Detailed guidance on school admission appeals

6. Secondary and primary appeals

The process to appeal for a secondary or primary school (except where the law limits class size) has two stages.

First stage – examining the decision to refuse admission

The panel must consider whether the admissions arrangements (including the area’s coordinated admission arrangements):

  • followed the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, and
  • were correct and impartial.

The panel must then decide whether admitting more children would prejudice, or have a negative effect, on their education and the school’s resources.

Consideration of prejudice

Whilst the panel will look at the school’s published admission number, the admission authority must be able to show the negative impact of admitting above the published admissions number.

The panel must not reassess the capacity of the school. It must consider the impact on the school of admitting additional children.

The panel may consider:

  • the effect of an extra admission on the school now and in future school years as the year group moves through the school
  • any changes to the school buildings or organisation since they set the admission number
  • the impact of the locally agreed Fair Access Protocol
  • the impact on class size and organisation, available teaching staff, and the children already at the school.

Second stage – balancing the arguments

The panel then makes its decision. They balance the impact on the school against your arguments.

The panel must consider your reasons for expressing a preference for the school. This includes what that school can offer your child that the allocated or other schools cannot. If the panel decides that your case outweighs the prejudice to the school it must uphold your appeal.

If there is more than one appeal for the same school and year group, the panel must not compare cases when deciding if a case. They must decide if each case outweighs the prejudice to the school.

If the panel finds more cases outweigh prejudice than the school can admit, then they compare the cases and uphold the strongest cases.

If the school could admit a number of children without causing prejudice, the panel must uphold the appeals of at least that number.

Considering making an appeal?