Detailed guidance on school admission appeals


There may also be unavoidable delays to progressing and hearing school admissions appeals this year for in-year, secondary and primary school places.

We are monitoring government guidance and considering the possible impact of the coronavirus on school appeal related duties.

4. Who will be at the hearing?

The person appealing

You are entitled to appear in person and make oral representations. You may also be accompanied by a friend or adviser. You are also free to have legal representation at admission appeal hearings, but this ought not to be necessary.

You are entitled to call witnesses to speak at the hearing. Please inform the appeal clerk/administrator ahead of the hearing if you do wish to call a witness.

Where required an interpreter or signer who may speak on your behalf can also attend the hearing. Please inform the appeal clerk/administrator when you submit your appeal if you do require an interpreter or signer to assist you.

Independent Appeal Panel

Appeal Panels are independent of the Admission Authority and members volunteer their time to hear school appeals. They must not have any direct connections with the school that is the subject of the appeal. Decisions of Appeal Panels are binding on Admission Authorities. There are three members on a Panel, one of who will be appointed to act as the Panel Chair. Members of Panels must be drawn from one of the following two categories:

  • lay people – someone without personal experience in the management of any school or provision of education in any school (except as a school governor or in another voluntary capacity)
  • people who have experience in education, who are acquainted with educational conditions in the local authority area, or who are parents of registered pupils at a school.

Admission Authority representative

A presenting officer who is responsible for presenting on behalf of the Admission Authority the reasons why your application was refused. The presenting officer should give all relevant information as clearly as possible and without the use of jargon. The presenting officer will need to be prepared to answer detailed questions about the case being heard, the school (including its admission arrangements) and local coordinated admission arrangements, and will need to be present throughout the hearings to be able to do so.

Clerk to the Appeal Panel

The Clerk is not a member of the Panel but has an important part to play in ensuring that all relevant facts are established and that the appeal hearing is conducted in a fair way. The Clerk’s main role at the hearing is to:

  • explain the basic procedure to appellants and deal with any questions they may have before the hearing (the Chair or Clerk, as appropriate, may deal with questions raised during the hearing)
  • be an independent source of advice (or to seek appropriate advice) on procedure, on both the School Admissions and School Admission Appeals Codes, and on the law on admissions, giving any advice in the presence of all parties where practicable
  • ensure that both the appellants and the admission authority have the opportunity to present relevant facts at the hearing. The Clerk’s role is to assist the Panel, admission authority, or the appellants with procedure and obtaining advice where directed by the Chair to do so
  • record the proceedings, attendance, voting outcomes, Panel decisions and reasons in a form that the Panel and Clerk agree is appropriate. All notes and records of proceedings taken by the Clerk are the property of the Panel. Whilst these are not normally available to the parties following the hearing, the notes will be prepared and retained on the basis that they maybe required to be disclosed to the Local Government Ombudsman or are required as part of a court proceeding.

    Considering making an appeal?

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