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Your Secondary School Admission Appeal – Arguing Part A

We have shared information as to what will happen immediately the school admission decision is announced – that can be found here.

This article provides some help as to what to look for when you are drafting Part A of your secondary school admission appeal.

Part A – a technical argument

The most technical argument in relation to a secondary school admission will relate to Part A of the appeal statement.  It will involve careful research and preparation in order to put forward the best argument possible for your child.

It is possible to succeed in Part A of the appeal if you the independent appeal panel can be satisfied that admitting all of the extra children appealing would not prejudice the efficient education of existing children at the school or school resources.

Even if work carried out at this stage does not succeed in Part A, it will remain important as the appeal panel undertakes the balancing exercise required in Part B.

Helpful school statistics

As a result, as well as considering whether the admission criteria were lawful, and whether they were properly applied to your child, you will want to make other enquiries of the local authority.  You will also need to research additional points yourself to be able to include helpful information in your appeal statement.

Information you may want to find out include:

  • current and previous year roll numbers for the age group in question
  • number of successful appeals in recent years
  • number of pupils in other year groups
  • previous Ofsted reports as they relate to pupil numbers
  • attendance record for the school
  • exclusions and disciplinary records
  • number of children with Special educational needs
  • number of children for whom English is not their first language

All of this information relates to the day to day attendance at school by other pupils and how the school has reacted historically.  It is likely to provide you with information that can be put into a reasoned argument as to why the school will be able to accept additional pupils.

The information is not an end in itself.  You will need to turn it into a compelling argument.

Looking at the school premises

Other research could involve a visit to the school to look at the physical characteristics of the school:

  • how big are the relevant classrooms?
  • what additional space is available?
  • what effect would an additional desk have on existing facilities?
  • are there any plans for future building works and school expansion?

Your chance to respond to the school admissions authority

Once you have submitted your appeal statement, you will receive a response from the admissions authority.  This might be up to two weeks after the appeal deadline date.  You will also be notified with an appeal date and time.  The response will be a statement from the person who will represent the school at the appeal hearing.  This may well be the Head or Deputy Head Teacher at the school.

You need to go through this statement in great detail.  It will be the basis for the argument on behalf of the school not to give your child a place.

You will have an opportunity to deal with any issues arising from this statement, so you must consider it properly.  You are likely to have up to five working days prior to the school appeal hearing to submit additional argument and evidence.  Please check the rules relating to your appeal.

Plan your questioning for your admission appeal

You will need to remember that presenting a case during Part A of the appeal is more difficult as you must do it by way of questioning the representative rather than by addressing the panel.  Again, you will need to spend some time thinking about the exact question you will need to ask.   You will want to think of the phrasing of the question.  The question will have to give you the answer that you need to persuade the panel as to your argument.

Contact us about Education Law

We have publishing further information about the arguments, law and how the appeal process will proceed for a secondary school admission appeal.  If you wish advice now on this aspect of education law including Part A of the admission appeal statement then we will offer the following:

  • free initial advice on the potential merits of your appeal
  • fixed fees dependent on your instructions and our involvement thereafter

Please contact Clare Roberts on 0115 9599550 or use the contact form below.  We provide our education law service from our offices across the East Midlands.

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