General information on school admission appeals
- The appeal panel are completely independent of the school and the council. They comprise a mixture of lay members and those with a background in education (for example teachers or governors, though they will not have connections to the school you are appealing for)
- you are entitled to attend the appeal hearing in person and are given the opportunity to explain your reasons for wanting a particular school. You can bring along a friend or advisor for support, or if you prefer they can present the case on your behalf
- appeal panels are composed of between three and five members. If you object to any of the appeal panel members you are entitled to request that a different appeal panel hears your appeal (please note that this may delay the appeal process whilst new panel members are found)
- the panel cannot consider, nor make judgements on the policies of the Department for Education, or the council, or the admissions criteria of the particular school
- there are no set criteria that appeals panels consider: each case is decided on individual merit. Only exceptional circumstances are likely to lead to a successful appeal
- your grounds should be very specific to the school that you are appealing for, i.e. why is it the only school that can meet your child's needs? If you are citing medical or social reasons for wanting a particular school you are advised to provide documentary proof of the circumstances, otherwise the panel may not take it into consideration when making their decision
- the fact that a school is single sex or has an excellent reputation is unlikely to lead to a successful appeal unless there are additional compelling reasons
- if your appeal is unsuccessful you cannot make a further appeal in the same academic year at the same school, unless there is a significant change in your circumstances, such as a move to a new address closer to the school
- further information on the appeal legislation is available in the the School Admissions and Appeals Code
- the council cannot provide support in preparing your appeal documentation as this would compromise the independent nature of the appeal.
Appeals for an Infant Class (Reception to Year Two)
- Government legislation states that no child in Reception, Year One or Year Two will be taught in a class of more than 30 children, except in very limited circumstances
- The Appeal Panel can only uphold an infant class size appeal where:
it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or
it decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one, which a reasonable Admission Authority would make in the circumstances of the case.
- The threshold for "reasonableness" is very high, as the Appeal Panel will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit a child was "perverse" in the light of the admission arrangements, i.e. it was "beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker" or "a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied their mind to the question could have arrived at it".
Please see the relevant pages for further appeal advice for Community Schools and appeal advice for any other school.