If your request for a place at a particular school has been refused you can appeal. This applies to Community Controlled, Voluntary Aided, Academy and Trust Schools.

How to appeal

If your child is refused a place at any school, you will receive a letter from the Local Authority. This will explain why your child has been refused a place and which options are available to you.

To make an appeal you must complete the School Appeals Form.

It is council policy that if someone is online, and can apply online, we do not offer them a paper application form.

Timetable for September 2018 entry to primary and secondary schools

Appeals for September 2018 admission will be heard according to the following timetable:

  Offer date Appeals lodged by Appeals heard by
Secondary 1 March 2018 31 March 2018 20 June 2018
Primary 16 April 2018 18 May 2018 20 July 2018

Appeals for secondary schools

You should submit your appeal form by 31 March 2018. This will ensure that the Panel hears and makes a decision on your appeal before 20 June 2018. If it is submitted any later, it could take up to the end of the summer term or may be later to be heard.

Appeals for primary schools

You should submit your appeal form by 18 May 2018. This will ensure that the Panel hears and makes a decision on your appeal for a reception place before the end of the summer term.

If you miss the deadline for reception class F2 it cannot be guaranteed your appeal will be heard before the end of the summer term. It could be September or even October before your appeal is heard. This is because it is not possible to arrange appeal hearings while the school are closed for the summer holidays.

In-year appeals

Appeals resulting from in-year admission applications will be heard on a date to be arranged within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged with the Authority.

Infant school appeals

If you are appealing for a place for your child in a reception, year 1 or year 2 class, different rules apply to the Panel hearing because the class may have reached its legal limit of 30 children.

Preparing for an appeal hearing

You will receive notification of the date at least 10 school days in advance of the Appeal hearing.

A statement outlining the reasons as to why your child has not been offered a place will be sent in a reasonable time before the date of the hearing.

Additional evidence to support an appeal

You can submit additional evidence, which was not included with your initial appeal. If you wish to do this, you must make sure that it is received within a reasonable time before the hearing date (normally five working days).

Any additional evidence or information received too late may not be able to be considered at the appeal hearing. The Appeal Panel must decide whether it should be considered, taking into account its significance and the effect of a possible need to adjourn the hearing.

What happens during a school appeal?

The appeal hearing

Your appeal case will go before an Independent Appeals Panel and you will be invited to the hearing to present your case. If you do not wish to attend, the Panel will base their decision on your written appeal.

If you choose to bring a representative, they must not be an employee or governor of the school that is the subject of the appeal, as this could create a conflict of interest and be unfair to other parents who are appealing.

Before the hearing you might like to make a brief note of what you want to say and any questions you might like to ask the Panel.

The Independent Appeal Panel

The Panel will consist of three members, with one person from each of the categories below:

  1. At least one Lay Member. Lay Members are people without personal experience in management or provision of education in any school. Lay Members may have experience as governor of other schools or have been involved in education in any other voluntary capacity.
  2. At least one member who does have personal experience in education who is acquainted with educational conditions in the area or who is the parent of a registered pupil at a school.
  3. The third Panel member will be from either 1 or 2. The chair may either be a Lay Member or a person experienced in education.

There will also be a Clerk to the Panel who will seek advice on any legal issues if necessary and will note the proceedings. The Clerk remains with the Panel while they are making a decision but has no part in the decision making.

A representative from the council (for all Community school appeals) or the school’s Governing Body (for all Church Aided school appeals) or Presenting Officer from Academies and Grammar Schools will also be there to explain their reasons for refusal.

The Panel’s decision

The Panel members will make their decision in private. If there are multiple appeals for a school no decisions can be made until all the appeals have been heard. This could be three or four working days after your appeal has been heard.

You will be informed of their decision, preferably by email, within five working days. If your appeal is successful your child will be awarded a place at the preferred school.

Further appeals

The decision of the Panel is final and binding between the council, the school and yourself. If your appeal is refused no further application can be made for the same school in the same year group unless there is a material change of yours or the schools circumstances.

The council’s Mainstream Admissions Team will be able to give you information on other local schools with available places.

However, if you lose the appeal and you think your case has been dealt with unfairly or unlawfully, you have the right to contact the Local Government Ombudsman for maintained schools or Education and Skills Funding Agency for Academies and Grammar Schools.

Further guidance on appeals

View further guidance on appeals for parents and carers

Personal Data

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This privacy notice explains how the Council (as a Data Controller) collects, uses and protects the personal data that we hold.