FAQ'S FOR SCHOOL APPEALS

You are entitled to appeal the decision to refuse your child a place at any school you named on your In year application form. In most cases this will be because the school is full and have a waiting list which is allocated in accordance with the school’s oversubscription criteria.

The Independent Appeals Panel intends that your appeal will be conducted under a virtual setting. If you can demonstrate an equality consideration that prevents you from accessing the hearing virtually, and you do not have reasonable support to do so, please email admissions@nsfg.org.uk setting out your reasons.

There would need to be clear grounds to identify an alternative format for the appeal to be heard.

It is important that you send in any information that you feel would support your case as the Panel will not be able to consider evidence if it is not submitted.

For any in year appeal, arrangements must be completed within 30 school days of submitting your appeal. Appeals can only be heard during term time only. Once you have submitted your appeal you will be told by the Clerk to the Appeals Panel when your case will be considered along with your appeal paperwork.

Your case will be considered by an Independent Appeal Panel. There are usually 3 people on the panel, at least one member will have experience in education and at least one will be a lay person, they are independent of the school, Trust and Local Authority. They make the decision on whether to uphold or dismiss your appeal. If the Panel upholds your appeal the school must offer your child a place at the school. If the Panel does not uphold your appeal, then the school will not offer your child a place at the school.

There will also be a Clerk in attendance, they are independent of the school and are responsible for the administrative arrangements for the appeal, keep the official note of what is discussed and give independent and impartial advice on the appeals process and admissions law to the Panel Members.

You should also consider accepting any offer of a school place you receive to ensure that your child has a place should your appeal not be successful. Accepting another offer has no bearing on your appeal and the appeals process and does not limit other options available to you.

When a school receives more applications from parents than it has places available, not every child can be successful in securing a school place.

The school will use its admissions criteria, also known as oversubscription criteria, to decide which children to allocate places to, this sets out the order in which they will allocate places. Before you make an appeal it will be helpful for you to understand how the school allocated their places, so you can understand why your child did not get a place.

Once an In year application has been issued to the school, they must respond to you within 15 school days and set out their reasons for refusing a school place, along with details as to how you can appeal to an Independent Appeals Panel.

It’s important that you clearly set out the reasons why your child should have a place at your choice of school.

You can make an appeal because you want your child to attend a particular school over any other, but the stronger your reasons, the better chance you have of your appeal being successful. You should focus on what the school can offer that meets your child’s needs.

This can include;

• what the school can offer that other schools cannot
• what the impact will be on your child in not attending the school of your choice.

Every school has a Published Admission Number (PAN). The PAN is the maximum number of pupils that they will admit to each year group. You may believe that the school could take additional pupils, if so, you could ask the school to provide you with information to help you make your case.

You can also appeal if you believe that the admission authority did not apply their admission arrangements properly and if they had applied them properly, they would have offered your child a place at the school. You should explain why you believe this is the case and refer to the part of the admission arrangements that you believe has not been applied properly.

You may wish to incorporate answers to some of the following questions that Panel Members would usually ask when relevant. Remember, you will also have an opportunity to present your case on the day of the appeal.

• Have you visited the school?
• What did you like about the school?
• When you looked round other schools what was it about this school that makes you believe it’s the right/only school for your child?
• What can the school you want provide for your child that the offered school cannot?
• How will you get your child to the school allocated?
• What’s the journey like to the school allocated?
• Are there any health/equality act issues raised in the case?
• What are the problems you will face if they does not get a place at the school?
• What support do you have locally?

Yes. Examples of school work your child may have undertaken will not be accepted as the Panel will not be able to make a proper judgement about its quality. The members would have nothing to measure it against and would not know the depth of the work submitted. Also, they would not know whether the work had been carried out unaided.

It is suggested that you provide all of your information at the time of appealing, however if you cannot send all the information and supporting evidence you want to at the time you submit your appeal, it’s important you send it at your earliest convenience.

You will be supplied with a copy of all of your case papers at least 10 calendar days in advance of the date when the Panel will meet to decide your appeal. At this time you will be issued with all documents relating to your appeal, including the individual statement as to why a place was not offered to your child. Within the first 5 calendar days of these papers being issued to you, you will have an opportunity to add any further information. After that time there may not be a chance to provide additional information as the Panel would require sufficient time to consider your case.

