Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on appeals

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Parents' guide for school appeals 2021

Title Value
Last updated: 12 April 2021
Contents

1. Your right to appeal

Parents can express a preference for a school for their child, but they do not have the right to a place at a particular school.

A school’s admission authority is responsible for allocating its school places.  The admission authority can be the local authority (Buckinghamshire Council) or school governors, depending on the type of school.

If there are more applicants than school places available, the admission authority allocates the places according to its oversubscription criteria (rules) which are published on schools’ websites.

The admission authority can refuse the parent’s application for a school place if:

  • the school has allocated all its places and admission of an extra child will prejudice (harm) the education of its existing pupils; or
  • the parent has applied for grammar school and their child is not qualified; or
  • the parent has applied for Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and there are already 30 children in the class.

 

If you are a parent and you have applied for a school place for your child and the admission authority has refused your application, you have the right to make an admission appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel.

The Appeal Panel is made up of unpaid, trained volunteers who have no connection with the school, its admission authority or the local authority.

During the appeal, you can explain why you want the school place and the admission authority will explain why it refused your application.  The Appeal Panel will consider all the information provided by you and the admission authority (by relevant deadline dates) before it makes its decision. If you are successful you will be offered the school place.

 

You are responsible for: making your appeal; explaining why you want the particular school place to the Appeal Panel; and providing written information in support of your appeal.

 

There are different types of appeal and the process will depend on the school place you want.

2. Appeal success rate

Last year, 9% of appeals were successful.

Most appeals fail because the schools are already full and do not have the resources to admit additional children without harming the education of the existing pupils. 

So please think carefully before making your appeal. They are time-consuming and stressful for parents and expensive for schools.

You are unlikely to be successful where you:

  • are appealing for a place in Reception, Years 1 or 2 (due to the law that applies to these appeals)
  • do not live in the school’s catchment area
  • have been allocated a place at another school (even if it is not one of your preferred schools) at a reasonable distance from home
  • do not have strong medical, social or educational reasons for your appeal, which are supported by evidence
  • want the school place to make it easier for you to get to work or transport your children to school
  • do not submit strong academic evidence to support a grammar school appeal for your unqualified child
  • are appealing for a grammar school and live outside the county
  • are appealing for one grammar school and have been allocated a place at another grammar school
  • are appealing for a grammar school and have been allocated a place at another all-ability (non-grammar) school at a reasonable distance from your home, even if it isn’t one of your preferred schools.

See 2020 Appeal Statistics

3. How to make an appeal

It is very important you read this guidance before you make your appeal.

If you need help with your appeal, contact the Appeals Team via appeals@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

For most Buckinghamshire schools, you can make your appeal by completing and submitting an online appeal form by the deadline date

The Admissions Team will check you are eligible to make the appeal and then forward it to the Appeals Team to administer.

Please remember:

  • You can appeal for any school which you have applied for and been refused
  • You can make an appeal as soon as your application for a school place is refused
  • For each school you appeal for, you must complete a separate appeal form and there will be a separate appeal
  • You cannot make two appeals for the same school in the same academic year

If you want a paper form, contact the Admissions and Transport Team 

You can scan and email or post your paper appeal form to the Appeals Team to be received by the deadline date.

THERE ARE IMPORTANT TIME LIMITS FOR MAKING YOUR APPEAL

For Secondary appeals for Year 7, September 2021 entry, if you are refused a school place on Monday 1 March 2021, your appeal form must be received by the Council by 5pm on Sunday 28 March 2021.

For Primary appeals for September 2021 entry, if you are refused a school place on Friday 16 April 2021, your appeal form must be received by the Council by 12 noon on Thursday 13 May 2021.

Appeals received by these deadlines will be heard between May and July 2021.

Appeals received after these deadlines will not be heard until September 2021, or later.

For all other appeals, your appeal form should be received by the Council within 28 calendar days of the date you were refused the school place. The appeal will be heard as soon as possible.

See 2021 Appeals Timetable 

After you have submitted your appeal form, the Appeals Team will send you an Acknowledgement Letter with your unique Appeal Reference NumberRefer to this number if you contact the Appeals Team. 

If you do not receive this letter within 10 working days, please contact the Appeals Team.

