Please read this page carefully before you get started.
The Coastal Association of School Appeals provides an independent service to allow local parents to appeal against the refusal of an admission application.
If you have applied for a place at a school and have been refused a place, you will be given this decision in writing via your local Council. The letter will explain why your application has been refused.
By law, you are entitled to appeal the decision and an Independent Appeal Panel will consider your appeal. They will take account of your reasons for appealing, the school’s published admission arrangements and their reasons for refusal.
The School Admission Appeals Code sets out how we must arrange appeals and ensure that they are fair and transparent. The Department for Education also publish Advice for parents and guardians on school admission appeals, which we suggest reading in addition to the information below.
You can submit an appeal online and give your reasons as to why your child should be admitted to the school. In due course, you will be given a copy of the school’s paperwork defending the appeal. Both sets of papers will be given to an Independent Appeal Panel, who will decide the appeal.
You will be invited to attend an appeal hearing where the Panel will consider and decide your appeal. The Panel will review both your case papers and those of the school and will also listen to what both parties explain verbally at the appeal hearing.
The Appeal Panel decides whether to uphold (allow) or dismiss (refuse) your appeal. Their decision is legally binding. You and the school will be sent a letter after the appeal giving the Panel’s decision.
The Coastal Association of School Appeals has a dedicated Appeals Officer who will make the appeal arrangements, book in the Panel Members, liaise with the school’s presenting officer and parent(s)/carers, circulate the paperwork, answer specific questions on appeals procedure and ensure all arrangements are made in line with the School Admission Appeals Code. They are unable to give you advice on the content of your appeal.
Please be aware that an appeal can prolong the period of uncertainty for you and your child, so it’s important to be realistic about your reasons for appealing and the chances of being successful. You should also consider accepting any offer of a school place you receive, to make sure that your child has a place, should your appeal not be successful. Accepting another offer will have no bearing on your appeal and the appeals process does not limit other options available to you.
Further information is available below. Please click on the headings to view the expanded information.
No school takes the decision to refuse a child a place lightly. The letter from your local Council will give a reason why the school has refused your application. Normally it is because the school is over-subscribed and is therefore full. This could be because:
- There were other children who more closely met the school’s oversubscription criteria and the school is now full.
- For applications outside the normal points of entry, that the year group is full and there are no further spare places available for your child.
- If your application meets the In Year Fair Access protocol, it is referred to the IYFA panel for a decision on school placement for your child.
By law, appeals need to be in writing and have grounds (reasons). You can do this online and either use the free text available field for your reasons or upload a separate letter with your reasons. These should be why you want your child to attend the school you are appealing for.
If you believe there has been a mistake (for example that the admissions criteria have not been applied correctly), you should set out why the school should have offered your child a place.
It is important that you supply all relevant information to allow the Panel to fully understand your circumstances. If you have other supporting documents such as medical reports, educational letters or other professional reports, you can upload these to the Appeals Portal.
If you don’t have all the information at the time of appeal, that’s ok – you can submit your appeal with your outline reasons and then upload other information at a later date. Please note that there is a deadline to do this, so we recommend ideally ensuring you have most information ready before lodging your appeal. You must submit some grounds (reasons) with your initial appeal to make it valid.
If you are unable to use the online form due to a disability or a need for translation services, please contact us for advice.
We recommend fully reading this guidance before lodging your appeal form via the Appeals Portal.
It is preferred if you submit most of your written information when you lodge your appeal. Once a hearing date has been set and you have been notified of this, you will be given a deadline as to the latest you can upload any additional information for the Panel to consider. This is so that the information can be circulated to all parties for consideration before the hearing. Panels can refuse to accept any information submitted after the deadline or it may delay your hearing.
When we have received your appeal, we will send you an email to confirm receipt. We will also give a copy of your appeal to the school Principal/Headteacher. We will then arrange for an Independent Appeal Panel to consider the appeal. If there is more than one appeal for the same year group/key stage, we may arrange for these to be heard together. The arrangements for appeal hearings are as per the Appeals Timetable on the school’s website:
- Appeals for Entry into Year 7 in September are scheduled to take place between April and the end of July.
- Appeals for admission for any other time of the year are arranged as soon as we are able, but usually within 30 school days of us receiving your appeal.
