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School Appeals Service - Frequently asked questions

  1. Can I appeal for more than one school?
  2. How should I present my written case?
  3. Can I know why previous appeals were upheld for my preferred school?
  4. What if I cannot get all my evidence by the lodging date?
  5. Will I get confirmation that my appeal form has been received?
  6. When will my appeal be heard?
  7. Who will be there?
  8. What will they do and what will happen?
  9. Who is the Presenting Officer?
  10. What must I do?
  11. If I accept a place at the offered school do I lose my right of appeal?
  12. What time must I arrive for my appeal hearing?
  13. What must I bring?
  14. Can I show work of art/grades/SATS achieved by my child?
  15. Can I submit photographs of my child?
  16. Can I give an electronic presentation to the appeal panel using a computer?
  17. Can I bring a friend and can they actually speak at the hearing?
  18. Can I tape/video the hearing?
  19. Where can I get a coffee/tea if I arrive early?
  20. Is there a Car Park and how much money should I put in the meter in the car park?
  21. If an appeal is heard earlier in the week does it have a better chance of success and mean that all places will have been granted before my appeal?
  22. What happens if my ex-partner wants a copy of the paperwork/detailed decision letter?
  23. How will the decision be communicated? 
  24. How many other appeals are there for this school?
  25. Is there a set number of appeals that will be upheld?
  26. When will I know the outcome of my appeal?
  27. Is the appeal process separate to the waiting list and does the fact that I have appealed affect my position on the waiting list?
  28. Can I find out where my child is on the waiting list?
  29. What happens if my appeal is unsuccessful?

1. Can I appeal for more than one school?

You can appeal for one or more of the schools you named on your preference form and were refused a place. It is advisable to complete one form per school you are appealing for. Please ensure that you state the full name of the school you are appealing for to avoid any confusion. You cannot appeal for a school you did not name as one of your preferences.

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2. How should I present my written case?

Please ensure you complete all the boxes on the notice of appeal form. You can attach your reasons for appealing in typed form on a separate sheet(s) and write "See attached" in the relevant box. You can also attach any other relevant papers or evidence. Please do not send your completed appeal form in a folder or bound as your papers will have to be removed from this for photocopying and distribution. If you wish to submit coloured documents please note these will be copied in black and white and the originals made available to the appeal panel at the hearing. Alternatively, you can submit seven copies of any coloured documents.

Please do not send your completed appeal form in a folder or bound as your papers will have to be removed from this for photocopying and distribution. If you wish to submit coloured documents please note these will be copied in black and white and the originals made available to the appeal panel at the hearing. Alternatively, you can submit seven copies of any coloured documents.  

3. Can I know why previous appeals were upheld for my preferred school?

Previous decisions on school admission appeals do not set precedents so no-one can predict whether your appeal will be successful or not. In addition, school admission appeals are confidential so you cannot ask to see copies of previous appeals or know why other appeals were successful. Your appeal will be considered on your own individual circumstances.

4. What if I cannot get all my evidence by the lodging date?

The Surrey Schools Appeals Service must receive your completed appeal form by the closing date stated in order for your appeal to be heard in the first round of appeals. You should complete the notice of appeal form including a brief outline of your reasons for appealing. You can then send additional evidence and information at a later stage but this should be received by 5pm on the day preceding three clear working days prior to the hearing. Please ensure that you sign and send both pages of the appeal form to the Surrey Schools Appeals Service by the closing date. You should also note that the closing date might vary for different schools.

Please note it is essential that you give a brief outline of your case, when you submit your appeal form, to avoid any delay in hearing your appeal. If you delay in submitting evidence until after the stated deadline it may lead to an adjournment, which could last minutes, hours, days or weeks. In addition, any evidence received after the stated deadline might not be considered at your appeal hearing.

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5. Will I get confirmation that my appeal form has been received?

Due to the high number of appeal forms received it is not possible to acknowledge receipt. However you can contact the Surrey Schools Appeals Service on telephone: 020 8541 9121 / 9281 or 9029 to confirm that your appeal form has been received. If you wish receipt of your appeal to be acknowledged you must include a stamped self-addressed envelope with the form.

