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Staffordshire will move to very high COVID alert level on 2 December

Frequently asked questions

I have submitted an admission appeal form - how and when will my appeal be heard?

Your appeal will be heard by an independent admission appeal panel which will be made up of three people who have no links with the 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.

Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency and social distancing requirements, central government has issued new regulations to allow the panel to hold a virtual (online) meeting.

We will give you at least 14 calendar 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 14 days' notice. If this is the case, we will contact you to ask if you’d like to waive your right to 14 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 14 days' notice.

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.

Please note: under the new regulations, if, due to coronavirus related issues, one panel member has to leave a hearing, the two remaining panel members will be allowed to continue and complete consideration of all appeals listed for that hearing. For these instances, the regulations relax the requirement to have at least one 'education' and one 'lay' member at a hearing.

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 That officer will technically be an 'observer' at the meeting and will take no part in the discussions. The officer will also be bound by rules on maintaining the confidentiality of information discussed. Unless we hear otherwise from you, we will deem you to have agreed to the officer being present when your appeal is considered.

Will I be able to take part in the virtual meeting?

The processes which we have adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic are considered best able to satisfy our priority needs of being easily accessible and usable for everyone, guarantee security and confidentiality and, importantly be sufficiently robust and reliable for us to be able to use it for all appeals to be dealt with by the end of the current school year.

We have recently reviewed those processes and for appeals received after 1 November 2020, we are now able to offer appellants the opportunity to take part in the virtual hearing.

What information will the panel have?

The panel will initially have a paper copy of your appeal form and any supporting information received from you, 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 seven calendar days before the panel meeting.

What if I want to submit more information for the panel to consider?

You are invited to submit any additional information and documentary evidence that you want the panel to consider. 

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 in all contact with us you clearly indicate your child’s name and the school that your appeal is about.

What if don't want to take part in a virtual panel hearing?

You can choose to have your appeal dealt with on the basis of the written information only. That is all of the written information which you submit (including your appeal form) and the Statement provided by the admission authority.

How will the panel consider my appeal?

Whilst its meeting is a virtual meeting under the new regulations, the panel will continue to adhere to the following core process as set out in the school admission appeals code 2012. 

It is a two-stage process:

Stage 1

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.

Stage 2

The panel will consider your appeal form and any further information received from you, or the admission authority about that appeal. They will balance the prejudice to the school against your arguments as to 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 seven calendar days of the panel meeting.

What is the likelihood of my appeal being successful?

Panels consider every case on its merit. Please see statistics for recent years:

Secondary schools
Number of appeals heard 250 161 79 127 76 122 230
% of successful appeals 28% 29% 56% 56% 30% 36% 50%

Primary schools
Number of appeals heard 34 24 34 293 226 532 329
% of successful appeals 20% 54% 53% 18% 18% 4% 18%

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 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.

Recording of hearings 

Please note: the recording of hearings is not permitted. Should the existence of any recording later become apparent, permission is not granted for the sharing or publication of the recording on social media or through any other means.

Where can I find guidance for parents?

Information is available on the Department for Education website.

Telephone: 0370 000 2288

What are the regulations allowing this new approach?

The new regulations are:

What happens if the social distancing restrictions under Covid-19 are relaxed?

The processes described above will be reviewed as and when any announcements are made which might allow face to face hearings to take place. As soon as we are practically able to arrange and hold face to face hearings we will do so.

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