Your right to appeal
If your child has been refused a place at Nishkam School West London and you are unhappy with the alternative you have been offered, you have the right to appeal against the decision of the admissions authority. The right to appeal is given under the School Standards and Framework Act, 1998. Please note that you must have applied for the school place through the Admissions Team before you can appeal. You can only make one appeal per school, in a single academic year, unless there are changed circumstances.
Who considers the appeal?
Your appeal will be heard by an Independent Panel, consisting of three people drawn from a list of volunteers. These people are often school or parent governors, teachers or other people with an interest in education. However, they will have no connection with Nishkam School West London and are complete independent. You will be invited to come to a hearing to put your case to the Independent Panel.
When will my appeal be heard?
Appeal hearings generally take place during the day on weekdays during school term time. Your appeal will be scheduled for the next available session after it has been lodged. However, at some times of the year there are exceptional numbers of appeals to be heard and the wait may be a little longer. This usually means that the same panel will hear appeals over a period of a few days.
Where will my appeal be heard?
Normally appeal hearings take place at Nishkam School West London. There will be a designated waiting area outside the room and the Clerk to the Appeal Panel will come to collect you when the Panel are ready to see you.
How much notice will I get of the appeal date?
Ten school days before the hearing, you will be told where and when your appeal will be heard. A week before the hearing, you will be sent a statement from the school setting out the reasons why the admissions authority could not offer your child a place at the school. We also suggest that you read first the school’s written statement which explains in detail why it could not offer a place at the school and how the admission arrangements were applied. You will be asked if you have any questions regarding this statement. Please bring these papers with you as they will help you at the hearing.
All schools have published admission arrangements. The statement from the school sets out how your application was considered in accordance with the admissions arrangements for the school. At the beginning of the appeal hearing, you will hear the reasons why your child could not be offered a place at the school. The panel invite you to tell them your reasons why you would like a place at the school. If the panel accept that there were no mistakes when your application was processed and that the admission of another child would prejudice efficient education, they then come to the balancing stage. This is a difficult task. The panel -will use its discretion to weigh up the advantages which would be achieved by complying with your preference as against the problems it would cause the school by admitting an additional pupil.
Who attends the hearing?
Normally those attending will be the three Independent Panel members, the Clerk to the Panel, and representatives of Nishkam School West London, as well as yourself and any representative you wish to bring.
You do not have to attend the appeal. Someone who is prepared to represent you can attend on your behalf or the appeal can go ahead using the written appeal statement and any supporting paperwork that you have provided. Please indicate on the appeal form if you do not wish to attend the hearing. You will still be notified when the appeal hearing will be in case you change your mind. Equally, if you have indicated that you will attend and you are then unable to, please notify the clerk.
One of the three Panel members will have been elected as Chair to the Panel and will lead the proceedings. The Clerk is there to advise the Panel on procedures and to ensure that the hearing proceeds correctly.
Please feel free to ask the Clerk any questions if you are unsure of the procedures to be followed or what is happening at the hearing. The Nishkam School West London representative is there to explain the reasons why it has not been possible to offer your child a place at the school of your preference. They will also explain what the problems will be for the school if another child were to be admitted in that year group.
What information do I need to supply?
The Appeal Panel makes a decision based on the information they are given by both you and the Admissions Authority. The better the information they receive, the better their judgement is likely to be. Please supply as much information and evidence as you can to support your case. Please let us have this information 7 working days before the hearing so that the Panel have the opportunity to consider it fully. The panel will not be able to consider any additional evidence at the hearing.
How long will the hearing take?
We normally allow 20 minutes for each hearing, since experience has shown that generally this is a reasonable amount of time for all sides to put their case. However, this is not prescriptive. Some appeals take a little longer, some a little less time. You will be allowed reasonable time to present your case fully.
What will happen at the hearing?
When you enter the room you will be invited to take a seat facing the Appeals Panel of three people. The representative of the Admission Authority and/or the School will be invited to come in at the same time. The Chair and the Clerk will introduce all the other people present and will explain the proposed order of the hearing.
The usual order is as set out below:
- The representative(s) of the Admission Authority/School will be asked to put the School’s case to the Appeals Panel.
- The parents/carers and the Appeal Panel may then ask questions of the Admission Authority/School’s representative.
- The parents will be asked to give their reasons for appealing.
- The Panel and the Admission Authority/School’s representative(s) may then ask questions of the parents/carers.
