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School appeals

If you have not been offered a place at the school you wanted you are entitled to appeal against the refusal. Appeals are heard by panels which are independent of the ​council, schools and governing bodies. The panel follows the School Admission Appeals Code drawn up by the Department for Education with advice from the Local Government Ombudsman.


Should I appeal?

Only you can decide whether you would like to appeal. Before making this decision, it is worth considering the reasons that have been given for the refusal to offer a place, and the grounds on which an appeal panel can grant your appeal.

Infant Class Size appeals

Infant class size legislation relates to Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 and states that there can be only 30 children in an infant class with one qualified teacher.

For appeals where class size legislation applies (this is the case for the majority of appeals for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in Leeds), the appeal panel may only grant an appeal if they are satisfied that:

  • the admission of an additional child would not breach the infant class size limit; or
  • the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or
  • the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

Parents often believe that the panel should uphold their appeal because the decision to refuse a place was ‘unreasonable’, however it should be noted that the threshold for unreasonableness is extremely high in infant class size appeals.

Prejudice appeals

For appeals where class size legislation does not apply (often known as prejudice appeals), the appeal panel must consider:

  • whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998
  • whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case in question.

The appeal panel must then decide whether the admission of additional pupils would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

Where the panel is satisfied that prejudice would be caused by a further admission, they must then balance the prejudice to the school against the parent/carer’s case for the child to be admitted. This second stage is called “the balancing of arguments”. Stage 2 of the appeal hearing provides you, as the parent/carer, the opportunity to outline the reasons why you feel your child should be admitted into the school. Following the hearing, the panel will consider both arguments and decided which argument outweighs the other.


How do I appeal?

Most appeals are arranged by our Admissions team but some schools arrange their own appeals. You can find out which schools arrange their own appeals by using the following documents: Primary schools who arrange their own appeals (PDF 83KB) and Secondary schools who arrange their own appeals (PDF 43KB). If the school you would like your child to attend appears in List B please contact the school directly. If the school is in List A, this means their appeals are arranged by the Admissions Team and you will need to complete the appropriate appeals form. Please read the section below to find out which form you need to complete.


Which appeal form should I use?

If you are appealing for a school place in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 please use the Class Size Admission Appeal form (PDF 149KB). As well as by post, you can return your completed form by email to: education.appeals@leeds.gov.uk  

If you are appealing for a school place in Year 3 and above please use the Admission Appeal form (PDF 146KB). As well as by post, you can return your completed form by email to: education.appeals@leeds.gov.uk  

If you wish to appeal against a decision for a school in a different local authority, you should contact the relevant local authority for further details.


Timescales for Leeds City Council appeals

Leeds City Council has an appeals timetable containing deadlines and timescales which can be accessed here: Leeds School Appeals Timetable 2017.


School transfer/in-year admissions appeals

Appeals against a decision for a transfer of school place, outside of starting primary or secondary school, can be submitted any time during the academic year. Appeals will be heard within 30 school days of the appeal request being received (where the in-year application has been processed and the right of appeal has been issued).


General appeal information

You will receive a written invitation to the appeal and this will be 10 school days before your appeal is heard. 

A statement setting out our case for not offering your child a place at the school concerned is sent to you and the appeal panel at least one week before the appeal date. 

While waiting for an appeal, we advise that you accept the place you have been offered by contacting the school directly. This will ensure your child does not miss out on education and it will not affect your appeal. Your child will automatically be placed on the waiting list for any school you appeal for and can remain on the list if the appeal fails.

Whatever your reason for appealing, you should provide in advance as much information in support of your appeal as you can. This might include particular personal circumstances including, for example, medical advice. The late introduction of evidence for your appeal may cause a delay as all parties need to read the new evidence.


Appeal hearing procedure

The appeal will be heard by an independent panel made up of three people in Leeds Civic Hall. At the hearing the panel will have copies of both the written submission prepared by us and the information which you have provided. A panel member should not normally hear your appeal if he or she knows you directly, is a governor of your preferred school or has been involved in your case previously.

It is important, wherever possible, that you attend the hearing. You can also bring someone to help you make your case, such as a friend, relative or other adviser. It is possible for an appeal to be heard in your absence if you do not attend.

A representative from the local authority will attend to explain the position. The headteacher (or another member of the senior leadership team) may attend to clarify any factual matters about the circumstances at the school. In the case of schools which are their own admitting authority (such as voluntary-aided schools, foundation schools, free schools or academies) the school may present their own case.

A clerk is present at all times during the hearing. Their job is to make sure that the correct procedures are followed and that the appeal hearings are carried out fairly.

Your appeal will be heard in private and the proceedings are confidential. The appeal hearing is a formal meeting and follows a set procedure but you will be guided through it.

Once the hearing has taken place, the clerk will write to you as soon as possible to notify you of the result. The decision of the appeal panel is final and we and the school must keep to it.

If you feel that the appeal panel or Leeds City Council has not followed proper procedures in the appeal hearing, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.


School waiting lists

If you are not happy with the place you have been offered you can put your child on a waiting list for a different school without going through the formal appeal process.


Further advice

The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) is a national charity that provides independent advice on the admissions and appeals process. You can visit their website at www.ace-ed.org.uk

If you have followed the guidance on this page and are still having difficulty with the admissions appeals process, you can get in touch with our Admissions Team for advice.

Email: education.admissions@leeds.gov.uk​

Phone: 0113 222 4414 (Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm)​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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