Explaining Admission Appeals – Key Stages 1 / 2

Nottingham Diocese Education Service arranges appeals on behalf of school governing bodies. This information sheet explains what you need to do after you have informed the school that you wish to appeal. Then there is an explanation of the appeals process which will help you to understand what is involved.

 

What do I need to do?

  • Complete the Application Form and send it to the Clerk. (The address will be in the covering letter). Make sure you complete the form in full
  • Send a letter of appeal with your form (You may already have written a letter, in which case send a copy). Your letter needs to explain clearly why you want a place for your child. You may attach any supporting information from priests or ministers of religion, social workers, health visitors or other professionals to support your case. School reports and test results are not admissible as your child’s academic ability is not relevant. It is important that all children have an equal chance regardless of ability. . If you need help in preparing your case, ask the clerk to put you in touch with agencies who can help. The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) offers independent help to parents (see attached sheet). Help is also available from an officer of the Diocesan Education Service who is not involved in your appeal.

What happens next?

Once your appeal form has been received, the Clerk will contact you and arrange the appeal hearing date. The hearing will normally take place within 30 school working days (6 weeks) from the date of your appeal letter. (School holidays are not included). The appeal is heard at a local venue (not at the school). All papers including the school statement, are circulated to you, the school and the panel members before the appeal takes place.

Key Stage One appeals (children between 4 – 7 years)

There are separate rules about these appeals because of the law restricting class sizes to 30 pupils. If the school refuses your child a place because of ‘infant class size prejudice’ your appeal can only be successful if it can be shown that there has been maladministration by the school and that as a result, your child was deprived of a place.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

Your appeal will be heard by an independent panel of three who have no connection with the school. At least one member of the panel must be a ‘lay member’, that is someone who has no connection with education. There is also a clerk in attendance who ensures the procedures are followed and gives advice if required. A representative from the school will attend. You are also expected to be there and you can bring a friend or representative to help you. Children do not attend. Please be on time as the panel may be hearing a number of appeals.

Appeal panels will always help you to be at your ease and you will be able to speak freely. Every effort is made to make sure you have a fair hearing

At the start of the hearing, you will be welcomed by the Chair and everyone will be introduced. The school representative will first explain why a place was not allocated to your child. This is usually because the school is full and has no places available. You and the panel will then be able to question the school representative about the school case. Then the panel will decide whether the school is full and whether the governors have followed their procedures correctly. If the answer to either question is ‘no’ your appeal may be granted at this point. If the answer is ‘yes’ then the panel goes on to listen to your case. Here you should summarise what you have already said in your letter of appeal, drawing attention to any support from other agencies and adding any new points you wish to make. Both school and panel can question you about what you have said. Finally, the school representative and then you, have an opportunity for a final summing up.

How does the panel make its decision?

After the hearing, the panel has to decide if your case is strong enough to overrule the school case. This part of the appeal takes place after you and the school representative leave. There are often a number of appeals for the same school, so decisions are only made when all of them have been heard. Following the appeal, the clerk will write to you with the decision and will explain the factors which the panel took into account.

Decisions are binding on all parties and there is no further appeal unless you feel you have been unfairly treated. On these rare occasions, investigation by the local Ombudsman is possible.

7 January 2004 Diocesan Education Service

To contact – call us on 01332 293833