Remember to:

  • Keep copies of your appeal form and any other documents you send.
  • Tell the Appeals Team about any changes to your contact details.

4. How to submit your appeal evidence 

You must explain in writing on the appeal form why you want the school place. 

You should also send the Appeals Team documents and written evidence in support of your appeal (by post, email or hand delivery). 

We advise you to start collecting together the documents you want the Appeal Panel to see as soon as possible. (Remember, if you need academic evidence, schools may not be able to help you during holidays/school closures).

For secondary appeals submitted by 28 March – your evidence must be received by the Appeals Team by 5pm on Friday 16 April.

For primary appeals submitted by 16 April – your evidence must be received by the Appeals Team by 5pm on Tuesday 1 June.

For other appeals - evidence must be received by the Appeals Team by the evidence deadline date notified to parents by letter.

If evidence or information is received late, the Appeal Panel may not be able to take it into account or your appeal may be delayed

Please remember:

  • It is your responsibility to provide evidence in support of your appeal and on time
  • The Appeals Team and the Appeal Panel cannot obtain evidence on your behalf
  • Anything you send to the Admissions and Transport Team is not automatically provided to the Appeals Team (except Selection Review paperwork)
  • If you make more than one appeal, send separate copies of your evidence for each
  • Do not re-send documents
  • You should try to send your evidence with your appeal form
  • Or, send it as soon as possible afterwards and no later than the evidence deadline date – see the Appeals Timetable.
  • The Appeals Team will write to you with the deadline date for sending your evidence.

When you send your evidence, please:

  • number the pages and write your child’s name on them
  • write your reference number on documents sent separately from your appeal form
  • use correct postage (if you are sending documents by post)
  • provide documents in A4 size
  • do not send evidence after your appeal – the Appeal Panel will not see it
  • do not use staples or treasury tags, document wallets, files or file dividers
  • do not send:
    original documents; photographs of documents
    (they cannot be copied);
    highlighted documents
    (copies will be illegible);
    PowerPoint, video or other audio/visual presentations; letters of support from the school you are appealing for
    *;
    schoolwork or certificates
    ** (they will not be sent to the Appeal Panel);
    your Selection Review paperwork in grammar appeals
    ***

*You may send letters of support from your child’s current or previous school

**You can submit a written summary of relevant certificates/achievements

***The Admissions Team will provide the Appeal Panel with the Selection Review paperwork in grammar school appeals

The type of evidence you need to send depends on the type of appeal.

5. What evidence should you submit?

For all appeals, you will need to say in your appeal form why you want the school place and provide documents in support, if possible.

For example,

  • you need to focus on what you feel the particular school you are appealing for can offer your child that the allocated or other schools cannot.
  • if you have medical or social or educational reasons for wanting the school place, provide written evidence from a doctor, medical practitioner, education or other professional.
  • if you want a place at the school due to the subjects offered there or the school’s ethos, explain why you particularly want these subjects or ethos.
  • if your reasons are due to a house move, provide written evidence of exchange of contracts or tenancy. (Do not send us the whole tenancy agreement or contract; a first and signature page or solicitor’s letter is enough).
  • if you are unhappy with the current school, explain what has happened and what you and the school have done to deal with the problems, and provide supporting letters, emails and reports. 
  • if your reasons relate to transport, provide information and maps.
  • if your reasons relate to family circumstances, provide details and supporting evidence.

These are examples only and it is your responsibility to provide your evidence and documents in support of your appeal and send it to the Appeals Team on time.

You will need to show that there are very strong reasons for wanting a place at the particular school as the school is probably already full and considers it cannot admit another child without harming the education of the other children.

You should send your evidence when you submit your appeal form or as soon as possible afterwards by email or post and no later than the evidence deadline date or it may not be seen by the Appeal Panel.

For appeals for grammar school where your child is unqualified you will need to provide additional evidence.  See Unqualified grammar school appeals

6. Your Appeal during the Covid-19 crisis 

Usually admission appeals are considered by the Appeal Panel at appeal hearings to which the parent and admission authority are invited to explain their respective cases.

