If you apply for a place for your child at Stisted Primary Academy and your child is refused admission, this can be disappointing. In the first instance you may wish to discuss why admission was refused with the Headteacher. It is likely that a place has been refused because the year group you have applied for is full. You may decide that you wish to appeal against this decision.
We understand that going through the appeal process can be a worrying and anxious time for you and we hope that the information contained on this page will help you decide if you would like to appeal and how to go about appealing. This page will take you through the process and explain what happens at each point and what you need to do.
This information page will also tell you on what grounds you can appeal. This is very important because we would like parents to have the information they need to consider if pursuing an appeal is appropriate for their particular circumstances.
Q. Why was my child refused admission?
It is important to understand why your child has been refused a place. The school ranks all applicants according to the school's admission criteria. This criteria can be found in the school's Admission Policy.
The refusal to admit a child would have been made on the grounds that either the school has reached the Published Admission Number for the relevant year group or other children who applied at the same time took priority because they were ranked higher according to the admissions criteria.
Reaching the Published Admissions Number, means the relevant year group is full and the school cannot accept any more children. The Published Admission Number is set at 15 to ensure our class sizes do not exceed 30 pupils. This is because the school combines two different year groups together to make classes of 30 children.
If you are applying for a Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 place, the law restricts class sizes to a maximum of 30 pupils. In order for your appeal to be upheld you will need to demonstrate that the decision to refuse admission was ‘perverse’ and ‘outrageous’ in light of the admission arrangements.
If your child was refused admission and there were fewer than 15 pupils in that year group, you may have grounds to appeal the decision because the school may not be able to use infant class size legislation as a defence.
You also have grounds for appeal if you believe a mistake was made and had the admissions criteria been applied correctly, your child would have been offered a place.
You can appeal on the grounds that your refusal was 'perverse' and 'outrageous' but you would need to explain why on the Appeal Form and provide supporting evidence.
You will have the opportunity to provide supporting evidence for your appeal when you submit your appeal form. It is therefore really important to consider your grounds for appeal being more than disatisfaction with not getting your first choice school.
Q. Why does the school have a specific Published Admission Number of 15? Does one extra pupil really make a difference?
When our Reception children move into Year 1, they will be mixed with the Year 2 children to make a mixed Year 1/2 class. Each year group will have 15 pupils making an infant class size of 30 pupils.
The law does not allow schools to have infant class sizes exceeding 30 pupils so an additional pupil will make a difference. It will mean we will be breaking the law unless the additional child is considered an 'excepted pupil'.
The Admission Authority also believes 30 children is the maximum amount of pupils it can effectively teach in mixed age classes and exceeding this number would compromise the quality of education and attention each child receives.
Therefore, the Admission Authority for Stisted Primary Academy believes the admission of an additional child would prejudice the provision of efficient education and the efficient use of resources at the academy.
In accordance with the School Admissions Appeal Code (SAAC) 4.12, the Admission Authority for Stisted Academy is providing you with information on the limited circumstances in which an appeal can be upheld.
This should assist you with deciding on whether you wish to proceed and submit an appeal or on what grounds your appeal should be based in order to maximize the chances of your appeal being upheld.
Q. Why have children been admitted that live further away from the school than my child?
A. Distance from the school is not the only or determining factor. If a child has obtained a place who lives closer to you, this will be because they were given priority over your application because they were ranked higher using the school's Admission Policy and criteria.
Having a sibling at the school for example gives you a better chance of securing a place. If you attend church and a minister is willing to sign that you are a regular attender, this will also give you a better chance.
Q. Can a school exceed the Published Admissions Number?
A. In rare circumstances this is possible. For example, if the school has offered or admitted 15 children and in the meantime a child at another school receives an Education Health Care Plan from the Local Authority, the law says the school must admit that child regardless of the Published Admission Number. There are a number of other circumstances that this can happen. These children are called 'excepted pupils' because the law allows exceptions.
Q. What is an 'excepted pupil'?
A. An 'excepted pupil' is legally exempt from counting towards the infant class limit. This is why some year groups exceed the Published Admission Number in some schools. If your child is an excepted pupil, the school may admit your child although they do not have to.
'Excepted pupils' are defined as :
- children whose twins or other siblings from multiple births are admitted as non-excepted pupils. i.e. if twins were ranked 15th and 16th, the school would consider accepting 16th child because their twin was accepted.
- children of armed forces personnel who are admitted outside a normal admission round.
- children with an Education Health Care Plan whose special educational needs specify that they should be educated at the school concerned, and who are admitted to the school outside a normal admission round.
- children who are looked after by local authorities, or who have ceased to be looked after as a result of being adopted or being placed with a family or given a special guardian, and are admitted to the school outside a normal admission round.
-children who the local authority who maintain the school confirm cannot gain a place at any other suitable school within a reasonable distance of their home because they have moved into the area outside a normal admission round.
- children initially refused admission to a school, but subsequently offered a place outside a normal admission round by direction of an admission appeal panel, or because the person responsible for making the original decision recognises that an error was made in implementing the school’s admission arrangements.
