Frequently asked questions
I have submitted an admission appeal form – how and when my appeal be heard?
Your appeal will be heard by an Independent Appeal Panel which will be made up of three people who have no links with Staffordshire County Council or the admission authority for the school that you’re appealing for a place at.
A clerk will also take part in the meeting to provide advice and to make a written record of the proceedings.
The new School Admission Appeals Code was implemented on 1 October 2022 and the Council have decided to hold virtual school appeal panels in order for the appellant to take part in the panel meeting.
We will give you at least 10 school days’ notice of the date of the panel meeting for your appeal. Sometimes it is possible to arrange for your appeal to be heard sooner than the 10 school days’ notice. If this is the case, we will contact you to ask if you’d like to waive your right to 10 school days’ notice. It is your choice whether to accept an earlier date or to ask us to arrange a panel for a later date allowing 10 school days’ notice.
The admission appeal meeting will be via Microsoft Teams and a link will be sent for you to join the meeting 2 days before the panel is to take place.
If there is some reason that you cannot take part in video conference, please contact the School Admission Appeal Team who will be happy to discuss alternative methods.
Who are the Panel Members?
The three members will be made up of: -
- One person with experience in the education field (that is someone who has experience in education who is acquainted with educational conditions in the local authority area or who are parents of registered pupils at school).
- One “lay” person (that is someone without any personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school. School Governors and people volunteering in schools are allowed to serve as “lay” members).
- One person from either of the above two groups.
One of the panel members will act as “Chair” of the panel. The Chair is responsible for managing the meeting.
Will anyone else be at the meeting?
Please note that the clerk may occasionally be supported by an officer purely in attendance to assist with the operation of the on-line system. The officer will technically be an “observer” at the meeting and will take no part in the discussion. The officer will be bound by rules maintaining the confidentiality of information discussed. Unless we hear otherwise, it will be deemed that you have agreed to the officer being present when your appeal is heard.
What Information will the panel have?
The panel will initially have a paper copy of your appeal from and a statement from the admission authority for the school that you’re appealing about, explaining why they were unable to offer a place to your child.
We will send a copy of the admission authority statement to you around 14 days before the panel meeting to enable you to question to the content if you so wish. Any questions must be submitted no later than 7 days before the panel.
It is important that you send any questions you would like to concerning the school’s case to: -
What if I want to submit more information for the panel to consider?
You are invited to submit any additional information that you want the panel to consider by no later than 7 days before the panel.
It is important that you send any additional information to: -
If you need help in setting out your comments in writing, you might want to ask a relative or friend to help you. Alternatively, the appeals admin team will try and assist you. They can be contacted at the email address above.
If you feel that you need us to assist you under our Equality Act 2010 responsibilities, please let us know, again using the email address above.
Please ensure that all contact with us you clearly indicate your child’s name and the school that your appeal is about.
How will the panel consider my appeal?
The panel will adhere to following core process as set out in the school appeals code.
It’s a two-stage process:
The panel will consider the admission authority’s statement and any further information received from you and/or the admission authority about that statement. They will decide if the admission arrangements are lawful, and if so, whether they were properly applied in the case of your child. If the arrangements were not lawful or properly applied, they will go on to consider whether your child would have been allocated a place if they had been lawful or properly applied.
If they find that the arrangements were lawful and correctly applied, they will go on to consider whether the admission of an additional child to the school would prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources. If they consider that to be the case, they will progress to Stage 2 of the hearing.
The panel will consider your appeal form and any further information received from you, or the admission authority about the appeal. They will balance the prejudice to the school against your arguments why your child should be admitted to the school. The panel must take into account your reasons for expressing a preference for that school.
When will I know the panel’s decision?
We will notify you of the decision within 5 school days' of the panel meeting.
If I am not happy with the decision, can I appeal again?
The decision of the panel is final, and is binding on you, the school, and the admission authority. There is no appeal against the decision itself.
If you feel that there has been a fault in either the way in which your case was processed, or in the way in which the panel meeting was conducted. You can appeal to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, or for academies, to the Education Funding Agency who act on behalf of the Secretary of State. Their details will be included in your decision letter.
What if I lose my appeal but still do not want my child to go to the allocated school?
Please contact the admissions team on 0300 111 8007 to discuss what other options may be available to you.
Can I see the notes of the panel meeting?
The notes are the property of the panel and are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act 2000. They are not therefore available to parents or guardians.
Where can I find guidance for parents?
Information is available on the Department for Education's website.
School admissions: Appealing a school's decision
Telephone: 0370 000 2288