After the Tests
Offers from LA Schools
If you have applied to a Local Authority school, you will have selected up to three schools in order of preference.
If your child has been successful in achieving a place at their preferred school, you will receive a letter notifying you of the fact.
If your child is not successful with their first choice, their name will be placed on the list for the next school you have specified. At this point, the second-choice school will take candidates who have put them as first preference, so you are likely to be at the end of the list.
This will also apply to your third-choice school if your child is not successful with the second.
The Appeals Process
Notification of the Appeals Process
If your child was unsuccessful with an application to an LA school, you should automatically receive details of the appeals procedure.
Although the appeals process is often described as informal, don’t confuse ‘friendly’ with informal. There is a formal timetable that must be adhered to and all paperwork will need to be submitted by the specified dates.
Before making a formal appeal, you should consider the likelihood of success. If you have not been given the information, ask how close your child came to the pass mark.
Children who are close to the pass mark are sometimes offered a place on the waiting list. This is worth taking up as your child may still be successful – some of the accepted candidates may drop out.
Appealing the Decision
The school will have decided on a number of criteria with which to assess appeals submitted. It is essential that you check the school prospectus to understand what these are before appealing. It is the job of the LA to ensure that these criteria are applied impartially.
Parents are often asked to attend a meeting with the panel where they are allowed to ask questions and produce evidence to back the appeal. Any evidence you present will need to be sent to both the school and panel before the meeting.
There are a number of specialist companies that can help you in putting your appeal together, or you can do this on your own.
Organizations that can help with free advice include the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE). A wide selection of private companies specialize in supporting families in submitting appeals for a fee.
Putting the Appeal Together
Your appeal should clearly address all the criteria you have been asked to meet, in the order in which they have been presented to you. This should be presented as a formal document.
For example, if one of the criteria is that your home must be within the catchment area, you should supply an Ordnance Survey map, giving exact details of the distance from your house to the school, to support your case.
Countdown to the Hearing
- Once you have submitted your appeal, the admission authority must write to you at least ten school days before the hearing to confirm the date.
- At least seven school days before the hearing, the clerk must send you all the appeals documents to review. These will outline the school’s reasons for not being able to offer your child a place.
- At least three school days before the hearing you will receive notification of who will be sitting on the appeals panel.
The Appeal Hearing
The appeal hearing can last from 30 minutes to two hours.
The panel for LA schools is independent. After hearing your case, they will make their decision on the basis of whether your child or the school is likely to ‘suffer’ the most (for example, whether or not the addition of your child would be problematic for the education of the existing intake).