In April 2020 the Department for Education (DfE) passed emergency regulations that introduced flexibility in the way that school admission appeals are held, given current social distancing measures and other restrictions in place.
The regulations allow for appeals to take place remotely via telephone or video links or solely on written representations.
The regulations also revised the deadlines by which appeals should be heard, hearings should take place as soon as is reasonably practical.
These regulations were extended on 30 September 2021, to remain in force until 30 September 2022.
The regulations will continue to apply to appeals lodged on or before 30 September 2022. Any appeals lodged on or after the 1 October 2022 or lodged prior to that date, but not concluded, will be subject to previous legal requirements, that being 30 school days for an in-year application and 40 school days for normal point of entry.
The Appeals Team, based at County Hall in Worcester, make arrangements for appeals where the Admission Authority (AA) has not met a parent's preference for a particular school. The Appeals Team also deals with appeals where a pupil has been excluded from a school on a permanent basis.
The Appeals Team is separate from the education functions of the County Council and as much as they may want to help, cannot answer questions about the initial allocation of school places, school waiting lists, transport allocation or any of the day-to-day school questions.
All requests for appeals should be made to the School Admissions Team or to the school involved if that school is an Academy or Foundation School or where the school has voluntary aided status.
In addition to school appeals, the Appeals Team also makes the administrative arrangements for hearings convened as part of the Council's Representations Procedures (Social Services Review Panels and Corporate Representations Panels).
In respect of all appeals hearings, the Appeals Team is responsible for recruiting and maintaining a list of persons who serve on Appeals Panels. At panel meetings, staff from the Appeals team act as usher, adviser and facilitator, remaining with the Panel when they come to make their decisions. After the Appeal hearing, these staff also make sure all parties know what decisions have been made.
A number of guidance leaflets giving further information about the appeals process have been produced.
- Admission to schools in Worcestershire - parents guide to appeals process document (PDF)
- Admission to schools in Worcestershire - parents guide to the appeals process - pupils in infant classes where "infant class size prejudice" rules apply document (PDF)
- Admission to schools - Independent Advice document (PDF)
- Appealing an In-Year Refusal and Waiting Lists (PDF)
- Appealing for a place at High School and Waiting List Procedures 2021 (PDF)
- Appealing for a Primary or Middle School and Waiting Lists 2021 (PDF)
- KS1 appeal information (PDF)
- School Appeals Timetable 2021 (PDF)
- What to expect at the appeal (PDF)
- What to expect at the appeal (Key Stage 1 Class Size Prejudice Appeals only) (PDF)
- Zoom User Guidance for Parents attending Remote Appeal Hearings (PDF)
Advisory Centre for Education (ACE)
Parents can also contact the Advisory Centre for Education, which is an independent national advice centre. They offer free telephone advice on many subjects, including exclusion from school, bullying, special educational needs and school admission appeals.
ACE General advice line: 0300 0115 142