The law on ... Admissions hearings

10th April 2009 at 01:00

Basic issues

This is the season for admission appeal hearings. At the beginning of last month, thousands of children across the country received their decisions on secondary school admission for September 2009.

Many schools will be involved with the hearing and will be invited to present evidence to defend the appeal brought by the parent.

Who is responsible?

The school's admissions authority is responsible for ensuring that all the evidence is presented to the panel.

The panel's job is to weigh up the prejudice to the school and the prejudice to the child in not admitting him or her.

The presenting officer must provide evidence that clearly demonstrates why there would be prejudice to the school as a whole if one more child were admitted.

This could include why it is not possible to physically put one more child in a particular classroom, how many special needs children may be present in any classroom and the risk to the school if capacity were to increase.

What happens then?

If the presenting officer is able to show that there is serious prejudice to the school in admitting another child, it is then up to the parents to show that the prejudice in not admitting their child far outweighs the prejudice to the school.

A parent might base their case on medical or social reasons and would need to provide written evidence from a doctor or other professional to support this.

Other useful evidence, depending on the type of case, could include letters from teachers at the child's current school, journey maps, evidence of bullying or confirmation of a change of address.

The panel must then weigh up the evidence and decide whether or not to admit the child.

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