Appeal a school admission decision

October 2022 update: How we hold appeals has changed for appeals received on or after 1 October 2022. Further information on this can be found below. Appeals received before 1 October will continue to be arranged under the temporary COVID legislation as a telephone hearing. Further guidance on this can be found here – Guidance (infant age children) and Guidance (junior and secondary age children).

For appeals received from the 1 October 2022 you will have the choice of attending your appeal via a video call (using Microsoft Teams) or in person at County Hall in West Bridgford. Details of how this will work are set out below.

If you do not wish to attend your hearing it can be heard on the written information you have sent us. Please remember though, that attending will mean you will hear the schools case and you can speak directly to the panel to put your case. It also gives the panel the chance to ask you any questions they might have.

Appeal a school admission decision

If you have applied and been refused a place at a school you wanted, you can appeal (please wait until you receive a refusal letter or email before you submit your appeal). The information on this page is a summary of what’s provided within our guidance. 

Please read the guidance for full details of the process:

Guidance for children of Infant age - Reception Year, Year 1 and Year 2 (Infant Class Size (ICS))

Guidance for children of Junior to Secondary age – Year 3 to Year 11 (non-ICS)

Appeals summary

If you have been refused a place at a school you wanted, you can appeal. You cannot appeal against the school you have been given.

The appeals process is run by the Education Appeals Team within Democratic Services, who are a separate department to and independent of the Admissions Team.

Your appeal will be heard by a panel of three members (the appeal panel), and wherever possible you can attend the appeal hearing to tell the appeal panel why you would like a place at the school for your child.

The appeal panel will look at how the places at the school were given and why you could not be offered a place including any relevant law (the admission authority’s case). The appeal panel will also consider your individual circumstances (your case). 

The decision of the appeal panel is binding on both parties which means that this is your only appeal against the original decision, and whatever decision the appeal panel makes will be final. 

Once we have received your appeal, we will arrange your appeal as soon as we can. There may be a while before we contact you once we have received your appeal as it takes time to set up a hearing. More information on the deadlines is in the Timetables section.

You can still appeal after you accept the school place you’ve been offered. Rather than risk having no place at all, you should secure a school place for your child in case your appeal isn’t successful.

How to appeal

We’re responsible for appeals for all schools run by Nottinghamshire County Council (community and voluntary controlled schools). We also hold appeals for the own admission authority schools in this list:

All other academies, voluntary aided, foundation and free schools in Nottinghamshire have their own arrangements for appeals and you need to contact them directly about how to appeal.

When making an online appeal on our system, if the school you want to appeal for isn’t on the drop down list it means we don’t hold the appeals for them and you should contact the school directly about how to appeal. 

You can appeal by one of the following options:

Please make your appeal online if you have internet access and an email address. You will first be asked to set up an account and will need to verify your details in an email we will send you. After this you can make your appeal or appeals and download additional evidence to go with your appeal when needed.

If you are unable to submit your appeal online, please contact Customer Services Centre on 0300 500 80 80 for a printed appeal form.

Things to remember when completing your appeal form:

  • Your completed appeal form is your case for wanting a place at the school to the appeal panel, so everything you include on it will be seen by those at the appeal hearing. More information on who will be at the appeal hearing can be found under ’At the appeal hearing’.
  • You will be asked how you would like to attend your appeal (via video call / face to face / not attend) please tell us which option you would prefer and select all options you are happy with, to help us arrange your appeal as quickly as possible. Please note, if, during the process, you change your mind about how you would like to attend your appeal, we may need to rearrange your appeal hearing to a later date.
  • The address you put on the form is the address we will send the appointment letter and paperwork to, so please make sure it is the correct address.
  • If you move home during the appeal process remember to let both the Education Appeals Team and the Admissions Team know. You can let both teams know your new address by calling 0300 500 80 80.
  • Please provide at least one telephone number and an email address so we can contact you quickly if we need to.
  • Wherever possible your appeal will be heard over the telephone so please provide at least one telephone number we can call you on for your hearing.
  • The appeal is for a place at the school you want a place at, so please make sure you name the correct school in your application.
  • On the on-line form there is a drop-down list of schools to choose from. If the school you are appealing for is not on the list it is likely we do not administer appeals for them. A list of the schools that we administer appeals for who are not community schools can be found under How to appeal above.
  • There is space on the form for you tell the appeal panel why you want a place for your child at the school. You should include anything you think the appeal panel should know about. You can also add in supporting information if you have any, for example a doctor’s letter.
  • You can also choose to send additional information and evidence later, up to ten days before your appeal hearing. Please send your information to us by using the account you will have set up when you first made your on-line appeal. If you are unable to do this, please email if you can but please note there is a 10MB limit. If you send more than this limit, we will not get your information and will not know that you have tried to send it to us. If you need to send more than 10MB please either split it across more than one email or contact us to discuss an alternative way it can be submitted. If you have sent the information to us by email or post, we will acknowledge that we have received it so if you don't hear from us within three working days please telephone on the number above to make sure we have received what you have sent.

