Admissions Information

Aspire Centre Referral Arrangements for 2023/24

The ‘Aspire Centre’ is part of the Great Schools Trust and is an Alternative Provision (AP) Free School provider based in Liverpool.

The aim of the ‘Aspire Centre’ is to re-engage students with their education and help them to successfully progress to further education, employment, or training.  Student admission to the ‘Aspire Centre’ is done using the referral process outlined in this document.  Referrals can be made at any time during the year.

Number of places available

The school will provide education for up to 30 students commissioned by Liverpool City Council in Years 7 to 11 (between the ages of 11 and 16).  These places can be a mix of full-time and part-time places.

Registration arrangements

The Aspire Centre does not accept independent applications for admissions. They only consider the admission of students by way of a direct referral from a commissioner where mainstream education is no longer an option.

Where students are on the school roll of another school and attend ‘Aspire’ for a short period of time (i.e., mostly fixed period suspensions or a school wishing to educate a child off-site) the student will be dual registered at his current school and this academy.

Students arrive at the ‘Aspire Centre’ from a variety of different routes. Therefore, the ‘Aspire Centre’ recognises that the admissions process in an alternative provision educational context must be flexible. This is to accommodate the differing circumstances in which young people outside of mainstream education come to The Aspire Centre from.

Most of the students that attend the ‘Aspire Centre’ are dual registered with another school or provider. There are also a number of students who are single registered at the ‘Aspire Centre’ as a result of a permanent exclusion from another school/educational institution.
The Aspire Centre endeavours to seek an arrangement which best suits the needs of each student. Therefore, we work with other relevant stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes for individual students. Where necessary, transition arrangements will be put into place to encourage the incoming student to settle into the ‘Aspire Centre’ confidently and quickly and to ensure that their individual needs are identified and comprehensively met from the outset.


Students supported by the school

The Aspire Centre will specialise in providing places for:             

  • Those students who have been permanently excluded or who are at risk of permanent exclusion

Referral arrangements

To acquire a place at The Aspire Centre, applicants in KS3 and KS4 have to be referred by the local authority via the fair access panel or a referral from a local school. 

Commissioning process - Point of contact

The point of contact for commissioners is the executive principal.

Once a school contacts the ‘Aspire Centre’, the executive principal will arrange for a meeting to take place between with the prospective student, and an appropriate representative from the home, school, and a parent/carer. At this stage, the home school will complete a referral form. It is at this point that the Aspire Centre will decide if it can take on the student.


Students will be invited for a pre-admission interview; in addition, a student’s basic skills will be tested using NGRT and CAT tests. An induction timetable will be agreed with parents /carers if required.

The admission of students with special educational needs

Students with a statement of special educational needs or education health and care plan naming the academy will be admitted.

Criteria to be applied in respect of other students when oversubscribed

The following oversubscription criteria will apply when there are more referrals than places available, in order of priority:

  1. Students who are or were previously looked after by a Local Authority (as defined by the Children Act 1989)
  2. Students who live closest to the school in a straight line. Distance will be measured from the front door of a student’s home to the front gate/door of the school.  If students live exactly the same distance away from the school, random allocation will be used to determine who will be admitted, with the process undertaken by someone independent of the school.


If we can accept a referral, we will write to the commissioner accepting the referral, the support that will be offered to a student, a start date, the date by which the offer should be accepted and the address to which to respond.

Procedure following an offer

All referrals made by the commissioner incur a £4500 top up fee

All referrals accepted from local schools lead to a daily contract with the home school. The cost of the is £55 per day (pro rata for a part time place) plus the cost of transport to and from school by way of a private hire taxi.

Although many students will be dual registered, the Aspire Centre will take responsibility for the progress of each student referred, including entry to formal examinations where appropriate, in consultation with the home school.

When offer letters are sent, if the commissioner fails to accept the place by the date set out in the letter, it will be assumed that commissioner no longer wants the place, and the offer will be withdrawn. 

Appeals against any refusal to accept a referral

The executive principal has discretion when deciding whether or not to admit a student to the Aspire Centre following the relevant admission process. The executive principal will consider recommendations made on behalf of a student by, for example, a commissioner. Typically, where a referral has been made by a commissioner, an admission will be made with mutual agreement between the executive principal and the commissioner following the referral process.  

In exceptional cases where the executive principal considers that the Aspire Centre is not appropriate for an individual child, this decision may be appealed. Commissioners should write to the executive principal outlining their reasons for supporting the admission enclosing any supporting documentation. The executive principal will consider the appeal and reply within 28 days, outlining the Aspire Centre’s position.