It is not always possible to allocate a place at a parent or carer's preferred school(s). This may be due to the school(s) being oversubscribed or, in the case of a selective grammar school, because your child did not achieve the standard required in the selection tests. An admissions appeal allows you to present your reasons for preferring that particular school to an independent panel who will decide whether your reasons are strong enough to overturn the admission authority's decision. For community and voluntary controlled schools the admission authority is the local authority and in the case of an academy, voluntary aided, foundation or trust school it is the governing body.
If you submit an appeal, you will be informed, by the clerk to the Appeals Panel, when and where your appeal will be heard. At least 7 days in advance of the hearing you will be sent a written summary of the case for refusing your child a place at the school. Your appeal hearing will be held in private and it is recommended you attend your hearing in person if at all possible.
At the hearing there will be 3 panel members who make the decision, a clerk who will record the proceedings and advise on matters of law and procedure, a representative from the admission authority and you as the appellant. The officer from the admission authority will state the case for not meeting your preference and you will be given the opportunity to explain the reasons why you wish your child to attend that particular school. In the first instance the panel will determine whether the admission authority has proved why it cannot admit more children and if so, will go on to consider all the points you have made. The panel's decision is based around balancing the needs of the child against the effect of admitting another child into the school. All admission appeals panels act independently and their decisions are binding on all parties. There is no further right of appeal for a place in the same academic year group unless there is a significant change in your circumstances.
The Local Government Ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration. Further details about this will be provided if your appeal is not upheld.
Infant class size 30 (CS30)
If you are appealing for a place in a reception class, you have a more limited right of appeal because the law states infant class sizes must be restricted to 30 children. In such cases the panel may only uphold your appeal if the admission rules were not administered correctly and your child should have been offered a place, or the decision to refuse a place was not one which a reasonable admission authority would make under the circumstances.