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Appeal against a school admissions decision

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Appeal against a school admissions decision

If your child has been refused a place at a Camden school you have the right to appeal to an independent appeals panel. This is your opportunity to explain your reasons for wanting to send your child to the school. The independent appeals panel will decide if those reasons are strong enough to overturn the decision of the Admission Authority for the school.

You cannot appeal against a school you have been offered.

Appeal against school admission decision

You should submit your appeal within 21 days of receiving your refusal letter/email.

For more information on admissions please contact the school admissions team.

Timetable for appeals

Secondary transfer admissions and appeals - 2024

•    1 March - notification of offers to parents and guardians
•    29 March - deadline for appeals to be submitted
•    4 to 11 June - appeal hearings take place

Primary reception class admissions and appeals - 2024

•    16 April - notification of offers to parents and guardians
•    17 May - deadline for appeals to be submitted
•    24 June to 9 July - appeal hearings take place

You can read the Government advice on making a school appeals or read the School Admissions Appeals Code 2022.

What sort of information should I provide?

You should give all the reasons why you think that your child should be given a place at the school. For example, if you want medical factors to be taken into account you are advised to provide a letter from your doctor with your appeal form. It is up to you to provide any evidence from professionals (such as doctors or social workers) that you think is relevant. The admissions panel will not contact people on your behalf seeking evidence.

If you are not applying for a place to start in Reception or to transfer from primary to secondary school, you also should include the letter from the school refusing you a place.


What happens next?

You will receive a letter or email from Committee Services saying that your appeal form has been received. The Clerk to the Appeal Panel will then let you know where and when your appeal will be heard, giving you at least 10 school days notice. 

About a week before the appeal hearing you will receive a copy of the papers that will be considered at the hearing, which will consist of:

  • your appeal form
  • any extra papers that you have provided to support you appeal
  • a written statement from the Admission Authority explaining why your child was not offered a place at the school
  • a copy of your application form and the decision letter from the Admissions Authority
  • details of the procedure that will be followed at the hearing, including the names of the independent Appeals Panel Members who will hear your appeal.

Who will hear my appeal?

The Appeals Panel consists of 3 people who are independent of both the school and the Admission Authority. They are also not involved in decisions about school admissions in Camden.

The Panel members have knowledge of education provision or of educational conditions in the area. There will also be a clerk at the meeting whose job is to advise the Panel on procedures and to take notes of the hearing.

It is only the members of the Appeal Panel who decide the outcome of your appeal, based on the information provided to them.

School admissions appeal hearing

What happens at the appeal hearing?

The hearing will be as informal as possible but will follow a set procedure as follows:

  1. The Chair of the Panel will introduce everyone and outline the procedure
  2. A representative from the Admission Authority will explain why your child was not offered a place at the school. Someone from the school might also be there to answer questions about the school as the Admission Authority is not always the school itself. You and the Panel will then be able to ask questions on what has been said.
  3. Then you will have the opportunity to say why you want your child to have a place at the school. You can also say, if you think that the admissions policy was not applied correctly in your child’s case, your reasons for thinking this. You can have someone to represent you if you prefer. The Panel and the representative from the Admission Authority can then ask you questions.
  4. Both you and the representative from the Admission Authority will then have the chance to sum up before leaving the room.

The Panel will then decide the outcome of the appeal and the clerk will write to you within 5 school days to let you know the decision.

An appeal hearing tends to last around 30 minutes, but there are no time limits at the Panel. You should take as much time as you would like to make your case.

If you fail to attend, the appeal can still go ahead and be decided by the Panel on the written information submitted. You can send someone to attend in your place if you are unable to attend.

Can I bring someone with me to the appeal hearing?

You can bring a friend or adviser with you to the hearing and they can speak on your behalf if you wish and you can also call witnesses. You can bring an education social worker, special educational needs adviser or learning mentor with you to the hearing. However, you will need to arrange this yourself. If you are going to bring someone with you to the hearing you should let the Clerk to the Panel know in advance.

You can also bring an interpreter or signer with you if you need one. You can ask for one to be provided for you as long as enough notice is given.

We recommend that you do not bring the child to the appeal hearing as it can be distressing for them.

How does the Panel reach its decision?

Infant class size appeals

For infant classes (that is Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) the government has set a limit of 30 children per class per schoolteacher. The Panel can only uphold the appeal if:

a) the admission of your child would not go above the infant class size limit, or
b) the admission arrangements broke admissions law or were not applied in a correct and impartial way. This would mean that your child would have been offered a place if the arrangements complied with the law, or had been correctly and impartially applied, or
c) the decision to refuse admission to your child was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of your case.

This means that, if you appeal for a place in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 where the class already has 30 children, the Panel can uphold your appeal on limited grounds. You must state on your appeal form how either a), b) or c) above apply to your case or your appeal will have no chance of success.

