How to appeal primary school allocation

How do I appeal the decision to not offer my child a place in our first choice school?

How do I appeal the decision not to offer my child a place in our first choice school?


Your offer letter will tell you how you can appeal. 

You can appeal if:

  • The admission arrangements have not been followed properly
  • The decision to refuse your child a place was​‘not reasonable’

You’ll be invited to a hearing at the school where you will have the chance to explain why you are appealing the decision. There will usually be three people at the hearing, which is independent from the school.

They will use the School Admissions Appeals Code to decide if your appeal is valid and you should hear the outcome within five days of the hearing.


You can find information on how to appeal on your local authority​’s website. Details of the process will be provided by the local authority when your appeal is submitted. 

Northern Ireland

You’ll need an AT1 Form, which can be submitted on the Education Authority website.

You can appeal if you believe the school did not fairly apply their admissions criteria and your case will be heard by an Independent Admissions Appeal tribunal. 

They’ll consider the evidence available to the school’s board of governors when they offer school places. They can’t take into account any additional information that wasn’t made available at that time and they won’t challenge a school’s admissions criteria. 

The tribunal can only uphold an appeal if:

  • they find the school didn’t apply or didn’t apply correctly its admissions criteria


  • they find the school would have offered the child a place if it had applied its admissions criteria correctly

You’ll find out their decision by post and if your appeal is successful, the school will offer your child a place. The tribunal’s decision is legally binding on you and the school. 

What happens if my appeal is unsuccessful?


You can’t appeal again. You can make a complaint about the way the appeals process was carried out but this won’t alter the decision. If you applied for a place at an academy, you can escalate your complaint to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.


Your local authority website will explain any further options. 

Northern Ireland

You can’t appeal again but if you’re unhappy about the way the appeal process was carried out, you can complain to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

Can I apply for a place at a different school mid-term?

England and Wales 

Yes, it’s perfectly possible to move children at any point during the academic year but do wait until you have a firm offer of a place at another school before withdrawing your child from their current school. You’ll need to visit your local authority​’s website to find out how to start the process. 

Northern Ireland

The Education Authority in your area will be able to discuss your options.