Why can't we call them 'interviews'?

One of the first things I learned when working in school admissions was that when we get prospective sixth-formers in before enrolment day, under no circumstances could we call that discussion an ‘interview’. I kind of understand why, but can anyone point to the actual law?

I’m also curious, what do you call them at your school if you can’t call them an interview?

At my school, we called them ‘subject suitability meetings’…

We used to call ours “Guidance Meetings” but this really does confuse students and parents as everyone understand the process of applying, being interviewed and the being offered a place/job… simple.

We have very recently discussed the idea of going back to “interview” to make this easier again, but interested in this thread to take back to our Marketing Team to discuss further.


If you are a state school (not sure about private ones) you are governed by the Admissions Code which makes it illegal to base your admissions decision on an interview or indeed on predicted grades. You are not meant to collect any info about anything such as ethnicity, enrichment activity either which could in theory skew your making of an offer beyond the objective and legal criteria in your admissions policy, you have to ask those things and do any guidance conversations after the offer has been made.

School admissions code 2021 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

(included here in case people didn’t know how to find the Admissions Code document that Richard has helpfully pointed to…)

Richard’s correct that the code specifically says you’re not allowed to “interview” students, but you ARE allowed to have ‘meetings’ to discuss things like the suitability of their options choices, or the entry criteria for a particular course.

One school where I worked therefore called students in for a “Subject Suitability Meeting”… but that sure doesn’t roll off the tongue… :slight_smile: Are there punchier names that schools use to describe these non -interviews?

Thanks all, Is this the same for sixth form colleges? Just Y12 and 13?

The guidance is in this document (pages 12 and 22):

School Admissions Code

It is different for Post-16 and whilst you cannot ‘interview’ in the traditional sense of the term, the key is to position it with parents and students that the interview/meeting does not form part of the decision making process. Post-16 can set academic entry criteria which must be the same for internal and external students.

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Thankyou for sharing the guidance document Elaine …think this might be useful to add to the “helpful resouces” / reference documents area on the website - what do you think?

Definitely - anything like this would be valuable, particularly those new to the admissions role.

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Thankyou for sharing we’ll upload it :blush:

If you think there are any other useful resources / documents anyone can share them on this forum and ill upload them :pray:

I would include links to the School Admissions Appeals Code as well. I am sure others will have documents they use on a regular basis that would be useful.

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Thank you Elaine - if you have anymore documents would you be happy to share them here when you have time and I will upload them?

Thank you very much :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Here is the School Admission Appeals Code.

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CTF Guide

This could be useful too.

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Thank you so much Elaine - I have downloaded all the files and will ensure they are uploaded to the Useful Resources Area

Hi Elaine all your documents are now uploaded to the resources area… thankyou so much :orange_heart: