Secondary School Admissions 2023: What to do if You're Not Happy With Your Allocated School

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The big day for school admissions is here. Today, families around the country will find out if their children have been allocated places at their chosen secondary schools.

Although many parents are happy with the outcomes, not everyone gets the place they believe their child needs. This can be even more true if there are special educational needs which should have been taken into consideration 

So, what can you do about this? This article should help you better understand the process, what's involved and how our team of Education Lawyers can help. 

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Secondary School Admissions Appeals Process

Whenever a decision is made about a school admissions application, parents must be given a right of appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel (IAP).

Details of what to do should be included in your decision letter or email, and it is essential you check what date the appeal needs to be received by the admissions authority.

Once lodged, you will be sent more information on the timetable and you should usually have at least 10 school days’ notice of the appeal hearing date.

You should also be given the chance to send evidence in support of your appeal and you can make written representations.

The school must send any evidence they have together with a formal statement that explains why they cannot accept another pupil.

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The Two Stages of Secondary School Admissions Appeals

Stage 1

First, the IAP will consider if the law and procedures have been followed. They will also look at the impact on the education of pupils already at the school, and the school’s resources. It is rare for appeals to be upheld at this stage, but do not worry, as there is a second stage the IAP must consider.

Stage 2

The second stage is your chance to convince the IAP of the need for a place at that particular school. Although it may not be pleasant, you need to focus on any difficulties that would occur should your child not attend. Good Ofsted reports, criticism of the allocated school, or areas that schools are based in, will not win an appeal.

The IAP Panel Decision

The IAP will balance the school’s reasons against yours and if you can convince the IAP that it would be worse for your child not to attend that school than it would be for the school to accept another child, your appeal may be successful. If there are a lot of parents that manage to do this, the IAP will decide who they believe needs the place most and allocate to them.

Decisions should be issued within 5 school days, though often parents are given the opportunity to call for a verbal decision. However, written decisions must be issued.

Our Education Lawyers have vast experience in the type of arguments that can win appeals and are adept at finding gaps in school cases.

How We've Helped Parents With Their Secondary School Admissions Appeal

Take a look at how we've helped parents win their secondary school admissions appeal, and get their child into the school that's right for them.

How we got a Child a Place in a New School to avoid bullying

For some families, when a relationship breaks down, it’s often the children who bear the brunt of the fallout. In this case, the mother’s relationship with her ex-partner had completely broken down. But some of her ex-partners family attended the school where her child was offered a place. Due to the bad blood between the two sides, if the child went to this school, it was likely that they would receive negative attention from the older children who attended that school. No child should be subjected to bullying, so our Education Lawyers appealed the case to the Local Authority and fought to get a new place at a different school for this child. As a result of our appeal, the Local Authority did offer a new place for the child to study.

How we got an Autistic Child a Place at his Preferred School

This case involved a young boy who had mild autism. His autism wasn’t severe enough to warrant an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) from the Local Authority, so he was denied a place at a school that had a unit, dedicated solely to children and young people with autism. We took the appeal case and proved that his place at this school was definitely required because: The school had well-trained staff who understood autism, the school buildings were autism-friendly, and autistic pupils were encouraged to integrate with the main school. The school had a below-average amount of students for a secondary school, so this child would get a more nurturing, less frantic and more accommodating environment to learn in. Our Education Lawyers won the appeal, and the child began his secondary school that September.

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