Making a Successful Appeal
School admission appeals are more successful when the parent goes to the admission appeal hearing in person rather than letting the panel decide on the paperwork alone, so it’s really important that you go to the hearing yourself.
You’ll need to provide your reasons for appeal, also known as “grounds for appeal”, in advance of your hearing to detail any arguments you wish to make. This is helpful for two reasons.
Firstly, it is good preparation for the hearing. You can get your thoughts in order and work out what you want to say. But secondly, it makes sure that your case is set out in writing so the panel can consider it before the hearing, ask you any questions they have and reflect on it to clarify any points before making their decision.
If you need help preparing your written appeal, we can help you with this.
When you get to the hearing, you should be met by the Clerk to the Independent Appeals Panel. It is very common for “Stage One” of the hearing to take place with all parents who are appealing for that particular school and year group to be present. Depending on the popularity of the school, this can be very busy.
The “Stage Two” part of the process will then be scheduled for each individual parent to meet with the Panel separately. No other parents should be present whilst you are dealing with ‘Stage Two’ as this is personal to your child.
Stage One and Stage Two of the appeals process usually take place on the same day, but not always.
The legal test being considered at Stage One is whether the school’s admissions arrangements are both lawful and have been applied correctly.
Stage One questions relate to the Admission Authority case for the school and not to your personal circumstances, so there’s no reason why these can’t be discussed in front of the other parents.
At Stage One, the Panel are examining the decision to refuse admission for your child to the school. They’re checking that the school’s oversubscription arrangements are lawful and have been applied correctly. They’ll also expect the school to set out the reasons why they can’t take any more children and the impact if they had to take another child or children.
The Stage Two hearing is the balancing of the above arguments raised by the school with your own arguments.
The Panel must balance the “prejudice” to the school that was discussed at the first stage against your case for your child to be admitted to the school.
The Panel must take into account your reasons for expressing a preference for the school and the other arguments that you’ve set out in writing.
If the Panel decides that your case outweighs the prejudice to the school, then your appeal will be successful.