School Admissions: what can you do if you didn’t get the school you wanted?

Did your child get into their first choice school?

This year around 15% of parents across the UK did not get an offer for the school they wanted.

So what do you do if your child has not been allocated a place in the reception or secondary school of your choice?

I’ve helped many parents appeal these decisions and if you are unhappy it is worth considering the appeals route.

Here is some advice if you are thinking about appealing;

1) It’s advisable, in most cases, to choose only one school to appeal to, and then think about the reasons you have for appealing to that school.

2) Lodge your intention to appeal within the deadline set by the school.  You will be able to submit a detailed case statement and supporting evidence when you are informed of the date of the hearing.  You will be given at least 14 days notice of this.

Your ‘grounds of appeal’ or ‘case statement’ should start with an introduction to yourself, your ties to the area, whether you have other children at the school etc. and then set out your grounds of appeal.

Panels like to see well researched and rational parents who are rejecting the school offered for valid and evidenced reasons.  Think about why your child has been refused a place.

Consider the following areas:

  • Distance
  • Single sex or mixed
  • Faith
  • Medical reasons
  • School strengths
  • Family trauma
  • Bullying
  • Childcare issues
  • Friends

3) You will receive the school’s case at least seven working days before the hearing. Appeals are heard by a panel of three people independent of the school in question with at least one lay member and at least one member with experience of education.

A clerk will explain basic procedures, ensure any evidence is presented and may intervene to assist the panel.  The clerk will notify you of the decision.  You are entitled to bring someone along to the hearing.

You should get the result within five working days.


What else can you do?

Ask to be put on the school’s waiting list.

Collect evidence.  A letter from your child’s teacher or head teacher to support your appeal will help.  Ask them to say what your child is good at and to be specific about what how they would benefit from attending the school you are appealing to.

Appeals are not always successful, but that’s not a reason for not trying if you feel strongly about where your child is educated. In the first instance have an exploratory chat with a specialist legal advisor to see if you have strong case for appealing.


About the Author:

Laura Berman is an associate solicitor and heads up Fisher Meredith’s PSL (Public and Social Welfare Law) Department. Laura has extensive experience working on school admission appeals both at primary and secondary level.

Fisher Meredith offers a wide range of consumer legal services which include; Children Law, Conveyancing, Court of Protection and Community Care Law, Criminal & Fraud, Dispute Resolution, Education, Employment, Family Law, Human Rights, Immigration, Wills & Probate.


For more information: / 020 7091 2700



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