Admission Decision Day
18 April was the decision day for Infant School places and parents across the country will be told of the outcome of their application for school places for their 4 year olds for the new school year in September.
If you have not received a place in your first choice school or a school on your preferred list, all is not lost; there are several options available to you.
All Schools are under a legal duty to maintain a waiting list. The first thing you can do is ensure your child is added to the waiting list for your preferred school. The waiting list must be managed in accordance with the school admissions policy and not on a first come first serve basis. The waiting list must also be maintained until at least 31 December 2016. Accepting a place at a school does not prevent you from placing your child’s name on another school’s waiting list.
Apply to other schools
It is not too late to be considered for schools that you had not previously applied to. You can now submit formal applications for any desired school even if they are full. Once application is submitted you can request that your child be placed on a waiting list if the school is full.
Appeal for a Place
You can appeal for a place at your preferred school or any school you have been unsuccessful in applying for, even if that school is full.
The key legislation governing a School Admissions can be found in the Schools Standard and Framework Act (SSFA) 1998. Section 84 of SSFA 1998 imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to issue Codes of Practice in relation to the administration of school admissions.
The schools Admissions Appeal Code (1 February 2012) sets out mandatory requirements and practical guidance in the administration of appeals and should be read in conjunction with the Admissions Code (December 2014).
You can pursue appeals to more than one.
All appeals must be submitted in writing and should set out why you believe that particular school should accept your child.
The Panel considering your appeal will first look at whether the school’s admissions arrangements are lawful and have been correctly applied to your child’s application. The Panel will then consider your bespoke reasons for your child requiring a place at the school and whether these reasons outweighs any difficulties the school states will be caused by them having to admit your child.
Infant Class Size Limit
Regulations under Section 1 of the SSFA 1998 namely; The School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 2012 imposes restrictions on the number of pupils to be taught in a classroom to 30 pupils per teacher in all infant classes. Infant classes are defined as classes in which the majority of children will reach the age of 5, 6, or 7 during the school year; this means classes which mix Year 2 and Year 3 children may also be affected by this restriction.
Not all appeals for a place in an Infant class are Infant School class size appeals. Class Size appeals only come into effect when your child has been refused a place on the basis that the school will be forced to go over the legal limit of 30 pupils per teacher. The decision to refuse your child a place must be given in writing and must set out the explicit grounds for refusing a place.
Where the grounds for refusing a place is not said to be on class size limit, then the standard appeal process involving the balancing of the impact on the child with the impact on the school will be considered by the panel.
However, when considering Infant School Class size appeals the Panel cannot consider whether the impact on your child outweighs that of the school as the panel cannot force the school to operate unlawfully.
The Appeal Panel can consider:
- Whether the admissions arrangements are lawful
- Whether there are any exceptions that would mean that admitting an additional pupil would not breach the legal limit
- Whether your child should have been offered a place if it were not for an administrative error or other mistake
- Whether the decision to refuse your child a place was unreasonable (a very narrow legal definition is used when considering reasonableness).
You should bear in mind that Infant Class Size Appeals are strictly speaking Reviews of the Admission Authority’s decision. The Panel will usually only consider information that was already before the Admission Authority at the time the decision was made. Although you may provide fresh evidence it is only in very exceptional cases that the Panel are able to take new evidence into consideration.
You should think very carefully before refusing a place at a school, this action may leave you without a school place for child. Accepting a place does not stop you from appealing to any number of schools or adding your child onto any number of waiting lists.
To find out more about how My Business Counsel can help you with you Admissions Appeal please contact info@mybusinesscounsel .com or call 0203 507 0153 (London Office) or 0121 562 1704 (Birmingham Office).