Your right to appeal

Choosing your child’s school can be a difficult decision for you to make. By law, if we refuse your child a place at the school or schools you prefer, you can appeal against the decision (unless your child has been permanently excluded from two schools). Please note that you can normally only appeal for the same school once in each academic year.

How do I appeal?

If you have not been offered your preferred school, you can appeal against the decision. Please read all the information provided on:

Does this process apply to children who are statemented?

If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) you cannot use this appeal process. You must appeal to the Special Needs Tribunal. Please contact the Special Education Needs Service.

Appeals process

  • Appeals are heard by an independent appeal panel of three to five members of the public.
  • The panellists appointed to decide these appeals are volunteer members of the public, some of whom may have experience in education.

When will my appeal be heard?

  • Your appeal will be heard within 40 school days of your appeal from being received.
  • You will receive a letter advising you of the date and time of your appeal at least 10 school days before the appeal hearing unless you have agreed to waive the 10 school days’ notice on your appeal form; you will also receive a copy of your case history together with your appeal form and the authority’s case.
  • With regard to appeals to be considered in the second and subsequent rounds, your appeal will be heard within 30 school days of your appeal form being received.
  • If you wish to provide any additional documents, information and/or evidence to the panel to support your case please do so at least three working days before your appeal if possible. Should you submit additional information, which the panel thinks may be significant, too close to the hearing date or on the day, the panel may need to defer your case to enable them and the Children’s Services representative time to study the papers. This is important because they will want to come to a fair decision based on a full understanding of all the information.
  • In-year admissions (for all year groups except new Reception applications or Secondary Transfer applications)
  • Hearings will be held within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged for applications made outside the timetabled admissions process.

Sixth form admissions

  • Please contact the school directly that you wish to appeal for
  • Hearings will be held within 40 days of the appeal being lodged

What happens at the hearing?

There are three steps to the appeal hearing:
  1. the admissions representative will explain to the appeals panel why your application has been turned down
  2. if the panel decides that there was a good reason for turning down your application, you will still have a chance to give your reasons for appealing against the decision.
  3. your child will be awarded a place at the school if the panel finds your case to be the stronger. If not, the decision not to offer your child a place will be upheld.

The appeal decision

  • The panel will let you and the admissions team know of their decision by post within five school days.
  • The panel's decision is binding on the Authority.

Complaining about the appeals process

If you are unhappy about the way the appeals process was carried out, please contact The Local Government Ombudsman.

Useful Information (Primary Only)

Infant classes

By law the maximum number for infant classes is 30. Admission applications can be refused if all of the schools' infant classes have reached the legal limit.

The panel is only allowed to look at whether:

  • the child would have been offered a place if the admissions arrangements had been properly implemented
  • a place would have been offered if the arrangements had not been contrary to criteria set out in the School Admissions Code
  • the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admissions team would have made in the circumstances of the case.
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