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Appealing against the offer of a school place

If your child is refused a place at any of the primary or secondary schools you applied for, you can appeal against this decision.

Your appeal will be decided by a panel which is independent of both the school and the council and the decision is binding on all parties.

How do I make an appeal?

To appeal for a place at the school you want your child to attend, contact us to speak to an appeals officer. If you then decide to appeal you can complete a school admission appeal form and return it to us. You will need to refer to the Icon for pdf school admission appeals process and rules (PDF, 368.5kb)  to help you complete the form. Please provide proof of your child's address with your appeal documentation.

Unfortunately, children lose places every year due to parents giving false information on their application forms, this includes appeal forms. We therefore reserve the right to seek proof of address, and will do so if your appeal is successful at an oversubscribed school.  We will withdraw an offer of a place if it was obtained through a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application. You will be asked to sign a declaration to state that you: 

  • have read, understood and agree to abide by the conditions as set out in the  Icon for pdf Primary and Secondary School Admission Guide 2019/20 (PDF, 1.4mb)
  • confirm that you have parental responsibility for the child (or have care and control of the child), and in seeking to apply for your child a school place, you have no knowledge of any opposition to this application from any other person who has parental responsibility for the child. (If applicable, you will inform us of the individual who opposes the transfer and supply their contact details)
  • will contact us immediately to let us know of any change of address details after the submission of your child's application
  • understand that your child's school place can be withdrawn even if he/she has started at the school if the place was fraudulently obtained
  • agree and consent to us checking the details you have provided on this application against Council Tax, Electoral Registration and other council records to confirm that the child is resident at the address in Section A
  • agree and consent to us sharing your data with other agencies, where it is necessary to do so and where the law allows, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (see our Data Protection & Freedom of Information page)
  • understand that if you have provided information that is incorrect or incomplete, you may be investigated and action may be taken against you (including court action)

Additional information for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (infant class size) appeals

By law, infant classes must not have more than 30 children except for very limited exceptions. This means it is very difficult to win an appeal and personal circumstances such as home to school distance, childcare arrangements, transport issues or having children at different schools are not sufficient enough reasons to make an appeal successful.

An appeal can only be successful if one or more of the following circumstances apply:

  • if the admission of the child would not increase the class size to over 30
  • if the admission arrangements do not comply with the law
  • if the admission arrangements were incorrectly applied
  • If the decision to refuse admission was unreasonable (completely perverse and outrageous) in light of the admission arrangements

If you are considering an appeal for these year groups you are advised to contact us as we will be able to explain in more detail about the law relating to infant class sizes. 

Voluntary aided (faith) schools

Contact the school directly for information about their appeals procedure.

Contact us
School places and admissions
03000 265 896
Our address is:
  • School Places and Admissions
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ
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