The government has said that face-to-face appeal hearings should not take place during the Covid-19 outbreak until the government guidelines on social distancing indicate it is safe to do so. Emergency regulations came into force on 24 April 2020 enabling temporary arrangements to be made for admission appeals during the Covid-19 crisis.  The regulations were extended on 1 February 2021 to 30 September 2021.  It is therefore unlikely that normal face-to face hearings will take place until October 2021 at the earliest.

The regulations are intended to give admission authorities as much flexibility as possible to manage appeals in a way that best suits local circumstances whilst ensuring that families appealing are supported and not disadvantaged by the measures in place to protect public health. The regulations dis-apply the requirement that appeal panels should be held in person and instead allow hearings to take place either by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal where all parties can make representations in writing.  The emergency provisions explain it is for the Appeal Panel to decide how the appeals will be considered.

Video conferencing and telephone appeals were carefully considered and trialled, but the Appeal Panel decided that not all participants could successfully access reliable, consistent and secure electronic means to enable the Panel to consider the appeals fairly and transparently.   Local circumstances that significantly affect the appeals process in the county include the large numbers of complex multiple appeals which must be considered in a short period of time by the volunteer, unpaid panel members.

The Appeal Panel will, therefore, make its decisions on appeals under the temporary arrangements on the basis of written documents only, submitted preferably by email.

The Appeals Team will acknowledge receipt of an appeal, provide parents with their individual reference number and explain how their appeal will be determined. 

The Appeals Team will write to parents to give at least 14 calendar days’ notice of when their appeal will begin and the deadline date by which any additional information or evidence (not already submitted with their appeal form) should be received by the Appeals Team. 

Any information or evidence not submitted by the deadline might not be considered by the Appeal Panel before it makes its decision.  The Appeal Panel will decide whether any material not submitted by the deadline date will be considered, taking into account its significance and the effect of a possible need to adjourn/postpone/delay the appeal.

The Appeals Team will send parents copies of all the appeal paperwork before the start of the appeal.  This includes the appeal form, any evidence sent in by parents and the admission authority’s case explaining why it refused the school place.  The appeal paperwork is also sent to the Appeal Panel and the admission authority so that everyone has time to read it before the Appeal Panel considers the appeal.

When parents receive the appeal paperwork, they must check it includes everything sent to the Appeal Team (except for any schoolwork and certificates which will not be included). If anything is missing, parents should contact the Appeals Team immediately.

Usually, the appeal process allows for oral questioning by the parent and Appeal Panel on the admission authority’s case and oral questioning by the Appeal Panel and admission authority on the parent’s case.  The questioning allows the Appeal Panel and parents and admission authorities to clarify points made in the written cases, and to solicit further relevant information.

Therefore, under the temporary appeal arrangements, the Appeal Panel and parents will be given the opportunity to ask written questions about the admission authority’s case, and the admission authority and Appeal Panel will be given the opportunity to ask written questions about the parent’s case.  The written responses from the parents and admissions authority will be circulated to all relevant parties.

Parents should not use the appeal process to submit FOI requests.   If parents have any questions about the appeal process, they should ask the Appeals Team or the clerk, not the Appeal Panel. The Appeal Panel cannot respond to any education policy questions. Their role is to determine if the admission authority’s arrangements are lawful and lawfully applied in the appeal before them.

The clerk to the Appeal Panel will contact parents and the admission authority and provide the dates by which they should submit their written questions and answers. Parents and admission authorities will have 7 calendar days to respond to questions.

Parents should make sure they check emails, including “junk” and inform the Appeals Team of any changes to their email and postal address.

The Appeal Panel and clerk will meet over Microsoft Teams to formulate the questions for parents and admission authorities, consider the written responses, deliberate and make decisions.

The Questions and Answers process, which must take place before decisions are made, at both Stage One and Stage Two, will some time especially where there are multiple appeals for a school.  This is because the same Appeal Panel members must consider all appeals submitted by parents for a school and must not make any decisions until it has considered them all. The Appeals Team receives between 30 and 100 appeals for many of the secondary schools.

However, we aim to ensure that all appeals for September 2021 entry which are submitted by the deadline dates (28 March for secondary appeals and 16 April for primary appeals) are completed by the end of July.

See Appeals Process under Covid Flowchart 

It is very important that parents can fully explain their case. 