- children who are registered pupils at special schools, but who receive part of their education at a mainstream school; and children with special educational needs who are normally educated in a special unit in a mainstream school, but who receive part of their lessons in the class.
An Admission Authority is entitled to refuse admission to an excepted pupil. However, in its letter of rejection it cannot specify the reason as being a breach of the infant class size limit. This is because the child is legally exempt from counting towards the infant class size limit.
If an Admission Authority refuses admission to an excepted pupil, it should do so on the basis that the school has reached (or exceeded) its published admission number, and that the admission of an additional pupil would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.
If at any time it becomes possible for an excepted pupil to be provided with education at the school in an infant class in which the limit is not exceeded (for example because a non-excepted child leaves the class, an additional infant class is created, or an additional teacher is appointed), that child ceases to be an excepted pupil.
Q. Do I have to pay for the appeal?
A. There is no charge to parents for appeals. The school will pay for arranging the appeal.
Q. Can I ask the panel to contact anyone, such as my doctor or social worker, to confirm what I have said on my form or at the hearing?
A. No. You are responsible for making sure that the panel has any written supporting evidence at the hearing.
Q. How long will the hearing take?
A. This is difficult to say, however, generally for mid year appeals both Stage One and Stage Two take about half an hour each. In multiple intake or transfer appeals, Stage One could take 45 minutes to an hour and Stage Two about 30 minutes; but it really depends on the complexity of the cases being heard.
Q. Can I bring a friend to the appeal hearing?
A. Yes, you can bring somebody with you either to support you or to speak on your behalf.
Q. Do I have to bring my child with me?
A. No. We are unable to accomodate children at the appeal hearing and could be a possible distraction at the hearing. Your child should be attending the school they have been offered. If they are below school age, you will need to arrange child care.
Q. Where are appeals heard?
A. At Stisted Primary Academy, The Street, Stisted, Essex, CM77 8AN.
Q. I am appealing for other children. Will their appeals be heard on the same day?
A. We do our best to hear the appeals on the same day. However, this is not always possible.
Q. Can I change the date or time of my appeal?
A. We are not able to accommodate changes to timetabling because we have to pre-book an independent clerk who needs to find 3 independent panel members and adhere to statutory time frames.
Q. What should I do if I change my mind about appealing?
A. If you decide to withdraw your appeal, please contact Stisted Primary Academy on 01376 325116
Q. Do I need to instruct a solicitor to represent me at the appeal hearing?
A. There is no requirement to instruct a solicitor to represent you. All Panel Members are independent and fully trained. They are used to talking to parents and will do their best to put you at your ease. However, if you feel it necessary, you may be represented by a solicitor.
Q. Who will represent the school?
A. As Stisted Primary is an Academy Trust, the school provides its own representatives to the hearing. This is usually a Presenting Officer and the Headteacher.
Q. We are currently living abroad/outside of Essex. Can we send somebody to represent us?
A. Yes. Contact the school for further advice.
Q. My child’s name is on a waiting list. Will my appeal affect my child’s place on that list?
A. No. If your appeal is unsuccessful your child’s name will remain on the waiting list. If you win your appeal your child’s name will be removed from the list.
You have the right to appeal for places at all schools for which you have applied and been refused a place. There is no cost to a parent although there is a cost to the school. The cost of administration and arranging an independent panel comes directly out of the school budget.
Many parents appeal on the grounds that they did not get their first choice of school. We urge parents to consider very carefully before making an appeal and consider the limited grounds on which an appeal can be made. This is enshrined in law and the appeal panel must adhere to the letter of the law. An appeal hearing is a judicial process and requires careful consideration and preparation if parents wish to be successful in your appeal.
We have included the grounds for appeal in this guide.
Your right of appeal does not apply if your child has been permanently excluded from two schools. If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health Care Plan and the school is named,your appeal needs to be directed to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). Please visit their website at: www.sendist.gov.uk
You can only appeal once in every academic year unless there has been a significant change in your circumstances. If this is the case you need to reapply for a place at the school and be refused before you can appeal. You can only appeal for the year group for which you have been refused.
You will need to complete an Appeal Form. This can be downloaded from this website and is located at the bottom of this page. Please note, Essex County Council will not process or handle appeals from parents appealing against the decision to refuse a place at Stisted Primary Academy. This is because Stisted Primary Academy Trust is its own Admission Authority and is responsible for arranging its own appeals. This sometimes causes confusion because Essex County Council coordinates admissions on the Academy’s behalf but does not coordinate appeals on the Academy's behalf.
All appeal applications should be directed through the Academy. The Academy will then arrange for an appeal hearing to take place.
All appeal hearings are heard by an independent appeal panel.
Where to send your appeal form
Your completed form should be marked “Private and Confidential” and returned to:
Admissions Appeal Hearings
c/o The Headteacher
Stisted CofE Primary Academy
Please do not assume that a first class stamp will ensure delivery the following day. If you are close to a published closing date consider using a guaranteed next day means of delivery – ask at your Post Office.
We also advise that you contact the school to check that your appeal paperwork has been received.
Types of Appeal
Normal Admission Round
These are where your child is starting school and entering Reception year and where we have received your appeal form on or prior to the published closing date for appeals. This date is published in this guide below.