We will email you giving at least 10 school days’ notice of the appeal hearing – unless you have agreed to a shorter notice period and give you the date, time and venue for the appeal hearing along with the names of the Independent Panel Members who will hear your appeal.
We will then contact you again, approximately a week before the hearing to advise you that the school’s paperwork is available on the Appeals Portal. We recommend that you read this thoroughly as this will be the basis for the first stage of the appeal.
Appeals are heard on weekdays during term time only. They are usually held in person at the school, another school in the area or at another local venue. The letter sent to you 10 days before the appeal hearing will advise the appeal venue for your hearing.
Additionally, we may decide to hear appeals remotely by video conference, or a hybrid of in person/remote attendees if we have the appropriate facilities available. Appeal hearings can only be held entirely by telephone in certain circumstances.
The Independent Appeal Panel is made up of 3 trained volunteers who will decide your appeal by a casting of votes. The Panel members have no association with the school or the local Council.
One person will be the Chair of the Panel who will be responsible for the conduct of the hearing including introducing parties, explaining the roles and ensuring that all parties have sufficient opportunity to state their case and ask questions. One Panel Member will have experience in education and will be familiar with educational conditions in the local area, or be the parent of a pupil registered at a school. One Panel Member will be classed as a “lay member”, having no personal experience in the management of any school or in the provision of education in any school (except as a governor or in another voluntary role). The third panel member could be either lay or experienced in education.
The Panel Members will check the names of the appellants when they receive the documentation to ensure there is no conflict of interest and we ask you to do the same when you get notified of their names. A Panel Member cannot hear your appeal if they know you directly or have had any previous involvement in your case.
The role of the Panel is to decide whether your appeal should be upheld (allowed) or dismissed (rejected) in accordance with the guidance set out in the School Admission Appeals Code. It has no other remit. The Panel’s decision is final and legally binding and can only be challenged in the High Court via Judicial review.
The Panel is not able to consider any other matter – such as position on waiting lists, offers of places in a different year group to which you would like, or consider appeals for children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – other options are available for these issues. The Independent Appeal Panels are solely constituted for the purpose of hearing School Admission Appeals in line with the School Admission Appeals Code, and all Panel Members have been fully trained in the legislation relating to School Admission Appeals.
Yes, we recommend attending the hearing if possible. It helps for you to explain to the Appeal Panel in person why you want your child to attend the school and to be on hand for any questions or queries the Panel and the school may have about what you have provided in writing.
You can bring someone with you – be it a friend, representative, interpreter or signer. They can speak on your behalf if you wish, or just be on hand to provide support. If you are bringing someone with you, you will need to advise the Appeals Officer beforehand so that the Independent Appeal Panel is aware of who will be attending the hearing.
We do not recommend that you bring any children to the appeal hearing, as there are no childcare facilities available and the Panel want you to be able to freely talk about your circumstances. In the past, children attending have found it difficult, particularly if their needs are being discussed by you and the Panel.
If you do not wish to attend the hearing or are unable to attend on the day, or if the school’s presenting officer fails to attend, Panels will usually proceed to hear the appeal based on the written information that has been provided.
The Chairman will welcome you to the hearing, introduce the other 2 Panel Members and anyone else there. They will explain the procedure they will follow. They will have read the information that you and the school supplied and will have copies to hand to refer to. We suggest you bring a copy along too (either printed or downloaded on your device).
The Chairman will then ask the school to “present their case” – this is when they will explain how they feel their admission policy meets the requirements set out in the School Admissions Code, explain how it was applied to your application, why they feel they are unable to take any more children and what prejudice it would cause them if they did. The Panel and you will then have opportunity to ask questions, before the hearing is then briefly adjourned for the Panel to make their first decision. Please refer to the section on decision making for more information.
If the school has proven their case, everyone will be invited back into the hearing for you to then present your case as to why you want your child to attend the school. The Panel and school will then have opportunity to ask questions of you.
The Chairman will then give you and the school opportunity to summarise your cases before leaving the room. The Panel will then make their decision (except if there are multiple appeals – see relevant section for more information).
There will be the 3 independent Appeal Panel Members, with their names and roles advised to you in advance. Additionally, there will be a Presenting Officer, who will present the case on behalf of the school as to why your child was refused a place.
