Shropshire Council

Appeal against allocation of school place

If you apply for a school place and are advised that there's no place available you're entitled to appeal to an independent appeals panel. Before making an appeal we do advise that you read the following information on why an appeal is necessary, as well as our infant class size guidance, before completing an appeal form.

If your application is for reception, transfer from infant to junior or from primary to secondary phase, you may add your child’s name to the waiting list. Please contact the Admissions Team to do so. For all other year groups you may ask the school if they operate a waiting list.

Why is an appeal necessary?

If the school is its own admission authority, the decision to not offer a school place will have been made by the school itself. Each school has an admission number for each year group based on the size and capacity of the school, and that number will now have been reached. In the admissions authority’s and school’s view it wouldn't be in the best interests of the children already in the school or of your child if additional places were to be offered in that year group, in other words there would be “prejudice” to efficient education if more children were to be admitted. 

If your child is of reception year, year 1 or year 2 age you may have been told that the grounds on which a place has been refused is because of infant class size restrictions. The government passed laws which forbid classes for these children to have more than 30 pupils taught by one qualified teacher. You still have the right of appeal, but you should be aware that the grounds on which the panel may allow a place at the school are very restricted.  Please refer to the infant class size guidance for further details. 

Parents or carers who move into the area from elsewhere have good reason to apply for a place for their child(ren) at a school close to their new home address. We recommend that parents/carers visit one or two local schools and see for themselves the existing provision. You may also wish to view a copy of the school’s prospectus and the latest Ofsted report. If you live in Shropshire, we have a duty to provide a school place for your child. However, this may not necessarily be at your preferred school. 

  • Transport to school is only offered where a child is attending their catchment area school or the nearest school to their address and distance rules will apply, based on your home address. A change of school may mean that you will have to provide transport if no help can be provided by the local authority
  • Where the preferred primary school is out of catchment area for your home address, it may also be out of the secondary catchment area to which most other children at the primary school will be transferring at the end of year 6. It's your home address which establishes the priority your application for a particular school will receive, not the school which your child has attended
  • You may want the same school for two or more children but you may find only one child can be offered a place. There's no guarantee that, just because one child has a place, a place will be given to a second child. You may then find that you are unsuccessful at appeal and are faced with your children having to attend two different schools. In such cases you may wish to look at alternative schools where there are spaces for all your children before deciding to appeal.

Additional information for mid-term/in-year applications

Where an application is made for other year groups other than reception/infant to junior, or the primary to secondary phase, we'd ask you to consider this very carefully. A settled school placement throughout the primary or secondary phase is important, not only to give a child the best possible educational opportunities, but also to help social and emotional development. If your child is having any difficulties at school, please discuss the issues with your child’s class teacher or headteacher, before making a decision to apply for another school. Often the issues can be resolved quickly within the school. If this isn't the case you may wish to speak to an educational welfare officer, whose contact number can be given to you by the school. 

Specific points you may wish to consider:

  • Moving a child in year 10 or 11 can put your child at serious risk of not gaining the qualifications they would otherwise hope to gain as different secondary schools offer different GCSE options and often use different examination bodies. It's almost impossible to match up the courses which pupils have already studied and prepared for.  Most year 10 and all year 11 applications fall under our 'Fair Access Protocol'
  • The headteachers of your preferred school and current school may discuss your transfer request

What should I do whilst waiting for an appeal?

If you're waiting for an appeal please remember that as the parent/carer you're responsible for ensuring your child’s attendance at school in the meantime. Unless your child has been excluded, he/she will remain on roll and is expected to attend the current school until the transfer has been completed. If you've moved many miles away from your previous address you should consider enrolling your child in a school which has places available, or ensure that your child is provided with some education in the home. Neither of these options prevent you from making an appeal into another school, but it does provide an essential continuity of some education for your child whilst you await the outcome of an appeal.

About the appeal process

An appeal would be heard by a panel of three people, who are independent of the named school and of the council. They will wish to hear about your child and your reasons for wanting a place, all of which should be outlined on the appeal form. A presenting officer and sometimes the headteacher from the school are present at the appeal to explain the school situation, but they play no part in the final decision made by the appeal panel. 

If after reading this information you would still like to appeal for a place at your preferred school you must complete an appeal form.  Please provide as much information as you can as to why you feel a particular school would be most appropriate for your child’s needs.  If you have any additional information which you wish to submit, such as written confirmation from your solicitor that contracts have been exchanged on a house purchase, a copy of a rental agreement or any medical evidence pertaining to your child’s attendance at the school, you should send it to the Admissions Team.

How to appeal

You can appeal the decision online by clicking on the green button below.

Appeal online now »

Alternatively you can download the appeal form attached to this page. If you have any difficulty in completing the appeal form, for example due to a disability or language problems, please contact us.

What happens next?

In accordance with the School Admissions Appeal Code, we, as the admissions authority for community schools, must set a timetable for organising and hearing education appeals

On receipt of your appeal form the Admissions Team will either forward it to the clerk to the appeals panel or to the school, whomever has responsibility for setting up an appeal hearing with an independent panel for your preferred school. The clerk to the appeals panel will send you a notice of the appeal hearing asking whether you wish to attend, with or without a representative. A week before the appeal you'll be sent a copy of our response.

Appeal hearings may take up to 30-40 school days to arrange. The clerk to the appeals panel is normally obliged to give parents or carers ten school days notice of the date of an appeal hearing. If parents or carers are prepared to waive the normal period of notice, it may be possible to arrange an earlier appeal.

Please note:

  • Appeals take place in term time only
  • Parents can put their case in person to the appeals panel, which is independent of the admissions authority
  • The panel's decision is final and binding on all parties
  • Parents may only lodge one appeal in an academic year unless there are any material changes to their circumstances, such as a permanent change of address
  • Appeals are arranged through our Committee and Legal Services team and will be held at a venue away from the school

Further help and information

If you require an application form to be posted, or if you have any further queries or concerns about the appeals process, contact the Admissions Team who will be pleased to help you.

Alternatively you can contact the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE), an independent body based in London providing information for parents. Their advice line is 0300 011 5142 or you can email them at enquiries@ace-ed.org.uk.