Guidance for parents and guardians on school admission appeals

Last updated: 15 February 2023

Decisions and complaints

Your appeal decision

The Appeal Panel’s decision is legally binding and final.  It can only uphold or dismiss your appeal.

The Appeal Panel cannot:

  • enter into discussions with you or the admission authority
  • attach any conditions to the decision
  • hear complaints or objections about school’s admission policies or practices
  • reassess the capacity of the school
  • tell the admission authority to change your position on a waiting list
  • allocate a place at a school other than the school appealed for

How you'll receive your decision

A decision letter will be sent to you no later than 5 school days after the appeal decision is made, unless there is good reason.

However, where there are multiple appeals for a school, they will be heard by the same Appeal Panel over multiple days or even weeks. Decision letters will be sent no later than 5 school days after the last day of appeal hearings for the school.

The Appeals Team cannot give decisions over the telephone or by email.

Successful appeals

If the Appeal Panel upholds your appeal and you are successful, you will be offered the school place.

If your appeal is for September entry, the school will contact you nearer the time.

If your appeal is for immediate entry, contact the school directly to agree the date your child will start.

Unsuccessful appeals

If the Appeal Panel dismisses your appeal and you are unsuccessful, your child will not be allocated a place at the school appealed for.

You can contact the Admissions Team to ask about continued interest or waiting lists and spaces in other schools.

You cannot make a second appeal for the same school for the same academic year.


If your appeal is unsuccessful there is no further right of appeal.

You cannot make a complaint because you do not agree with the Appeal Panel’s decision, but you can complain about the way the appeal was carried out.

If you feel that your appeal hearing was not heard properly, you can complain to:

  • the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO), if the school you appealed for is maintained by the Council
  • the Department for Education (DfE), if the school is an academy or free school

View Complain about the appeals process on GOV.UK

Even though you may not be satisfied with the Appeal Panel’s decision, the LGSCO and DfE can only investigate whether there has been a failure to follow correct procedures.

An Appeal Panel’s decision can only be overturned by the courts where a parent or admission authority is successful in applying for judicial review of that decision. You will need legal advice if you seek judicial review.