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Your right to make a school admission appeal

Why didn't my child get a place at the school I wanted?

All parents have a right to express a preference for the school they would like their child to attend. The admission authority must offer a place at that school unless there is a legal reason for refusing a place.

The most common reason for not offering a place is that the school(s) received more applications than places available and other children had a higher priority for a place at the school than your child when the school's admission policy was applied. For in-year applications it is usually that the school is at its published admission number.

In both instances the school will not wish to admit more pupils as this will adversely affect resources and the education of other children at the school.

Accepting an alternative school place

If you have not been offered a place at the school you would like, it is sensible to consider an alternative school place for your child. If you have not already done so and it is something the school offers you should visit the school you have been offered. If you accept a place at an alternative school, you can still appeal for a place at any school that was named on the application form you submitted. Accepting an alternative place will not affect any appeal that you lodge.

Lodging an Appeal

All parents have the right to appeal against any decision made by or on behalf of an admission authority as to the school your child attends under legislation produced by the Department for Education (DfE). You have the right of appeal if you have parental responsibility, whether or not you are the natural parent or if you care for a child who lives with you. It does not have to be the same person who submitted the application form.

If you do wish to appeal, you will need to complete an appeal form stating why you want your child to attend that school. You can appeal for a place at more than one school, but you cannot appeal for a school you did not name on your application form.

Your appeal must be made in writing and you must explain the reasons why you are lodging an appeal. If you submit an appeal form without setting out your grounds of appeal, it will be returned to you as you will not have lodged your appeal correctly. Therefore, it is very important for you to state clearly your reasons for lodging your appeal.

Normally you will need to submit your appeal by a certain date. Appeal timetables for community and voluntary controlled schools will be published on the Surrey County Council Website. The timetables for all other schools should be published on the school website. For September entry appeals, no appeals can be heard until after the specified closing date. We will aim to hear September entry appeals within 40 school days of the closing date.

If you wish to make an appeal for immediate entry you will need to lodge your appeal as soon as possible. We will aim to hear your appeal within 30 school days from the date your appeal is lodged.

Please note that appeals are not heard during any of the school holidays. For example if you lodge an appeal close to the end of the summer term in July, it may not be possible to hear the appeal until after the start of the new school year in September.

It is very important to submit your appeal by the specified date as failure to do so could delay your appeal hearing.

Children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If your child has an EHCP Surrey Schools Appeals Service cannot hear your appeal as this is not allowed under current legislation. If you disagree with the school placement given to your child, you have the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal. Details of this process should have been provided to you with the school place offer and you should contact your case worker for further information and advice on this process.

If your child is currently being assessed for special educational needs or an EHCP you can lodge an appeal up until the point the EHCP is issued for your child. The outcome of an appeal will not always be taken into account when your child is being assessed for an EHCP.

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