Secondary School Admissions 2022: What to do if You're not Happy With Your Allocated School

Emma Davies
Senior Associate Lawyer, Education and Community Care

The big day for school admissions is here. Today, families, around the country will find out if they 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.

So, what can you do about this?

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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 14 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 also send any evidence they have together with a formal statement that explains why they cannot accept another pupil.

Stage 1 of the Secondary Schools Admissions Process

Appeals for secondary schools are held in two stages. In the 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 of the Secondary Schools Admissions Process

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 7 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. 

For those that are nervously waiting for their primary school decisions, these are not out until April. However, watch this space for advice on this process soon.

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