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Secondary School Admissions appeals 2022

The transition from primary to secondary school should be an exciting opportunity for children and their parents. However, for those who have been refused their chosen school it can instead be a stressful experience. Fortunately, there is a procedure in place to help these parents.

Earlier today you should have received notification from your local authority as to exactly which school your child will be attending. If you did not get the school you wanted or you want to challenge the decision, you should also be informed of the appeals procedure. It is very important to note that you typically have 20 school days from when you receive the decision to lodge the appeal. 

Parental preference and the 2 tests

Under s.86 (2) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, each parent has the right of parental preference to choose which school their child will attend. However, s.86 (3) (a) of the same act provides that this parental preference does not exist if compliance with the preference would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources. This means that a school can refuse your child’s placement if they are full or over capacity.

The admissions appeals procedure is governed by the admissions appeal code, which is statutory guidance which dictates how schools and local authorities should govern the appeal proceedings. The appeals code provides 2 tests which appeals panels should consider in order to uphold the decision.

The first of these is to examine whether the school and the local authority have followed the admissions process properly or whether there has been a procedural error. If there has and the admission of the child would not prejudice the education or use of resources, then the appeal must be upheld.

If the first test fails then the panel must then proceed to the second test. This has the panel balancing the potential prejudice to the School versus the Applicants argument for the prejudice their child will face if not admitted. There is no limited list of grounds, and as such anything can be considered by the panel. The applicant will succeed here if they can establish that the impact on their child not attending will be greater than the impact on efficient education or use of resources if they do.

After your appeal has been lodged and your arguments and evidence submitted, the appeal must be heard by an independent appeals panel within 40 school days of the deadline for making an appeal. You can take support in the form of friends to the hearing should you wish, or you can instruct legal professionals to act on your behalf.

How we can help

It cannot be understated the impact that the right school can have on your child’s education. If you or someone you know would like help appealing the admission decision of a local authority, please feel free to get in touch. Our education law solicitors are specialists in our field with years of experience and we can help you to get the best possible outcome for your case. 

If you would like to discuss your matter further, please feel free to contact us on 0333 202 7175 or send us an enquiry through our website. Please note we do not have a legal aid contract and so unfortunately will not be able to act in legal aid cases.