- The Admission Authority/School’s representative(s) will be asked to sum up.
- The parents/carers are given the opportunity of having the last word.
It is very important that you feel that you have had a fair hearing and the opportunity to provide the Panel with all the evidence you think they need to make an informed decision.
How does the Appeals Panel reach its decision?
For most appeals, the Panel is required to make its decision in two stages. At the first stage the Panel has to consider the school’s case alone and to decide whether they feel that there would be ‘prejudice to the provision of efficient education and efficient use of resources’, that is, would there be a problem for the school if additional pupils were to be admitted to the school.
The Panel must also be satisfied that the published admission arrangements are legal; and that these were correctly applied to your application for a place. If the Panel decide that there would be no problem (no prejudice) for the school to take extra pupils, the appeal will be upheld at the first stage.
On the other hand, if the Panel accept that there would be prejudice, they move to the second stage. At this stage they look at the individual circumstances of your case and are asked to decide whether on balance the problems you face in not having a place for your child at that school, outweigh the prejudice to the school of admitting additional pupils. If the Panel decide that your circumstances do outweigh the prejudice to the school, your appeal will be successful. However, if they feel, taking all the points you have raised into account, that the problem for the school is greater, your appeal will be unsuccessful.
Different rules apply for Infant Class Size appeals where the law seeks to restrict the number of children in each class to 30 pupils with one teacher. For these appeals to be successful, you will need to show:
• The admission of additional children would not breach the Infant Class Size Limit.;
• That the admission arrangements were not legal and were not correctly and impartially applied to your application and that your child would have been offered a place if no error had been made.
• Or that the Admissions Authority had not acted “reasonably” in the circumstances of your case. This is a tough test for which you would need to provide evidence to the Panel.
When will I be notified of the decision?
The clerk will write to you with the decision as soon as possible after it has been made. The time does vary. Sometimes an appeal panel will be hearing appeals over several days. The panel makes all their decisions at the same time after they have heard all of the appeals for that school. All parents will be notified of the decisions at the same time, although the day they attended for the hearing will vary. You will be told at the end of the hearing when you can expect to receive a letter with the decision.
What happens next?
The decision of the independent appeal panel is final and binding on all parties. If your appeal is successful, arrangements will be made via the School for your child to start.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, you have no further right of appeal. You do have the right to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, but only where you believe there have been faults in the procedure the appeal hearing has followed, not simply because you do not like the decision the Panel has made.
How do I make an appeal?
Parents wishing to appeal must complete the Online Appeals Form below. Please ensure all sections are completed and reasons given for the appeal.
What does an appeal cost?
You will not be charged for appealing against the decision not to offer your child a place. Each appeal will cost the school.
In Year Appeals
In year admission appeals will be heard within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged or as soon as reasonably practical.
Appealing after the deadline
If you appeal after the deadline, your appeal will still be scheduled, but it may be heard later than those who returned their appeal forms on time.
Please let us know on the appeal form if you have any disabilities or special requirements and need assistance. We will try and meet your needs where possible.
You may have an interpreter at your appeal hearing, if you would like us to arrange this for you please notify us on the appeal form. Alternatively, if you would prefer, you may arrange your own interpreter. If you are doing this, please let us know when lodging your appeal or as soon as possible before the hearing.
Please note that all information received for appeals will be shared with the Independent Appeals Panel Members hearing your case, and the Independent Clerk doing the administrative work.
This form is for Nishkam School West London only.
Please inform us if you change your mind about attending or decide to withdraw your appeal, so that we can inform the panel and prevent any unnecessary delays to other appellants.
Appeal Hearing arrangements due to Covid-19
In line with government guidance Nishkam School West London will not be holding face to face appeal hearings. All appellants will be contacted in due course with more details. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/admission-appeals-for-school-places
Deadline for appeals
Appeals Timetable for on time Year 7 and Reception Sept 2022 appeals
|Phase||National Offer Day||Appeals lodged by||Appeals to be heard by|
|Secondary phase||1 March 2022||29 March 2022||16 June 2022 (40 School days)|
|Primary phase||19 April 2022||18 May 2022||20 July 2022 (40 School days)|
In-Year appeals – on going.
Please download a copy of the Appeal Form
Once completed please email the below email address depending on the year group the appeal is for along with any supporting evidence.
Reception to Year 6 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Year 7 to Year 10 - email@example.com