offered at the catchment or nearest school with an available place to the child’s home address. The applicant may wish to apply for an alternative school.
If a place is withdrawn and an alternative place offered, then a child will be expected to leave the school whether or not the alternative place is accepted by the parent/carer. If the alternative school is not accepted it will be the parent/carer’s duty to ensure their child receives full-time education once they leave the school. Checks may be made to ensure that children of compulsory school age are receiving full-time education.
In all cases where it has been deemed that a school place has been gained based on a fraudulent or misleading address and the child continues to attend the school in question, North Yorkshire Council reserves the right to deny sibling priority to any subsequent children applying for the school.
7. Further Admissions Applications
7.1. Any subsequent application should be made from the family’s principal permanent residence. We will set out which address it expects this to be in the letter sent following an investigation.
8. Right of Appeal
8.1. Applicants do not have the right to appeal against our decision that a fraudulent or misleading address has been used. They will, however, have their statutory right to an admissions appeal if a place is not allocated at a preferred school.
9.1. This protocol will be reviewed annually and updated as and when required to ensure that it accurately reflects the processes undertaken by ourselves.
This protocol was introduced: August 2019
Reviewed and amended: September 2022