You can ask a friend or relative to help you provide your written reasons for appeal. 

If you have any difficulty in explaining your reasons for appeal in writing and need additional support, you should contact the Appeals Team as soon as possible.

7. Appeal decisions process (for all appeals except Reception to Year 2)

There are usually two stages to the appeal process.

At Stage One, the admission authority will explain why the school place was refused and what effect an extra child would have on the school. 

You will receive the school’s written case about a week before the appeal begins.  The admission authority may explain, for example, that the school has no places and cannot admit another child due to a lack of classroom space or teaching staff, health and safety concerns, numbers of pupils needing additional support, or the effect on behaviour or results.

The Appeal Panel and parents can ask questions about points raised in the school case. If there are multiple parents appealing for a school, all of them will be invited to ask questions about the admission authority’s case.

The Appeal Panel will decide:  

  • Will the admission of an extra child harm the efficient education or use of resources at the school?

If the answer is NO, your appeal will be successful, and you will be offered a school place (unless you are appealing for a grammar school place and your child is unqualified)  

But, if there are multiple appeals for the school and to admit all the children would seriously harm the education of the existing pupils, the Appeal Panel must go to Stage Two.

If the answer is YES, the Appeal Panel will go to Stage Two. (Usually the appeal process will move to Stage Two).

At Stage Two, the Appeal Panel will consider your reasons for wanting the school place. You will be asked questions by the Appeal Panel and admission authority.

The Appeal Panel must then “balance the arguments” it has heard from you and the admission authority.  It must decide if your reasons for wanting the school place outweigh the harm caused to the school if an extra child were admitted.  It must decide if you or the school has the stronger case.

Whether or not you are successful will depend on the individual facts of the case. 

For example, if the admission authority presents a weak case and the Appeal Panel thinks there will be little difficulty for the school if it admitted another child into the class, and you made a strong case showing your child has a convincing medical, social or educational reason for this particular school (which is backed up by written evidence), you are more likely to be successful. 

But, you are less likely to be successful if the school’s case is strong, (because the class is already large with some children with special needs affecting resources and there are staff shortages and health and safety concerns, for example), and your case is relatively weak because you want the school place because it would be more convenient for your work/getting children to school and there is another school place available within a reasonable distance from your home.

In multiple appeals, (where more than one parent is appealing for a place at the school), if the Appeal Panel finds that there are a number of children with strong cases but the school cannot admit all of them, it will compare the cases.  The Panel will uphold the strongest appeal/s.

If you are appealing for a grammar school and your child is unqualified, the process involves additional steps. 

8. Primary school appeals for Reception to Year 2, (Infant Class Size Appeals)

Most appeals for a school place in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 are called Infant Class Size (ICS) Appeals.

Please think carefully before making your appeal as the Law means that most appeals for Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 are unsuccessful and they are time-consuming and stressful for parents and expensive for schools.

In 2020, 117 Infant Class Size appeals were made and only 4 appeals were successful.

The Appeal Panel can only review the decision of the admission authority to refuse your child a place and it can only consider what the admission authority knew at the time you made your application.

In a class where most children will reach the age of 5, 6 or 7 during the school year, the size of that class is limited by Law to 30 pupils per teacher.  Admission over the limit is only allowed in very limited and exceptional circumstances.

The Appeal Panel can only uphold your ICS appeal in exceptional circumstances and if it finds that:

  1. a) there will not be more than 30 children in the class if your child is given a place; or
  2. b) school places were allocated unlawfully, and you would have been offered a place if they had been allocated lawfully; or
  3. c) the admission authority’s decision to refuse admission was completely unreasonable, perverse or irrational under the admission arrangements (i.e. the rules by which places are allocated).

When submitting your appeal, please explain if you are appealing on grounds a, b or c above and provide evidence in support.

Examples:

The law says that it is extremely unlikely that you will be successful at appeal even if it is impossible for you to continue working or get your children to school on time.

The law says that the Appeal Panel cannot take into account your personal circumstances or your practical difficulties. Parents are often disappointed that their reasons for wanting the school, however strong, cannot be considered by the Appeal Panel.

If you have been offered a place at another school reasonably near your home, your appeal is very unlikely to succeed, even if you have other children at the school you want.

