Education Law Solicitors

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The 1st of March is National Offer day for secondary school placements for September 2023 (Year 7) and we have listed a number of frequently asked questions, their answers, plus details on the process and appeals.

What is the 1st March deadline?
If your child is due to start secondary school in September 2023 (in Year 7), then Local Authorities must inform you of the name of the secondary school that they have been allocated a place at. This does not apply if your child has an EHCP. If they do, please click here for further advice.

Why is the 1st March deadline so important?
It will confirm what secondary school placement your child will attend from September 2023, hence you can begin to prepare your child for this. It will also provide time for you to appeal the decision. As long as your appeal is submitted on time, the appeal will be heard before the end of the academic year, therefore in advance of their transfer to secondary school.

What can I do if my child is not allocated any secondary school placement for September 2023?
The deadline is set out in law, and if a Local Authority does not inform you of the name of the Year 7 secondary school placement allocated by this date, they will be in breach of this law. Ultimately, this can be challenged through either a claim for Judicial Review or a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. At this point you cannot pursue both options, therefore we recommend seeking advice from a specialist education solicitor on which of these would be more appropriate. Our experience suggests that sending the Local Authority a detailed legal letter, called a ‘Letter Before Claim’, normally leads to the Local Authority informing the parents of the allocated secondary school placement. This approach is generally quicker than waiting for the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to consider a complaint.

How do I challenge the allocated secondary school placement?
After the Local Authority confirm which Year 7 secondary school placement your child has been allocated, they must also inform you of your right of appeal to the an Independent Appeal Panel. As part of this process you will be given the opportunity to set out your case in writing and to attend a Hearing either in person or virtually. Independent Appeal Panels must follow a two stage process when determining appeals. You will not normally be told the decision until after the Hearing.

Does it affect my right of appeal if I want my child to attend a Grammar School?
No, you can still appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel if you would like your child to attend a Grammar School. The Independent Appeal Panel must still follow the two stage process when determining appeals but they will also need to be satisfied that the child is suitable.

What help is available?
We are. If you need assistance with an appeal please contact us by calling 0333 202 7175 or emailing

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