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 2022 entry to primary and secondary schools
Appeals for September 2022 admission will be heard according to the following timetable:
|Offer date||Appeals lodged by||Appeals heard by|
|Secondary||1 March 2022||31 March 2022||17 June 2022|
|Primary||19 April 2022||23 May 2022||21 July 2022|
Appeals for secondary schools
You should submit your appeal form by 31 March 2022. This will ensure that the Panel hears and makes a decision on your appeal before the end of the summer term. If this deadline is missed they may not be heard until September or October.
Appeals for primary schools
You should submit your appeal form by 23 May 2022 to ensure they are heard before the end of the summer term. If this deadline is missed they may not be heard until September or October.
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.
Preparing for a grammar school appeal hearing
Designated grammar schools are permitted to select children for admission on the basis of academic ability and may leave places unfilled if there are insufficient eligible applicants
An appeal panel may be asked to consider an appeal where the appellant believes that the child did not perform at their best on the day of the entrance test. In such cases the panel must only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied:
- that there is evidence to demonstrate that the child is of the required academic standards, for example, school reports giving Year 5/Year 6 SAT results or a letter of support from their current or previous school clearly indicating why the child is considered to be of grammar school ability; and
- where applicable, that the appellant’s arguments outweigh the admission authority’s case that admission of additional children would cause prejudice.
In either case the panel must not devise its own methods to assess suitability for a grammar school place unrelated to the evidence provided for 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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