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Making your appeal for a community or voluntary controlled school

Temporary suspension of school admission appeals

Following the recent government announcements around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the closure of schools we have temporarily suspend appeal panel hearings. Scheduled school admission appeals will no longer go ahead on the day planned.

We are awaiting further guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) about how education appeals are to be administered at this time. If you lodge an appeal, we will contact you with a date as soon as we are able to.

Parents, carers or guardians for pupils with appeals for academies, foundation, diocesan managed schools, free schools and studio schools should contact the individual school concerned.

Things to consider before you appeal 

You must state the ‘grounds’ on which your appeal is based you need to state your reasons why you feel the decision that was made to refuse entry was not correct. You should also state any other grounds that you wish the independent appeal panel to take into consideration. 

Grounds for appeal

In appeals other than infant class size appeals (see below) you should consider either whether you have grounds to:

  • Substantiate that the Admissions Authority’s admission arrangements do not comply with the mandatory requirements of the Schools Admissions Code (February 2012) and Part three of the School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998
  • that these arrangements have not been correctly and impartially applied, and had they been your child would have been admitted to your preferred school
  • that you can demonstrate that the prejudice (disadvantage) that your child will experience as a consequence of not being admitted to your preferred school exceeds the prejudice to the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources that would result were your child to be admitted to your preferred school

You should consider when preparing your appeal whether to include copies of any supporting documentation. These are some examples of documentation that might support or corroborate statements in your appeal:

  • letters or statements from doctors, other health professionals or social workers stating why your child must attend this particular school (professional evidence should be provided by an individual who is suitably qualified to give a professional opinion on the medical or social circumstances)

In circumstances where a change of address is relevant to your appeal, evidence confirming your change of address should be provided.

All supporting documentation must be provided at least seven days before the appeal.  If you submit additional information during the appeal, the presenting officer from the Local Authority may seek an adjournment from the independent appeal panel.  In certain circumstances this might require the hearing to be re-scheduled for a later date.

Appeals involving infant class sizes (reception, year one and year two classes)

There are separate and different rules for appeal which involve limiting infant class sizes to a maximum of 30 pupils being taught by one teacher. Any admissions which would increase a class to more than 30 pupils would require what are called ‘qualifying measures’.

When the Local Authority can show to an appeal panel that any further admissions would require ‘qualifying measures’ your appeal could can only be successful (upheld) if the appeals panel decided that:

  • your child could be admitted without ‘qualifying measure’ such as organising an extra class, appointing another teacher, providing an additional classroom or introducing or extending a mixed age group teaching having to be taken
  • the admission arrangements for the community or voluntary controlled school do not comply with admissions law and  had they been compliant your child would have been offered a place at  the school (School Admissions Code (February 2012) and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998
  • a mistake had been made in the allocation of a place according to the admissions criteria which had deprived your child of a place and if the criteria had been applied correctly your child would have received the place
  • the decision to refuse admission was ‘unreasonable’ in the circumstances of the case. ‘Unreasonable’ as defined by the Courts is construed as being perverse or irrational and is a very high threshold for an appeal to be successful

Appeals process

The team will acknowledge receipt of your appeal form and will send this and any documentation to Democratic Services who will make the necessary arrangements for the appeal. We will notify of the date, time and venue for the hearing, this will be sent to you ten school days before the hearing.

A copy of your documents will also be provided to the Local Authority presenting officer, who, together with the school, will prepare a written response to your appeal.

Your appeal form and all your additional documents, together with the response from the Local Authority presenting officer, will be sent to you by Democratic Services no later than seven school days before the hearing.  The independent appeal panel will also be sent the same information.

Following the hearing, the outcome of your appeal will be sent to you by Democratic Services within five school days.

Make an appeal online

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