School place appeals process

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If you have applied for a school place for your child and you have been refused you can submit an appeal.  Appeals are arranged by the Education Appeals Team.  Appeals are heard by an independent panel.

If you have not yet applied for a school place please visit the School Admissions pages to find out how to apply.

Submit an appeal

The appeal form should be returned to educationappeals@cornwall.gov.uk.  If you need any help with submitting your appeal you can contact the Education Appeals Team on 01872 324965.  

Appeals during coronavirus

Information relating 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 everyone continues to receive a fair appeal hearing during the current Coronavirus Pandemic.  These regulations apply to all appeals between 24 April 2020 to 30 September 2021.

Following 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 please send this by email to educationappeals@cornwall.gov.uk as soon as possible. This may be information you originally wanted to put forward to the panel in person. Please include your child’s name and the name of the school which your appeal relates to.
  • 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.  They will also 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. 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.  They do not look to make a further decision on the outcome of an appeal.  

Appeals for Reception, Year 1 or Year 2

If you want 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 tell you if this is the case.

When a class already has 30 pupils, extra children can only be admitted in very limited circumstances. This is because of the infant class size law.

For more information please see the infant class size appeals page.

Appeals timetable

Appeals are arranged in accordance with the School Appeals Code.  It states that admission authorities must set a timetable for organising and hearing appeals that:

  • includes a deadline for lodging appeals which allows the person making the appeal at least 20 school days.  The 20 school days is from the date of notification that their application was unsuccessful;
  • ensures that the person making the appeal receives at least 10 school days' notice of their appeal hearing;
  • includes reasonable deadlines for:
    • the person appealing to submit additional evidence
    • admission authorities to submit their evidence
    • the clerk to send appeal papers to the panel and parties
  • ensures that decision letters are sent within five school days of the hearing wherever possible.

Admission authorities must ensure that appeals submitted by the deadlines are heard:

  • within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals in the normal admission round;
  • where possible within 40 school days from the deadline for lodging appeals for late applications or within 30 school days;
  • within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged for in-year applications.

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

The timetable for appeals can be found in the Co-ordinated Schemes.  To see the Schemes use the 'Applying for a school place' link on the School Admissions 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

Contact the Education Appeals Team using the contact details on this page:

  • for advice and support with the appeal process or
  • to request a paper appeal form

For further advice and support please refer to ACEDFE or contact the Family Information Service on 0800 587 8191 or at fis@cornwall.gov.uk.

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