Schools admissions

Appealing a school's decision

You’ll be sent a letter with the decision about your child’s school. 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.

You can’t appeal if your child has been permanently excluded from 2 or more schools within the past 2 years.

Preparing your appeal

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

The admission authority must explain their decision to you if you don’t understand it.

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 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 are legal according to the school admissions code.

  4. The panel must decide if the criteria were followed fairly and thoroughly.

  5. If the criteria weren’t properly followed or are illegal, your appeal must be upheld.

  6. If your appeal has not already been upheld, the panel will decide if your reasons for your child to be admitted outweigh the school’s reasons for not admitting another child.

  7. The panel will send you and the admission authority their decision within 5 school days.

A panel’s decision can only be overturned by a court. If there’s a change in your circumstances which could affect the decision, you may be able to apply again.

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.

You can still appeal if your child would have been offered a place. Your appeal could be successful if:

  • giving your child a place will not increase the class size above the limit
  • the admission arrangements haven’t been properly followed
  • the admission criteria aren’t legal according to the school admissions code
  • the decision to refuse your child a place wasn’t ‘reasonable’ - described in the school admission appeals code