Parents Emotional Appeals Damaging their Chances in School Admissions Lottery


Data showing as few as 1% of parents succeeded in appealing their child's primary school placement in 2014 is proof that emotional appeals will fail, according to leading education lawyer Imogen Jolley.

Off to School?

Now, as families approach national offer day for primary pupils on 16th April, solicitors at Simpson Millar have warned that parents must engage with the process formally or risk having their appeal rejected.

Imogen, partner at Simpson Millar found a national average of 13% of primary school lodged appeals were successful in 2014. However, further analysis carried out by the education law specialists displays a surprisingly low success rate in a number of regions.

"Thousands of parents appeal to the IAP (Independent Appeals Panel), but the vast majority of them fail due to a lack of necessary knowledge of the process. We can take Birmingham as an example and ask why only 28 appeals were successful out of 1982. Parents surely can't be blamed for not trying."

Imogen stresses that the number of appeals is growing each year and unless parents learn to engage with the issue formally, they'll fail to achieve the desired result. "Every parent whose child doesn't receive the place in the preferred school thinks it's unreasonable. But I can't stress enough how important it is to exclude emotion and strictly focus on the School Admission Appeal Code and its requirements. If parents rely on irrelevant issues they are destined to lose their appeal as IAP is unable to take emotional causes into consideration."

For parents whose child is not placed in the school expected, the education law specialists are now offering free guidance, to provide people with basic knowledge of how to appeal.

"We want parents to fully understand the two stage appeal process, detailing what they can expect and how they should prepare," says Imogen.

"Our free guidance pack will help parents to work on a stronger appeal. IAP sets a very high threshold which is difficult to meet in the majority of circumstances, therefore, it is beyond necessary to get strong evidence and the supporting arguments right," adds Imogen.

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