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22 February 2018

Infant class size appeals

For infant classes, sometimes referred to as Key Stage One (reception, year 1 and year 2), the class size is limited by law to 30 children. Where your application has been refused because of this, the chances of being successful with an appeal are limited.


An appeal panel can only allow (uphold) an infant class size appeal if:


  • it finds that admitting an extra child would not breach the infant class size limit; or
  • it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied;
  • or it decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.


The threshold for a panel to decide a refusal was unreasonable is high. It needs to be satisfied the decision by the admission authority was ‘perverse’ or ‘outrageous’.

In 2016, there were 556 Key Stage One appeals received for Essex community and voluntary controlled schools. Less than 4% of these appeals were successful.

Deadline for appeals

You must have received an email or letter with the decision refusing your child a place at the school for which you want to appeal.
Appeals should be lodged within 20 school days of receiving the written refusal.
A separate appeal form must be completed for each child, or for each school that your child has been refused a place at.
Please ensure you read the information below before submitting an appeal form. There are some specific legal restrictions in terms of infant class size appeals.

Make an appeal (infant/junior/primary/secondary schools)

You must read all of the information provided before making your appeal. Once the appeal form is submitted you will not be able to change your submission

For most schools in Essex, you should complete the online appeal form.




If the school is not listed on the form then you will need to deal with them directly as they do not buy into the service offered by the Statutory Appeals Team.

For schools outside the Essex County Council area, you will also need to contact them directly.

Please note: A postal address showing Essex does not necessarily mean that the school is within the geographical county. Equally, a school may be situated within Essex but have a postal address of another county.
If you can’t use the online system, a paper copy of the appeal forms can be downloaded using the link below. Please either submit an online appeal or a paper form but do not do both.




Next steps after submitting an appeal

You will receive an acknowledgement email confirming that we have received your form. After this you will only need to contact the Appeals Team to:


  • cancel your appeal
  • amend any contact details already given
  • submit by post any supplementary paperwork


Schools which arrange their own appeals and for those outside Essex, will contact you directly.
If you have stated that you will be attending the appeal in person then we will confirm the hearing arrangements by letter.
If you have stated that you want your appeal to be heard with written representations only, you will be notified of the date in case you wish to submit further information.
Prior to the hearing, you will be sent papers explaining the reason(s) for refusal of a place and giving more information about the school.
If you need any additional information for your appeal, you must address this separately to the relevant admission authority (this will be the school directly for Academies, foundation and voluntary aided schools).
For community and voluntary controlled schools, information requests can be sent to the Council’s School Admissions Team.
Requests for written information as part of your actual appeal form and written case will not be responded to.

The Appeal Hearing

 It’s important that you understand what will happen at your appeal hearing.

GOV.UK has clear information on what happens at an appeal hearing including a copy of the School Admissions Appeal Code.


The Code contains information on the statutory requirements that underpin the appeals process, which you may find helpful in lodging your appeal.


You are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing, to put your case for wanting your child to be admitted to the school, although this is not obligatory.


If you don’t attend the hearing, your child’s case will be based solely on the written grounds of appeal that you set out in your Appeal Form. It is important that you set out your case as fully and clearly as possible.


If you state that you will attend the hearing but don’t, the panel is entitled to go ahead and hear the case in your absence, based on the written grounds of your appeal. Hearings are only adjourned to another day in exceptional circumstances.

Group appeals

Sometimes there are a number of appeals for a popular school, and the Admission Authority will present its case to all the parents at the same time known as a ‘group presentation’.

At this type of presentation no questions about an individual child’s case will be allowed. These will be addressed at your child’s individual hearing (which will be held in private and relate to your child only).

However, Panel Members and parents will be able to ask the Admission Authority about its case.

The individual hearings will be arranged separately.

The Panel’s decision

The panel will send you and the admission authority their decision within 5 school days. You will receive this by letter.

The decision reached by the Panel is legally binding on all parties.

A panel’s decision can only be overturned by a court.

The only circumstances in which a second appeal can be made are if:


  • there were procedural/administrative faults in the first appeal which may have significantly affected the outcome
  • there is a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent, child or school

Further information

Statutory Appeals Team
PO Box 11
Essex, CM1 1LX

Email: (For enquiries only)

Appeals timetable for children starting infant/junior/primary school from September 2018 onwards


16 April 2018 National Offer Day – parents informed of outcome of application
15 May 2018

Deadline by when appeals should have been lodged.

If your appeal is received later than this date it will still be dealt with but it may not be heard before the end of the summer term.

4 June 2018 to 20 July 2018 Appeals heard for those lodged by deadline and where possible for late appeals
September 2018 onwards Appeals heard for any appeals not heard before 20 July


Appeals timetable for children starting secondary school in September 2018

1 March 2018 National Offer Day – parents informed of outcome of application
29 March 2018 Deadline by when appeals should have been lodged.
If your appeal is received later than this date it will still be dealt with but it may not be heard before the end of the summer term.
May and June 2018 Appeals heard for those lodged by the deadline
Up to 20 July 2018 Appeals heard where possible for late appeals
September 2018 onwards Appeals heard for any appeals not heard before 20 July
The appeals timetable above applies to community and voluntary controlled schools.

Foundation, voluntary aided schools and academies may have different timescales for appeals – please check with the individual school.