School admission appeals

It is very important that a fair and independent process is in place for parents to appeal against decisions made by an admissions authority. Most appeals involve the transfer of pupils from primary to secondary schools each September, or when a child starts school in reception.

Parents can also ask for their child to be admitted to any school in any school term. For example, if a family has recently moved home. However, only one appeal per child for a particular school is allowed in each school year unless there has been a material change in your circumstances.

Primary school appeals

If you are applying for a place in an infant class (usually F1, Years 1 and 2), read these notes before you complete the appeal form.

Infant Class Size (ICS) Legislation - This refers to Government legislation that states that no child attending a maintained school or academy and who is in an infant class can be taught in a class of over 30 pupils (except where certain specific and exceptional circumstances apply).

Where the ICS limit of 30 applies, the powers of the Independent Panel are limited and an appeal is, in law, a review (see points 28 to 34 on pages 13 to 15 of the School Admission Appeals Guide for Parents. In ICS reviews your case can only succeed where it can be shown that:

  • admission would not breach the ICS limit
  • your child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had not been contrary to the mandatory requirements of Part 3 of the SSFA 1998 or the School Admissions Code and/or your child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been applied correctly
  • the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable* admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case

(*in the legal meaning of the word 'reasonable').

Making your appeal

Where your child has been refused a school place, you have the right to appeal against the decision:

  • For Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, the Admissions Team will send you a refusal letter providing you with a link to an online appeal form 
  • If your preferred school is a Voluntary Aided or an Academy, information on how to appeal is available from the school direct

Once you have received the link to the online appeal form, you should complete it by setting out the reasons for your appeal, including any supporting documents. Additional supporting documents may be submitted at a later date, providing they are received at least 6 working days before the date of your Appeal Hearing.

Acceptance of a place at a school does not affect your right to appeal for a place at another school. However, if you decide to appeal for any of your preferences, it is wise to secure a place for your child at an alternative school in case your appeal is unsuccessful.

School admission appeals timetable for academic year 2024/2025

The timetable for school place appeals is shown below. The details should be read in conjunction with the supporting notes below.

Your appeal will be arranged by the appeal clerks within legal services, who work independently of the admissions team.

Secondary school appeals

On-time applications, received by midnight on 31 October 2023.

  • Friday, 1 March 2024 - Secondary transfer allocation day
  • Monday, 15 April 2024 by 4.00pm* - ​Deadline by which your secondary transfer appeal form must be received by the appeal clerks (20 school days)
  • Tuesday, 18 June 2024 - Appeals heard for on-time applications (40 school days)

Primary school appeals

On-time applications, received by midnight on 15 January 2024.

  • Tuesday, 16 April 2024 - Primary transfer allocation day
  • Thursday, 16 May 2024 by 4.00pm* - Deadline by which your primary transfer appeal form must be received by the appeal clerks (20 school days)
  • Tuesday, 16 July 2024 - Appeals heard for on-time applications (40 school days)

* This is your completed appeal form setting out the reasons for your appeal and including any supporting documents.

Supporting notes for the timetable

  • School place appeals received, for any reason, after the deadlines detailed in rows two and five above, will be heard in 40 school days of the deadlines set out above, or in 30 school days of receipt of the appeal, whichever is the later
  • You will receive at least ten school days’ notice of the date of your appeal hearing. You may waive your right to this length of notice
  • Any additional evidence must be received by the Appeal Clerks at least six working days before the date of your appeal hearing. Any evidence submitted after this time may not be considered at the appeal
  • Appeal papers to be considered at the hearing will be issued to the Appeal Panel and other parties five working days before the hearing
  • A letter notifying you of the outcome of your appeal will be sent in five school days of the appeal wherever possible. However, during the busy period of April to July it is generally not possible to issue the letter in this time but the Clerk will give an indication of when it can be expected at the hearing.

In-year applications will be heard in 30 school days. Parents are requested to complete their appeal form within 20 school days from the date of notification that their application was unsuccessful.

Further advice

For further information on the appeal process, email:

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