In very exceptional circumstances, such as when a family moves house under a witness protection scheme, an Appeal Panel may decide that the refusal of the school place was unreasonable/perverse/irrational.

See the independent advice about ICS appeals from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

 

9. Primary school appeal for Years 3 to 6

If you applied for a year 3-6 primary school place and were refused, this is because the admission authority has allocated all its places under the school’s published admission arrangements (rules) and the school  says it is full and to admit another child will harm the education of the other pupils.

You should submit your appeal and evidence as explained in this guidance, particularly at sections 4,5 and 7.

10. Secondary appeals for upper schools

If you applied for a place at an upper school and were refused, this is because the admission authority has allocated all its places according to the school’s published admission arrangements (or rules) and the school says it is full and to admit another child will harm the education of the other pupils.

You should submit your appeal and evidence as explained in this guidance, particularly at sections 4,5 and 7.

11. Secondary appeals, qualified grammar school

Your child will be qualified for grammar school if they:

  • achieved a score of 121 or more in the Transfer Test for Year 7 entry, or
  • did not achieve 121 in the Transfer Test but were qualified at Selection Review, or
  • achieved the qualifying score in the Late Transfer Test for Years 8 - 10 entry.

If your child is qualified for grammar school but your application for a place was refused, this is because the admission authority has allocated all its places under its published admission arrangements (rules) and says the school is full, and to admit another child would harm the education of the other pupils.

Your child may be qualified for grammar school but there is no guarantee that they will be offered a grammar school place.  This is because there are usually many more qualified children than grammar school places available.

 

There were over 3,900 qualified grammar school applicants for Year 7 entry in September 2020 but only about 2,300 available places.

The schools offer places according to oversubscription criteria or rules (published on school’s websites). Under these rules, places are more likely to be offered to children who have siblings at the school or who live near the school. 

  • Most appeals for grammar school places fail, even for qualified children, because the schools are already full and can show they do not have the resources to admit further children without harming the education of the existing pupils. 
  • If a child is qualified for grammar school, it does not matter what score they achieved.  So a child with a score of 150 is not any more likely to be allocated a grammar school place or succeed at appeal than a child with 121 (or even a child who achieved 119 but was qualified by the Selection Review Panel.) 
  • It does not matter if a child achieved less than 121 in the Transfer Test but was qualified at Selection Review – in allocations and appeals they are treated the same as those children who qualified in the Transfer Test.

In 2020, 214 appeals for Year 7 were submitted by qualified grammar school applicants. Only 5 were successful.

 

Only 3% of appeals for grammar school from out-of-county applicants were successful in 2019. The grammar schools are usually very heavily over-subscribed so please think carefully about appealing, especially if your child does not live in Buckinghamshire or lives out of the school’s catchment area.

You should submit your appeal and evidence as explained in this guidance

If your child is qualified for grammar school but you are unsuccessful at appeal, you can stay on the waiting list for the school – contact the Admissions Team for advice about waiting lists. 

Please contact The Admissions Team (not the Appeals Team) if you have any queries in relation to Transfer Tests and Selection Reviews.

12. Secondary appeals, unqualified grammar school

Your child is unqualified for grammar school if they:

  • did not score 121 in the Transfer Test for Year 7 entry, and did not go to Selection Review, or
  • did not score 121 in the Transfer Test, went to Selection Review and were unsuccessful, or
  • did not achieve the qualifying score in the Late Transfer Test for entry into years 8-10.

Please contact The Admissions Team if you have any queries in relation to Transfer Tests and Selection Reviews as they are administered by the Admissions Team.

In 2020, 209 unqualified Year 7 grammar school appeals were made and 12 were successful.

Most appeals for grammar school fail so please think very carefully before appealing as they are expensive for schools, time-consuming and stressful for parents.

There are two types of appeal process for unqualified grammar school applicants. The type will depend on whether you went to Selection Review or not.

A). If you did go to Selection Review and were unsuccessful, the Appeal Panel must decide first:  Was the Selection Review carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way? 

If the Appeal Panel considers there is enough evidence to show that the Selection Review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way, the appeal will be unsuccessful. 

This means that the Appeal Panel will not be able to consider any academic evidence you have provided or your reasons for wanting the school place; and the grammar school place will not be offered.

