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How does the Appeal Panel make a decision?

The appeal panel, having heard and read the case for both parties, will consider all the information available very carefully before making their decision.

In some cases, appeals can be spread over a number of days. If the panel is hearing several appeals for one particular school or academy, it will not make any decisions until all the appeals for that school or academy have been heard.

The panel will make their decision in a 2-stage process:

At stage 1, the panel will consider:

  • Whether the published admissions criteria meet the requirements of the School Admissions Code and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
  • Whether the published admission criteria were correctly applied to your child.
  • Whether there would be prejudice caused to the school or academy by admitting another child.

If, however, the panel decides that prejudice would be caused by admitting another child, they go on to consider stage 2:

  • The panel considers the reasons given by you for wanting a place at that school or academy, and whether they are strong enough to outweigh the prejudice which would be caused by admitting another child.

Decisions of the appeal panel

  • When all the appeals for a school have been heard, the panel will make decisions on each case. The clerk will write to you with the decision and the reasons for usually within 5 school days of the last day of an appeal hearing.
  • The decision of the appeal panel is binding on all parties. It cannot be overturned by City Councillors, MPs or even the Secretary of State. However, if you feel that the process has not been carried out correctly, you can refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. If the Ombudsman agrees that the process hasn’t been followed correctly, he/she can request that a fresh appeal is heard, but this will not necessarily result in a different decision.

Infant Class Appeals

The circumstances in which an appeal panel may uphold an infant class size appeal (Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 only) are extremely limited. To uphold such an appeal, an appeal panel must be satisfied that either:

  • The Appeal Panel finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit.
  • the child would have been offered a place if the published admission arrangements had been properly implemented;
  • the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had not been contrary to mandatory provisions in the School Admissions Code and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998; and/or

the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

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