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Hearing information

When you lodge an appeal, it will be acknowledged by the 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 range of when your appeal will take place.

If you've submitted appeals for more than one school, it's unlikely that your appeals will be heard on the same date. You will receive a separate notification for each appeal you've submitted.

In advance of your appeal hearing, you'll be able to view your appeal pack via the parent portal. This will contain both the admission authority’s case and the appeal form, along with any further evidence you've submitted.

You will be advised when and where the appeal hearing will take place and be invited to attend. You will be given at least 10 school days’ notice of the appeal hearing date. The appeal hearing will be arranged to be at a local venue on a weekday during term-time.

The appeal hearing

At the appeal hearing, the panel will listen to the school representative put forward their case and listen to your case. There will be opportunity for all parties to ask questions. We strongly recommend that you attend in person if you are able to and that you do not bring your child(ren) to the hearing. After the panel have heard all information, they will retire to make their decision in private. You will notified as soon as possible after the hearing of the panel’s decision.

Infant class size appeals (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 only)

The only way an panel is allowed by law to uphold an infant class size appeal is if:

  • the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size (ICS) limit
  • the admission arrangements were either unlawful or not applied correctly and the child would have been allocated a place if they were
  • it is determined that the admission authority were unreasonable (in the legal sense of the word) in refusing a place.

The admission arrangements must comply with the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.

In terms of "unreasonable" refusal, The School Admissions Appeals Code (2012 section 4.10) states that the decision to refuse would have to be "perverse in the light of the admission arrangements", "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."

All other appeals (for places in Years 3 to 13)

These types of appeal are commonly known as a two-stage appeal. After the school’s case has been considered, the appeal panel will 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 the school have made a case, the panel will move on to consider the individual cases of each appeal.

The appeal panel will consider 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’s decision is binding on the local authority, the school and the parents.

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 or the BCP Council Education Appeals Service.

If your appeal is part of a multiple appeal which runs over one day or longer, no decisions will be made until all of the appeals have been heard.

After the appeal hearing

Once an Independent Appeal Panel has reached their decision on a school admission appeal, that decision is legally binding on all parties concerned.

The decision is communicated to all parties involved - the parent, school and the school admissions team at the Local Authority - as soon as possible.

We will send a brief email to all parents appealing for a place at the school as soon as all the appeals have been heard. This will not be before the end of the appeal hearing range or date you have been given.

To maintain fairness, we will not send full decision letters until all letters for that school are ready. Where we can, these letters will be sent by email.

Successful appeals

Your full decision letter will give further information about the next steps. You should contact the school directly to plan for their start and gather any information that may have already been sent to other parents. The School Appeals Team have no further involvement in the process.

Although the Panel’s decision to offer a place is legally binding, it is of course your choice if you wish to accept this offer and choose to send your child to the school.

You will also be sent a letter in due course by the local authority school admissions team to ask you if you are accepting this place and if so, releasing the place at the allocated school for another child to use. Please ensure you respond to this letter.

Dismissed appeals

When an appeal is dismissed, you cannot appeal against the decision of the appeal panel. You only have one right of appeal per academic year.

In a new academic year, you can re-apply to the school. If that application is refused, you can lodge a new appeal once you have received a written refusal.

In very limited cases, an admitting authority may allow a fresh appeal in the same academic year. However, this only happens where there has been a significant change in circumstances. You would need to contact the school concerned to see if your circumstances meet their criteria for a new application.

Dismissed appeals do not affect your child’s placement on any waiting list. Making an appeal will not make you a priority for placement.

We suggest that you have an alternative plan in case your appeal is not allowed. You can speak to the local authority at any time to discuss alternative school places and waiting lists – this will not affect your appeal in any way.

If you do not want to send your child to the offered school, please speak with our Children’s Information Service or School Admissions Team to discuss available places and waiting lists at other schools in the local area. We would also suggest that you discuss your concerns with the offered school.

If you have rejected other offers and your appeal is dismissed, you should contact our Children’s Information Service or School Admissions Team as a matter of urgency to ensure you consider a place at a school with availability, look at waiting list positions or, if you wish to home-school your child, what you need to do at this stage.


If you have a complaint about the way in which your appeal has been handled and you feel you have suffered injustice as a result of maladministration, you can complain to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman or Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Maladministration refers to a procedural error, incompetence, neglect or prejudice rather than the actual merits of the decision taken.

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