School admission appeals

If you are refused a place at any school you have the right to appeal.

The Government recently made some temporary changes to school admissions appeals due to coronavirus. You can read the full guidance on the GOV.UK website.

How to appeal

The way your appeal is handled will depend on the type of school you applied to. If you are not sure, please use Norfolk Schoolfinder to check.

If you applied to an academy, free school, voluntary aided or foundation school you must contact the headteacher of that school. The school will send you a form so that you can give your reasons for requesting a place there.

If you applied to a voluntary controlled school or community school contact our admissions team for an appeals form.

When the appeal hearing will take place

For transfers to secondary school, transfers to junior school and first admissions, the appeal hearing will take place within 40 school days after the final date for lodging appeals.

If you applied to change schools during the school year and the application was refused, the appeal hearing will take place within 30 school days of the date you lodged your appeal.

Before the appeal hearing

You will receive a written summary of the case for refusing your child a place before the hearing.

We will tell you when and where the appeal will be heard 14 days before the hearing.

Your appeal will be heard in private. You can bring a friend, relative or representative if you would like to. You can also decide whether to bring your child to the hearing or not.

You should try to come to the hearing in person, but the panel will consider a written appeal case if you decide not to attend.

The appeal hearing

At the moment, hearings can be in person, by telephone, video conference or in writing.

At the hearing there are usually three panel members who make the decision. The panel members are volunteers and are independent of the school and the local authority.

There will also be a clerk who will record the proceedings and advise on law and procedure.

The school will be represented by a presenting officer who will give the reasons for refusing your child a place.

The panel will firstly decide whether the admission authority has shown why it cannot admit more children. If they agree that the case has been made, they will then consider all the points you have made. You will be given opportunity to explain to the panel why you want your child to go to the school.

The panel’s decision is based on balancing the needs of your child against the effect of admitting another child to the school.

After the hearing

Wherever possible we’ll tell you the decision by email by the next working day. We’ll also send you a letter within seven days explaining the decision and reasons for it.

Decisions of the appeal panel are binding on both the parents and the school.

You have no further right of appeal 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.

If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may decide you want to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Read more about how to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.