The Law Of... Primary School Admissions Appeals
18th April 2017 Is A Big Day For Thousands Of Families In England And Wales.
After all of the discussions, planning, and applying, it's finally the day when you'll find out which primary school your child has been allocated for September 2017.
If you haven't got the results you were expecting, Imogen Jolley, Partner and Head of Education and Community Care, explains how our experts can help you make an appeal.
How Can I Make A Primary School Admission Appeal?
Appealing against a decision made about your child's primary school can tricky, as for reception, year 1, and year 2, class sizes are restricted to 30 students. This means that if the classes are already full once you've made an application, the school can refuse to accept your child.
But, you can still make an appeal if there's evidence that:
The school hasn't followed the admission arrangements properly
The admission criteria used by the school aren't legal according to the school admissions code
Your child's place was rejected on unfair grounds
If you're not sure whether you're eligible to make an appeal, one of our Education Law solicitors will be happy to speak to you about your situation and will identify what options you have.
What Happens At An Appeal Hearing?
When you make an appeal, your case will be reviewed by an Independent Appeal Panel, which will also make the final decision.
As part of the process:
The admission authority will state why your child's application was rejected
You can explain why your child should be given a place at their preferred school
The panel will then make a decision about whether the school followed the correct process and whether its decision was fair
If the panel finds that the school didn’t follow the correct procedure, your appeal will have to be upheld
The panel will make a final decision and notify both you and the admission authority about this in 5 school days
Once the panel has made a decision, it can only be overturned by a court.
"It's important for you not to panic if the panel doesn't make the decision that you were expecting or hoped for", Imogen explains.
"If your situation has changed since the panel made its decision, there's a chance that you could make a further appeal to the court. To find out whether you can take action, get in touch with me or one of our specialist Education advisors as soon as you have received the panel's decision."
Is The Appeals Process Different For Children With Special Educational Needs And/Or Disabilities (SEND)?
Schools and academies have different admission and appeals processes in place for children with SEND.
If you're unhappy with the decision that's been made about your child's school placement, our Education solicitors can help you can make an appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (SEND).
We regularly advise and represent parents at SEND tribunals and know that having the support of a legal expert during proceedings can make a big difference.
Excerpt from Simpson Millar, read the full article here