Information For Parents /Carers
Why have I been refused- I thought I had the right to a place for my child at the school of my choice?
Admissions legislation gives parents the right to express a preference for the school they would like their child to attend, and to have that preference met if space is available. Unfortunately that is not the same as having the right to a place. Admission authorities must by law comply with a parental preference, unless to do so 'would prejudice efficient education or the efficient use of resources’.
If you are refused a place at the school of your preference and feel you have a special case, you can appeal in writing to the Admissions Authority [the GLC], stating your case. The Admissions Authority will then arrange for an Independent Statutory Appeals Panel to meet.
Who will hear my case?
Appeals panels are comprised of people who serve on a voluntary basis, who undergo training to enable them to consider cases fairly. There are usually three members of the panel, comprised of a combination of independent lay members, and 'persons of experience in education’. Both categories cannot be employees of the Local Authority or of schools but can serve as Governors of other schools. Panels are convened by an independent Clerk. Great care is taken that panel members have no connection with the school, or schools concerned. They have no involvement in the admissions process, and no prior knowledge of the case, other than the paperwork presented in advance of the meeting. This paperwork will include the application for the school, any correspondence between the applicant and the admission authority, and any supporting documentation the applicant has sent giving the reasons for the appeal, as well as the authority’s case for refusal.
Can parents be present at the hearing?
Yes. Parents are encouraged to attend if they can. Appeals can be considered on written evidence only, but there may be questions that the panel would wish to ask which can only be answered if you are present, so it is in your interests to attend. You can take a friend with you if you wish, for moral support, or a representative to speak for you.
What happens at the hearing?
Every effort is made to make hearings as informal as possible to put parents at ease. They do however have to follow a pre-determined procedure, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak and ask any questions they wish to. A representative of the admission authority will explain the reasons for refusal and answer any questions, then parents are given the opportunity to state their case and answer any questions. Decisions are made after interested parties have withdrawn from the meeting. If there is more than one appeal for the same school, decisions are made after all cases have been heard.
How are decisions made?'
The panel must first make up their minds whether the admission authority has put a valid case for refusal of admission. If they do not believe this to be the case, they should allow the appeal(s). If they do believe the admission authority has proved its case, they will then go on to decide whether your case outweighs the prejudice to efficient education or efficient use of resources that will result from admitting any additional children. If they feel your case is sufficiently strong, they will allow the appeal, and instruct the authority to admit your child. Decisions of appeal panels are final, and binding on all parties.
When will my appeal be heard?
The independent Appeals Clerk will contact you as soon as an Appeal Panel has been arranged“.
What happens if the decision goes against me?'
If the panel upholds the authority’s case for refusal, you will have to consider alternatives. You must, by law, make educational provision for your child suitable to his or her age, aptitude and ability, and any special educational needs he or she may have.
The Pupil Admissions Team of Thurrock Local Authority will be pleased to offer information and/or advice about alternative schools in Thurrock. They can be contacted on:
Telephone: 01375 652652