There will also be a Clerk to the Appeal Panel – they take notes of the hearing, record attendance, decisions and reasons as well as providing independent advice on law and procedures if needed and will usually be the person who communicates the Panel’s decision to you. The Clerk has no say in the decision but stays with the Panel to take notes whilst they make their decision.
There will be a school representative – usually referred to as the Presenting Officer. They will be there to present the school’s case as to why your child was refused a place at the school. There can sometimes be more than one representative at the hearing.
If your appeal is one of several being heard at the same time, there may be other parents/carers present at this stage too (see section on multiple appeals).
On occasion, there may be an observer in attendance (with everyone’s agreement) for training purposes.
If there are any adjournments – the Clerk will ensure both you and the Presenting Officer leave/re-enter the room together, as neither party can be alone with the Panel without the other (except in instances where the parents/carers have chosen not to attend the hearing, or the school representative has been unable to attend).
It is difficult to say how long the hearing will take – if yours is the only case being heard, it may take up to 1 hour, occasionally longer.
However, if there are multiple appeals being heard, the stage 1 hearing could take up to 2 hours, depending on the number of parents attending and volume of questions being asked. The second time you are given, for your personal case, would normally take 20-30 minutes.
Appeals for this age group follow a two-stage process:
At this stage, the Panel must consider and decide whether:
- The school’s admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admission Appeals Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998; and
- The admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case in question.
The Panel must then decide whether the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources. If the Panel decides that prejudice would not occur, they will give your child a place. If they decide that there would be prejudice, then they proceed to Stage 2.
At this stage, the Panel takes into account your submission and considers the reasons why you wish your child to attend the school. They will then balance the reasons for your case against the school’s case and decide which is stronger. If your case is stronger – you will be offered a place, if the school’s case is stronger, your appeal will be rejected.
If there are multiple parents appealing for the same school and same year group/key stage, it is often the case that these will all be heard together. The Panel will ask the school to explain to all parents/carers in attendance their “case” – i.e., to cover all of the points the Panel has to make a decision on at Stage 1.
Parents/carers will then be given a separate time to return, without the other parents/carers in attendance to explain their case to the Panel and be questioned on it if needed by the Panel and school representative.
No decisions will be made in this circumstance until ALL the appeals have been heard (they may last over a number of days). The Panel will make a decision on each case separately. If they feel there are more appeals they wish to allow than they feel the school can cope with, at this point they will compare cases, to uphold those with the strongest case for admission.
If your child has passed the entrance test, but was not offered a place because there were other children who more closely met the school’s admission criteria, then the appeals process is the same as all other school admission appeals.
However, if your child did not pass the entrance test, the Panel will consider your appeal differently. The panel may only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied that:
- That there is there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the child is of the required academic standard (for example, school reports giving Year 5/6 SAT results or a letter from the current/previous school clearly indicating why your child is considered to be of grammar school ability) and
- That your reasons for wanting your child to attend the school outweigh the school’s reasons for refusing admission.
If there are multiple appeals which have evidence of being of grammar standard and which outweigh the school’s reasons for refusing admission, the Panel may compare cases and uphold the number of appeals that they feel the school can cope with.
If your application for a place for your child meets the criteria set out in the locally agreed Fair Access Protocol, your application will be decided by the local Pupil Placement Panel. This Panel (of all local secondary headteachers) tries to consider the needs of your child in addition to ensuring that no school is required to take a disproportionate number of children who have been permanently excluded from other schools, who display challenging behaviour, or who are placed via the Fair Access Protocol.
The allocation of a place in accordance with the Fair Access Protocol does not override a parent/carer’s right to appeal against refusal of a place at any school for which they have applied and been refused. If your application has been refused, despite there being places available, the school will present their case for refusal demonstrating how admission of your child would prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources. When considering such an appeal, in addition to your argument for your child to be admitted, the Panel must, by law take account of the requirements set out in the local authority’s Fair Access Protocol and must carefully consider whether the school has clearly proven that admission of your child would be prejudicial to the school or other children.
If your child has been refused a place in the school sixth form, both you and your child have the right of appeal. If the school did not offer your child a place because there were other children who more closely met the school’s admission criteria, then the appeal follows the same two-stage process as other appeals for the school.
