Looked after children have been given the highest priority within school admission arrangements. The admission requirements for looked after children are set out in the School Admissions Code which applies to maintained schools and academies, including free schools.
Put simply, a looked after child must be given a place in the school chosen irrespective of the current numbers on roll or in a class. The home local authority can instruct a school in ANY local authority to admit a looked after child. This includes using their powers of direction in a timely way to avoid delay.
Where a local authority considers that an academy will best meet the needs of any child, it can ask the academy to admit that child but has no power to direct it to do so. The local authority and the academy will usually come to an agreement, but if the academy refuses to admit the child, the local authority can ask the Secretary of State to intervene.