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Appealing a School Admissions Decision

Are you a parent waiting to see if your child has been offered a place at your preferred school? Or have you just found out that your application for your preferred school was unsuccessful? Are you anxious about what happens next? If so, read on for a selection of our top tips regarding how to deal with an unsuccessful school application.

For children moving into secondary school, decisions are usually announced on 1st March every year. For those moving into infant and junior schools (primary) the decisions are usually announced on 16th April every year.

If you have been unsuccessful in an application for a move part way through the school year, an in year transfer, see our article form last year about the process, as well our top tips below relating to dealing with an unsuccessful application.

1 – Read the decision carefully (usually sent by e- mail or letter)

This will contain important information such as the school at which your child has been offered a place, how waiting lists are administered, how to appeal and when to appeal.

2 – Accept the place you have been offered

Even if you are not happy with the school your child has been offered, accept the place. What happens if you appeal and don’t win, but have rejected the place you were offered? Then your child could potentially be without a place at any school at all.

3 – Get on the waiting list for your preferred school(s)

In most cases this will happen automatically but in some cases you will need to ask to be included. Do this straight away. It does not matter if you will also be appealing the decision, your child can still be on the waiting list for your preferred school.

4 – Register your appeal

You will be entitled to appeal the decision to an Independent Appeal Panel. Your decision correspondence will tell you how to do this. Sometimes this will be administered by the school directly and sometimes by the local authority. So, check who to appeal to, how to appeal and what the deadline is. Remember, you are permitted to submit additional information to support the appeal later, so try to focus on including the main reasons for your appeal on the initial appeal form and getting it submitted on time. Also, you can submit multiple appeals for different schools if you have been unsuccessful in applying for more than one.

5 – Seek legal advice and help

If you are feeling overwhelmed with appealing, simply don’t have the time to manage an appeal or just want your appeal to be the best it can be, then seek help.

Here at Cartwright King we have a team of education lawyers who can assist you with your appeal. We offer a variety of affordable packages, the details of which can be found by clicking here. We hope that you all get an admissions decision you are happy with, but if not, remember all is not lost. Please contact us to discuss how we can help.

If you would like information or advice in relation to appealing a school admissions decision please call our Education Law team here.

Note: This information does not apply to those pupils with an EHCP. For information about how we can help you appeal against an EHCP placement decision click here.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.