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The Appeals Process

Appealing for a school place - information for parents and carers

If you have applied for a school and it has not been possible for a place to be allocated to your child you may wish to consider submitting an appeal. Independent appeals are arranged by the Education Appeals Team. They can be contacted on or by emailing   

Please note that due to the current situation with Covid-19 there will be a delay in holding admissions appeals to ensure the safety of all concerned. You can submit your appeal in the usual way and this will be held until the appropriate time. Please be assured that your appeal will be dealt with as soon as possible. You will be contacted either by email or post to advise when it will be possible to hear your appeal.

If you have not yet applied for a school place and been refused your preference please visit the School Admissions web pages to find out how to apply.

How do appeals work?

Admission appeals are arranged and heard in line with the Government’s statutory guidance, the School Admission Appeals Code.

Three Independent Panel Members will review the decision made by the Admission Authority for the school and consider any information you think is relevant to support your wish to obtain a place at your preferred school.  An independent clerk will arrange and support the Panel hearing.

Once you have submitted your appeal you will receive an acknowledgement letter within 5 school days. Appeals are held within 40 school days for new reception, secondary transfer and transfer to junior school or 30 school days for appeals for a place during a school year.   

Paperwork confirming the date, time and location for the appeal will be provided to you 10 school days before the appeal hearing.

More information can be found further down this page.

Appeals for Reception, Year 1 or Year 2

If you wish to appeal for a place in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, it may be classed as an Infant Class Size appeal. The letter refusing a place at your preferred school will indicate if this is the case. 

Because of the infant class size law only in very limited circumstances can admission over 30 children be permitted.  

The panel does not have the flexibility to say that your personal circumstances mean that you should have a place at the school if this would take the number of children in the class over 30.  The vast majority of Infant Class Size Appeals are unsuccessful because of this.  For more information please see the Infant Class Size Appeals page.

Appeals for children of Service Families

If you are a Service Family and you have been refused a place you may find it useful to refer to the information on the Service Families - School Admissions web page. 

How to make an appeal

To submit an appeal, please follow this link:

School Admission Appeal Form

The Appeals Timetable

Please note that due to the current situation with Covid-19 there will be a delay in holding admissions appeals to ensure the safety of all concerned. 

The School Appeals Code states that admission authorities must set a timetable for organising and hearing appeals that:

  1. includes a deadline for lodging appeals which allows appellants at least 20 school days from the date of notification that their application was unsuccessful to prepare and lodge their written appeal;
  2. ensures that appellants receive at least 10 school days' notice of their appeal hearing;
  3. includes reasonable deadlines for appellants to submit additional evidence, for admission authorities to submit their evidence, and for the clerk to send appeal papers to the panel and parties;
  4. ensures that decision letters are sent within five school days of the hearing wherever possible.

Admission authorities must ensure that appeals lodged by the appropriate deadlines are heard within the following timescales:

  • for applications made in the normal admissions round, appeals must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals;
  • for late applications, appeals should be heard within 40 school days from the deadline for lodging appeals where possible, or within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged;
  • for applications for in-year admissions, appeals must be heard within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged.

Any appeals submitted after the appropriate deadline must still be heard.

The timetable for appeals can be found in the Co-ordinated Schemes using the 'Applying for a school place' link on the School Admissions web pages for the relevant year. 

At the appeal hearing

  • In the appeal hearing will be three Independent Appeal Panel Members and the Independent Clerk. In addition there will usually be a Presenting Officer and school representative.
  • When you arrive for your appeal hearing you will be met by the independent clerk who will give you information on the process. 
  • You will then be invited into the hearing. 
  • The Chairman of the Panel will introduce everyone and explain how the appeal will be heard. 
  • The Chairman will then invite the school to explain the reason for the refusal and provide information from the school as appropriate. 
  • You will then have the opportunity to ask any queries about the application and allocation process or the school. 
  • The Panel are likely to also ask question of the school’s representative to clarify any aspects of their case if necessary. 
  • The Chairman will then invite you to give any information you wish to support your appeal. The Panel may have some questions for you if they feel they need to clarify any information to ensure they have a thorough understanding of the reasons why you would like a place at your preferred school. 
  • Once the Panel have heard all of the information from all parties the school representative and you are free to leave. 
  • A decision will be made by the Panel alone on the day of the hearing and the decision will be sent to you in writing within 5 working days of the hearing.

Joint appeals

If more than one appeal for a school is received for the same year group a joint appeal may be arranged. 

In this case the Panel will hear the general information from the school and you will then be given the opportunity to speak with the Panel separately to discuss your personal reasons for the appeal. 

Your personal information will not be shared or discussed with other appellants at any time.

Further appeals

It is not possible to appeal again during the same academic year unless the school will accept another application because of a significant material change in the circumstances of the school, parent/carer or child and then has to refuse the application again.

Where to get help

For advice and support with the appeal process or to request a paper appeal form please contact the Education Appeals Team using the contact details on the right of this page.

For further advice and support please refer to ACE, DFE or contact the Family Information Service on 0800 587 8191 or at

Privacy Notice

For information on how your information will be handled please visit the Privacy Notice - school admission appeals page.

Useful links