On Friday 16 of April, thousands of families received a primary school place offer for their child, kickstarting the beginning of their primary education journey.
The vast majority of families will have received an offer from one of their top choices, but parents can still appeal
Parents who are not happy that their application for a particular school was refused can appeal.
Where a school receives more applications than places available, not all applications will be successful, and places must be fairly allocated following the criteria set by the admission authority. In these cases, we know how important it is for families to present their case.
This is why we have made the appeals process more accessible in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April 2020, temporary regulations and accompanying guidance were introduced giving admission authorities, local authorities and admission appeal panels more flexibility. This included holding hearings remotely or through written submissions. These regulations have been extended until 30 September 2021.
If a parent wants to appeal, they should first contact the school’s admission authority. The school’s admission authority is responsible for establishing the appeal panel, but the panel itself is an independent body. The appeal panel must come to its own independent conclusion as to whether the school should admit the child, having regard to the case presented by both the admission authority and the parent.
The decision of the appeal panel is binding – if the appeal is upheld, the admission authority must offer the child a place at the school.
Admission authorities and appeal panels must comply with the statutory School Admission Appeals Code, which is available here.
Since 2010, primary schools have improved, making it more likely for parents to have a good school on their doorstep
It is vital that children are able to access quality education and over the last 10 years, schools have made big improvements. The total number of schools judged as good or outstanding has risen from 68% in 2010 to 86% in August 2020, and 88% of primary schools are now rated as good or outstanding.
At the same time, 1 million additional school places have been created between May 2010 and May 2019, increasing school capacity.
Parents don’t have to delay start dates due to COVID-19
We understand the impact COVID-19 has had on children and families across the UK. This is why we’ve added additional safety measures in primary schools, ensuring children are able to enter the classroom with full confidence.
Delaying or deferring a child’s entry to school is not necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new Free Schools Programme is providing extra school places in areas that need them most
Through the free schools programme, we have funded thousands of good new school places, many of which are in disadvantaged areas.
We also recently approved proposals for 21 free schools in areas where good school places are needed the most, providing parents with greater choice and levelling up opportunity. We’re continuing to assess the potential impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of new free schools and other school building projects. We have worked with local authorities, trusts and contractors to develop plans and arrangements where necessary to make sure that despite the pandemic, every child has an available school place.