Secondary School Admissions 2017
Today, 1 March 2017, parents will have been notified whether their children will have been given a place in their secondary school of choice. If disappointed, the timetable for secondary school admissions appeals will begin to run from today. You will have been told in your notification the reason why admission was refused. The education law relating to school appeals will govern what happens next.
Secondary School Admissions Appeals
Any appeal must be made in writing, setting out the grounds of appeal. The timescale will be set out in the notification from your local authority, but will be no less that 20 school days from the notification. In exceptional circumstances this can be extended. In addition, the timetable will already be published on your local authority website.
Your secondary school admissions appeal will be held before an independent appeal panel. This will consist of a chair and at least two other members. There will be at least one lay person without experience of managing a school or providing education within a school, and a person with experience of education. Certain people are disqualified from appearing on a panel and the panel clerk has responsibility for checking this.
Once your appeal is lodged you will receive a response from the local authority. This will include details of how the admission arrangements were applied to your child’s application, the reasons for the refusal and an explanation as to how the admission of an extra child would cause prejudice to the provision of efficient education or efficient use of school resources.
You should expect to receive at least 10 school days’ notice of the date of your appeal hearing. You will be able to submit additional material up to 5 school days prior to the hearing. The relevant Code specifies that the appeals should be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging the appeals.
Decision letters should be sent to you within 5 school days of the hearing wherever this is possible.You will want to think about what information you require from the local authority to support your application.
How to prepare?
You will also need to think about how best to respond to the local authority arguments. This information will include:
- consideration of the fairness of the admissions criteria
- the fair application of the criteria
- roll numbers at the school
- other facts about the school including its layout and facilities
You will want to make a list of all the personal reasons why the school should admit your child. The list may include siblings at the school, friends, travel and collection arrangements, medical reasons, any particular reason why it should be this school and other family circumstances.
Should you be represented at your Appeal?
Parents might also want to consider the benefits of being represented at the appeal hearing. Although discouraged by the local authority, the appeals process is extremely important and there is now an inevitable competition for school places. Although many parents will be able to present their own case, it might be that in many cases they are too emotionally involved in the preparation and outcome to present their case effectively. This may be particularly true at the end of what will be a frustrating process.
Nottinghamshire School Admissions 2017/2018
School admissions in Nottinghamshire may be particularly complicated this year. Some information about this can be found here in a previous article.
Contact Us About Your Secondary School Admissions Appeal
If you have received your notification and wish to consider whether the decision can be properly challenged then please contact us by email here. An education law specialist will be able to give initial advice as to how best to progress your case, including the likely cost dependent upon the level of advice and representation that you would require. Alternatively, please telephone Andrew Wesley on 0115 9599550 to discuss your case.