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Secondary School Admissions National Offer Day

1st March is National Offer day for secondary school placements for September 2023 (Year 7).

We answer frequently asked questions on this deadline, process and appeals.

What is the 01 March deadline?  

If your child is due to start secondary school in September 2023 (in Year 7), Local Authorities must inform you of the name of the secondary school that they have been allocated a place at by 01 March 2023. This does not apply if your child has an EHCP. If they do, please click here for further advice.

Why is the 01 March deadline so important?

This deadline is important for a number of reasons. It will confirm what secondary school placement your child will attend from September 2023, so you can begin to prepare your child for this. It also provides time for you to appeal the decision, if you would like them to attend a different school. So long as your appeal is submitted on time, the appeal will be heard before the end of the academic year, and therefore, in advance of their transfer to secondary school.

What can I do if my child is not allocated any secondary school placement for September 2023?

The 01 March deadline is set out in law, and if a Local Authority does not inform you of the name of the Year 7 secondary school placement allocated by this date, they will be in breach of this law. This can be challenged through either a claim for Judicial Review or a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. You cannot pursue both options and therefore we recommend seeking advice from a specialist education solicitor on which of these would be more appropriate in your case.

From experience we have found that sending the Local Authority a detailed legal letter call a ‘Letter Before Claim’, which is required before you can make a Judicial Review Claim, normally leads to the Local Authority informing the parents of the allocated secondary school placement, and is normally quicker than the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman would consider a complaint.

How do I challenge the allocated secondary school placement if I do not want my child to attend that school?  

When the Local Authority confirm which Year 7 secondary school placement your child has been allocated, they must also inform you of your right of appeal to the an Independent Appeal Panel against this decision. As part of this process you will be given the opportunity to set out your case in writing and to attend a Hearing either in person or virtually. Independent Appeal Panels must follow a two stage process when determining appeals, and you will not normally be told the decision until after the Hearing, when the decision will be communicated to you in writing.

Does it make a difference to my right of appeal if I want my child to attend a Grammar School?

You can still appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel if you would like your child to attend a Grammar School. The Independent Appeal Panel must still follow the two stage process when determining appeals but they will also need to be satisfied that the child is of Grammar School ability.

What help is available?

If you are a parent who has not yet received your child’s secondary school allocation, or if you need assistance with an appeal against this, please get in touch with our specialist education law team who can assist. 

Call us on: 0333 202 7175 or email