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Appeals for school admissions

If your child is not offered a place at your preferred school you have the right to appeal to an Independent appeals panel.

If your child is not offered a place at your preferred school you have the right to appeal to an Independent appeals panel.

It is our aim to offer your child a place at your preferred school. However, if there are no places or we receive more applications than there are places available, your child may not be offered a place at your preferred school. In this case, you have the right to appeal to an Independent appeals panel. 

Before you appeal you are advised to read the Advice for parents and guardians on school admission appeals (GOV.UK)

How to appeal

The Local Authority organise appeals for all Community and Voluntary Controlled schools in the area. 

When completing the appeal form you need to clearly set out the reasons why your child should have a place at your preferred school and all the arguments that you will be relying on.  If you have shared medical issues or any incidents of bullying please attach any additional documents as evidence. 

Appeal the schools admissions process

We also organise in-year appeals for the following:

Primary

  • Abbey Park Academy
  • Beech Hill School
  • Bolton Brow Primary Academy
  • Bowling Green Academy
  • Dean Field Community Primary School
  • Field Lane Primary School
  • Longroyde Primary School
  • Luddendenfoot Academy
  • Mount Pellon Primary Academy
  • Old Earth School
  • Scout Road Academy
  • Siddal Primary
  • St Michael & All Angels CE Primary School
  • The Greetland Academy
  • The Halifax Academy
  • Wainstalls School
  • Warley Road Primary Academy
  • West Vale Academy
  • Whitehill Community Academy

Secondary

  • The Halifax Academy
  • Trinity Academy Grammar
  • Rastrick High 
  • Park Lane Academy

Appeals that are not organised by the Local Authority:

Appeals that are not organised by the Local Authority

  • To appeal for a foundation or voluntary aided Catholic school:
    • Write to the governing body.
  • To appeal for a voluntary aided Church of England school:
  • To appeal for a primary or secondary academy:
    • Write to the academy trust;
    • or indicate that you intend to appeal on the re-allocation form (normal round of admissions only).
  • To appeal for Trinity Academy Halifax:
    • Write to Mr John Halshaw, Governor Support Ltd, PO Box 1065, Nelson. Lancashire. BB9 4DA. Note: Appeal requests received by the Council for this school will not be accepted.

Appeal deadlines

For places starting in September 2024, the deadline to submit an appeal for:

  • Year 7 is 10th May 2024
  • Reception is 17th May 2024

If you miss the deadline you can still appeal but your appeal may not be heard before school starts in September.

If you are not appealing for a Reception or Year 7 place starting in September, we will hold your hearing as soon as possible and no more than 30 school days after the date your appeal was submitted.

The date of your appeal

After your appeal has been lodged we will write out to you informing you of the date and time of the hearing.  This will be no later than 10 school days before the hearing.   

Prior to the hearing you will also receive the paperwork detailing the school’s statement of case where they set out the reasons why a school place was refused.  Please ensure that you have read all of the documentation prior to the hearing. 

The appeal process

The appeal hearing

Appeals are heard by an Independent panel and follow the School Admissions Appeals Code

Appeal hearings will be held remotely by video conference. You will be sent a video link from the clerk to the appeal panel or you can choose not to attend and have your appeal heard based on the written information you have provided on your appeal form.

The Appeal Panel will consist of a Chair person and two other panel members.  There will also be an officer to provide the Panel with legal advice and who will act as a facilitator and note taker to the Appeals Panel.

An Admissions Officer and / or school representative will be there to present the case on behalf of the school. 

It is important to note that the Panel members are independent of the Local Authority and the school. 

The officers in attendance do not form part of the panel and will not participate in any decision making.

Order of the hearing

The order of the hearing is based on guidance in the School Admissions Appeals Code.  The order of the Appeal hearing will be:-

  • Case for the admission authority
  • Questioning by appellant and panel
  • Case for the appellant
  • Questioning by the admission authority and panel
  • Summing up by the admission authority
  • Summing up by the appellant

Representation

The atmosphere of the Appeal Hearing is informal.

The Council on Tribunals, which oversees the way Appeal Panels operate has advised that legal representation is hardly ever necessary or appropriate. 

Appeals will be heard in private but members of the Council may attend as observers.

There is no need for the child or witnesses to attend, although the panel may allow witnesses to give evidence provided it is relevant and not repetitive, however a letter may be more appropriate.  If you intend to rely on written evidence, you should enclose it with your appeal form.

The decision

Panels must follow the two stage decision making process below for all appeals except for infant class size appeals.

First stage – examining the decision to refuse admission

The panel must consider the following matters in relation to each child that is the subject of an appeal

  • Whether the admission arrangements complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and
  • Whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case in question.

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

The panel must uphold the appeal at the first stage where. 

  • It finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or had not been 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
  • It finds that the admission of additional children would not prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources. 

In multiple appeals where a number of children would have been offered a place and to admit that number would seriously prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources the panel must proceed to the second stage.

Second stage – balancing the arguments

The panel must balance the prejudice to the school against the appellant’s case for the child to be admitted to the school.  If the panel considers that the appellant’s case outweighs the prejudice to the school it must uphold the appeal.

Infant class size appeals

Infant classes (those where the children are in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) differ from other school admission appeals because the panel is limited on the circumstances in which an appeal can be upheld.

An infant class must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher and only in very limited circumstances can admission over the limit be permitted.

Appeals for these places are less likely to be successful as the appeal panel can only allow an appeal in these circumstances where 

  • It finds that the admission of additional children 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
  • It decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the appeal.

The threshold for finding that an admission authority’s decision to refuse admission was not one that a reasonable authority would have made is high. The panel will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit the child was ‘perverse in the light of the admission arrangements’ i.e. it was ‘beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker’ or ‘a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it’.

For further information please see: Advice for parents and guardians on school admission appeals (GOV.UK)

After the hearing

The Clerk to the appeals panel will notify you of the decision of the appeal, including the reasons for that decision in writing within five school days. 

If your appeal is upheld the school must admit your child without unnecessary delay. 

You can only have one appeal per school in the same school year unless the admission authority believe there have been a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent, child or school. 

The decision of the panel is final and subject to review only in exceptional circumstances.

If you believe the panel did not follow the law or followed an incorrect procedure you may submit a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman: Make a complaint.  

The Ombudsman is not a further right of appeal on the merits of the case but they can ask us to hear your appeal again if the law and correct procedures have not been followed. 

If your appeal was for a place at an Academy you can complain to: Academy appeal panel complaint form (education.gov.uk).

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