Explaining Admission Appeals Key Stage 3 (Secondary)

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?

  • If you have not already done so, prepare a letter stating the reasons for your appeal. 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 wish to add any further information, this should be sent to the clerk.
  • You may also wish to seek independent advice on how to present your case. See the accompanying list of agencies which offer help and support.

What happens next?

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.

Multiple Appeals

Where there are a number of appeals for admission to the same secondary school, the school representatives will state the school case to all the parents at a single meeting. Panel Members are also present. They and the parents may ask general questions about the school case. At this meeting, the Panel will decide whether to accept the school case. Individual hearings then follow during the next few days.

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 be able to question the school representative about the school case. (If there are a number of appeals, this part may take place at an earlier meeting for all the parents). 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.

April 2007 Diocesan Education Service

To contact – call us on 01332 293833