Didn't Get A Primary School Place - What Now? | Day Out With The Kids

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School Admissions: What to do if you didn't get a primary school place

Catherine Warrilow

13 April 2018

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4 minutes

Happy school children working at desks

What now? You've just found out that your child didn't get the first choice primary school place that you selected.  And in many cases, hasn't been offered their second choice place either.

Don't worry, we're on hand with everything you need to know regarding information and appeals.

You will usually received a letter including full details of how to appeal a couple of days after you receive your email. This will include the deadline you need to take action by.

Local schools with places

Firstly you can contact your local council to find out about primary schools that do have local places.

It is worth accepting the place you have been offered in the first instance so that you at least have a place come September.  You can go on to reject this later.

You will also be automatically added to the waiting list for your first (and second) choice schools. If you want to check that this is the case you can contact your LEA (Local Education Agency) to check and ask any further questions.

Appealing a primary school place decision

You can appeal infant school cases based on a number of grounds. You can find out more on the school admissions page here. And you can also request help from the Children's Legal Centre.

About the school admissions appeals code

You can find out more about the appeals code and what the criteria that must be met are here.

The appeals process

A panel of 3-5 members of the public form the appeals panel and will review your case. They will review your application against the appeals code and you will have the chance to submit your evidence and reasoning for the appeal. You can include specific information on why you feel that your choice of school is best for your child, but be sure to bear in mind the appeals code to give yourself the best chance.  You will be given a response to your appeal (which is legally binding) within 7 days.

What if my appeal is rejected?

You can't appeal against a decision for the same school twice, but you can go on to appeal the decision for your second choice school if this is relevant.

There are still routes available, though.  You can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman - this option is limited to procedural errors and complaints so check the guidelines first.

Deferring a place

Children of summer born babies (usually specific date range between April and August) may apply to defer their child's place until the following school year.  You can find out more on your local council website.

Good luck!


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Catherine Warrilow

13 April 2018

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Catherine is a mum of two boys from Oxford. She is also Head of Brand for Day Out With The Kids.

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