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, Warrington, WA1 2NH or email the school admissions team.

Appeal dates will be published in time for 2020 applications. The deadline for 2019 appeals has now passed. 

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.

Appeal hearings

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic new regulations (The School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020) have come in to force to allow the appeals process to continue during the period of social distancing in a fair and transparent manner.

During the period whilst the regulations are in force (up to January 2021) the appeals process will be carried out remotely.

Appellants will be contacted 15 working days prior to their appeal date to further outline the process and the options available, with paperwork being dispatched 10 working days in advance of the hearing.

The panel

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

  • 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/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. However, this category of appeal can only be upheld if an Appeal Panel is satisfied:

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

The panel’s decision

The Panel members will make their decision in private. 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.

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 to your circumstances or the school's circumstances.

Further appeal

If you are still unhappy with the appeal decision, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. Visit lgo.org.uk