1 March 2016

Primary School Admissions - And What To Do When It All Goes Wrong

With the population in the UK getting bigger all the time, this equates to having not enough school places to cope with all the children in our society. With that in mind, it makes no wonder that people fight for school places for their children and often don't get the desired place that they wanted. 

We purposely chose to move into the house we are in, because of the fact that it was so close to our preferred school (the school I went to as a child). Then, when it came to applying for a school place, I made sure to do it the exact date that applications opened and checked, and checked it thoroughly to make sure every single detail was correct. And was lucky that my children, so far, have been given the places in our preferred school.

School admissions is such an awkward process and a confusing one too. All to do with catchment area, date of application, siblings schooling and this year, approximately one in twenty children applying for a primary or secondary school placement will not receive a place at their first chosen school according to this post from the Schools Improvement website that I was reading. 

Schools can obviously only take in a certain amount of pupils because of a limit on infant class sizes or the school has allocated all of its places which of course then means that some parents and children are left upset with the decision they have been given. 

Photo by hywards from freedigitalphotos.net
This is where the appeals process comes in, and if you though the actual application process was confusing, then you haven't seen anything yet. However educational specialist Simpson Millar have a lot of experience of guiding parents through this process and here is what they consider then next course of action should be. 

Once the letter arrives informing you that your child has not received the placement you will be given at least 20 ‘school days’ to lodge an appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel. You will have to fill in an appeal form alongside the reasons for making the appeal and it is advised that you seek advise here to make sure you are including exactly what is needed in the form. 

You will then be allocated a hearing date and will be informed of any additional information needed to support the case. The hearing will be held in front of an Independent Appeal Panel which consists of up to 5 people and during this hearing, the admission authority and you will get to put your cases forward. You will find out the result of the appeal within 5 ‘school days’ after the hearing.

I guess, at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether you should actually appeal or not. With the boys school, it seems to be that people fight over places because of how great the school is. And I always wonder whether some of these may have embellished the truth when applying as they live a distance away from the school, more than what I assumed would be allowed.

Personally, I think the whole process needs to be looked in to more. More checks of the parents applying to make sure that places are given out fairly so that then, hopefully, no one will need to appeal.


  1. The school system in the UK seems like an interesting one. I'm in the US and children are automatically enrolled in the closest school -- we also chose our home based on proximity to schools! I have always thought our school systems were unfair as well. In order to go to good schools more money is required to live in good neighborhoods. I think it gives children in poverty less of a shot at living a better life. Good post!

  2. We have the pick of a bad bunch in my area, i have only put one school on the application for my 4 year old im confident she will get our first choice

  3. I agree with more checks to make sure places are given fairly!