Primary School Admissions Appeals

16th April 2024 is National Offer Day for Primary School Places. Read on or speak to our team to find out how we can help with appealing decisions about your child's admission.


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.

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Louise has offered her guidance and advice for the school appeal of my daughter. We were successful and delighted with the outcome. However independently from the outcome, I can honestly say that Louise is knowledgeable about the school appeal process. Louise has patiently guided me through the process, and how... to: (1) best present the personal circumstances of our case; (2) challenge the evidence provided by the school for not admitting my daughter. As a working mum and fully committed solicitor, she is swamped, but she always promptly returned my calls and e-mails. I am very fortunate to have met and been offered her services. If you are determined to have the best chance in appealing for a school place, yet you are unsure how to navigate the complexities of the appeal process, I strongly encourage you to call Louise and seek her help and guidance. Louise is knowledgeable and honest, and will not let you down.

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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 well-being.

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 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.

Richard Nelson's office

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. £1,800 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. £1,800 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. £3,000 plus VAT.

Richard Nelson LLP also offers secondary school admission appeals services.

Specialist solicitors

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists in a wide range of services, which means you'll always be represented by an expert in your area.

No-strings initial call

Get in touch to arrange a no-obligation, fully confidential call to discuss your case and work out if you want to continue.

Nationwide support

Speak to solicitors in one of our offices throughout England and Wales, or arrange calls and remote meetings.


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Are you interested in School Admissions?

Use the form on the right to get in touch with our team and arrange an initial call to discuss your situation. We will use this no-obligation, fully confidential initial call to learn more about your case and help you understand your options going forward.

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