Appeal for more than one school

You may want to appeal for more than one school. You will get a different appeal hearing for each appeal which may be on different days sometimes a few weeks apart. You will also need to complete a separate appeal form for each school. 

Timetable for admission appeals

2023/24 Admissions round

For appeals for your child to start primary / infant school for the first time (Reception), move up from an infant to a junior school (Year 3) or start secondary school for the first time (Year 7) in September 2023, you should return your appeal form by:

  • 16 May 2023 for a Primary School (Reception) and Infant to Junior Transfer appeal (Year 3)
  • 29 March 2023 for Secondary School (Year 7) appeal.

The 2023 deadlines for when we will hear your appeal by are set out below:

Deadlines Offer date  Appeals lodged by     Appeals to be heard by
Primary    17 April 2023    16 May 2023      18 July 2023
Secondary 1 March 2023      29 March 2023     15 June 2023

Appeals received after these dates will be heard by the same deadlines if possible, if not they will be heard within 30 school days.

2022/23 Academic Year – In-Year Transfers

For appeals within the 2022/23 academic year (for your child to move from one school to another between September 2022 and August 2023), please return your form within four weeks of the date of your refusal of the school place, wherever possible. Once we receive your appeal we will arrange and hear it within 30 school days.

Before the appeal

You will be sent a letter telling you when your appeal hearing will be, at least 10 days before it (unless you have agreed to a shorter period than this). If you appeal for more than one school, you may get a separate date for each appeal hearing, which can be some weeks apart.

Before your appeal we will also send you the paperwork relating to your case, which will include all of the written information we have received from you and all of the written information the admission authority have submitted to us. We do not expect you to provide a written response to the admission authority’s case as you will have the opportunity to ask questions of their representative at the hearing. This information is often sent to you at the same time as your appointment letter, or it may be sent out a few days later.

Submitting additional information

If you wish to submit any information which wasn’t included with your appeal form, please send it at least ten days before your appeal hearing. This helps us get the information to the panel members and the presenting officer before the hearing, so that they can read it in advance. If significant information is received less than ten days before the appeal, we may have to move your hearing to a later date. Please send your information to us by using the account you will have set up when you first made your  on-line appeal. If you are unable to do this please email but please note there is a 10MB limit on attachments per email. If you send more than this limit we will not get your information and will not know that you have tried to send it to us. If you need to send more than 10MB please either split it across more than one email or contact us to discuss an alternative way it can be submitted.

Please note that if you submit written information to the appeal panel on the day of the hearing the panel may decide they need to rearrange your appeal hearing to another date so they have time to read and consider it before continuing with the appeal.

Disabilities

Do please let us know if you have any disabilities and need assistance. We will try and meet these requests as far as possible.

Interpreter or signer

If you need an interpreter or signer you can have one at your appeal hearing. If you would like us to arrange this for you please tell us which language you require on the appeal form. Or, you may wish to arrange your own interpreter. If you are doing this please let us know as soon as possible before the hearing.

Types of appeals and appeal hearings

If your child is of infant school age (Reception, Year 1 or Year 2), then Infant Class Size Legislation may apply for your appeal. Please read the guidance for infant age children for more information on this before completing your appeal form. Be aware that you are less likely to be successful in an Infant Class Size appeal than a non-Infant Class Size appeal. 

We’ll send you an appointment letter with the date and time for your appointment with the appeal panel. The letter will give you the names of the panel members who will be hearing your appeal. If you think you have a connection with any of them, please let us know as soon as possible. The letter will also explain how you can join your appeal hearing. If you have two appointments how you join each stage is different, the letter will explain this to you.