The Appeal Panel must only review the Selection Review paperwork and decide if the Selection Review Panel followed the correct process. The Appeal Panel cannot consider the Selection Review afresh and give parents “two bites of the cherry”. The Appeal Panel can only look at the evidence that was provided to the Selection Review Panel at the time it made its decision.

In 2020, the Appeal Panel decided that 77% of Selection Reviews had been carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way.

In your appeal form, you should give reasons and provide supporting evidence, to explain:

  • Why you consider the Selection Review was not fair, consistent and objective; and
  • Why your child should be qualified for grammar school (with strong academic evidence); and
  • Why you want a place at the particular school.

But, only if the Appeal Panel decides that the Selection Review process was not carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way, can it go on to consider all the evidence you have provided, including academic evidence and your reasons for wanting the school place – see B below.

The words “fair, consistent and objective” are not defined and so their ordinary meaning applies.

The Appeal Paperwork will include the evidence you submitted to the Selection Review and the Selection Review Panel’s decision as this will be submitted to the Appeal Panel by the Admissions Team.  So do not send in your Selection Review paperwork. You will be sent copies of all the paperwork sent to the Appeal Panel before the appeal hearing and if anything is missing you should let the Appeals Team know immediately.

B). If you did not go to Selection Review, (or you did go to Selection Review but the Appeal Panel decides that the Selection Review was not fair, consistent and objective), the Appeal Panel will decide:  Is there enough academic evidence to show that your child is of the required standard for grammar school? 

The Appeal Panel cannot qualify your child unless there is clear, strong academic evidence to show that your child is of the required standards for grammar school.

You must provide academic evidence such as: school reports, SATs results, other school test results where available and letters of support from current or previous schools clearly showing why your child is academically suitable for grammar school.

The Appeal Panel will want to see if your child is academically in the top third of the cohort.  It will be interested in Maths and English results in particular, especially where the child achieved less than 121 in the verbal or maths parts of the Transfer Test.  The Appeal Panel will look at academic progress and comments made by the child’s current (and any previous) headteacher. Please do not send in schoolwork or certificates but you can submit a list of relevant certificates/achievements.

The Appeal Panel will also want to know why your child did not achieve the qualifying score in the Transfer Test and you should provide evidence in support of any reasons, such as relevant medical notes, letters from school or health professionals.

The minimum score for qualification in the Transfer Test is 121 and the range goes up to about 180. The greater the shortfall in marks, the stronger the academic and mitigating evidence needs to be. So, for example, if your child achieved less than 100 in the Test, it is highly unlikely that you will persuade the Appeal Panel that your child should be qualified for grammar school unless you can provide extremely convincing academic and mitigating evidence.

If the Appeal Panel concludes there is not enough evidence to qualify your child for grammar school, your appeal will be unsuccessful.

If the Appeal Panel decides there is sufficient, strong evidence to show your child is of the required academic standard, and there is a place available at the grammar school, your appeal will be successful, and you will be offered a school place.

However, most grammar school places will have been allocated and the school will be full.  So, if the Appeal Panel qualifies your child but no places are available at the school, (or there a number of children appealing and there are some spaces but not enough for all those who are qualified), it will go on to look at your  reasons for wanting a place at that particular grammar school. You should submit your appeal and evidence as explained in this guidance.

13. Sixth form appeals

Schools’ published admission arrangements (rules) explain their entry requirements for Sixth Form. 

Young people and/or parents have the right to appeal against an admission authority’s decision to refuse admission to a school’s Sixth Form because:

  • there are more eligible applicants than places available and the Sixth Form is full; or
  • there is a specified entry requirement and the young person did not reach this entry requirement.

Where the young person has been refused admission to a school because there are more eligible people than places available:

  • At the appeal, the admission authority will say that the school is full and harm will be caused to the school and its existing pupils if an extra person is admitted to the Sixth Form; and
  • You will need to explain why you want the school place; and
  • The Appeal Panel will decide whether you or the admission authority has the stronger case.

Where the young person did not reach the specified entry requirements, the Appeal Panel will consider whether the admission authority’s decision that the person was not of the required standard was reasonable in light of the information which was available to it.

