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Appeal A School Admission Decision

2nd March 2020 Help & Advice, Local Schools, Nottingham County Council Tags: 0 Comments

If you have applied and been refused a place at a school you wanted, you can appeal. The information on this page is a summary of what’s provided within our guidance. 

Please read the guidance for full details of the process:

Guidance for children of Infant age – Reception Year, Year 1 and Year 2 (Infant Class Size (ICS))

Guidance for children of Junior to Secondary age – Year 3 to Year 11 (non-ICS)

Appeals summary

If you have been refused a place at a school you wanted, you can appeal. You cannot appeal against the school you have been given.

The appeals process is run by the Education Appeals Team within the Democratic Services Team, who are a separate department to and independent of the Admissions Team.

Your appeal will be heard by a panel of three members (the appeal panel), and you can attend the appeal hearing to tell the appeal panel why you would like a place at the school for your child.

The appeal panel will look at how the places at the school were given and why you could not be offered a place including any relevant law (the admission authority’s case). The appeal panel will also consider your individual circumstances (your case). 

The decision of the appeal panel is binding on both parties which means that this is your only appeal against the original decision, and whatever decision the appeal panel makes will be final. 

Once we have received your appeal there is a deadline for when your appeal has to be heard by. There may be a while before we contact you once we have received your appeal as it takes time to set up a hearing. More information on the deadlines is in the Timetables section.

You can still appeal after you accept the school place you’ve been offered. Rather than risk having no place at all, you should secure a school place for your child in case your appeal isn’t successful.

How to appeal

We’re responsible for appeals for all schools run by Nottinghamshire County Council (community and voluntary controlled schools). We also hold appeals for the own admission authority schools in this list:

All other academies, voluntary aided, foundation and free schools in Nottinghamshire have their own arrangements for appeals and you need to contact them directly about how to appeal. 

You can appeal by one of the following options:

Things to remember when completing your appeal form:

  • Your completed appeal form is your case for wanting a place at the school to the appeal panel, so everything you include on it will be seen by those at the appeal hearing. More information on who will be at the appeal hearing can be found under ’At the appeal hearing’
  • The address you put on the form is the address we will send the appointment letter and paperwork to, so please make sure it is the correct address
  • If you move house during the appeal process remember to let both the Education Appeals Team and the Admissions Team know. You can let both teams know your new address by calling 0300 500 80 80
  • The appeal is for a place at the school you want a place at, so put that school name on the form
  • The ‘Reasons for appeal’ section of the form is where you tell the appeal panel why you want a place for your child at the school. You should include anything you think the appeal panel should know about. You can also add in supporting information if you have any, for example a doctor’s letter
  • You can also choose to send additional information at a later date, up to five days before your appeal hearing. Please send your information to us by email if you can but please note there is a 10MB limit. If you send more than this limit we will not get your information and will not know that you have tried to send it to us. If you need to send more than 10MB please either split it across more than one email or send it by post. Regardless of how you have sent the information to us we will acknowledge that we have received it so if you don’t hear from us within three working days please telephone on the number above to make sure we have received what you have sent.

Appeal for more than one school

You may want to appeal for more than one school. You will get a different appeal hearing for each appeal which may be on different days sometimes a few weeks apart. You will also need to fill in a separate appeal form for each school.

Timetable for admission appeals

2019/20 Admissions round

For appeals after the start of the 2019/20 academic year (for your child to move from one school to another between September 2019 and August 2020), please return your form within four weeks of the date of your refusal of the school place, wherever possible. 

Once we receive your appeal we will hear it within 30 school days.

2020/21 Admissions round

For appeals for your child to start primary / infant school for the first time (Reception), move up to from an infant to a junior school (Year 3) or start secondary school for the first time (Year 7) in September 2020, you should return your appeal form by:

  • 18 May 2020 for a Primary School (Reception) and Infant to Junior Transfer appeal (Year 3)
  • 30 March 2020 for Secondary School (Year 7) appeal.

The deadlines for when we will hear your appeal by are set out below.

Appeals received after these dates will be heard by the same deadlines if possible, if not they will be heard within 30 school days.

Before the appeal

You will be sent a letter telling you when your appeal hearing will be at least 10 days before it (unless you have agreed to a shorter period than this). If you appeal for more than one school, you may get a separate date for each appeal hearing, which can be some weeks apart.

