Appeal a school admission decision

 UPDATE -  6 May 2020: Due to the current Coronavirus outbreak we suspended holding admission appeals until we had received further guidance from the Government. This guidance has now been received and the appeals process has been updated, as set out below. If you have already submitted an appeal we will be in touch regarding the changed process. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding at this difficult time.

If you have applied and been refused a place at a school you wanted, you can 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 virtually 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 practicably possible. 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. 

You can appeal by one of the following options:

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 virtual telephone hearing’
  • 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
  • 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 put that school name on the form
  • The ‘Reasons for appeal’ section of the form is where 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 at a later date, up to ten days before your appeal hearing. Please send your information to us by 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. Regardless of how you have sent the information to us 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 fill in a separate appeal form for each school.

Timetable for admission appeals

2019/20 Academic Year – In-Year Transfers

For appeals within the current 2019/20 academic year (for your child to move from one school to another between September 2019 and August 2020), 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 hear it as soon as reasonably practicable.

2020/21 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 2020, you should return your appeal form by:

  • 18 May 2020 for a Primary School (Reception) and Infant to Junior Transfer appeal (Year 3)
  • 30 March 2020 for Secondary School (Year 7) appeal.

The 2020 deadlines for when we will hear your appeal by are set out below:

Deadlines
  Offer date Appeals to be lodged by Appeals to be heard by
Primary  16 April      18 May As soon as practicably possible and ideally before the start of the new school year
Secondary  2 March     30 March As soon as practicably possible and ideally before the start of the new school year

 

Note:- Appeals lodged after the ‘appeals lodged by’ date will still be heard as soon as practicably possible.

2020/21 Academic Year – In-Year Transfers

For appeals within the 2020/21 academic year (for your child to move from one school to another between September 2020 and August 2021), 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 endeavour to arrange and hear it as soon as practicably possible.  Please note that even if you submit your appeal before September 2020, it is unlikely that we will be able to hear your appeal before the start of the September term, due to the number of 2019/20 and admissions appeals which we currently need to hear.

Before the appeal

You will be sent a letter telling you when your appeal hearing will be, at least 14 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.

Please note that if the panel has agreed that your appeal needs to be considered on the written information only, we will follow a different procedure for arranging your appeal.  More information on this can be found in the Types of appeals section.

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 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. Regardless of how you have sent the information to us we will acknowledge that we have received it so if you don't hear from us within three working days please telephone us using the contact number on your appointment letter to make sure we have received what you have sent.

Please note that as appeals are currently being heard by telephone wherever possible or being considered using the papers provided, you cannot submit information to the appeal panel on the day of the hearing.  Further information on this will be included in your appointment letter.

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. 

You will receive a single appointment for your appeal and your case will be heard at that hearing following the procedure set out in the guidance notes. Your appointment letter will include a flowchart which will explain how the hearing will run on the day.

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. Each case will have its own appointment time with the panel, but the panel will not make its decisions on the cases until it has heard them all.

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.

Types of appeal

It is unlikely that we will be able to hold face-to-face hearings safely in the current Coronavirus period, even if some of the existing lockdown restrictions are relaxed. The current arrangements allow for virtual hearings to take place and therefore we are currently proposing to hold all appeal hearings by telephone wherever possible.  However, if there are reasons why you cannot participate in a telephone hearing, the panel may agree to your case being dealt with using the written information you have provided.  We will contact you to discuss this further. If the panel does agree to your case being dealt with using the written information provided you will be sent guidance on how this process will work.

At the virtual telephone hearing

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. 

The hearing will include a facilitator from the Education Appeals Team who will be responsible for bringing and keeping all parties into the hearing.  If a participant drops out of the call during the process, the facilitator will ask the appeal panel to pause the hearing to enable the participant to be brought back into the call.

If a party drops out of the call and the facilitator is unable to get them back into the hearing.  We will do everything practicable to enable your hearing to be able to continue as a telephone hearing, which may require us to continue the hearing at a later time or date.

 How your appeal will be heard and how you will join the virtual telephone hearing

Your appointment letter will tell you the date and time of your hearing and confirm the telephone number we will call you on.  Please note that the call will show as an anonymous caller, meaning the telephone number will not be displayed, so you must be able to receive the call.

We will aim to call you a few minutes before your hearing is due to start so that we have all parties on the call ready to begin.

How long the virtual telephone 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. 

How you’ll receive the decision

You will be sent the decision in a letter which will be posted out within seven 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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