Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Admissions appeal

As the admissions appeals season gets underway, schools should be aware that the courts have been increasingly requiring independent appeals panels to provide reasons for their decisions and to have sufficient notes of their deliberations to allow their rationale to be thoroughly understood.

Decisions will be overturned where reasons have not been given in sufficient detail for the admissions authority to know what has been done wrong.

The courts have also become interested in the circumstances in which a local authority has the right to ignore the decision of an independent appeals panel and require a school to admit a child.

In a case in Hertfordshire, the claim was rejected that the local authority was bound to override a decision if a child had been turned down by one nearby school.

The relevant clause of the Standards and Framework Act (clause 96) was interpreted the way it was originally intended by Parliament; that is, to refer to a 'child with a reputation' which no local school wanted, not as a way to evade the normal admissions process.

This clause ensures that no child can be left without a school, but it is an exceptional power.

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