Before your appeal we will also send you the paperwork relating to your case, which will include all of the written information we have received from you and all of the written information the admission authority have submitted to us. We do not expect you to provide a written response to the admission authority’s case as you will have the opportunity to ask questions of their representative at the hearing. This information is often sent to you at the same time as your appointment letter, or it may be sent out a few days later.

Submitting additional information

If you wish to submit any information which wasn’t included with your appeal form, please send it at least five days before your appeal hearing. This helps us get the information to the panel members and the presenting officer before the hearing, so that they can read it in advance. If significant information is received less than five days before the appeal or at the appeal hearing, we may have to move your hearing to a later date. Please send your information to us by email if you can but please note there is a 10MB limit. If you send more than this limit we will not get your information and will not know that you have tried to send it to us. If you need to send more than 10MB please either split it across more than one email or send it by post. Regardless of how you have sent the information to us we will acknowledge that we have received it so if you don’t hear from us within three working days please telephone on the number above to make sure we have received what you have sent.


Do please let us know if you have any disabilities and need assistance. We will try and meet these as far as possible.

Interpreter or signer

If you need an interpreter or signer you can have one at your appeal hearing. If you would like us to arrange this for you please tell us which language you require on the appeal form. Or, you may wish to arrange your own interpreter. If you are doing this please let us know as soon as possible before the hearing.

Types of appeals and appeal hearings

If your child is of infant school age (Reception, Year 1 or Year 2), then Infant Class Size Legislation may apply for your appeal. Please read the guidance for infant age children for more information on this before completing your appeal form. Be aware that you are less likely to have an Infant Class Size appeal allowed than a non-Infant Class Size appeal. 

One appointment

If you receive a single appointment for your appeal, your case will be heard at that appeal hearing following the procedure set out in the guidance notes, and the panel will make their decision after your appeal has finished. Your appointment letter will include a flowchart which will explain how the appeal hearing will run on the day.

Two appointments

If we have received a number of appeals for the same year group at a school we will group the appeals together and you will then receive two appointment times. This is because the reason places couldn’t be offered to all of the children is the same so the appeal panel will go through the case from the admission authority with all of the parents together in a group appointment. The benefit of this is that you will hear answers to the questions all parents raise. 

You will then have a second appointment which is just for you where you can tell the panel why you want a place at the school. Your own appointment might be on a different day to the group appointment. The appeal panel will only make its decision on your appeal after all of the cases have been heard. The clerk, at the appeal hearing, will tell you when you will get the letter telling you the outcome of your appeal.

More information on the types of appeals and the different processes can be found in the guidance notes.

At the appeal hearing

The people at the appeal hearing

Your appeal will be heard by an independent panel of three people and their decision is binding on all parties.  

Also in the hearing will be someone from the admission authority known as the presenting officer who will be telling the appeal panel why a place could not be offered to your child. 

Finally there will be the clerk to the appeal panel present, who will be taking notes of the appeal hearing (for the appeal panels use only), a note of the decision of the appeal panel and to advise all parties on any legal or procedural matters which may come up during the appeal hearing. 

There may also be an observer in the appeal hearing who may be a trainee clerk, presenting officer or panel member learning how to carry out the role. They are there to see what happens in an appeal hearing so that they can do them in the future. The observer will only be in your appeal hearing if you allow them to be there and you will be asked by the clerk whether or not you agree to them being there before the appeal hearing starts.

Where the appeal will be heard and when you should arrive

The appeal hearings are held in venues across the county. Your appointment letter will tell you where the appeal is.

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time. The panel will wait for 10 minutes after your appointment time and then hear your appeal without you if you do not arrive. So if you are running late it is important that you ring the office urgently. The number to call will be provided on your appointment letter.

How long the hearing will take

Appeal hearings usually take no more than an hour.* However we do not have a fixed time so if you need longer this will be allowed. This might mean that the appeal hearings are running late so we ask that you understand that we will be with you as soon as we can and you will not be limited in your time even if your appeals starts late. 

*If you have two appointments, the first appointment may take longer than an hour.

How you’ll receive the decision

You will be sent the decision in a letter which will be posted out within five school days of the panel making their decision wherever possible. 

If your appeal is part of a group appeal hearing with two appointments, the panel will not make their decisions until all of the appeals have been heard. The clerk will tell you when you can expect to receive your letter.

Remember to read the guidance which includes information about the whole process. 

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