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Appealing against Admission Decisions

 

If your child is refused a place at any school for which you have expressed a preference, you have the right to appeal against this decision. This applies whether the school is a Community or Voluntary Aided School.

Appeal forms for voluntary aided schools in Gateshead - These can be obtained from the school in question.

Appeal forms for Community schools in Gateshead - These can be obtained by contacting the School Organisation and Admission Team on 0191 433 2757 or 0191 433 2756

Appeals for Community Schools - First year of Entry to Infant Junior and Secondary schools - September 2015

The letter informing you that a place cannot be offered to your child will advise you how to appeal if you wish to do so. If you decide to appeal you should send your completed appeal form to Legal and Corporate Services, Democratic Services, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH. An acknowledgement will be sent to you giving a telephone number in case of queries. Vacant places sometimes arise at a particular school before the date of the appeal hearing. Where this happens, we will allocate the vacant places without delay in accordance with the LA admission procedures.

Please note that the LA is required where possible to arrange and conduct all admission appeal hearings for September 2015 before the end of the current academic year (i.e. by July 2015). Accordingly, the LA requests that all parents wishing to have an appeal return their forms duly completed on or before 27 March 2015 for secondary admissions and 15 May 2015 for primary admissions. If parents submit appeal forms after this date it may result in appeal hearing dates having to be rearranged at short notice, with possible inconvenience to other parents and appeal panel members.

Before deciding whether to appeal, you will probably want to think about the admission policy for admitting pupils, your reasons for wanting your child to attend the school, your child’s view of what school he/she should attend and how strong a case you have. You may also want to consider visiting the school where you have been offered a place or alternative schools that still have places available. The LA will also be able to advise further on the availability of places at other schools by contacting the help lines given within this booklet.

If you decide to appeal, your appeal will be heard by a Panel, which is independent of the school and the LA.

You can express a preference for more than one school in order of priority. You may want to attend an appeal for more than one school. The outcome of one does not prevent you from attending the other.

You will be provided with guidance notes explaining the appeal procedure and information of the date and place of the hearing and be given at least 14 days notice. Seven days before the hearing, you will be sent copies of the Statement of Case that will be put before the Appeal Panel in support of the LA’s decision not to offer your child a place.

You are advised to attend the appeal hearing, where you will be given the opportunity to put your case and to ask questions. You can take a friend if you wish. If it is not possible for you to attend, the case made by you in writing will be considered in your absence. In making your case, you will probably want to refer back to your original reasons for preferring the school.

If you want the panel to take any additional information into account, you should, if possible, submit any supporting documents with your appeal or provide these to the clerk in good time for the members of the panel and LA to be able to consider them properly.

There will be a representative from the LA and the school at the hearing to explain to the panel why it was not possible to offer your child a place. The LA will have the opportunity to put their case on behalf of the school and will have the opportunity to ask you questions.

At the end of the hearing, the clerk should be able to give you an idea of how soon you can expect to receive the panel’s written decision. This decision is binding on all parties.

You can apply once for admission of your child to a particular school for any given academic year. The LA will only determine a second application for any given academic year where it accepts there has been a significant and material change in your circumstances relevant to the question of admission.

Class Size Restrictions in Key Stage 1 (infant years) - Appeals

Key Stage 1 is reception, year 1 and year 2 in Infant and Primary schools. All schools must follow class size legislation in Key Stage 1 (ages 4 to 7). Schools are not allowed to have more than 30 children to one qualified Teacher in any Key Stage 1 class, including reception class. You should be aware that once the limit of 30 children to one teacher is reached and your child is refused admission then there are only very restricted grounds for appeal. You do have the right of appeal but an appeal panel can only uphold your appeal where:

  • It finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit; or
  • It finds that 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 arrangement 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 case.

The Appeal Panel members must consider whether or not the LA has satisfied them that their decision to refuse admission was reasonable in accordance with admission legislation and that admission procedures were properly implemented. If this is shown to be the case, the panel are obliged to dismiss the appeal. Your child may be refused a place at a school on the grounds that the admission would cause class size prejudice. Class size prejudice means that a school would not be able to keep the 30 pupils to 1 teacher class size limit unless extra measures were taken, such as the need to provide an extra teacher or classroom or even a reorganisation of classes. Factors relevant to the Admission Authority’s decision could be:

Where the introduction of an extra pupil would necessitate the introduction of mixed aged teaching in a school previously operating in single year groups.

Whether the admission of the child would lead to a breach of the limit further up the system – some schools decide to have small reception classes with larger year 1 and year 2 classes (e.g. admission number of 45 with 2 reception classes of 22 and 23 and three mixed year 1 and year 2 classes of 30). Admitting extra pupils to the reception class would not breach the limit in that year but could do so in future years.

Casual Appeals- In year Transfers

If we refuse you a place at any Community School we will let you know where there are places available at alternative schools and we will also offer you the right of appeal. For Community Schools, appeal forms are available from Pupil and Parent Services on 0919 433 8589. A completed appeal form should be returned to Legal and Corporate Services at the Civic Centre, who will acknowledge receipt. Your appeal will be heard within 30 school days following the date of receipt. Vacant places sometimes arise at a particular school before the date of the appeal hearing. Where this happens, the school will allocate vacant places to the pupils on the waiting list using the admission criteria. Appeal forms in respect of applications to Roman Catholic schools are available directly from the respective school

Appeals for Voluntary Aided schools

The school governing body is the actual admission authority for the school. Such schools will have a supply of appeal forms to provide you with if you decide to appeal. Please remember that the LA is not the admission authority for the school and the LA appeal form cannot be used to appeal for a place at a Voluntary Aided school.

Contact Us

The School Admissions Team
Dryden Centre
Evistones Road
Low Fell
NE9 5UR

Phone: 0191 433 2757 / 0191 433 2109 / 0191 433 2756
Email: schooladmissions@gateshead.gov.uk