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. 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, we will write to you explaining why. The letter will also explain how you can appeal.

For independent advice you should contact or

Appeals timetable

  • Primary school admission appeals must be lodged by 14 May 2018 and will be heard within 40 school days
  • Secondary school admission appeals must be lodged by 29 March 2018 and will be heard within 40 school days
  • In Year transfer appeals must be a written request and will be heard within 30 school days

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 want 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 panel will be made up of three to five members including:

  • At least one lay member who has no personal experience of management in schools
  • 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 (for all church aided schools and academy appeals) will also be there to state the reason for refusal.

Infant class size appeals

If you're appealing for a place for your child in a reception, year 1 or year 2 class, different rules apply to the panel hearing because the class may have reached its legal limit of 30 children.

The panel’s decision

The panel members will make their decision in private and you will be informed of their decision by letter as soon as possible.  If your appeal is successful your child will be awarded a place at the preferred school.

Further appeals

The decision of the panel is final and binding between the admission authority, the school and yourself.  If your appeal is refused no further application can be made for the same school in the same year group unless there is a material change of your or the school's circumstances.

We will be able to give you information on other local schools with available places.

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.

More information

More detailed information is available in our admissions booklets. There is an edition for primary and an edition for secondary admissions.