Primary school places: the appeals process
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 16 April 2014
If you are one of the thousands of disappointed parents whose child has been refused admission to your first choice school, you can appeal.
First, though, you should make sure you respond to any request from the school to you to put your child on the waiting list for places. Someone may drop out.
Secondly, though, you should submit an appeal. You can do so on two grounds - one that the school failed to observe its own admission rules in reaching its decision or that the decision was an unreasonable one. You should submit your appeal within 20 school days of receiving notification of your child's rejection.
An independent appeals panel will hear the case (in the case of free schools, faith schools or academies, it will be carried out by governors of the school.
The threshold for proving the decision was unreasonable is high. It can be upheld if you prove the decision was “ perverse in the light of admission rules” or it was a decision no sensible person would make in the circumstances.
Latest figures show the success rate for appeals hovers around 15 per cent although this could drop this year - simply because more schools are oversubscribed because of the bulge in the birth rate.
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