6. When will my appeal be heard?

Please refer to the school admission appeals timetable.

7. Who will be there?

There will be:

  • three independent panel members
  • a clerk
  • a representative of the Admission Authority (Presenting Officer) who may or may not be accompanied by a school witness
  • occasionally, an observer may sit in for training purposes.

8. What will they do and what will happen?

You will be sent a detailed procedure for the day when you receive notification of your appeal date. However a brief summary follows:

  • At the start of the hearing the Chairman will welcome you and the Admission Authority representative and introduce everyone present. He or she will explain how the hearing will proceed and ensure that you are given a proper opportunity to put your case.
  • The Presenting Officer will put the Admission Authority's case first and you will be given the opportunity to ask questions.
  • You will then be given the opportunity to give all your reasons for wanting your preferred school and why you feel you should be offered a place there. The Presenting Officer will be allowed to ask you questions. Both you and the Presenting Officer will then be given the opportunity to sum up. No new information should be given here. Panel members may ask questions at any time.

A Clerk to the appeal panel is also present to ensure the appeal is conducted fairly and that each party has a fair and equal opportunity to present their case. The Clerk does not take any part in the appeal panel's decision making but is there to explain the basic procedure and deal with any questions you may have; ensure the relevant facts are presented; be an independent source of advice on procedures and document the proceedings, decision and reasons.

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9. Who is the Presenting Officer?

The Presenting Officer for community schools is employed by the Admissions Team to present appeals on behalf of the Local Authority and the relevant School. The Presenting Officer for voluntary aided, trust or foundation schools, free schools or academies is normally a member of the Governing Body but sometimes this responsibility may be delegated to the Headteacher by the Governing Body or be a employed by the school specifically for this purpose.

10. What must I do?

Prepare you own case so you know what you want to say. Think about what questions you want to ask the Presenting Officer. It may be useful to write out these questions and to write out the main points of your case to prompt yourself when presenting your case.

11. If I accept a place at the offered school do I lose my right of appeal?

Even if you accept a place at any alternative school you can still appeal to any of the schools stated on your preference form where you were refused a place. Accepting an alternative place will not prejudice any appeal.

12. What time must I arrive for my appeal hearing?

Your notification letter will include the time your appeal hearing will start but you are advised to arrive at least 10 minutes before the time indicated. Please ensure that you allow adequate journey time, especially during peak times and key events. Please also ensure that you check if there is any possibilities that road works may apply on the route that you intend to use, to avoid traffic delays. In addition, you should allow adequate time for parking so you arrive before the start time of your appeal hearing. If you are late you may have to wait until the end of the day after all other appeals have been heard.

13. What must I bring?

Please ensure you bring along your copy of the School's case that will be sent to you prior to your appeal hearing. You cannot submit any evidence after your appeal hearing has taken place. Likewise, large amounts of late evidence submitted after the stated deadline could lead to an adjournment of several minutes, hours or even several weeks. Please bear this in mind, especially if your case is part of a grouped appeal for the same school.

Any evidence received after the stated deadline might not be considered at the hearing.

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14. Can I show work of art/grades/SATS achieved by my child?

You can show these to an appeal panel but it will usually be sufficient to verbally tell them of your child's achievements. If you wish to show the appeal panel works of art/grades/etc, please be practical about the number of examples you wish to bring, and remember that original copies cannot always be returned.

15. Can I submit photographs of my child?

Photographs can be presented to the appeal panel, although it is advised that this is kept to a minimum. Please note that the appeal panel, Presenting Officer and Clerk will see any photographs so you should carefully consider their content prior to submission including;

  • parental approval if they include other children
  • avoid causing offence to other parties
  • possible breaching of any person's rights to data protection.

16. Can I give an electronic presentation to the appeal panel using a computer?

The appeal panel would prefer you to give an informal, oral presentation. However, if you wish to show an electronic presentation, you must provide a laptop or other multi-media equipment. You will also need to provide the Surrey Schools Appeals Service with an electronic and/or hard copy of your presentation.

