School admission appeals flexibilities extended again to September 2022

Changes to the way appeals process works extended for another year, albeit with slightly different wording

Changes to the way appeals process works extended for another year, albeit with slightly different wording

Flexibilities in the way school admission appeals work will now remain in place until the end of next September, after the government announced a further extension.

The school admission appeals code was amended last April under emergency Covid legislation to give admission authorities, local authorities and appeal panels “some additional flexibility when dealing with appeals” during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary changes were then extended in January to the end of September 2021, but have now been extended for another year, albeit with slightly different wording.

The Department for Education said the extension would give admissions authority admission authorities “sufficient time to deal with the annual peak in appeals for children due to start new schools at the beginning of September 2022”.

But parents will “continue to have the right to appeal to any school which has refused their child a place”.

The amendments to the code disapply the requirement that appeal hearings against refusal of places must be held in person “where it is not reasonably practicable to follow the normal appeals process due to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Instead, there is flexibility for appeals to be heard “either in person, or by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal where all parties can make representations in writing”.

This is a slight change on the previous guidance, which stated that face-to-face hearings  “should not take place until the government guidelines on social distancing indicate it is safe to do so”.

The changes also relax the rules covering what happens if one of the three admission appeals panel members withdraws “temporarily or permanently for reasons due to Covid-19”.

Under the changes, it would be “permissible for the panel to continue with and conclude the appeal as a panel of two”.

The DfE has also amended the deadlines relating to appeals, giving “more flexibility for admission authorities to set new or revised deadlines for submitting an appeal”.

However, appellants will be given “at least” 14 calendar days’ written notice of an appeal hearing, and admissions authorities “must set reasonable deadlines relating to the parties submitting evidence”.

Hearings must be held “as soon as reasonably practicable”, and decision letters should be sent within seven calendar days of the hearing, “wherever possible”.

More from this theme


DfE forks out £5m for Covid inquiry lawyers

The department has contracted a global legal firm based in Manchester for five years

Schools Week Reporter

Long Covid affects 1 in 20 secondary pupils, study suggests

Pupils with symptoms 12 weeks or more after getting Covid are also more likely to suffer mental health problems

Freddie Whittaker

Vacancies for some school leader roles up 85% on pre-Covid rates

Data also suggests more teaching vacancies have been advertised in the last five months than in any of the...

Freddie Whittaker

One in four pupils were persistently absent in autumn 2021

Changes to isolation rules reduced Covid-related absence, but illness drove a rise in other absences

Freddie Whittaker

Williamson provided wine and mince pies for DfE lockdown Xmas party

Sue Gray report finds 50 staff were invited to the 'festive drinks' - organised days in advance

Samantha Booth
Covid, Schools

Another procurement legal row emerges as DfE ‘under stress’

At least three major outsourcing contracts from the DfE have been at the centre of legal challenges

Samantha Booth

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.