Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 appeals - Guidance notes for parents and carers
School admissions appeal - Key Stages 2,3,&4/Year Groups 3-11
Parental Preference and Statutory Right of Appeal
Section 86 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires admission authorities to meet any preference expressed by parents as to the school they wish their child to attend.
However, Section 86 also states that any such preference need not be met if to do so would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.
Under Section 94 of the 1998 Act you have a right of appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel if your child is refused admission to your preferred school. Your appeal must be made in writing on the designated appeal form. To request an appeal form, please complete the form at the back of these guidance notes and return it to the address as shown on the form.
Please note that if your child has been permanently excluded from two or more schoolsin the last two years then the law does not allow you to appeal against a school which decides not to admit him/her for a period of two years from the last permanent exclusion.
The Independent Appeal Panel
Appeal Panels are constituted in accordance with Schedule 24 of the 1998 Act. Panels consist of three members who fall into one of two categories – lay members and non-lay members. Panels must always include one member from each category with the third being from either category. Lay members are people without personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school whilst non-lay members are people with experience in education who are acquainted with educational conditions in the area or who are the parent of a registered pupil in a school
- Notification of the Hearing
You must be notified of the date, time and place where the appeal will be held at least 10 school days before the hearing. However, if you appeal late and there is a hearing already arranged for your preferred school in less than 10 days from the receipt of your appeal form, you can request for your appeal to be included at the hearing by waiving your right to the 10 days notice. To do this, complete and sign section 5 of your appeal form.
- Preparing for your hearing
The admission authority is required to provide a written statement explaining the admissions arrangements and how they were applied and the reasons for the decision to refuse admission. This statement must be supplied in advance of the hearing. At least seven working days before the appeal you will receive a pack containing the admission authority’s statement, together with a copy of your own appeal form and any supporting documentation you may have submitted. This same pack is also sent to the appeal panel members and the admissions authority. You are very strongly advised to attend the hearing in person to present your case, as it helps the appeal panel to be able to talk to parents/carers. If you do not wish to attend, or are unable to, the Panel will deal with your case based on the written evidence on your appeal form and any supporting documents you have submitted.
You may be accompanied by a friend or be represented by someone (including legal representation if you wish, though this is not normally necessary or appropriate). If you do intend to be represented you should advise the Clerk to the hearing in writing in advance. Please note that friends or representatives attending the hearing cannot be a member of the local authority, admission authority, school concerned or a local elected politician as this may lead to a conflict of interests and place undue pressure on the Panel. It is not normally appropriate for the children who are the subject of an appeal to attend the hearing.
The Appeal Panel hearing will be as informal as possible and the proceedings will be based on the principles of fairness and impartiality in accordance with the School Admissions Appeal Code. The Chair of the Appeal Panel will introduce the proceedings and explain the procedures for the hearing. The hearing will follow a distinct two-stage process:
- Stage One – Establishing the Facts
In Stage one, the admissions authority presents its case to the Appeal Panel as to why it believes the admission of any more children to your preferred school would adversely affect (prejudice) the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources. The authority has to show not only that the school is full but how the admission of a further child would cause such prejudice. In a multiple appeal (i.e. more than one set of parents/carers are appealing) all parents/carers will be present together for Stage one.
The Panel may ask questions throughout the admission authority presentation but parents will only be allowed to ask questions once the presentation has been completed. Questions from parents at this stage should only relate to the information provided in the admission authority’s presentation and should not include the issue of why you want you child to attend the school in question.
After all questions have been asked and the admission authority has summed up its case, all parties are required to leave the room to allow the panel to discuss whether or not it is satisfied that the admission authority has proved that further admissions would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient education or the efficient use of resources.
If the Appeal Panel is not satisfied that the admission authority has made its case, your appeal must be allowed and the hearing will end there and your child will be admitted to the school. However, if the Appeal Panel is satisfied that the admissions authority has proved that the school is “full”, then the hearing will proceed to Stage two.
- Stage Two – Balancing the Arguments
This is your opportunity to put you case to the Appeal Panel as to why your child should be admitted to the school. Only you and the admissions authority representative will be present with the Panel at this stage. In a multiple appeal all other parents/carers will be asked to leave the room during the presentation of your case so that your individual reasons are heard in confidence.
The Panel may ask you questions during your presentation. The admissions authority representative will have an opportunity to ask you questions only when you have finished your presentation. Once all questions have been asked, you will be given the chance to sum up your case. After this your appeal ends and you will be told when and how you will be informed of the Panel’s decision.
The Appeal Panel Decision and Notification
The decision of the Independent Appeal Panel is final and binding on the admissions
authority and will be notified to you and the admissions authority in writing, by the Clerk
to the Panel, as soon as possible after the hearing and normally within five school days.
You will not be told the Panel’s decision on the day of the hearing.
In coming to its decision, the Appeal Panel must balance the opposing arguments and
decide whether the strengths of your reasons for wanting your child to go to the school
in question outweigh the difficulties the school would have as a result of the admission.
The Panel does have the power to decide that even though the school is full, your child
should still be admitted. If they decide your reasons outweigh school issues, your
appeal will be upheld and your child admitted. If not, your appeal will be dismissed and
the refusal of admission confirmed.