However, if your child was refused a place because they did not meet the specified entry requirements for the school’s sixth form (for example 5 GCSE’s grade 5 or above) – the Panel can only uphold the appeal if it considers that the school’s decision was unreasonable based on the information the school had available to it. In doing so, the Panel must consider whether any process in place to consider such cases (e.g., where a pupil had not been studying in England and therefore did not have GCSE’s) was carried out in a consistent and objective way.
The Appeals Portal has fields for you to advise us if you require a translator and which language. We will try to meet your needs as best we can.
There is also a field for you to advise us if you require any other access arrangements for any disability such as a British Sign Language interpreter, hearing loop or wheelchair access. Again, please advise us of your needs when submitting your appeal and we will do our best to make the necessary arrangements.
The Clerk to the Appeal Panel will email you once the appeal hearing is over and the Panel has made their decision with the outcome of your appeal. This will usually be on the same day as the appeal hearing, or in the case of multiple appeals, will likely be on the last day of appeal hearings, after all appeals have been heard. This will either be that the appeal has been allowed (successful) or refused (no place offered). This will then be followed up in due course with a decision letter with the reasons for the Panel’s decision. This letter usually follows within 5 days of the end of the hearing, however during busy periods, this can take longer.
If your appeal is successful and your child is given a place, this decision is legally binding. It is up to you still to choose if you wish to take up this place, so we recommend that you contact both the school directly to make arrangements for your child to start and also to contact your local Council to formally accept the place and to release any place you may be holding at an alternative school.
If your appeal is not successful, you will have been given the reasons for the Panel’s decision and that is the end of your right of appeal. There is no re-appeal / next step for appeals. You will be given information in your decision letter to suggest contacting the local Council about other available places / waiting lists if you have not accepted a place at another school already.
Under normal circumstances, parents are only allowed one application, refusal and appeal per academic year for each school they apply to. Your local Council will be able to advise you when you can put in a new application for the next academic year and thus have a new right of appeal if the school you would like is still full/your application refused.
You are responsible for securing suitable education for your child. If your child is without a school place, contact your local Council who will be able to advise and inform you of other available places in the area if you do not wish to electively home educate your child.
The only route to challenge the Panel’s decision is to take the matter to the High Court by way of Judicial Review. This usually needs to be done within 3 months of receiving your decision.
If you feel the Panel did not carry their role out in accordance with the School Admission Appeals Code, you can make a complaint of maladministration to the Department for Education. This must relate to the administration of an appeal rather than the decision. Further details on how to do this will be provided with your decision letter. Please note that the Department for Education cannot overturn the Panel’s decision, however if they feel your complaint has merit, they can recommend a new hearing by a different Panel. You cannot complain simply because you do not agree with the Panel’s decision.
The legislation for admission appeals does not allow re-appeals (i.e., another appeal in respect of the same school and same academic year), except in exceptional circumstances where the school has accepted a second application from the family because of significant and material changes in the circumstances of the parent, child or school but still refused admission. A second appeal will be heard by a Panel made up of different Panel members to those who heard your first appeal.
You may apply for a place in the school for a later academic year – your local Council will be able to advise you how and when you can make such an application. If that application is refused, you then have a further right of appeal.
No. If you wish to have confirmation by someone such as your doctor or social worker to support what you have said on your appeal form, it is up to you to obtain this written support and upload it to the Appeals Portal before the paperwork deadline. We are unable to contact professionals on your behalf.
If the panel does not uphold your appeal, you can usually still retain your place on the school’s waiting list, even if you have accepted a place at another school. Please note however that children who are on the waiting list are ranked by how closely they match the school’s oversubscription criteria, not how long they have been on the list. This is a legal requirement. Having had an appeal heard and refused for a school makes no difference to your place on the list.
GDPR/ Data Protection
For more information about how we use your data, please refer to the individual school’s information on GDPR and Data Protection.
We are unable to assist you with the preparation of your case. Further guidance about appeals can be found at:
Government parental advice on admission appeals (www.gov.uk) appeal advice for parents:
(www.gov.uk) appeal advice for parents
Child Law Advice Service:
Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) advice:
Contact (for families with disabled children):
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) 4 BCP
Independent Parental Special Educational Advice (ISPEA)
School Admission Appeals Code:
School Admissions Code:
If you wish to contact us, please use the details below:
c/o The Bourne Academy
Tel: 01202 029589