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A.M. Phillips - Education Law

A Specialist Education Law Practice

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School Admission Appeals

I can advise and assist you with all aspects of an appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel. This will include initial consultation, drafting your Grounds of Appeal, advising on the legality of your chosen school’s admissions code, advising you on any supporting documents or evidence you may have and arranging to come along with you to the Hearing. I support you each step of the way to minimise your levels of stress at what is often a very challenging and emotional time.

What should you bear in mind when making an Admissions Appeal?

If your child or young person has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHC Plan and the school fail to allocate a place for your child or young person, then you must appeal to SENDIST and not through the School Admission Appeal process.

Infant Class Size Appeals

While all Admissions Appeals are difficult to win, Infant Class Size Appeals are particularly difficult to win. Children aged between 5 to 7 years will fall into this type of appeal, as schools are entitled to limit the number of children they admit, to a maximum number of 30 pupils per class. Whilst this limit can and will only be increased in extremely limited cases, a lot depends upon the individual facts of your case in addition to whether the correct legal process has been applied when allocating places. 

In-year Appeals and Secondary School Appeals

If your child has moved from school to school or from one area to another for whatever reason, and if you have applied for a school place outside of the normal school ‘admissions’ stage and a place has been refused on the basis that the School is ‘full’, then you will have a right of appeal. This is called an in-year Appeal.

Similarly in the way that appeals for pupils who are due to transfer to Secondary School at the age of 11 operate, the School Admission Appeals Code requires an Independent Appeal Panel to apply a two-stage test to these types of Appeals on the balance of prejudice to decide whether your child should have been allocated a place. This test does allow some flexibility when I am drafting your Grounds for Appeal to allow me to form a cohesive argument. The Independent Appeals Panel must look at your case on the day of your Hearing and weigh up on the evidence in front of them, including any prejudice which may be caused to the school, its resources and the efficient education of children already enrolled in admitting another child versus the prejudice caused to your child if they are not allocated a place at your chosen school.

The evidence you present to the Independent Appeals Panel is absolutely fundamental in securing a satisfactory outcome and is something I can advise you on to ensure you have the strongest possible case on the day.

Admission appeals, particularly where the issue is about pupil numbers, can be particularly difficult.  The key to success is through excellent preparation of the case, including research into historic pupil numbers and covering all relevant legal issues.

If you need help and advice on these, or any other matters relating to your child or young person's special educational needs, please call 029 2073 6329 to arrange your FREE initial telephone consultation or make an online enquiry by clicking here.