4 July, 16

School Admissions

Parents of children transferring from nursery or kindergarten to reception; or from Year 6 to secondary school in September of every year will submit an application for a school place in January of the same year. In this application parents list their preferred schools and eagerly await the outcome.

Local authorities start sending decisions regarding the allocation of school places from March of each year and can make offers until the last day of the summer term. If you are disappointed with the application outcome there is an appeals process.

Parents will need to consider the school they want to appeal to and compare it with the school that has been offered.

There are useful websites set up for the Department of Education which gives up to date information on every educational establishment within England and Wales. It is useful to find information on the schools that are being compared from these websites.

The Admission Appeal Process

Admission appeals are heard by a panel of 3 or 5 people. The panel of 3 will be made up of at least 1 lay member who has no experience in the management of a school or the provision of education and 1 member who has experience of education. Panel members cannot belong to the school’s maintaining education authority and cannot be people who have been involved with a decision making process. The Panel hearing is clerked to ensure the smooth running of an appeal. The appeal is a two stage process.

1. The Panel will look at the school’s Admission Criteria and check whether they are in fact lawful and comply with the Admissions Code of Practice. The school will make its case to show that to admit one more child above their published admission number will cause prejudice to the efficient education of other children or the efficient use of resources within the school.

2. If the school is able to make its case in Part 1, all is not lost as the hearing moves on to stage 2. This is when the Panel will carry out the balancing act and decide whether the school’s prejudice outweighs the parent and the pupil’s own personal reasons for appealing.

Lodging your Appeal and Case Statement

We can help you fill in your appeal form and also draft your case statement. We can help you work through the points to consider which can include factors such as:

  • Distance and catchment area
  • Single sex schools, if you are appealing for a single sex school
  • Faith schools, with their own admissions criteria
  • Medical reasons, where applicable
  • School’s strengths
  • Pupil’s strengths
  • We can compare the schools in a meaningful and objective manner. We can also look at:
    • Exam performance
    • Family trauma, where applicable
    • Bullying, where applicable
    • Child Care Issues, where applicable
    • Friends and Social Circles

We can advise you on how to collect and prepare evidence in relation to any of the above factors which are relevant.

Crucially, we can also look at the school’s prejudice case. By picking holes in the school’s prejudice case you can improve your case enormously and stand out from other appeals.

What else can we do to help

  • We can talk through your case and advise you on the best angles to focus on.
  • We can review any documents and advise you on evidence.
  • We can draft your appeal and submit it.
  • We can prepare angles of attack on the school’s case and improve your chances of winning.
  • We can meet with you and coach you before the big day.
  • We can represent you in the hearing and assist you with your presentation and to act as a watchdog to ensure your legal rights are protected.

For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors, please contact us on 020 8299 6000.

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