Guidance for parents and guardians on school admission appeals

Last updated: 15 February 2023

Evidence you can use

In most cases, the school you are appealing for will be full. The admission authority for the school will say they cannot admit another child without harming the other children's education.

You will need to say in your appeal form why you want the school place. You should also provide supporting documents as evidence. For example, if:

  • the school you are appealing for can offer something to your child that the allocated or other schools cannot, focus on that
  • you have medical or social or educational reasons for wanting the school place, provide written evidence. This could be from a doctor, medical practitioner, an education specialist or other professional
  • you want a place at the school due to the subjects offered there or the school’s ethos, explain why
  • your reasons are due to a house move, provide written evidence of exchange of contracts or tenancy. Do not send the whole tenancy agreement or contract. A first and signature page or solicitor’s letter is enough

In other examples, if:

  • you are unhappy with the current school, explain what has happened. Describe what you and the school have done to deal with the problems. Provide supporting letters, emails and reports
  • your reasons relate to transport, provide information and maps
  • your reasons relate to family circumstances, provide details and supporting evidence

If you are making an appeal for a grammar school and your child is unqualified, you will need to provide strong academic evidence of suitability for grammar school.

The Department for Education advises parents that:

  • the stronger your reasons the better chance you have of your appeal being successful. For example, wanting your child to go to a particular school because it's the best in the area is not likely to convince the panel that your child should get a place at the school over another child.
  • You should focus on what the school can offer that meets your child’s needs. This can include what the school can offer that other schools cannot and what the impact will be on your child not attending the school of your choice.

Appeals are unlikely to be successful unless parents can provide exceptional educational, social or medical reasons for appealing for the particular school, with supporting evidence.

How to send us your evidence

You must explain in writing on the appeal form why you want the school place. You should also send the Appeals Team documents and written evidence in support of your appeal, at the same time as you make your appeal or no later than the evidence deadline date.

The Appeals Team will provide the evidence deadline date when they tell you the date of your appeal hearing.

You can submit your evidence online.

You should collect the documents you want the Appeal Panel to see as soon as possible. For academic evidence, schools may not be able to help you during holidays and school closures.

Send your evidence as soon as you can

You should try to send your evidence with your appeal form. Or send it as soon as possible afterwards - and no later than the evidence deadline date.

If you send your information or evidence late, the Appeal Panel is unlikely to see it. Or your appeal may be delayed. Do not send evidence after your appeal hearing.

You are responsible for providing evidence in support of your appeal. The Appeals Team cannot obtain evidence for you. The Admissions Team cannot automatically forward anything you send them to the Appeals Team. The only exception is Selection Review paperwork.

Submission deadlines

View the Appeals Timetable to see when you need to make your appeal and submit your evidence.

What you can send

You can send:

  • letters of support from your child’s current or previous school
  • evidence supporting your medical, social or educational reasons for appeal
  • academic evidence, if you’re appealing for grammar school for your unqualified child

When sending evidence, you'll need to:

  • send separate copies of documents for each appeal you are making, if you are making more than one
  • number the pages and write your child’s name on them
  • write your reference number on documents sent separately from your appeal form
  • use the correct postage if you are posting them
  • provide documents in A4 size

Do not send the following

You should not send:

  • any documents you have submitted to the Appeals Team already
  • original documents
  • photographs of documents; they can't be copied for the Appeal Panel
  • highlighted documents; they can't be copied clearly
  • PowerPoint, video or other audio/visual presentations; they will not be viewed by the Appeal Panel
  • letters of support from the school you are appealing for
  • schoolwork or certificates. They will not be sent to the Appeal Panel
  • your Selection Review paperwork in grammar school appeals (because this will be provided by the Admissions Team)
  • any documents that use staples or treasury tags, document wallets, files or file dividers
  • password-protected documents
  • photos of your child or other children (this is due to safeguarding rules)