Secondary school admission appeals

Appeal hearings

There are 2 types of school appeal hearings.

In most cases, you'd have an individual appeal hearing. When there are a large number of appeals for the same school, we may arrange a group appeal.

Your letter which tells you the date and time of your hearing will also tell you which type of hearing you're attending.

Individual appeal hearing procedure

This is the order of events at a typical individual appeal hearing.

  1. The Chair of the appeal panel will introduce you to the other panel members, the clerk and the representative of the Admission Authority (either the local authority or the school's governing body) who are present in the room.
  2. The representative of the Admission Authority will present the case, explaining the procedure followed and the reason why it hasn't been possible to offer your child a place at the school of your preference.
  3. You may then ask questions about why your child wasn't offered a place at your preferred school and the appeal panel members may also ask questions. 
  4. You'll be asked to present your case to the Appeals Panel.
  5. The representative of the Admission Authority may ask you questions and the appeal panel members may also ask you questions about your case.
  6. The representative of the Admission Authority will sum up their case.
  7. You will sum up your case.
  8. You and the Admission Authority representative will then be asked to leave so the appeal panel can discuss your case and reach a decision on whether to uphold or reject the appeal.

Group appeal hearing procedure

This is the order of events at a typical group appeal hearing.

  1. The clerk and a member of our legal and democratic services will be present at the group hearing to meet you and ask you to sign in.
  2. Once everyone has arrived, the panel will be brought in and the procedure will be explained.
  3. The representative from the Admission Authority will explain how admissions to the school were undertaken.
  4. The meeting will then be open to questions from the floor. This is your chance to ask any questions you may have about what the Admission Authority representative has said.
  5. The panel will then have the opportunity to ask questions. 
  6. The panel will then move to a separate room to begin the individual appeal hearings.
  7. The clerk and the representative from the Admission Authority will be present at your individual appeal hearings.
  8. The panel won't make any decisions until they've heard the final individual appeal.

Who makes up the appeal panel

The appeals panel usually consists of 3 trained volunteers who are all completely independent of both us and the school you're appealing for.

Appeals panels have to consist of at least one person who has no experience providing education in any school and one person with experience in education. For voluntary aided schools, the panel may also include a diocesan representative.

A clerk who's legally trained will advise the panel and ensure the correct procedure is followed. The clerk will take notes of the relevant points discussed at the hearings and they'll remain with the panel when they make their decision so they can record the reasons why.

Only the members of the appeal panel make the decision on whether to allow your appeal or not. The clerk and representative of the Admission Authority aren't involved in the decision making.