Detailed guidance on school admission appeals


7. School admissions appeal hearing procedures

The panel decides on the conduct of the hearing and it will be as informal as possible.

What happens at the hearing?

  1. Admission Authority’s representative puts their case, calling any witnesses that the Panel may permit
  2. the panel and parent (or representatives) question the Admission Authority’s representative and witnesses*
  3. parents (or representatives) put their case, calling any witnesses that the Panel may permit
  4. the panel and Admissions Authority representative question the parents, and any witnesses called
  5. the Admission Authority’s representative sums up
  6. parents (or representatives) sum up

*Secondary or primary appeals (where the rules on infant class size law don’t apply) can end here. If the Admission Authority does not prove prejudice the parents appeal is upheld.

This is the normal order of proceedings, but the panel can change the order if they need to.

Sometimes all the appeals in a session or part of a session relate to the same school. The panel may ask the Admission Authority’s representative to give general evidence on their admissions policy to all the parents together. Then they do not need to repeat it each time. The evidence will include reference to the allocations made.

The admission authority will give evidence to show why admitting more pupils over the set number will have a negative effect on how they educate the children or use their resources. For infant class size law cases, this will include the measures they would need to take in order to follow the law that limits infant class sizes to 30 pupils.

The hearing will then follow the order above for the evidence relating to a particular case. Each parent will have the chance to question the Admission Authority representative’s evidence.

Extra information

A panel can adjourn the hearing or hearings for any reason at any time. For example, to enable a parent to attend, to receive significant evidence, or because a panel member is ill.

A panel will hear all, or as many as possible, appeals for the same school before it gives its decisions.

Following the school admission appeals code, hearings are in private. As above, if a panel asks a school with many appeals to give general advice, all the parents will hear it together.

Decisions of the panel

  • The panel will either uphold or dismiss the appeal. It must not uphold an appeal subject to any specific conditions.
  • If the panel disagree, the decision will be the majority of the votes. If there is an equal number the panel Chair will have the final decision.
  • The Clerk will give the decision and the panel’s reasons to the parents and the Admissions Authority.
  • The Admission Authority and school governors must follow the panel’s decision to offer a school place.
  • The Panel’s decision is binding on both the appellant and admission authority.

Clerk to the panel

Each panel has a clerk. The clerk stays with the panel at all times to offer advice on procedure and law or remind them of the evidence and issues.

The clerk keeps notes of the proceedings. They record who was there, voting, all decisions made, and why.

If they need to post admissions documents they will go to the address you gave the Admission Authority when you applied.

Procedures can change at any time if the clerk to the panel gets proper notice.

Considering making an appeal?