In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hearing appeals based on written submissions only. You can read more on this decision here.
What happens after I've returned my completed appeal form
Once your appeal has been received, it will be acknowledged by the school or their independent appeals service and an appeal hearing will be arranged.
They'll give you an indication of when the appeal(s) are likely to be heard. At least 10 school days before the appeal, you'll be informed of the date(s), time(s) and place where the appeal panel will meet.
If you've submitted appeals for more than one school, it 's unlikely that your appeals will be heard on the same date and you'll receive a separate notification for each appeal you've submitted.
A week before your appeal hearing, you'll be sent an appeal pack which will include all the documents that have been submitted to the appeal panel.
This will contain both the admission authority’s case and the appeal form and any additional documents you've submitted.
You'ill need to bring this pack with you to the appeal hearing.
The appeal hearing
This is what happens at the appeal hearing:
- you're encouraged to attend and speak at the appeal hearing if you wish
- you may bring a friend to help you put your points to the appeal panel, or be represented
- if you choose not to attend, or it's not possible for you to attend, the appeal will be considered in your absence in the same way as other appeals
- we do not recommend that you bring any children with you to the appeal hearing
- when you arrive, you'll be directed to a waiting area where the clerk will come and speak to you before the hearing
- they'll invite you and the admission authority representative into the hearing at the same time
- the appeal panel will be three people who are not connected to the admission authority or school concerned
- the chairman of the appeal panel will welcome you and the admission authority representative and introduce everyone present
- the chariman will explain the process of the hearing
- if the appeal hearing is one of many for places at the same school, all the parents appealing will have been invited to be present for the first part of the hearing, to hear the admission authority representative present their case
- all parents and the appeal panel will be able to ask questions, depending on which type of appeal is being considered.
Infant class size appeals (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 only)
The appeal panel will move on to consider your case/in the case of multiple appeals, the cases of each appellant. This will be in private as per the separate time (and possibly date) without the other parents present.
The appeal panel’s powers are limited but they must consider:
- whether the admission of additional children would breach the infant class size (ICS) limit
- whether the admission arrangements complied with the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998
- whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied
- whether the decision to refuse admission was one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.*
*It's important to understand what is meant by the legal term reasonable'. According to the School Admissions Appeals Code (2012 section 4.10), the appeal panel will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit the child was “perverse in the light of the admission arrangements” i.e. it was “beyond the range of responses open to a responsible decision maker” or “a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it.”
The only way an appeal panel is allowed by law to uphold this type of appeal is if it would not breach the ICS limit, the admission arrangements were either unlawful or not applied correctly and the child would have been allocated a place if they were, or that the appeal panel determine that the admission authority were unreasonable (in the legal sense of the word) in refusing a place.
All other appeals (for places in Years 3 to 13)
The appeal panel will adjourn and decide whether the admission authority has made a case or not. If they have not made a case, your appeal will be successful, and your child will be admitted to the school. If they have made a case, you will be asked to present your case. If your appeal is the only appeal being hear. you will be invited back into the room to do this on the same day.
In the case of multiple appeals, you'll have been given a separate time (and possibly separate date) to return in private without the other parents present to present your case as to why you want your child to go to the school in question.
At this part of the appeal (stage 2), you should consider why you feel your child should be offered a place and what the school can offer your child that the allocated/another school cannot. The appeal panel will take into account your reasons for expressing a preference for the school, including what the school can offer your child that the allocated or other schools cannot. The appeal panel and admission authority representative may ask you questions.
At the end of the appeal hearing, both you and the admission authority representative will be given the opportunity to sum up your case before the appeal finishes.
The Appeal panel’s decision is binding on the local authority, the school and the parents.
In multiple appeals (where there is more than one appeal for the same school and year group), the appeal panel must not compare the individual cases when deciding on whether a child’s case outweighs the prejudice to the school. However, where the appeal panel finds there are more cases which outweigh prejudice than the school can admit, it must then compare the cases and uphold those with the strongest case for admission. Where a certain number of children could be admitted without causing prejudice, the appeal panel must uphold the appeals of at least that number of children.
Additional legislation is provided to appeal panels for hearing either Grammar School Appeals or Sixth Form appeals – relevant information will be provided at the time of appeal by the school/BCP Council Education Appeals Service.
For all types of appeal, if your appeal is part of a multiple appeal which runs over one day or longer, no decisions are made until all the appeals have been heard.
The clerk will usually call you on the day of the appeal / last day of the appeals in the case of multiple appeals to advise you of the appeal panel’s decision. This will be followed up with a letter giving reasons for their decision.