17. Can I bring a friend and can they actually speak at the hearing?

Yes your friend can speak to support you at your hearing but the appeal panel really want to hear from you directly regarding your case. Alternatively, you can nominate someone to represent you and present your case on your behalf. 

18. Can I tape/video the hearing?

Hearings should not be tape recorded or videoed except with the permission of the Chair where this may help a parent with a disability. If you make a recording or video this will not form an official record of the proceedings.

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19. Where can I get a coffee/tea if I arrive early?

County Hall in Kingston has a café, as well as a coffee shop, where you can get refreshments if you arrive early. If the counter service is closed there are machines to buy drinks and snacks. If your appeal is held at another location you will need to ask at the venue.

20. Is there a Car Park and how much money should I put in the meter in the car park?

There is a Pay on Foot car park adjacent to County Hall. Rates are £1.50 per hour up to four hours. If parking for more than four hours it caps to a £10 flat rate for the whole day (Kingston.gov.uk). An individual appeal lasts approximately 45 minutes. Multiple appeals take approximately 30-45 minutes for the School's case and 30 minutes for your individual case. Please note that appeals can and do overrun.

21. If an appeal is heard earlier in the week does it have a better chance of success and mean that all places will have been granted before my appeal?

If your appeal is part of a multiple appeal for the same school and year group, whether on one or more days, no decisions will be made until all appeals have been heard. Appeals are normally scheduled in alphabetical order so the timing of your appeal has no relation to your chance of success. 

22. What happens if my ex-partner wants a copy of the paperwork/detailed decision letter?

Normally, all correspondence is sent to the named appellant who has completed the notice of appeal form for their child. However, where an estranged partner, with parental responsibility/rights, requires a copy of any of the appeal paperwork, including the detailed decision letter, we would first inform you, as the appellant. Please note that we cannot refuse to send information regarding your child to an ex-partner who is a parent of that child and has parental rights. We can however exclude any information/reference to yourself if you wish. 

23. How will the decision be communicated?

You will be sent the decision by letter. You can phone up to get a result but we cannot guarantee what time decisions will be received and phones will be very busy during March – July.

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24. How many other appeals are there for this school?

Your appeal may be the only one or it may be one of several for the same year group and school. You can ask the Clerk on the day how many appeals are being heard as part of your hearing but the number of appeals heard does not relate to the number of successful appeals.

25. Is there a set number of appeals that will be upheld?

There is no set number of appeals that will be upheld. Each individual appeal is considered on its own merits. Please see Guidance Notes for Section on Decision making in appeals hearings

26. When will I know the outcome of my appeal?

You will be sent a short decision letter on the day of your hearing or the next working day with the outcome and this will be followed in a few days with a detailed decision letter. However, if your appeal is part of a multiple day hearing then this short letter will be sent on the last day of appeals or the next working day after that.

27. Is the appeal process separate to the waiting list and does the fact that I have appealed affect my position on the waiting list?

The appeal process and waiting list are two separate processes. You can appeal or go on the waiting list or go through both processes. Your position on the waiting list is not affected by whether you appeal or not.

28. Can I find out where my child is on the waiting list?

Yes by ringing Surrey Schools and Childcare Service on telephone: 0300 200 1004 for community and voluntary controlled schools, but for some voluntary aided, trust or foundation schools, free schools and academy's you will need to contact the school direct. You should note that there will be a delay between receiving your allocation letter and the waiting list being drawn up. Please do not ring the Surrey Schools Appeals Service for waiting list information as we do not hold any details.

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29. What happens if my appeal is unsuccessful?

If your appeal has been unsuccessful and you have not accepted a place at an alternative school, you will need to contact the Surrey Schools and Childcare Service (Tel No. 0300 200 1004) or your own Local Education Authority for more information on schools in your area. Please note that the appeal panel's decision is legally binding on the Local Authority or Governing Body and you cannot re-appeal in the same year for the same year group at the same school, unless there is a significant change in your circumstances. You can appeal for other schools stated on your preference form at which you were not given a place. For more details please see the After the appeal webpage.

  • Updated: 09 Jun 2016
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