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The Appeal Process

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 16 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Nursery Primary Secondary Grammar

The appeal process is something that many parents are now finding themselves having to deal with as the number of school places becomes fewer and the number of children wanting them becomes higher.

Many Local Education Authorities will reject thousands of applications, during the course of a year, from parents trying to place their children at a particular school or schools and this can be for a variety of different reasons.

Code of Practice

Back in April 1999 the Department of Education and Employment (now known as the Department of Education and Skills) introduced a standard code of practice, which sets out procedures to be used by the Admissions Authorities in the United Kingdom for use when allocating places for children at schools. The code covers all admissions from nursery school right up to grammar school placements.

This Code of Practice is the benchmark to which all local education authorities must adhere when allocating places and as such it makes provisions for appealing against a decision made by a Local Education Authority.

Appealing

If you are unhappy with the decision of your local education authority you have the right to appeal this decision and as such there is a particular process to be followed in order to do so.If a place is awarded on the basis of an appeal then the place is in addition to existing places at the school where the place has been awarded.

When making your appeal you are required to make it to an Independent Appeal Panel who will review the case on its individual merits and decide if the local education authority has a case to answer. If it does think this is the case then a place may be awarded but if it feels there are insufficient grounds, it may reject your appeal.

The appeal process is conducted in relation to the Codes of Practice mentioned earlier in this article and as such is structured out in a particular manner. This includes making your formal appeal appearing before the independent panel, should they see fit and then hearing evidence from the local education authority as to why they think their decision to reject your application is justified.

Normally this is carried out in an informal manner and representation can be made by yourself – or by someone acting on your behalf – as to why you feel your chosen school is right for your child and also why you feel that place should be allocated.

Initially if you feel you have grounds for an appeal you should contact your local education authority and they will issue you with an appeal form – along with a date by which the form should be filled in and returned. The form will normally be sent to you with 14 days of your initial appeal request and they will specify a date as to the form’s return.

You should also be aware that this date is purely for administrative purposes and does not constitute a deadline for an appeal itself but a delay in returning this documentation can slow the appeals process down somewhat.

Typically, grounds for appeal may range from the fact the school is in your catchment area but no place was available, there may be health or special needs implications, your child may have friends already at the school – or indeed siblings – or if the school holds specialist status your child may have an ability in its specialist subjects which have been overlooked. Of course this is just a general overview; there are many varied reasons as to why an LEA may reject an application.

But before you begin your appeal you must ensure – where possible – that your grounds for appeal are justified.

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I have appealed for 3 different schools in the same area.The Local Authority has scheduled these appeals to be heard one after the other on the same day with the same panel.Is this an acceptable practice,
Trev - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:30 AM
if your child has not been offered any of her 3 choices .we put in a late application for a totally different schoolto be turned down again .The head teacher said he will override this and take her can he do this ?
Liz - 8-Jun-15 @ 11:09 PM
@Nana Chris - as specified in the article, in 1999 the Department of Education and Employment (now known as the Department of Education and Skills) introduced a standard code of practice, which sets out procedures to be used by the Admissions Authorities in the United Kingdom for use when allocating places for children at schools. The code covers all admissions from nursery school right up to grammar school placements. Therefore, her school should have offered a valid reason why she did not get a place and the decision to refuse her a place must be 'reasonable'. The Coram Children's Legal Centre may be able to offer you some free advice, see link here. I hope this helps.
GetTheRightSchool - 5-Mar-15 @ 12:27 PM
May I explain the situation to you and then ask you if you think I have a valid reason to appeal and if you think it stands a chance of being successful. My Granddaughter,Brooke,has worked hard all through primary school and was placed top of the school in their mock SATS with a score of 95%. We requested she went on to Ian Ramsey School to continue her education. She lives in the catchment area for this school and along with her grades, we felt she would be accepted and indeed be an asset to the school. However we have now been told she has been denied this place and she will have to attend Northshore Academy in Norton. I can't tell you how upset she is. She is querying why did she work so hard to end up at one of the worst schools in the area. She is a very clever, bright little girl but quite shy and timid. Her friends are going to Ian Ramsey and one of them lives next to Northshore and gotpoorer grades than Brooke but because she goes to church once a fortnight with her Nan, she has secured a place at Ian Ramsey. How can that be right or fair?. I am so worried Brooke will go 'off track' if she ends up at Northshore where she will mix with children with attitude and behaviour problems. I would be very grateful if you think we have a valid appeal or if there are any other points we could emphasise to increase our chances. Kind regards
Nana Chris - 4-Mar-15 @ 7:00 PM
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