Late Intake or Transfer Appeals
These are where your child is entering Reception year and where we have received your appeal form after the published closing date.
Mid Year Appeals
These are where you wish your child to move schools during other times in the academic year, i.e. because the family has moved house. These appeals have no published closing date and are heard throughout the year.
Infant Class Size Appeals
This type of appeal can apply to applications for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (Key Stage 1), i.e. any class in which the majority of children reach the age of 5, 6 or 7 during the school year. Such classes cannot contain more than 30 pupils with a single qualified teacher. Not all appeals involving these year groups are Infant Class Size.
Your refusal letter from the admission authority for a mid-year admission will tell you whether or not your application has been turned down because of Infant Class Size legislation.
If you have been refused a place in the normal admission round for a Reception place or a mid year application for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, the school is likely inform the appeal panel that admitting further children would breach class size legislation. This will be classified as an infant class size appeal.
There are very limited chances of success for Infant Class Size appeals. The panel can only offer a place where it is satisfied that:
a. The admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size; or
b. The admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or
c. The decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.
In order to determine whether it was “unreasonable” to refuse admission to your child, it must be satisfied that the decision was “perverse in the light of the admission arrangements”.
For example – it was “beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker” or “a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it”.
Please note that although our Reception intake is 15 pupils and class size legislation refers to 30 pupils, we cannot admit more than 15 pupils because our Reception children will join the current Year 1 pupils making a class size of 30 pupils.If we admit 16 pupils for example, we will be in breach of the law. In rare circumstances there are exceptions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions if you think your child is classified as an 'excepted pupil'.
Normal Primary Admission Round or Transfer Appeals For The Primary Round
The published closing date for on-time intake or transfer appeals is Tuesday 15th May 2018. Appeals received on or before this date will be heard within 40 school days. The date set for appeal hearings for the normal admission round is Thursday 5th July 2018.
Late Intake or Transfer Appeals For The Primary Round
If you miss the published closing date, we will try to hear your appeal with the on-time appeals for that school. If this is not possible, it will be heard at a later date.
All mid-year appeal applications will be heard within 30 school days of the form being received by us.
Completing the Appeal Form
If you are appealing for more than one school, you must complete separate forms.
Please take the following information into account when you complete the form:
c/o The Headteacher
Stisted CofE Primary Academy
What happens next?
Who will be at the appeal hearing?
On occasion there may be an observer at the hearing. This may be somebody who is in training as a clerk or panel member. They will take no part in the hearing or the decision making.
What happens on the day?
Appeals Excluding Infant Class Size
Single Infant Class Size Appeals
Multiple Infant Class Size Appeals
What happens after the hearing?
Further Advice and Complaints Information
For information regarding availability of school places and waiting lists, please contact Essex County Council School Admissions on 0845 6032200.
The internet is probably the best place to gather further information and we recommend that you begin by visiting the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) website at www.ace-ed.org.uk or by telephone on 0808 800 5793.
If you want to find out more about the Admission Appeals Code you can visit the Department for Children, Schools and Families website to view the code at www.dcsf.gov.uk.
The Education Funding Agency can investigate written complaints about maladministration on the part of a panel hearing appeals. This is not a right of appeal. Maladministration covers issues such as a failure to follow correct procedures or a failure to act independently or fairly – not complaints where a person simply feels that the decision taken is wrong.
Contact details as follows:
Address: Earlsdon Park, Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH
For further enquiries ring the DfE switchboard 0370000228
Grounds for Appeal
The School Admissions Appeal Code has the force of law and the following information will help inform you of the evidence you would need to collect and submit. The grounds for appeal are :
The Admission Authority in this case the Academy Trust has made a mistake and did not apply its own Admission Policy correctly.
The case for sending your child to this particular school over another school outweighs the prejudice that may be caused to children at this school.
The Appeal Process
When hearing an appeal, an Appeal Panel must follow a two stage decision-making process. During the initial stage the panel must consider all the following matters:
a) whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998; and
b) whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case in question.
Therefore in order to proceed to the next stage, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates that the Admission Authority did not comply with the School Admissions Code and Part 2 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, or provide evidence which demonstrates that the Admission Arrangements were not correctly and impartially applied.
The panel must then examine the evidence presented and decide whether the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.
The panel can only uphold the appeal at the first stage where:
a) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or had not been correctly and impartially applied, and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or
b) it finds that the admission of additional children would not prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources.
The panel must proceed to the second stage where:
a) it finds that the admission arrangements did comply with admissions law and that they were correctly and impartially applied to the child; or
b) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied but that, if they had complied and had been correctly and impartially applied, the child would not have been offered a place;
If your case progresses to the second stage, the panel must then balance the prejudice to the school against your case for the child to be admitted to the school. The panel will take into account your reasons for expressing a preference for the school, including what that school can offer the child that the allocated or other schools cannot. If the panel does not consider that the your case outweighs the prejudice to the school it must dismiss the appeal
The Admission Authority will also have the opportunity to present reasons why admitting another child would prejudice the provision of efficient education and the efficient use of resources at the academy.
The code in full can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-admissions-appeals-code