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Appeal a school place

In accordance with published Government Guidance and in line with continuing social distancing measures for the safety of everyone, we are unable to hold face-to-face appeal hearings for the foreseeable future. Subject to Parliamentary approval, Emergency Covid-19 Regulations will be extended to September 2021. Every effort will be made to convene appeals within statutory timescales, but there may be some delays due to high demand of video conferencing facilities. However, we understand the importance of your child’s education and will convene appeals at the earliest possible time.Coronavirus update

How will appeals be held?

In order to ensure that appeals can be completed as soon as practicable, we have decided to continue conducting virtual appeal hearings using Zoom technology where you will be able to participate in your appeal remotely using your own computer, tablet or smart phone. If this is not possible, it will be necessary for your appeal to be considered and determined based on your written submission and evidence provided; in this case, if you wish to submit additional information or evidence, please e-mail it to [email protected] immediately, or on receipt of a notification letter.

You will receive advance notice of the date and time of the hearing by e-mail. Then a few days later, you will receive a second e-mail with your appeal papers attached and joining instructions for the virtual appeal hearing.

We hope you and your family are well and continue to stay safe by observing the social distancing measures in place.

​If you have been refused a place at one or more of your preferred schools, you are entitled to appeal against that decision.

Lodging your appeal

Your appeal should be lodged as soon as possible after receiving a refusal letter but please see the timescales table on this page.

You may also wish to consider whether there are any other suitable schools you can apply for or visit the school you have been allocated to assess its suitability. Applying for an alternative school will not affect your right to appeal for the schools you have been refused.

Who can appeal?

If you have been refused a place at one or more of your preferred schools, you are entitled to appeal against that decision. If you have not applied for a particular school or have not received a letter refusing admission, you are not entitled to appeal.

You cannot appeal for a lower preference school if you have been offered a higher preference school.

If your circumstances have changed and you now prefer a lower preference school, you should contact us to explain your changed circumstances and find out whether you need to make a new application.

Infant class appeals (reception to year 2)

There are very limited exceptional circumstances which allows a school to go above 30 children with a single teacher in infant classes. A successful appeal, under one of the following circumstances, is one of them.

An infant class prejudice appeal can only succeed if the Independent Appeal Panel finds one of the below:

  1. The admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit of 30 children to 1 class teacher
  2. The child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had complied with admissions law or were correctly and impartially applied
  3. The admission authority’s decision to refuse a place was not one which a *reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case

*The threshold of reasonableness is high. The panel must consider whether the decision was: ‘perverse in the light of the admission arrangements’ or ‘beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker’ or ‘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’.

How do I appeal?

You can make an appeal by completing the online form. Please ensure you have:

  • read the information relevant to you below
  • prepared any documents you may wish to upload as supporting evidence for your appeal
  • prepared a statement outlining your grounds for appeal and reasons you wish your child to attend your preferred school; you may upload continuation pages if necessary

How many appeals are successful?

Due to the very limited circumstances for a successful infant class appeal, only a small number succeed. In the last 3 academic years the success rate was as follows:

  • 2019 to 2020: 93 infant class appeals were heard, of which none was successful
  • 2018 to 2019: 92 infant class appeals were heard, of which 2 were successful
  • 2017 to 2018: 120 infant class appeals were heard, of which 3 were successful

The following shows a list of all types of appeals, by individual school for the 2018 to 2019 academic year:

School appeal timelines

​Action ​Deadline
​Appeals need to be submitted ​Primary school: no later than 5.00pm on 14 May 2022
Secondary school: no later than 5.00pm on 29 March 2022
In-year transfers: no deadline for submitting appeal
Sixth form: within 30 school days from the date when refused a place. Where offers of places are conditional upon GCSE examination results, appeals for admission to 6th forms cannot be heard until after GCSE results are known.
Late appeals: no deadline
​Parents' additional evidence must be submitted ​Within 10 school days of submitting their appeal by email to: [email protected]

or by post to:

Appeals Team, Democratic Services,
West Northamptonshire Council,
One Angel Square, Angel Street,

​Hearings take place

​Primary school: Every effort will be made to convene on-time appeals within 40 school days from the closing date for lodging appeals, however, there may be delays due to limitations of video conferencing facilities. Appeals will be scheduled at the earliest possible date.

Secondary school: Every effort will be made to convene on time appeals within 40 school days from the closing date for lodging appeals, however, there may be delays due to limitations of video conferencing facilities. Appeals will be scheduled at the earliest possible date.

In-year transfers: appeals lodged outside the normal admission round will be convened within 28 days, where possible, following receipt of your appeal form, or at the earliest possible date.

Sixth form: appeals will be heard within 28 days following the confirmation of examination results, where applicable, or otherwise within 40 school days from the date of lodging an appeal where possible.

Late appeals: Late co-ordinated appeals will be heard alongside on-time appeals wherever possible. Every effort will be made to hear late appeals before the end of the school year, but if this is not possible, they will be convened at the earliest possible time in the new school year. Appeals are not usually convened during school holidays due to the unavailability of school representatives.

​Parents will receive written notification of appeal date ​At least 14 days before the date of appeal. (You may waive your right to this notice period if it will help to speed up your appeal, but a quicker appeal cannot be guaranteed.) Appeals for the same school and year group must be heard together and by the same panel.
​The clerk (or the person organising the appeal) sends appeal papers to parents, the panel and the school

​7 clear days before the appeal hearing.

No further documents will be posted after this date.

​Appeal hearing decision

​Decisions will be made after all appeals have been heard for the particular school.

Decision letters will be sent at the earliest possible time and where possible, within 7 days following decisions. In the case of multiple appeals or in busy times, please allow up to 14 days for decision letters to be sent.

What happens next?

Why information is on a different website
We are in the process of adding information to this new unitary council website. Some pages will give you a link back to a previous council website to help you find what you need. Read more about the changes.
Last updated 19 October 2021