What You Need to Know if Your Child Didn’t Get Into Your Chosen Primary

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The law is always changing, and we’re dedicated to making sure our information is accurate and up to date.

This article was reviewed and updated on 06 April 2023.

Did you know that there’s a law in England and Wales that says there can’t be more than 30 children per qualified teacher in a Reception, Year One or Year Two class?

This makes appealing a primary school’s decision really difficult. Class size is probably the reason your child didn’t get a place and it’s likely that you will only be able to make an appeal if you can show one of the legal grounds described below applies.

We know how stressed you might be if your child hasn’t got into your preferred primary school on National Offer Day. You may feel like you don’t stand a chance of making a successful appeal with these strict laws in place, but our Education Lawyers can help families whose children have wrongly missed out on a school place.

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What you should know about challenging a decision

The Grounds for a School Appeal

There are only a few reasons for making a primary school admissions appeal. You must show one of the following:

  • The school’s admissions process did not comply with the School Admissions Code and your child would have been allocated a place at the school had this not been the case;
  • The school’s admissions criteria were not applied correctly, for example if they wrongly calculated the distance you live from the school and your child would have been given a place had this not happened; and/or
  • The decision made ‘was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made’.

This last one is extremely difficult to prove, as this is a legal term. What many parents consider unreasonable would not be enough to mean that an appeal would succeed on this basis.  

It’s likely that you already think the decision was not ‘reasonable’ if you’re making an appeal, but you’ll have to prove that is was legally unreasonable. This means the decision was outrageous, illogical or immoral, but it’s much harder to define if you’re not a legal expert and even harder to prove to an Independent Appeal Panel.

If you’re going to make an appeal on the grounds that the decision was not reasonable, you should get legal advice from a specialist Education Lawyer.

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