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What you need to know if you want to appeal

If you are unsuccessful in your application for a place at a school, you have the right of appeal to an appeal panel that is independent of the Local Authority (LA) and the school.  The decision of the panel is binding on the LA, the school and parents. 

The LA and school governing bodies will have done everything they can to meet the preference of parents whose applications were received by the due date in the first allocation of places within the limits of 'efficient education and the efficient use of resources'.

Each school has a limit on the number of pupils it can accomodate.  This means that some children may not be offered a place at their preferred school because there is no room.  The LA and schools need to consider:

  • the limit imposed by the physical size of the school and the number of pupils to each teacher in each class
  • the LA's duty to provide enough school places accross the whole town, in areas where they are needed
  • the need to keep to a workable minimum the number of spare places being maintained in the borough, so as not to waste any money on school places that are not needed.

The Local Authority's calendar of dates for appeals for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools|.


How do I start the appeal process?

If the school is a Community or Voluntary Controlled school you should apply for an appeal form from the Admissions Services team on 01202 456223 or from this address:

Customer Service Centre

St Stephens Road




If the school is a Foundation, Trust or Voluntary Aided School or an Academy then you need to apply directly to the school.


What happens next?

As soon as possible, you will be informed of the date, time and place at which the appeal panel will meet.  The panel consists of three people who are not connected to the authority or school concerned.

You are encouraged to attend and speak at the panel hearing if you wish.  You may bring a friend to help you put your points to the panel.

The appeal panel will pay particular attention to parental circumstances which support your application for the particular school, together with the Authority's reason for refusal.  The appeals panel is not bound by the admission authority's published criteria and has the power to exceed the school's published admission number.  The panel's decison is binding on the LA, the school and the parents.


Is there anything I can do if the appeal is dismissed?

When an appeal is dismissed, you cannot appeal against the decision of the panel.  However, if you have a complaint about the way in which your appeal has been handled, and you feel you have suffered injustice as a result of maladministration, you can complain to the commission for Local Administration known as the Ombudsman.


Can I appeal more than once?

The local authority will not consider a second or subsequent appeal for a community school in the same academic year unless you can prove that there has been a significant change in your circumstances.  The final decision as to whether this change warrants a fresh appeal will be made by the council's head of law and administration. Such a change could include:

  • Where a sibling link has been created at the preferred school that was not there at the time of the original appeal
  • Where a change of address has occurred which means the home address is significantly closer to the preferred school or is now in the catchment area of the preferred school
  • Where new evidence is introduced and is supported by a letter from the hospital consultant, health visitor, social worker which could not have been introduced at the time of the original hearing

All requests linked to a change in circumstances should be sent to the Admissions Services Team at the Town Hall.


What if my child has special educational needs?

If your child has a statement of special aducational needs and you are unsuccessful in your application for a place at a school, you do have a right of appeal.  You may also wish to contact the Bournemouth Parent Partnership Service on 01202 451970 for impartial, independent information, guidance and support to parents and carers with special educational needs.

Related Information


Postal Address Customer Service Centre,
St Stephens Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
Telephone 01202 456222
Fax 01202 454690
Minicom 01202 454974
Email Enquiries
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