Disputes between parents over school preferences

Birmingham School Admissions are unable to resolve or take sides in disputes between parents with parental responsibility who cannot agree on the choice of school for their child. Parents must resolve matters between themselves. Where this is not possible, you can seek a resolution through mediation or the courts.

We recognise that every situation is unique, and each case will be dealt with on its own facts, but we hope that the following general guidance will help parents in the event of a dispute about which school their child should attend.

Before applying

We recommend that well before applying, parents should discuss which school they wish their child to attend and attempt to reach agreement in the best interests of their child.

The person completing the application form must ensure that:

  • they have parental responsibility for the child in question
  • the application has the agreement of all people with parental responsibility

If those with parental responsibility cannot agree on which school their child should attend and, for example, two applications are received requesting different schools, we will find out whether both parents have parental responsibility and whether any court order has been made that is relevant to the issue. Parents will be asked to provide evidence. Copies of any relevant court orders will be required, and the local authority will comply with them.

In the absence of the evidence above and in circumstances where those with parental responsibility cannot resolve the matter between themselves to reach agreement on the choice of school, we will not process the applications until both parents have reached agreement and notified us that the application can proceed.

If only one parent has parental responsibility, we process that parent’s preferences.

Issues after an application has been made

If a parent signs the declaration to say that they have parental responsibility and that all others with parental responsibility also consent to the application, and this later proves to be incorrect, the application may not be processed. In those circumstances, if a school place has already been allocated, that place may be withdrawn in accordance with the statutory School Admissions Code, which allows for withdrawal of places offered in error or obtained through a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application.

If at first, everyone with parental responsibility consents to an application and later one or more of them change their mind, we will continue to process the application. We will also try (but cannot guarantee) to keep an allocated school place open for a up to 6 weeks), pending a resolution to the dispute.

Requesting information

If one person with parental responsibility requests information about an application made by another parent, they will normally be entitled to the information under Data Protection legislation, unless there is a good reason for not supplying it. This may be for example, if a court has said they are not entitled to it or if there is reason to believe that providing the information might harm the child. If an applicant believes there are reasons why the details should not be disclosed to the other parent, they should notify us.

Before disclosing any information, we will check that there is no legitimate objection from the applicant and if there are objections we will act accordingly.

When disclosing details of an application for a school place by one parent to another parent with parental responsibility, we will always redact any personal details from the information disclosed.

Page last updated: 13 December 2023

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