School appeals

If you do not get a place for your child at your preferred school you will have the right to appeal against the decision. Your appeal will be heard by an independent admission appeal panel.

The following is designed to help you with any questions you might have.

Frequently asked questions

How can I appeal?

If you have been refused a school place in Salford and you wish to appeal, you should complete and return the downloadable form using the online contact form (both at the bottom of this page).

If you have been refused a place at a school in another local authority, you should write to or email that local authority directly stating the reasons you are appealing the decision.

Is there a right of appeal for all year groups?

You can appeal against a decision not to offer your child a place in the school of your choice in any year group. The only exception to this is nursery, which is non-statutory education, and therefore there is no right of appeal.

However, you should note statutory limits on infant class sizes (reception class, year one and year two). This means that no more than 30 pupils can be taught by one teacher.

As a result restrictions have been placed on the circumstances in which an independent appeal panel can grant an appeal for admission of a child to an infant class at school.

Appeals against refusal to admit on the grounds of infant class size legislation can only be granted in the following circumstances:

  1. That the admission of an additional child would not breach infant class size limits.
  2. That the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable local authority would make in the circumstances of the case. The panel will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse admittance was 'perverse in the light of the admission arrangements', ie it was 'beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker' or 'a decision which is so outrageous in its logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person in who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it'.
  3. That the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented.
  4. That the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had not been contrary to mandatory provisions in the School Admission Code (2012) and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

You may wish to consider this information carefully when submitting an appeal for an infant class.

Can I appeal for a place in a sixth form?

Appeals for sixth form places in schools and academies can be lodged by the young person and/or the parent/carer, but where they are made separately the appeals must be heard together.

How long does it take to hear my appeal?

The appeals timetable lays out full dates and timescales relating to the hearing of admission appeals for community and voluntary controlled schools. The following timescales apply to all schools and academies.

Transfer to secondary school appeals - appeals for a child due to start year seven in secondary school at the start of the new academic year, must within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals.

Starting in reception class appeals - appeals for a child due to start reception class at the start of the new academic year must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals.

Late application appeals - if you submit an appeal for either of the above after the deadline stated on the decision letter sent to you, the appeal will be heard within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged. Where an appeal in this category would have to be heard before an appeal received on time, the appeal will be heard at the same time or after the other appeal otherwise an injustice could occur and could be unfair.

Appeals for any other year groups - appeals for any other year group must be heard within 30 school days of the appeal being received from the parent.

Who will hear our appeal?

The independent appeals panel will have three or five members. However most appeals are heard with a three member panel. All school admission panels must include at least one person who has experience of education in Salford, and at least one independent lay member.

Who will be at the appeal?

As well as three or five members, one officer from the council's corporate business section will be present to offer advice to the panel on points of law and procedural matters. They will take no part in the decision making process.

In the case of community and voluntary controlled schools, an officer from children's services will attend to explain why a place has not been offered to your child at your preferred school. The head teacher may also attend to give additional information.

For voluntary aided schools, the reasons for refusing a place will often be presented by the chair of governors and the headteacher.

You may wish to take a friend with you to the appeal.

How can I prepare for the hearing?

You may like to make a note of what you would like to say to the appeal panel, and also to write down any questions you might wish to ask. This will make sure that you do not forget any points you wish to make at the hearing.

What will happen at the hearing?

The hearing will be as informal as possible. The chairman of the panel will try to put you at your ease, however, certain procedures have to be followed to make sure that everyone making an appeal is given a fair chance to put their case.

The following is a summary of what usually happens:

  1. The local authority/governing body present their case. They will explain why your child has not been given a place at the school of your choice.
  2. You may ask questions.
  3. The panel members may ask questions.
  4. You present your case, explaining why you feel your child should be given a place.
  5. The local authority/governing body may ask you questions.
  6. The panel members may ask you questions.
  7. The local authority/governing body will sum up.
  8. You will sum up.

Do I have to attend the hearing?

You do not have to attend, although it is easier to explain your case if you are there in person. If you do not wish to attend you should notify corporate business on 0161 793 2811.

What if I wish to attend but I am unable to on the date arranged?

You should contact corporate business on 0161 793 2811.

What happens next?

The representatives of the local authority/governing body will leave the meeting at the same time you leave. The panel will then make a decision. In the case of more than one appeal for the same school, the panel will hear all the appeals before coming to any decisions.

Corporate business will write to you within a few days of the appeal advising you of the panel's decision. Children's services do not have details relating to the decisions of the panel.

Can I be represented by a lawyer?

Yes, if you wish, but it is not necessary. The local authority/governing body will not have a lawyer to present their case.

Is the decision of the appeals panel final?

Yes it is. The decision is binding on both you and the local authority/governing body. Normally it is not possible to have your appeal re-heard unless you can show that it was not dealt with according to the proper procedures.

If you feel there has been maladministration of the appeal you can contact:

Local Government Ombudsman
Beverley House
17 Shipton Road
York
YO30 5FZ

Telephone: 01904 663200

If my appeal is unsuccessful can I re-appeal?

You cannot re-appeal for a place in the same school, in the same academic year, unless there have been significant changes in your circumstances.

If my appeal is unsuccessful can I re-apply to the school?

For nursery, reception and secondary intakes you do not need to reapply. Your child's name will remain on the waiting list for your preferred school until the end of the autumn term after they are due to start.

The local authority will co-ordinate waiting lists for all schools. If school places become available during this time, these places will be offered using the admission criteria.

For in-year admissions, you will need to reapply if your appeal is not successful as no waiting lists are held for these transfers.

Do successful appeals for other children reduce my child's chance of a place?

Any appeals won by parents/carers are extra places given to children taking the number in the year group concerned over the published number. The admission process allows places to be given to children until the admission number for the year group concerned has been reached by using the admissions criteria. Places cannot be allocated to children on the waiting list until the number of children in the year group concerned falls below the published admission number.

Who to contact

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This page was last updated on 1 September 2017

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