If we have received a number of appeals for the same year group at a school we will group the appeals together and the same appeal panel will consider all of the cases (group hearing). This is because the reason places couldn’t be offered to all of the children is the same, so the panel needs to consider all appeals for the same school together.

If your appeal is part of a group hearing, we may give you two appointments as your appeal will be held in two separate stages and this is likely to be on different days. The first appointment will be a group appointment where all parents are asked to attend together to hear the school’s case and the second appointment will be your own individual appointment with the panel. The panel will not make its decisions on the cases until it has heard them all. Please note how you attend each stage may be different, the letter will explain this to you.

The clerk, at the appeal hearing, will tell you when you can expect to get the letter with the outcome of your appeal. More information on the types of appeals and the different processes can be found in the guidance notes.

The appeal hearing

For appeals received after 1 October 2022, we are now able to hear appeals via video call, in person, or a mix of both (hybrid). For those attending in person (including for hybrid appeals) they will be held at County Hall, West Bridgford where specialist ICT equipment is available to allow all attendees to participate in the appeal equally, whether they are joining in person or via video call.

How you will be asked to attend your appeal will be based on what preferences you have given us, so it is vital you let us know which option you would prefer and select all options you are happy with, to help us arrange your appeal as quickly as possible.

If you’re attending your appeal in person, we will arrange for the panel and clerk to be present with yourself in a room but please note some parties such as the schools presenting officer may still join via a video link.

If you are unable to join a video hearing or attend in person but would still like to attend your appeal, please let us know on your appeal form and we will contact you to discuss alternative options.

You may also select not to attend your hearing, if you choose this option, the panel will consider your appeal based on the written information you provide.

The people in the hearing

Your appeal will be heard by an independent panel of three people and their decision is binding on all parties.  

Also in the hearing will be someone from the admission authority known as the presenting officer who will be telling the appeal panel why a place could not be offered to your child. 

There will be the clerk to the appeal panel present, who will be taking notes of the hearing (for the appeal panels use only), a note of the decision of the appeal panel and to advise all parties on any legal or procedural matters which may come up during the hearing. 

If any participants are joining the hearing via video call, the hearing may include a facilitator from the Education Appeals Team who will be responsible for the technical aspects of the hearing.

How long the appeal hearing will take

Appeal hearings vary in length but usually take no more than an hour. However we do not have a fixed time so if you need longer this will be allowed. As the appeal panel will be considering a number of cases each day this might mean that the hearings are running late so we ask that you understand that we will be with you as soon as we can and you will not be limited in your time even if your appeals starts late. 

Attending your appeal hearing via video call

If you are attending your appeal hearing via a video call, your appointment letter will tell you the date(s) and time(s) of your hearing and that you will be joining via a video call. You will be sent a separate email with the Microsoft Teams link you will need to join the hearing. If you do not receive this within two days of your appointment letter, please let us know. Please use this link to join the meeting five minutes before the time you have been given. You will be put in to a virtual waiting room and the clerk will let you in to the hearing when the panel are ready.

If you are attending via video call and lose your connection to the appeal hearing you will need to re-join using the link again. If you have problems re-joining, you will be able to contact us for help. Full details will be in the guidance we send you.

Please note that whilst you will be attending the hearing via video call, other participants such as the panel and clerk may be in person at County Hall, as they will be hearing a number of different appeals throughout the day.

Attending your appeal hearing in person

If you are attending your appeal hearing in person, your appointment letter will tell you the date(s) and time(s) of your hearing and that you will be attending in person. The letter will give the address of the venue which will be County Hall in West Bridgford, Nottingham. Please arrive at least ten minutes before your hearing time and report to reception. They will ask you to wait until the hearing is ready to begin. The clerk will collect you and take you in to the room where the hearing is being held. 

Please note that whilst you will be attending the hearing in person, other participants such as the presenting office may attend remotely via video call.

How you’ll receive the decision

You will be sent the decision in a letter which will be posted out within five school days of the panel making their decision, wherever possible. 

If your appeal is part of a group hearing , the panel will not make their decisions until all the appeals have been heard. The clerk will tell you when you can expect to receive your letter.

Remember to read the guidance which includes information about the whole process. 

 

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