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Appealing School Admission Decisions

Appealing School Admission Decisions

If your child has been turned down for the school that you have applied for it can be a distressing time for you and your child.

Children are worried about their future and as a parent you can feel frustrated and let down, but don’t be bullied into a corner by the authorities. You know what is best for your child and you have a right to appeal against the decision; here are a few ideas to guide you.

How to appeal for the school of your choice

You will have received a letter telling you why your child has been turned down. First, send a return letter outlining the reasons for your appeal to:

  • The local authority, for community and controlled schools.
  • The school itself.

If you do not feel the admissions rules have been followed correctly...

Ask your Local Authority admissions department for a guide immediately on admission criteria and oversubscription criteria. In most cases the rules are followed, but mistakes can be made.

If you feel your child has been discriminated against...

If your child has a disability and you feel the admission authority has discriminated against them, or you think your child has been treated less fairly because of their race, your views should be part of your case. Write down why you think discrimination has taken place.

If you feel that the school cannot claim it is full and could take an extra pupil...

Schools have a set number of places to be filled. This is called the admission number. You will find this in the LA admission prospectus for schools in its area. Try to find out how many appeals were successful last year. This might mean that the school could cope with extra pupils.

Think about points about your child that could fit with why this school is needed...

  • What is your child good at?
  • What does your child like to do?
  • Any health problems now or in the early years?
  • Any social problems – shyness, victim of bullying?
  • Any family problems?
  • Any emotional problems – anxiety, low self esteem?
  • Any difficulties with learning, special educational needs or a disability?
  • Any problems at school?
  • Have any recent changes affected your child?

If you are applying for a school during the school year and your child is a vulnerable child they may be covered by your LA’s “In-Year Fair Access Protocol”, which may help them get a place. Ask your LA for a copy.

It is a good idea to give reasons why this school would be good for your child...

  • It has a good anti-bullying policy.
  • It has good sports facilities my child really liked the school.
  • Most of my child’s friends go there.
  • It is very close to where we live.
  • It is a very easy journey.
  • It is a mixed school or a single sex school.
  • Most of our community goes there.
  • It teaches three modern languages or single sciences, etc.

Think about what worries you if your child had to go to another school...

Explain what may happen. Show how your child will be affected at home and in school. If there are strong family reasons for needing this school and no other, include them here. Again, do not expect the panel to guess. Remember, problems affect different children in different ways.

This will be a very testing time but you are not alone. Thousands of parents are dealing with this issue each year.

Best of Luck!

All the above information has been summarised from The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE), a national charity that provides independent advice for parents and carers of children aged 5-16 in state-funded education. They offer free advice on many subjects like exclusion from school, bullying, special educational needs and school admission appeals.

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