Primary School Admissions

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Primary School Admissions Appeals

16th April 2021 is National Offer day for Primary School Places

The team of education solicitors at Richard Nelson LLP can help parents of primary school children to appeal decisions about their child’s school admission. Get in touch with us using the form on this page or via our contact page to discuss your child’s situation.

School preferences & application numbers

Waiting to see if you have secured an offer from your preferred school can be an anxious period for all parents and carers with children about to start school for the first time. Having considered the schools available when applying, many will appreciate that some schools are more popular than others and receive applications far in excess of the spaces available.

Although the vast majority of pupils will be offered their preferred school, a significant number will be disappointed. If your child hasn’t received their first preference, this may cause your child and family difficulties when it comes to transport, or there may be implications for your child’s health and wellbeing.

Limitations on primary school admissions

Last year the proportion of primary school applicants who received an offer of their first preference school dropped slightly, by 0.4 percentage points to 90.2%. This was based on a 0.5% increase in the number of applicants for a place at primary school, to just over 612,000.

When a school receives applications in excess of the places it can offer, it must make offers in line with its ‘over-subscription criteria’. With Primary school places there is the additional burden of class sizes being limited to a maximum of 30 pupils.

Right to appeal admissions decisions

Parents do have a right to appeal the decision not to offer their child a place. The details about how to apply and to whom will be set out in the admissions notification paperwork that you will have received. Typically, you will have 20 school days in which to lodge your appeal. This is a very strict time frame and you will need to ensure that your appeal has been received by the relevant parties.

What makes a successful appeal?

A successful primary school admissions appeal addresses a number of issues including whether the school admission arrangements have been complied with, whether they are lawful, and where or not the over-subscription criteria have been applied fairly and correctly. Has the school applied the correct data to place your child in the correct over-subscription bracket?

Collating all this information and presenting it in a format that addresses the issues to be determined by the Independent Appeal Panel can seem overwhelming and daunting. As parents you may consider that there is a huge benefit in placing the matter in the hands of a professional who understands how the process works and is able to present the strongest argument possible to the Panel, taking the pressure off you as a parent.

Our primary school admissions appeal packages

We can offer a number of packages tailored to the level of involvement you are happy with. It will be assumed that the notice to appeal will have been completed by the parents within the relevant timeframe.

Package A

Drafting written representations to be submitted to the Independent Appeal Panel, supported by reports or letters tackling both legal and social issues that demonstrate to the Panel why your child should attend your preferred school. Consideration would be given to the case submitted and an appropriate response or request for further information may then be drafted. £1000 plus VAT.

Package B

Parents having drafted the written representations; we would attend the Independent Appeal Panel to present your case to the Panel. This can often be a two-stage approach, the school presenting its case to the Panel which can be considered by all parents appealing and then on a separate day, the parents present their case to the Panel privately. This package covers our attendance at both stages. £1000.00 plus VAT.

Package C

Covers both A and B above, so we would prepare the written representations and represent you at the Independent Appeal Panel for your child’s case. £1500 plus VAT.

Richard Nelson LLP also offers secondary school admission appeals services.

Get in touch

For more information about the services we can provide and about how we can help you and your business, contact us.

Louise O'Driscoll


Ben Shellard

Legal Assistant

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What we do...

  • Draft written representations to be submitted to the Independent Appeal Panel, supported by reports or letters tackling both legal and social issues.

  • Attend the Independent Appeal Panel to present your case to the Panel, including both the school's presentation and your appeal.

  • We can also support with secondary school admission appeals.

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