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Independent Appeals Panel Complaints

Admission Appeals

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If your appeal to the Independent Appeals Panel (IAP) contesting a decision to refuse your child a place at a school for which you applied is rejected, you can turn to Cartwright King for informed advice about making a complaint against the IAP. We can help determine if you have grounds to complain and formulate an action plan.

For frank advice on whether making a complaint against the Independent Appeals Panel is worthwhile, get in touch with our dedicated Education Law team now.

How Cartwright King Can Help with IAP Complaints

Cartwright King offers fixed fee services [more information below] to facilitate a complaint against the IAP. If your appeal is yet to be heard by the IAP, we can represent you at the hearing that will take place to consider your case. We can help with:

  • Determining whether you have been treated unfairly and not in accordance with the School Admissions Appeal Code
  • Advice on making a complaint against the IAP to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) or the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) 
  • Taking the matter to judicial review if necessary

Benefit from a Free, Initial Telephone Conversation

If you’re considering an Independent Appeals Panel complaint, benefit from a free, initial telephone call with a Cartwright King Education Lawyer. Explaining your situation to a specialist will help you understand what options are available to you, allowing you to formulate a plan of action.

There really is no substitute for speaking to a specialist solicitor to ensure that you’re properly informed about what making a complaint involves and the likely outcomes.

For immediate action, call us or email us for your free* initial discussion. 

The discussion is completely informal and confidential, and is an opportunity for us to:

  • Get to know you 
  • Understand your situation
  • Agree how you want to proceed

Why Choose Cartwright King for IAP Complaints?

We understand that you want what’s best for your child and a decision to refuse them a school place can be angering and frustrating. Our established Education Lawyers offer a calm, collected approach to your case to ensure that your complaint is understood, heard and fairly acted upon.

Our pro-active, advisory approach ensures that your complaint is made rationally and properly presented to ensure that fairness prevails.

We listen, we understand and we genuinely care about getting the best outcome for you and your child. Navigating education issues alone can be infuriating, which is why we will give you the support you need and stand up for your rights.

Having a law firm on your side that really understands what’s at stake for you, means that you can trust that we’ll do everything we can to ensure that your complaint is carefully considered.

Our advice is backed by experience of dealing with many complaints against the IAP. You can trust our advice and experience to give you a voice and ensure fair treatment.

Our specialist Education Law team goes above and beyond to give you the support you need, for added peace of mind that your case is in good hands.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top tier law firm with specialist solicitors committed to defending your legal rights and doing everything we can to secure the right outcome for you and your child. When you need us most, our Education Lawyers rise to the challenge.

Legal Fees

Cartwright King offers two, fixed-fee packages to keep you in control of your legal costs, including:

Package 1 – ESFA or LGO Complaint – £400 plus VAT

This package includes: An Education Lawyer to provide legal advice and to draft and submit your complaint in respect of one IAP decision where Cartwright King dealt with the originating admissions appeal. 

You must have purchased our Admissions Appeals packges A, B or C for the same appeal in the same school year to qualify for this reduced rate.

Package 2 – ESFA or LGO Complaint – £500 plus VAT

This package includes: An Education Lawyer to provide legal advice and to draft and submit your complaint in respect of one IAP decision where Cartwright King did not deal with the originating admissions appeal

For more information on legal fees, get in touch with our Education Law team today.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is the government agency responsible for investigating complaints about IAPs for academies, free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools.

Complaints to the ESFA should only be made in instances where you believe the IAP/Admissions Authority did not act in accordance with the School Admissions Appeals Code.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) can investigate complaints into local authority schools such as community, voluntary-aided and voluntary-controlled schools and nursery schools.

Complaints to the LGO can only be considered after an IAP has taken place and was not successful. Complaints should only be made where you believe that the IAP or Admissions Authority did not act in accordance with the School Admissions Appeals Code.

It is to be noted that the ESFA and LGO are not responsible for investigating complaints into independent (private) schools.

The ESFA or LGO can consider complaints where the Admissions Authority or IAP has done something wrong in the way it dealt with an application or appeal, or that did not follow the procedures set out in the School Admissions Appeal Code 2012.
Complaints made about any of the following can be investigated:

The Admissions Authority failed to apply the admissions criteria properly or fairly
The IAP did not follow the correct procedure as stated in the School Admissions Appeals Code
The IAP did not take into account relevant information, or took into account irrelevant information
The admissions appeal decisions letter received following the IAP hearing did not provide clear reasoning for their decision
The IAP did not act fairly or independently
The IAP was not set up in accordance with the School Admissions Appeals Code
You were not provided with the opportunity to state the case clearly without unreasonable interruption

Where merit is found in the complaint, the ESFA or LGO may request the following:

Ask the Admissions Authority to hold a fresh appeal with a different IAP
Ask the Admissions Authority to offer a place to the child in question (this is only considered in very limited situations where it is clear the criteria have been wrongly applied, denying the child a place at the school as a result)
Recommend the Admissions Authority reviews the appeals procedure so the issue does not arise with future parents, guardians and children

You may be able to apply to the High Court for a judicial review. However, strict deadlines apply when referring your case for a judicial review. If you want to refer your case for judicial review, please get in touch with a Cartwright King Education Lawyer for informed advice and representation.