Secondary admissions guide - school admission appeals

This section is to provide parents/carers with general information regarding the school admissions appeals process.

The School Admission Appeals Code provides more detail on how the appeal process should be administered and what parents/carers can expect from the appeal process – including how appeals may be different following the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be found on the Department for Education (DfE) website.

Please be advised that all Bromley secondary schools are their own admissions authorities and therefore London Borough of Bromley is not responsible for, nor has any involvement, in the administration of the appeals process for Bromley secondary schools.

The deadline to submit an on-time admission appeal is 25 March 2024. Individual school’s deadline dates my differ and it is important to note that any appeals submitted after the relevant deadline date may not be heard at the same time as appeals submitted on-time.

Why was my child refused a particular school?

The council has a duty to ensure that all Bromley resident children whose parents/carers apply for a school place at the appropriate time, receive a single offer of a school place via the co-ordinated admissions process. Wherever possible, this will be the highest available named school on your application.

If it has not been possible to offer a place at any of the schools you named and you are a Bromley resident, you would have been allocated a place at an alternative school with a vacancy.

Each child has been considered against the highest possible criteria applicable to them for each school named on their application. If it was not possible to offer one of your preferences, it will have been because there were more preferences for the school than places available and your child did not rank highly enough against the school’s oversubscription criteria, compared to others who also applied to the school, to be offered a place.

If you wish to have further details on the specific reasons for the refusal of a place for your child, so that you can prepare your appeal submission accordingly, please contact the Bromley Admissions and Transport Team on

Which schools or academies can I appeal for?

You have a right of appeal to any school named on your application that has refused your child a place. You cannot appeal for a school that was not named on your application.

How do I lodge an appeal for a school?

As all Bromley secondary schools are their own admission authorities, you will need to lodge your appeal directly with the school. To find out how to do this, please contact the relevant school. Contact details are provided at the end of this guide.

How many schools can I appeal for?

You can lodge appeals for more than one school, as long as you have named the school on your application. You will need to complete a separate appeal form for each school.

Each school will not know that you have appealed for another school unless you advise them.

Each appeal made is specific to that school and each process is completely independent of the school.

Can I appeal for a school I did not originally name on my application?

If you express a school as an additional preference for the first time, you will have the right of appeal to that school if a place cannot be offered from the waiting list.

Can I provide more information once I have submitted my appeal form?

When receiving notification of the date of your appeal hearing, you should also receive a deadline date for the submission of any further evidence that was not supplied with your initial appeal request.

It will be for the appeal panel to decide whether or not to accept any additional information or evidence provided after the deadline date and you should be aware that it is possible that such material may not be considered or may result in your appeal hearing being adjourned.

Can someone represent or support me at the actual appeal hearing?

If you wish you can be accompanied or represented by a friend, interpreter or signer who may speak on your behalf. You must ensure that your friend/representative does not have any conflict of interest with the council, or the school being appealed for. The majority of parent/carers choose to represent themselves.

Your child’s current school can provide support (either in person or in writing) if they wish to. You can discuss this with them if you feel it would be of assistance to your appeal.

Representatives from the school being appealed for are not permitted to support individual appeals for places in their school in any way. This includes attending the appeal hearing to support parents/carers or submitting letters of support, as this would create a conflict of interests and unfairness to other appellants.

Who considers my appeal?

Your appeal will be heard by an Independent Appeal Panel which has no connection to the school or the admissions processes. It is the panel that makes the decision on whether or not to uphold your appeal and grant your child a place. The panel’s decision is binding on all parties, including the school and the council.

You will usually be invited to attend the appeal hearing (this may be by video/telephone call) and put over the case as to why you wish your child to attend the relevant school. The school will also be represented to provide their reasons as to why a place cannot be offered and why they cannot admit further children.

Some admissions authorities may be hearing appeals based on written submission only. If this is the case, they must advise you of this in advance of the hearing and give you a deadline as to when you can submit your case/supporting information in writing.

There will be a clerk present, who ensures that the correct procedure is followed throughout and keeps a full record of proceedings.

What happens at an appeal?

If there are a large number of appeals for a school, there is an option to hold a ‘grouped appeal’ to look at the specific issue of ‘fullness’ (i.e., The school’s case is that they are full and cannot admit further children)

The panel will listen to the case put forward by the school and the responses to questions put forward by the panel, parents/carers, and their representatives. There will be no discussion at this point on individual cases.

Appeals are not heard unless the school is full and has admitted children up to its published admission number (or where the appeal is for a grammar school and the child is assessed as non-grammar).  An appeal panel can decide to admit further children into the school that is full and place the school over its published admission number provided that this will not be prejudicial to the effective provision of education. The panel will also ensure that the admissions arrangements meet the legal requirements and have been correctly applied in your child’s case.

If the panel decides that all the children who are the subject of the appeals could be admitted without causing prejudice to the school, it must uphold all of the appeals (unless the appeals are for a grammar School and your child has been assessed as non-grammar). If, however the panel is satisfied that the admissions authority has proven that it would be prejudicial to admit any additional children (i.e., the school is full) the panel will then proceed to hear individual appeals on the date notified.

At the second stage the panel hears individual cases in private with the child’s parent/carer and representative (if any) present and with the clerk and presenting officer in attendance and decides if your individual grounds for admission to the school outweigh the prejudice. If there are several cases, which outweigh prejudice to the school and merit admission, but the panel determines the school could not cope with that number of successful appeals; the panel must then compare all cases and decide which of them to uphold.

The panel must not make its decisions on individual appeals until all cases have been heard.

What does first stage and second stage appeals mean?

Where parent/carers have been refused a place on the grounds that their child’s admission would “prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources” (i.e., the school is full), the independent appeal panel is required to follow a two-stage process.

First stage - the panel will examine the decision to refuse admission.

The panel must consider the following matters in relation to each child that is the subject of an appeal:

i. Whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998;


ii. Whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in each case.

The panel must then decide whether the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

Where the admission authority is able to satisfy the appeal panel that there would be prejudice, the panel must move to the second stage to decide whether any of the individual appellant’s cases outweigh prejudice.

However, in multiple appeals where a number of children would have been offered a place in the school, and the panel considers that to admit that number would seriously prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources, the panel must proceed to the second stage.

The panel must also proceed to the second stage where:

  • It finds that the admission arrangements did comply with admissions law and that they were correctly and impartially applied to the child; or
  • It finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with the admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied but that, if they had been correctly and impartially applied, the child would not have been offered a place.

Second stage - balancing the arguments.

The panel must balance the prejudice to the school against the appellants’ case for the child to be admitted to the school.

However, if the panel finds that there are more cases that outweigh prejudice than it considers the school can admit, it will then compare cases and uphold those with the strongest case for admission. 

Is the appeal process different for grammar schools?

Generally, the answer is no, however it is important to note that there are two different types of appeals for grammar schools.

Allocation appeals - This is where your child has been assessed as grammar but has been refused a place at the school when the oversubscription criteria have been applied.

Assessment appeals - This is where your child has been assessed as non-grammar, but you believe that they are of grammar ability.

Can I appeal for a place at a school outside of Bromley?

If you applied for a school outside of Bromley and were unsuccessful, you still have the right of appeal for that school.

You will need to contact the admissions team for the Local Authority where the school is located or the relevant school to find out details of their appeal process. There is usually a time limit on this, and it is suggested you contact them as soon as possible.