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Secondary School Admission Appeals

Published: 7th March 2011 13:23

Appealing a Secondary School Admission Place.


 March 1st is the day that many parents of children going to secondary school in September will have been dreading. Has your child been offered a place at one of your preferred secondary schools?

If not, the most important thing is don't panic.

If your child is not offered a place at your preferred school the next step is to appeal to an independent appeal panel against the decision.

You will find details of how to make an appeal in the local authority's admission letter outlining the offer you have been made. The letter will also specify a deadline that you must meet if you want to appeal. In some areas, you may be able to submit your appeal online.

Appeals are heard by an independent appeal panel of three to five members of the public. You can only make one appeal for each school that does not offer a place. If more than one school declines to admit your child, you can make separate appeals.

Appeals for on-time applications (decisions sent on national offer day) must be heard by 6 July. If 6 July falls on a weekend then it must be heard on the next working day. 

There are three steps to the appeal process.

Step one

The admission authority's representative explains to the appeal panel the reasons for turning down your application.

The panel must first consider whether the schools published admission arrangements comply with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code. They must also decide if they were correctly applied in the individual's case.

Step two

If the panel decides there was good reason for turning down your application, you will still have the chance to state why you are appealing against the decision. You will be able to:

  • Explain why you believe that the school would be the best place for your child
  • Tell the panel about any special circumstances that might justify your child being awarded a place
  • Submit additional evidence or documentation that might be relevant to your appeal, like a medical note from a doctor to support an application on the basis of social or medical need

Step three

If the panel decides that your case is the stronger, it will uphold your appeal and your child will be awarded a place at the school. If it finds that the admission authority's case is stronger, it will uphold the decision not to offer your child a place.

The panel's decision is binding - both on you and on the school's admission authority, and can only be overturned by the courts.

The panel will let you and the admission authority know by post within seven days. If your appeal is successful your child will be offered a place at school. If you are unsuccessful you can put your child's name on a waiting list.

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