Please contact the Appeals Team for more information.

14. In year / immediate entry appeals

You can apply for your child to start a school during the academic year, if you move into Buckinghamshire, or you want to move your child from one school to another.

If the admission authority refuses your application for the school place, you can make an appeal.  This is called an “In Year” or “Immediate Entry” appeal.

You should make your appeal within 28 days of the refusal and the appeal will take place as soon as possible.

The appeal process will depend on the type of school place you are appealing for: Reception to Year 2, other primary, upper school, grammar school (qualified) or grammar school (unqualified).

15. Disability

If your child has a disability, you may want to discuss your appeal with their Headteacher and the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at the current school. 

The Appeal Panel may be required to consider whether your child is disabled and whether there has been any discrimination within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. 

If you are a disabled person who requires reasonable adjustments so that you can participate in the appeal, please contact the Appeals Team as soon as possible.

16. Translator

If you require a translator to help you provide your written reasons for appeal to the Appeal Panel, please email the Appeals Team as soon as possible and say which language you need.  Alternatively, you can arrange your own translator or ask a friend to support you with providing your written reasons for appeal.

17. Waiting lists

Appeal Panels must not take into account where the admission authority has placed a child on the waiting list, or that appeals have not been made for other children on the waiting list. Appeal Panels must not make any decision relating to a waiting list. If you have any queries about waiting lists, please contact the Admissions Team (not the Appeals Team).

18. Decisions

The Appeal Panel’s decision is legally binding and final.  It can only uphold or dismiss your appeal.

The Appeal Panel cannot:

  • Enter into discussions with you or the admission authority
  • Attach any conditions to the decision
  • Hear complaints or objections about school’s admission policies or practices
  • Reassess the capacity of the school
  • Tell the admission authority to change your position on a waiting list
  • Allocate a place at a school other than the school appealed for.

 

A decision letter will be sent to you by first class post no later than 7 calendar days after the appeal decision is made, unless there is good reason.

Where there are multiple appeals for a school, which are likely to take place over some weeks, decisions will be sent no later than 7 calendar days after all the decisions have been made for the school.

We cannot give decisions over the telephone or by email.

If the Appeal Panel upholds your appeal and you are successful, you will be offered the school place. Make sure you contact the school to agree the date your child should start. 

If the Appeal Panel dismisses your appeal and you are unsuccessful, your child will not be allocated a place at the school appealed for. You can contact the Admissions Team to ask about waiting lists and spaces in other schools. 

You cannot make a second appeal for the same school for the same academic year

 

19. Complaints and finding our more

If your appeal is unsuccessful there is no further right of appeal.

If you feel that your appeal hearing was not properly or fairly conducted you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO), if the school you appealed for is a community or voluntary controlled school, or to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), if the school is an academy or free school.

Even though you may not be satisfied with the Appeal Panel’s decision, the LGSCO and ESFA can only investigate whether there has been a failure to follow correct procedures.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
PO Box 4771,
Coventry, CV4 0EH

Advice Team: 0300 061 0614

Education Skills and Funding Agency
email:academy.questions@education.gsi.gov.uk

An Appeal Panel’s decision can only be overturned by the Courts where a parent or admission authority is successful in applying for judicial review of that decision. You will need legal advice if you seek judicial review.

You can find further details about how to make a complaint about the way your appeal was conducted

20. To find our more about admission appeals

Contact

ACE Education Advice 

Coram Legal Children’s Centre, Community Legal Advice Education Law Line – for education legal advice for those eligible for Legal Aid. Tel: 0300 330 5485;

Read

Advice for parents on school admission appeals from the Department for Education

School Admission Appeals Code 2012 and School Admissions Code 2014, published by the Department for Education;

 

21. Contact School Appeals

The Appeals Team arranges school admission appeals for most schools. 

Contact us about your appeal by email: appeals@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Or post: Education Appeals Team, Buckinghamshire Council, Walton Street Offices, Walton Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UA.

Please contact the Admissions Team (not the Appeals Team) at www.buckinghamshire. gov.uk/contactadmissions if you have a question about: Allocations of school places; Waiting Lists  Transfer Tests for grammar schools; Selection Reviews for unqualified grammar school applicants; or Home-to-School Transport.

