School Place Appeals

Many parents waited last month for news of primary and secondary school places for their children.  The statistics suggest most children in Oxfordshire were granted their first or second place.  For some, this was not the case and places were provided that were not suitable for a number of reasons. 

This does not have to be the end of the process.  If you have made an application for your child to start school, change school or commence secondary education, and they have not been offered a place at the school you want, it is possible to appeal the decision. The appeal process involves completing a written application, with evidence where relevant.

Your appeal may be successful if:

·         The admission criteria do not comply with the school admissions appeal code

·         The admission arrangements haven’t been properly followed

·         The decision to refuse your child a place wasn’t reasonable

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Your grounds for appeal will depend on which type of school place your child has applied for. For example, infant school class sizes are limited to 30 children, so your application can be turned down if classes are already at their limit. The appeal is made in writing and then a hearing date is set.

Your appeal is heard by an independent tribunal. First, the admission authority (the school or council) will give their evidence, explaining why a place was not given to your child. You will then have your chance to explain why you believe your child should have been given a place at the school requested.

The tribunal will check whether the specific school admissions criteria complies with the legal school admissions code. If the criteria were not properly followed or are illegal, your appeal will be upheld. If the criteria were legally appropriate and properly followed, the tribunal will be asked to decide if the reasons for why your child should be admitted outweigh the school’s reasons for rejecting your application.

It is important that you comply with the strict appeal process and timetable. Our lawyers can assist with understanding the grounds for appeal, and advising on the legality of the admission code or place allocation. We will help you to ensure your best possible case is presented to the tribunal on time.

If you have any queries about school appeals, please do not hesitate to give me a call.


Claire Colbert:  Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths

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Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members.  Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.

Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.

Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member.  Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.

What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively. 

DDI: 01865 781182