Schools admissions

Appealing a school's decision

You’ll be sent a letter with the decision about your child’s school. If your child is refused a place, you can appeal against the decision. The letter will tell you how.

You must appeal against each rejection separately. You can only appeal once against each rejection.

If your child does not have a school place, you can contact your local council to find places in your area.

Preparing your appeal

The admission authority for the school must allow you at least 20 school days to appeal from when they send the decision letter.

The admission authority will set a deadline for submitting information and evidence to support your appeal. If you submit anything after the deadline, it might not be considered and may result in delays to your hearing.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre may be able to give you advice about appeals.

When the hearing will be

The admission authority must give you at least 10 school days’ notice of the hearing.

Appeals must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for making an appeal.

What happens at the appeal hearing

There’s a panel of 3 or more people at the appeal hearing. The panel must be independent and must follow the school admission appeals code.

  1. The admission authority will explain why they turned down your application.

  2. You’ll be able to give your own reasons why your child should be admitted.

  3. The appeals panel must decide if the school’s admission criteria were properly followed and comply with the school admissions code.

  4. If the criteria were not properly followed or do not comply with the school admissions code your appeal must be upheld.

  5. If your reasons for your child to be admitted outweigh the school’s reasons for not admitting any more children at all, your appeal will be upheld.

  6. You will usually be sent the decision within 5 school days.

Appeals for infant classes

You need to go through the same process if you’re appealing a decision about an infant class. In reception, year 1 and year 2, the class size is limited to 30. Your application can be turned down if all the classes already have 30 children.

Your appeal could be successful if:

  • giving your child a place will not increase the class size above the limit
  • the admission arrangements have not been properly followed
  • the admission criteria do not comply with the school admissions code
  1. Step 1 Find out if you can get help with childcare costs

  2. and Find where you can get childcare

  3. Step 2 Get help paying for childcare

    You can get help with childcare costs for children under 18. You might be able to apply for:

    You could also get free hours childcare when your child is aged 2 to 4. You might be able to apply for:

    You can only get childcare vouchers if you have already joined a scheme.

    1. Check the rules for childcare vouchers
  4. Step 3 Check what to do if your circumstances change

    Tell government straight away if your circumstances change and you're getting:

    If you're getting 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare you have to confirm if your details are up to date every 3 months.

    1. Sign into your childcare account to find out when you next have to check your details

    Your eligibility for support with childcare costs might also change.

    1. Check if your eligibility for help with childcare costs has changed
  5. Step 4 Check what to do when your child reaches school age

    Your child starts primary school the September after they turn 4.

    1. Apply for a primary school place
    2. Find before and after school and holiday clubs

    You might be able to use help like tax credits or Tax-Free Childcare to pay for childcare like wraparound care, after school clubs or other activities.