Guide: School admission appeals

How will the appeal be conducted?

There are two types of appeals. If you are appealing for a place for your child in year groups 3–11 your appeal will follow the two-stage process explained below.

If your appeal is for year groups R (reception), 1 and 2 the process is different. This process is explained in the next section about infant school appeals.

The order of proceedings for a two-stage appeal will be as follows:

Stage one (about the school’s circumstances)

  • The presenting officer will explain why they did not offer you a place at your preferred school.
  • The panel, yourself and any other parents appealing may question the representative on what has been said and/or you may state a case for allowing further admissions to the year group in general.
  • The panel decides whether there was a good reason for turning down the application (the phrase sometimes used is ‘whether the admissions would be prejudicial to the efficient education or efficient use of resources’). An example might be where the school had very small classrooms and could not fit your child in without making the space too cramped for good teaching and learning.
  • You, any other parents appealing and the presenting officer will be asked to leave the room while the panel decides whether there can be further admissions.

If the panel decides that the school is not full and more children might be admitted then the hearing will not go on any longer. If yours is the only appeal your child will be admitted. Where there are a number of appeals for the same school, the hearing may be adjourned to consider which children should be admitted (taking into account admissions criteria and other factors). If your child still cannot be admitted the hearing will continue with stage two.

Stage two (about your circumstances)

  • If the panel does decide there was a good reason for refusing your application, it will begin the second stage of the appeal, where the panel hears your case (in the absence of other parents), to consider why you are appealing against the decision. You can mention all the reasons why you believe that school would be the best for your child, and any special factors relating to your child (even though the panel will have agreed that there was a good reason for refusing the place). The reasons can include social, education or medical reasons. It would be helpful to the panel if you could provide letters or reports supporting your case in advance.
  • The panel and presenting officer may question you on what you have said about your personal circumstances and the reasons for admitting your child.
  • Both you and the presenting officer will be asked to sum up your case.
  • If the appeal hearing reaches the second stage, all parents appealing for a preferred school must be interviewed individually before any final admission decisions are made.