Appealing against admission decisions

First year of entry appeals

If your child has been refused a place at any school for which you have expressed a preference, you have the right to appeal against this decision. Information about the appeals procedure for voluntary aided schools is available directly from the school in question. In accordance with Department for Education guidance, the appeal procedure does not apply to nursery admissions.

Appeals for Community Schools

The letter informing you that a place cannot be offered to your child will advise you how to appeal. If you decide to appeal, you should contact the School Admissions Team following receipt of your refusal letter to request an appeal form. Once completed, you should send your appeal form to Development Law and Democratic Services, Corporate Services and Governance, Gateshead Council, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead NE8 1HH.

The council is required where possible to arrange and conduct all admission appeal hearings for September 2018 before the end of the current academic year (by July 2018). Accordingly, the council requests that all parents wishing to make an appeal return their completed forms on or before 28 March 2018 for secondary schools and 11 May 2018 for primary schools . If parents submit appeal forms after this date it may result in appeal hearing dates having to be rearranged at short notice with inconvenience to other parents and panel members. Before deciding whether to appeal, you should think about the admission policy for admitting pupils, your reasons for wanting your child to attend the school 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.

Please contact the School Admissions Team on: 0191 433 2757 if you would like information on the availability of places at other schools you may consider.

If you decide to appeal, your appeal will be heard by a panel that is independent of the school and Gateshead Council. You may want to attend an appeal for more than one school at which you have been refused a place. The outcome of one appeal does not prevent you from attending another. 

You will be informed of the date and place of the appeal hearing. You should be given at least seven 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 council'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 forward and ask questions. You can take a friend if you wish. If you are unable 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 choosing 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 form or provide these to the clerk in good time for the members of the panel and council to be able to consider them properly. There will be a representative from the council and the school at the hearing to explain to the panel why it was not possible to offer your child a place.

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. The panel's decision is final.

You can only appeal once for admission of your child to a particular school for any given academic year. The council 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.

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.

In Year transfer appeals

If you are refused a place, we will let you know which other schools have places available and will notify you in writing of your right to appeal. Appeal forms are available from The Education Support Team on telephone number 0191 433 8589.

Completed forms must be returned to Legal, Democratic and Property Services, Democratic Services, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH who will acknowledge your request.  Your appeal will be heard within 30 school days following the date of receipt. Vacant places sometimes arise before the date of the appeal hearing. Where this happens, the school will allocate the vacant place to a pupil on the waiting list using the admission criteria set out within the schools admission policy.

Appeal forms for Voluntary Aided schools are available direct from the school. Where year groups in schools are full, the school will maintain a waiting list and any vacancies which may arise will be allocated using the schools waiting list. If you would like your child's name places on the waiting list for a particular school, you must contact the school direct to request this. If a place becomes available which can be offered to your child, you must complete a Icon for pdf School Transfer Form [146.58KB].

Infant class size appeals - Class size restrictions in Key Stage 1

Key stage 1 refers to 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.

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 reasons for appeal. You do have the right of appeal but an appeal panel can only uphold your appeal if they are satisfied that either:

  • The decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would make in the circumstances of the case;
  • The child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented;
  • The child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had not been contrary to mandatory provisions in the School Admissions Code and the SSFA 1998.

The appeal panel members must consider whether or not the council has satisfied them that their decision to refuse admission was reasonable in accordance with admission legislation and that the 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 one 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 lead to 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 a small reception class with larger year 1 and year 2 classes (for example admission number of 45 with two 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.

 

Contact us

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

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

 

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