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School admission appeals

School admission appeals

If your child is refused a place at any school for which you have expressed a preference, you have the right to appeal against the decision to an Independent School Appeals Panel. This applies where the school is community controlled, a faith school or an academy.

How to appeal

If your child is refused a place at any school, you will receive a letter from the Local Authority explaining why you have been refused and giving details of how to appeal the decision.

If you decide to appeal against the decision not to offer your child a place at your preferred school, the request must be made in writing giving details of your reasons for appealing. Requests should be sent to :

Schools Admissions
New Town House
Buttermarket Street

Or alternatively you can email the request to :

Timetable for school appeals

Type of appeal


Appeals Lodged

Appeals to be heard

Year 7 admissions September 2019 (Normal rounds)


By 29 March 2019

After 29 March 2018

Within 40 school days of

Within 40 school days of receipt

Reception Class Admissions September 2019 (Normal rounds)


By 14 May 2019

After 14 May 2019

Within 40 school days

Within 40 school days of receipt

In year Transfer admissions


From date request received

Within 30 school days

Appellants will receive at least 10 school days’ notice of their appeal hearing.

It is expected that all additional evidence in relation to an appeal is submitted five days before the date of the appeal. This is to try and ensure that all parties have time to consider the additional evidence

The appeal hearing

Your case will then go before an Independent Appeals Panel and you'll be invited to the hearing to state your case.  If you don't wish to attend, the panel will base their decision on your written appeal. 

You have the right to be accompanied by a friend or representative at the hearing but it is quite unnecessary to hire a lawyer. 

Before the hearing you might like to make a brief note of what you want to say and any questions you might like to ask the panel.

The panel

The Appeals Panel will be made up of three to five members who fall into these categories:

  1. At least one lay member who has no personal experience of management in schools
  2. At least one member who does have personal experience in education

There will also be a Clerk to the Panel who will advise on any legal issues if necessary and will note the proceedings. The Clerk remains with the panel whilst making a decision but has no part in the decision making.

A representative from the Local Authority (for all community schools appeals) or the school’s Governing Body/Academy Trust (for all church aided and academy schools appeals) will also be there to state their reasons for refusal.

Infant Class Size Appeals

The Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 require that from September 2001 no five, six or seven year old in an infant class at a maintained school will be in a class of more than 30 pupils.  If your preference for a primary school is refused because the class has reached its statutory limit, you will be given the right of appeal but this category of appeal can only be upheld if an Appeal Panel is satisfied:-

  1. that the decision was not one which a reasonable admission authority would make in the circumstances of the case; or
  2. that the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented.

For more information on Infant Class Size appeals please see our Information for Parents about Infant Class Size Appeals [pdf]

The panel’s decision

The Panel members will make their decision in private and you and the school will be informed of their decision by letter within five school days.  For ‘batch’ appeals in relation to the normal round of admission, it will be five school days after the final appeal for the school is heard.

The decision of the panel is final and binding between the Local Authority, the school and yourself. 

 If your appeal is successful your child will be awarded a place at the preferred school and you will be asked to contact the school to arrange a start date for your child.

If your appeal is unsuccessful no further appeal can be made for the same school in the same year group unless there has been a material change of your or the school's circumstances.

However, if you lose the appeal and you think your case has been dealt with unfairly or unlawfully, you have the right to contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Local Authority will be able to give you information on other local schools with available places.

Further information and advice

Coram Legal Services website

Advisory Centre for Education website