School Admission Appeals – frequently asked questions

Find out how to appeal if you are unhappy with a school admissions decision in North Lincolnshire.

Frequently asked questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding admission appeals for schools in the North Lincolnshire area:

Receipt of your appeal form will be acknowledged as soon as possible. A statement setting out the council’s or school’s case for not offering a child a place at the school requested, along with any information you have provided, is sent to you and the appeals panel at least one week before the appeal date.

Whatever your reason for appealing, you should provide as much information in support of your appeal as you can in advance. This might include particular personal circumstances including, for example, medical advice.

The appeal will usually be heard by a panel made up of three people, which includes parents, governors of other schools, teachers and other persons with experience of education and ‘lay’ members (people who have no experience of education). At the hearing the panel will have copies of both the written submission prepared by the council or school and the information which you have provided. A panel member should not normally hear your appeal if he or she knows you directly, is a governor of any school associated with the appeal, or has been involved with your case previously.

Most schools in North Lincolnshire have their appeals handled by the council. The section that arranges appeals and sends you an invite letter is called Democratic Services, and is independent from School Admissions. Appeals that are dealt with by the council are usually held in Church Square House in Scunthorpe. You are told the date and time of your appeal in advance.

It is important that, wherever possible, you attend the appeal hearing. It is very helpful for the panel hearing your appeal to listen to why you want your child to attend a particular school. You can also bring someone to help you make your case, such as a friend, relative or other advisor. You are encouraged to attend appeal hearings, although it is possible for an appeal to be heard in your absence if you are unable to attend.

A representative will attend to explain the position for the school. This is usually a council officer if the appeal is being handled by the council, but it could also be a diocesan official for a faith school, or a headteacher or other member of school staff.

A clerk is present at all times during the hearing. Their job is to make sure the correct procedures are followed and that the appeal hearings are carried out fairly. They take notes of the hearing for the use of the panel only, and advise on matters of procedure. They play no part in deciding your appeal and will remain with the panel when they make their decision. At no time will either you or the school’s representative be left alone with the panel.

Your appeal will be heard in private and the proceedings are confidential. The appeal hearing is a formal meeting and follows a set procedure. The chairperson will be strict about who can speak and when questions can be asked. However, the chairperson will always try to hold the hearing in a friendly way and guide you through the whole meeting.

Yes, the decision of the appeal panel is final and the school must keep to it.

If you feel that the appeal panel or the school or the council has not followed proper procedures in the appeal hearing, you can complain either to the Local Government Ombudsman or the Secretary of State depending upon which type of school the appeal was for. Please contact us for further advice if you wish to do this.

You must be sent a letter informing you of the decision within five school days.

The appeal panel will not consider second appeals for the same school in the same year unless there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original application was submitted.