As the grounds for upholding an infant class size appeal are very limited, the percentage success rate is very small with only a couple of every 100 appeals being successful. Your personal reasons for wanting a specific school or problems getting your child to and from school is unlikely to be a good reason why your appeal should be upheld. Parents are therefore advised to make an informed decision about whether to submit an appeal.

Please note having a place in the school’s nursery will not guarantee you a place in Reception. You will still have to apply for a place and will be subject to the school’s admission arrangements.

All other appeals

For all other appeals, the Panel goes through a two-stage process when making its decision. In the first stage, the Panel must decide whether the admission arrangements for the school were lawful and properly applied. If so, whether the school would experience difficulties if it were to admit your child. If the Panel finds that there would be no difficulty then it must uphold your appeal and your child will be admitted to the school. 

If the Panel finds that there is difficulty then it must go on to the second stage. This is the balancing stage. The Panel weighs the difficulties the school would have if it took another child against the strength of your case. If the Panel decides that your case outweighs the difficulties of the school, your appeal will be upheld. Your child will be admitted to the school. Otherwise, your appeal will not be successful.

Is the Panel’s decision final?

The Panel’s decision is binding on the school and the Admission Authority. This means that if your appeal is successful, the school must admit your child. If your appeal is not successful your child’s name may remain on the waiting list at the school if you wish.

There is no further right of appeal. However, if you feel that the appeal panel has not been properly set up or has not followed procedures correctly you can complain. If the school is run by the local authority you must contact the Local Government Ombudsman. If it is an academy or free school you must contact the Education and Skills Funding Authority. You should note that the Local Government Ombudsman cannot overturn the Panel’s decision. This can only be done by the courts.

School Admissions Appeals Privacy Notice

The name and contact details of the data controller:

London Borough of Camden
Judd Street
020 7974 4444

The name and contact details of the Data Protection Officer:

Andrew Maughan, Borough Solicitor
[email protected]

The purpose of the processing

To allow for the administration and determination of appeals against decisions by school admissions authorities to not admit children.

The legal basis for processing

The processing of this data is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation under section 94 of School Standards and Framework Act 1998 regarding provision of arrangements for school admissions appeals.

The categories of Personal Data

The following categories of personal data may be processed.

  • Name
  • Address and contact details
  • Personal circumstances
  • Educational records
  • Health information
  • Racial/ethnic background
  • Religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • Financial information

Not all of the above will be relevant in every case. The personal data being processed will vary depending on the circumstances of the individual appeal and the information submitted in support of the appeal by the appellant. The data processed may include multiple data subjects i.e. as well as the child, personal data processed may relate to that child’s parent(s), sibling(s) or other family members. This again will vary based on the individual circumstances of the appeal.

Who the Council has to or will disclose the data to

The Council has or will disclose the data to these organisations: 

  • The relevant school admissions authority
  • Members of the school admissions appeals panel

Documents related to the appeal will be sent to external printers for printing. These documents are treated as  confidential under the Council’s contracting arrangements.

We also undertake general data matching or data sharing in certain areas for the prevention or detection of crime, you can find out more information on that here.

Whether the Council will transfer their data out of the EU/EEA.

We will not transfer your Personal Data outside the EU/EEA.

The criteria used to decide the retention period

Personal data relating to school admissions appeals will be kept for two years. This is in line with the statutory obligation under the School Admissions Appeals Code 2012 and as set out in the corporate data retention schedule.

Your Data Subject Rights

You have the right to:

  • request a copy of the information we hold about you
  • ask us to correct, erase or restrict processing of your data
  • ask for data portability. This means to allow you to move, copy or transfer personal data easily from one IT environment to another in a safe and secure way. This is without affecting the ability to use it.
  • object to automated decision making.

If we need your consent, you also have the right to withdraw consent at any time.

There are some exemptions to these rights.  Please see our website and the ICO website for more information. To exercise these rights please use our web form elsewhere on the website.

The right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority

You can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are unhappy with how the council has handled your personal data.  It would be helpful if you contacted us first at [email protected] to see if we can resolve the problem.  You can contact the ICO at [email protected], telephone 0303 123 1113, or post to Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Information about whether giving Personal Data is part of a requirement or obligation in law or contract

Parents and carers have a statutory right to appeal against school admissions decisions. To carry out this right, you must give personal data. This is to allow for the effective administration and determination of the appeal.

Failure to provide any data means that the right to appeal cannot be exercised. Failure to provide sufficient personal data as part of the appeal may lead to your case being prejudiced. An admissions appeals panel can only determine appeals based on the evidence before them.

Automated decision making and profiling

We are not using automated Decision Making or profiling to process your Personal Data.

What information do you have to provide by law and what happens if you do not give the information

You must provide as a minimum the names and address of yourself and the child to which the appeal relates, the name of the school being appealed for and reasons for the appeal. Failure to do so means the appeal cannot be processed.