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Primary school places 2021: What if my child doesn't get first choice? How to appeal


Primary schools welcome a new crop of pupils each September and today (Friday, April 16) parents of children aged three and four will find out where they are due to start school at that time. Many parents will anxiously be waiting to hear if their child has secured a place at their top choice for primary school. But not all students will be able to do so. Express.co.uk has compiled a guide to explain how you can appeal a decision you are unhappy with.

What is primary school offer day?

Primary school national offer day is the day of the year when families across England are told what primary school their child will attend this September.

Parents and guardians are today (Friday, April 16) told if their application to primary school has been successful.

All those who applied to a local state primary school in England will be notified on or around April 16 by letter or email.

READ MORE: Carol Vorderman says how primary school teacher predicted her success

Last year, parents and guardians made their choices as to which school they would like their child to attend.

Local councils then look at these choices and where possible offers parents a place at a school of their choosing.

However, not all parents will be offered their first choice of schools because some schools will receive more applications than places available.

Places will then be offered on the basis of who most closely meets the school’s admission criteria.

These criteria are set locally and may involve benchmarking such as the catchment area.

What if your child does not get their first choice?

The good news is between 90 and 95 percent of parents gain a place at one of their top three preferred schools according to School Appeals.

Most parents and guardians can be confident their child will get a place at one of these three choices, even if it is not their first choice.

The admission decision letter will inform you if your child was accepted or refused a place at your preferred school.

In addition to this decision, the letter will outline how you can appeal this decision, where to send your appeal to and the deadline for submitting an appeal.

How to appeal a primary school place

Schools must allow 20 school days from the date on the decision letter for parents to lodge an appeal.

Each rejection must be appealed individually and may only be appealed once each academic year.

Once the appeal has been submitted in writing, the admission authority will set a deadline for parents to submit evidence and information to support their appeal.

The parent’s appeal will then be heard in front of an independent panel of at least three people.

Parents who undergo the appeal process will be given 10 days notice of the hearing date and will be sent a decision within five school days.

According to the Good Schools Guide, 20 percent of appeals are upheld.

An appeal is likely to be successful if a school which has rejected a child has not complied with the school admissions code or properly adhered to its admission criteria.

Parents must provide supplementary information which supports this.

An appeal will also prove more likely to succeed if the evidence supplied is corroborated with letters and evidence from professionals such as a social worker or doctor.

In effect, this means if a child has a medical or special educational need only offered by a certain school, the panel could uphold the appeal.

A poor Ofsted rating or parents wanting children to be placed in a more reputable school are also not necessarily reasons to appeal.


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