All paperwork will be issued to you electronically via Microsoft Teams and further instructions will be issued to you nearer the time.

You will be issued with a link to the time and date of your appeal with instructions of how to access the hearing.

On the day of the appeal, you will be asked to wait in an online waiting area and will be brought into the meeting via the clerk. Along with the 3 Panel Members and clerk, will also be a representative from the Admission Authority. At no time must either yourself or the Admission Authority representative be left alone with the Panel, unless the clerk is present. If there are any technical issues and any party drops out of the hearing, the clerk will ask you to leave and re-join the meeting, you will remain in the waiting area until all parties are present.

If you do not wish to, or find that you cannot attend your appeal on the day, for whatever reason, the Panel Members may hear the appeal in your absence and make their decision based on the information available to them at the time. If you are not attending the appeal, please email appeals@kent.gov.uk letting the Administrator know in advance so that the Clerk is aware of this.

You are welcome to bring someone to help you put forward your case.

Your ‘friend’ or adviser at a hearing can be a locally elected politician, or an employee of the local education provided that this will not lead to a conflict of interest.

This is an informal tribunal, but obviously it needs to be properly organised. The normal procedure is as follows:-

• The Chairman welcomes you to the meeting and introduces the Appeal Panel. During the hearing the Clerk will take notes of what is said in case the Panel needs to refer to them afterwards. These are not published. The Clerk will also be responsible for giving legal and procedural advice to the members of the Appeal Panel.

• The representative from the Admission Authority begins by explaining why your child has not been offered a place at your preferred school. If you wish to ask any questions about what has been said you may do so.

• The Chairman will then invite you to present your case. Remember that the Panel will have read all the documents in advance so it is not essential to go over everything in detail. The Panel and the Admission Authority representative may then ask you questions if they need more information.

• The Chairman will ask you if you feel that you have had the opportunity to present your case and all the information that you wish the Panel to take into account in reaching its decision, as once the summing up has taken place there is no further opportunity for either side to add to their case.

• The hearing finishes with the Admission Authority representative, and then you, having a chance to sum up.

• At the end of the hearing you and the Admission Authority representative will be removed from the hearing while the Appeal Panel considers the case in private. The Clerk will stay behind to record the Panel’s decision. (Please be aware that where several appeals for the same school are being held, decisions will not be made on individual cases until all of the appeals have been heard).

(The Panel members may ask questions at any time to make sure that they understand all the points made by you and the School representative or if they need more information in order to reach a decision.)

The Panel will then discuss and make a decision to either uphold or dismiss your appeal. They will weigh up your case for wanting your child to attend the school against the school’s arguments for not being able to admit another child.

The Panel will uphold your appeal if it finds that the negative impact on your child of not attending your preferred school outweighs the case put forward by the school’s case as to why it cannot admit any more pupils.

You will receive notice of the outcome electronically via Microsoft Teams.

The Clerk will normally provide this link to you within 5 School days to notify you of the Panel’s decision. If the Panel is hearing a large number of appeals, this will be the 5th School day after the last appeal is considered.

The decision of the Appeal Panel is binding and only the courts, by way of a judicial review, can overturn a decision.

If the Panel upholds your appeal the School must admit your child.

If the Panel does not uphold your appeal you still have a number of options you may wish to consider.

You may wish to put your child’s name on the school’s waiting list (if you have not already done so), even where you have accepted a place at another school. Schools must operate a waiting list for at least the first term of each school year of admission (until 31 December).

Children who are on the waiting list are ranked by how closely they match the school’s oversubscription criteria, not how long they’ve been on the list. It’s your responsibility to secure suitable education for your child and you may want to seek an alternative school place. If your child is without a school place, contact your Local Authorities Admissions Team depending on where you are located, who will be able to advise and inform you of other available places in the area. You may only appeal to the same school once per academic year.

In accordance with regulations issued by the Department for Education (DfE), Independent Appeals Panels and Admission Authorities must adhere to:

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