Advice for anxious Doncaster parents who miss out on their child’s first choice primary school place

Anxious parents waiting to hear if their three and four-year-olds have secured a place at their preferred primary school are being given advice on steps to take if they don’t get their first choice.

By Stephanie Bateman
Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:31 pm

Today is national offer day for primary school places and, leading national law firm Stephensons is advising parents who are unhappy with their allocated place that they may be able to appeal.

Mike Pemberton, partner and head of the civil liberties and public law, specialises in education law, and he said:

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Advice on primary school places

“When you consider that the initial allocation is going to have an effect on the next seven years of your child’s life as they develop through Key Stage 1 and 2, it is not surprising that national offer day can be stressful. The main thing though, is not to panic. If you want to pursue your first choice, there is a nine-step plan:

Find out who to appeal to – the type of school will determine who will consider your appeal.

Check the admissions policy of the school – refer to the school or local authority website to view this and ensure that the correct policy has been followed.

Find out the published admission number of the school.

Look at the school’s oversubscription policy - has it been applied correctly?

You may also want to check the School Admissions code of Practice 2014, School Admissions Appeals Code 2012 and relevant parts of the School’s Standards and Framework Act 1998.

Gather evidence supporting any medical, social or other exceptional circumstances you wish to rely upon.

An appeal must be made in writing so do this in good time. Whilst it is possible to appeal out of this time, this may cause delays and practically, in-time appeals may be considered first and result in more places. Also allow time to seek advice on grounds to appeal.

Consider whether you will need assistance or representation at the appeal hearing. As a parent you’re entitled to be represented at an appeal by a friend or lawyer. If you decide on legal representation, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible – it can get busy at this time of year.

Once an appeal is lodged it must be heard within 40 school days of the appeals deadline.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden editor.