Secondary School Admissions

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Secondary School Admission Appeals

National Offer Day for Secondary Schools is 1st March 2021.

Richard Nelson LLP’s education solicitors can help parents of secondary 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.

Appealing secondary school admissions decisions

Having considered the schools available when applying, many parents will appreciate that some schools are more popular than others and receive applications far in excess of the spaces available at the school.

If your child has missed out on their first choice of secondary school, you may be pleased to know that there is the chance to appeal this decision. The Appeal will be heard before an Independent Appeal Panel. You will receive information about how to appeal if you are not offered your first place. It will be sent out to you along with the offer that is made. You should follow the guidance and submit your appeal form within the timeframe set out.

Reasons to consider an appeal

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. The proportion of secondary school applicants who received an offer of their first preference school increased by 1.3 percentage points to 82.2%. This was based on a 0.7% drop in the number of applicants, to just over 600,000.

Making a successful admissions appeal

A successful appeal addresses a number of issues including whether the school admission arrangements have been complied with, whether they are lawful, and whether 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 secondary school admissions 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 tacking both legal and social issues that demonstrate to the Panel why your child should attend their 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 and present the 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 presenting their case to the Panel privately. This package covers our attendance at both stages. £1000 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 on your child’s case. £1500 plus VAT

Richard Nelson LLP also offers primary 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 primary school admission appeals.

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