Appeals

How to appeal a school place decision

How to appeal a school place decision

Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on School Admissions Appeals

Following the recent postponement of all admission appeal hearings due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the government have made regulatory changes to relax some of the current requirements set out in the School Admission Appeals Code 2012.

These changes allow admission authorities to proceed with their admission appeals and crucially, offer flexibility to manage the appeals in a way that best suits local circumstances. The changes have been made carefully to ensure that all families are supported and that none are disadvantaged by the measures in place to protect public health.

The new regulations came into force on 24 April 2020 and will remain until 31 January 2021. Specifically, the regulations state that we may choose to hear appeals in a format other than face-to-face. Appeal deadlines have been relaxed, to ensure that all appeal submissions are facilitated and heard within reasonable timescales. A legal clerk will remain a necessary part of the hearing process and their presence is important to ensure the appeals are conducted fairly.

After exploring all possible options available within the temporary regulations, we can confirm that all admission appeals coordinated by the Local Authority will be heard on the basis of written representation only. This process will allow for all transition appeals to be heard by September, with hearings being scheduled throughout June, July and August 2021.

Click here to see the amended procedure
 

School Admissions Code and the School Admissions Appeal Code.

The purpose of these codes is to ensure that the admission appeal panel is independent and that appeals are conducted in a fair, transparent and lawful way.

You are legally entitled to appeal against the admission authority’s decision to refuse a place at your preferred school(s). Accepting a place at an alternative school does not affect your child’s place on the reserve list for your preferred school(s), or your right of appeal.

Your appeal will be heard by an independent school admission appeals panel. The panel's decision is binding on all parties: the school, the admission authority and you.

 

Infant class size legislation does not allow a place to be offered where there would be more than 30 children in an infant class. This refers to Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes.

In an infant class size appeal, a panel may only uphold the appeal where:
  • The admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit
  • The admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied
  • The decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.
To begin the appeals process, you will need to complete the appeal form and return it by email to schoolappeals@northumberland.gov.uk.  Alternatively, you can return the form by post:

School Admission Appeals 
Democratic Services
Human Resources & Organisational Development Directorate
Northumberland County Council
County Hall, 
Morpeth, NE61 2EF.

When you complete the appeal form, please give as much information as you can about why you wish to appeal, and provide as much evidence as possible to support your case.
 
If you would like to appeal you can access the school appeal form, or contact the admissions team for a paper form.

Please note, an appeal form should only be completed if your child has been refused a place at school.  Please read the school appeals guidance before completing the form.
Email: democraticservices@northumberland.gov.uk
Telephone: 01670 622 606