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Appealing a School Place Decision

Today is the day when parents will find out if their child has been given a place at their first choice of secondary school. For most parents this will be a day of relief and joy as they receive confirmation that their child will attend their school of preference from September. However, for some parents it will be a day of upset and stress when their child is not placed in their first choice school.

If you have applied and been refused a place at a school you wanted, you can appeal. You cannot however appeal against the school you have been given.

You’ll be sent a letter or e-mail from your admissions authority with the decision about your child’s school, and will be provided with at least 20 school days to appeal from the date of the letter or e-mail.

The next step is for the admission authority to set up an appeal hearing, which will take place in two stages. The appeal must be heard within 40 school days of the submission deadline and parents must be given 10 school days notice of the hearing date.

The hearing will involve a panel of 3 independent decision makers who will:

  • Look at the admissions criteria to check it complies with the requirements of certain government guidance and legislation;
  • Hear from a representative for the admission authority about how the criteria was applied and why the application was refused;
  • Consider if the admissions criteria were properly applied;
  • Hear from parents as to reasons why the child should be admitted.

Following the meeting, parents will be notified of the panels’ decision within five school days of the last appeal hearing that takes.

Cartwright King Education Solicitor Deborah Robinson has this advice: ‘Every year we hear from lots of parents who are worried about the appeal process and getting things right. The most important thing is to read the paperwork carefully and check the deadlines. You can still submit an appeal late, but risk being heard after the on time appeals have been decided. So don’t leave lodging the appeal until the last minute, in many cases it can be done online and doesn’t have to take too long.

Remember you have an opportunity to submit further information about your appeal later in the process, so it’s important not to get too caught up with capturing every detail when lodging the appeal.

Lots of parents now seek assistance with the process and as specialist lawyers we can help to make sure you’ve put forward the best case possible and also to check that the admissions authority has complied with it’s legal obligations.’

For more information on what you can do to help an appeal for admission, contact Cartwright King on 0808 168 5550 and speak to one of our Education Solicitors. 

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