School admission appeals

If the request is refused parents have the right of appeal to an independent panel. Appeals are heard by school admission appeals panels which act independently of the school. If the preference is refused, information about how to appeal will be sent to parents with a refusal letter.

Parents will be told ten school days in advance when and where the appeal will be heard. Within a reasonable time in advance of the appeal parents will be sent a written summary of the case for refusing their child a place. Parents are encouraged to attend the appeal in person. The appeal will be heard in private and if parents wish they may bring a friend, relative or representative. It is for the parent to decide if they would like to bring their child to the hearing. If parents do not attend the appeal hearing, a written appeal case will still be considered by the panel.

At the hearing there will be three panel members who make the decision and a clerk who will record the proceedings and advise on law and procedure. The school will also be represented by a Presenting Officer who will give the reasons for not meeting the preference. Parents will be given the opportunity to explain to the panel the reasons why they wish for their child to attend the school.

The panel will firstly decide whether the admission authority has shown why it cannot admit more children and if so, will go on to consider all the points parents have made. The panel’s decision is based on balancing the needs of the child against the effect of admitting another child. Wherever possible parents will be told the decision by email by the next working day and a letter will be sent within seven days explaining the decision and reasons for it.

All admission appeals panels act independently and their decisions are binding on everyone. There is no further right of appeal to the panel for a place in the same academic year unless there is a significant change in circumstances. This would include a new medical problem or a house move where this was not known about and considered at the original appeal hearing.

The Local Government Ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration. Parents will be given further details about this if the appeal is unsuccessful. Parents should complain to the Ombudsman within twelve months of when they first knew about the matter they wished to complain about.