Appeal a primary school decision
If you have been refused a place at a higher preference primary school, you can make an appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel.
Appeals are heard by unpaid, trained, volunteers. Your appeal will take place as soon as possible depending on the availability of the Appeal Panel members. The Appeals Team is unable to offer a choice of hearing date.
Your appeal will be heard remotely by video conference.
Your decision to appeal
The admission authority for a school usually only refuses a place if it has received more applications than there are places available.
You may want to appeal because:
- your child has a particular interest in the subjects offered by the school
- your child has medical, social or educational reasons for wanting the place
- you have recently moved house.
Think carefully before appealing.
Most appeals fail because primary schools are full and cannot admit additional children without harming the education of the existing children or breaching the law relating to infant class sizes.
Appeals can be stressful for parents and are expensive for schools.
The Department for Education advises parents: “You should be aware that an appeal can prolong the period of uncertainty for parents and children, so it’s important to be realistic about your reasons for appealing and the chances of being successful.”
When to appeal
If you were refused a higher preference school place on 17 April 2023 for September 2023 entry, you should make your appeal before midday on 16 May 2023.
Appeals submitted by 16 May 2023 should be heard by the end of the summer term. Delays may occur due to panel availability and numbers of appeals received.
Appeals made after midday on 16 May 2023 will be heard from September 2023 onwards.
For in-year appeals for immediate entry, make your appeal within 20 school days of the refusal letter. The appeal will be heard as soon as possible.
|17 April 2023||Primary Allocation Day|
|16 May 2023, midday||Deadline for submitting completed appeal forms|
|5 June 2023, 5pm||Deadline for submitting any additional documents or information in support of your appeal|
|10 school days before appeal hearing||Appeals Team emails of appeal date & time letters to parents|
|6 calendar days before appeal hearing||Appeals Team posts appeal Case papers sent to parents, the admission authority, school and appeal panel Appeal Panel|
|June to July||Primary Admission Appeals heard|
|Within 5 school days of the appeal decision||Decision letter posted to parents, admission authority and school|
How to appeal
Preparing your evidence
When you appeal, you'll need to provide evidence on why you want a place for your child at the particular school.
Parents need to provide exceptional medical, social or educational reasons for their preferred school, supported by evidence.
You can read more about evidence you can use.
Before you make an appeal, you should:
- read our guidance on school admission appeals
- prepare your reasons for your appeal and any evidence you wish to upload
- ensure you submit your appeal and evidence within the timelines
- complete your appeal form correctly, or your appeal may be delayed
After you make your appeal, the Appeals Team will send you an acknowledgement letter with your unique appeal reference number. Refer to this number if you contact the Appeals Team.
You cannot make an appeal for all Buckinghamshire schools here. For example, some primary schools have appeals arranged by the Diocese and not by the Appeals Team. If the school you are appealing for is not listed on the appeal form, contact the school directly to find out how to make your appeal.
If you would like a paper form, contact the Admissions Team.
If you need help making your appeal online, view our school appeals portal user guide.
Appeal hearing and outcome
The Appeals Team will email you the date and time of your remote appeal hearing at least 10 days beforehand. You will also be told the deadline date for sending any additional evidence not submitted with your appeal form.
Late evidence is unlikely to be seen by the Appeal Panel.
About a week before the hearing, you will be sent by post copies of the appeal papers including:
- your appeal form, and any evidence submitted by the deadline date
- the admission authority’s written case explaining why the place was refused
At the appeal hearing, you will be invited to explain your reasons for appealing for the particular school. The admission authority will explain why it did not offer you a school place. The Appeal Panel will uphold or dismiss your appeal depending on whether it decides you or the admission authority have the stronger case.
A decision letter will be sent to you no later than 5 school days after the appeal hearing. But, where there are multiple appeals for a school, the decision letters will be sent no later than 5 school days after all the appeals for the school have been heard.
Last year, 85% of appeals were unsuccessful.
This is because in most cases the Appeal Panel decided that:
- the school was full and it could not admit additional pupils without harming the education of the existing pupils, or
- in appeals for reception, year 1 or year 2, admission of another child would breach the law on infant class sizes
If your appeal is unsuccessful, there is no further right of appeal.
Get help with your appeal
View information about the appeals process in our appeals guidance for parents and guardians.
If you have a further query you can contact the Appeals Team.
The Appeals Team aims to reply in 48 hours but a response may be delayed if you do not provide:
- your name
- your child’s name
- the school and year group you are appealing for
- your appeal reference number, if provided
- the date and time of your appeal hearing, if provided
- your correct contact details
- full details of your query
For help and advice on your appeal, contact the education appeals team.