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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 01209 614361 or by emailing educationappeals@cornwall.gov.uk.   

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.

School Admission Appeals during the coronavirus pandemic

Information in relation to appeals submitted from 21 July 2020: 

The Department for Education has published temporary regulations and non-statutory guidance.  The guidance sets out how appeals for school places should take place during 2020 to ensure the safety of all concerned.  It also makes sure all parties continue to receive a fair appeal hearing during the current Coronavirus Pandemic.  These regulations apply to all appeals between 24 April 2020 to 31 January 2021.

With reference to the guidelines, the Cornwall School Appeals Panel will hear all appeals by telephone meeting.

  • You will receive an acknowledgement email from Cornwall School Appeals Panel advising you of the process.  If you feel you have any information you would like to be considered by the Panel which you may have originally intended to put forward to the Panel in person, we would strongly encourage you to submit this additional information as soon as possible by email to educationappeals@cornwall.gov.uk. Please include your child’s name and the name of the school to which your appeal relates.
  • You will be sent an email explaining how we will transfer paperwork to you securely and how you can access it.  Step by Step instructions on how to access your papers will be provided.  You will then receive an email (Notice of Hearing) advising you of the date and time of your appeal hearing.  You will receive this email 14 calendar days in advance of the hearing.  You will be asked to provide a telephone contact number which the clerk will use to call you at the time of your hearing.  If you do not wish to attend via telephone conference your appeal can be heard on a written basis.  If this is the case, we encourage you to provide any additional information which you may not have submitted in your original appeal.
  • The hearing and decision making process remains the same as it would have been should appeals have been heard in a face to face meeting. The Panel Chairman will make introductions and explain the process and indicate when the school, yourself and other Panel Members are able to speak and ask questions.  After all appeals for the year group have been heard, the Panel will make its decisions in private, with the Clerk to record the decision.  The decision will be communicated to you and schools in writing no later than 7 calendar days after the hearing.
  • The changes to the process do not affect your rights and if, after you have received your decision letter, you feel there has been any maladministration, you can contact either the ESFA in respect of academy schools or the Local Government Ombudsman in respect of Local Authority schools to review the appeals process.  These bodies review the process of the appeal and do not seek to make a further decision on the outcome of an appeal.  

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

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. 

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 fis@cornwall.gov.uk.

Privacy Notice

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

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