 

22. Admission appeals success rates 2020

Appeal type Number heard Number successful Percent successful
Primary school, Reception to Year 2 64 4 6
Primary school, years 3-6 22 9 41
Upper school, year 7 100 16 16
Qualified grammar school, year 7 135 5 4
Unqualified grammar school, year 7, after selection review 137 12 8
Unqualified grammar school, year 7, with no selection review  60 1 2
Upper school, years 8-10  10 5 50
Qualified grammar school, years 8-10 109 14 13
Unqualified grammar school, years 8-10 52 0 0
All year 7 grammar school appeals for Out-of- county applicants 361 12 3
Total admission appeals 929 90 10

23. Timetable for Appeals 2021

Date Event
1 March 2021 Secondary Transfer Allocation Day
28 March 2021, 5pm Secondary Appeals Deadline - completed appeal forms must be received by the Appeals Team by 5pm on 28 March 2021*

16 April, 5pm

Secondary Appeals - parents extra evidence deadline – parent/s must ensure that any additional documents/ information in support of their appeal is received by the Appeals Team by this date or it may not be considered by the IAP**

May - July 2021 

Secondary Admission Appeals heard
16 April 2021 Primary Allocation Day
13 May 2021, 12 noon Primary Appeals Deadline - completed appeal forms must be received by the Appeals Team by 12 noon on 13 May 2021*
1 June, 5pm

Primary Appeals – parents extra evidence deadline – parent/s must ensure that any additional documents/ information in support of their appeal is received by the Appeals Team by this date or it may not be considered by the IAP**

 

June - July 2021 Primary Admission Appeals heard
At least 14 calendar days prior to appeal Notice of appeal letters sent to parent/s
At least 8 calendar days prior to start of appeal Case papers are sent by Appeals Team by post to parent/s, admission authority/school and panel members  
No later than 7 calendar days of the appeal decision or, in the case of multiple appeals, within 7 calendar days of all appeal decisions for that school Decision letter is sent to parent/s and admission authority/school

*For the appeal to be heard before the end of July 2021. Appeals submitted after the deadline dates (28 March for secondary appeals and 13 May for primary appeals) will be heard from September 2021 onwards.

** For secondary school appeals submitted by 28 March and primary school appeals submitted by 13 May.  For appeals submitted after these dates, parents’ extra evidence must be received by the Appeals Team at least 10 calendar days before the appeal begins or it may not be seen by the Appeal Panel.

24. Admission appeals process during Covid outbreak

Step 1

Parent submits appeal (with evidence) to Appeals Team

Step 2

Appeals Team writes to Parent with:

  • Details of appeal process & timing
  • Date for submission of additional information
  • Reference number

Step 3

Parents send additional information to Appeals Team

Admission Authority (AA) sends its case to Appeals Team

Step 4

Appeals Team sends case papers (Parents’ appeal & evidence and AA case) to Parents, AA, IAP & Clerk

Step 5

Stage 1 of Appeal Hearing

  • IAP & Clerk (by telephone/video Teams meeting) discuss & formulate Questions on AA Case
  • Questions sent to Parents who are asked to send any additional, relevant Questions on AA case by deadline date
  • IAP’s & Parent’s Questions sent to AA with request for Answers by deadline date
  • Answers from AA sent to IAP & Parents
  • IAP & Clerk (by telephone/video Teams meeting) deliberate & make Stage 1 decisions

Step 6

Stage 2 of Appeal Hearing*

  • IAP & Clerk (by telephone/video Teams meeting) discuss & formulate Questions on Parent’s case
  • AA is asked to send any additional, relevant Questions on Parent’s case by deadline date
  • IAP’s & AA’s Questions sent to Parent with request for Answers by deadline date
  • Answers from Parent sent to IAP & AAs
  • IAP & Clerk (by telephone/video Teams meeting) deliberate & make Stage 2 decisions

Step 7

Appeals Team sends decisions to Parents & AA within 7 calendar days of decision/s

 

*In multiple appeals (where there are two or more appeals for a school) the same Appeal Panel must consider all the appeals for the school before making its decisions, so there will be multiple IAP and Clerk’s Teams meetings at Stage 2.

 

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