Types of appeals

Infant class size (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2)

Infant class sizes are limited to 30 pupils per teacher by law. 

This means:

  • the appeal panel’s grounds are strictly limited on when they can uphold an appeal
  • it is exceptionally rare for parents to win an infant class appeal

Due to the limits of the panel, parents often find the process frustrating. We draw this to your attention so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to appeal.

Due to legal limits on class size, if the school refuses your child a place because admitting them would breach this limit, then your appeal will be considered an infant class size appeal. This is different from all other school admission appeals.

When the panel may uphold the appeal

The panel may only uphold the appeal where:

  1. it finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit; or
  2. it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied, and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or
  3. it decides that the decision to refuse admission was ‘perverse in light of the published admission arrangements’

How 'perverse' is defined

'Perverse' here means that the decision is not rational in light of the published admission arrangements and its legal responsibilities. This is not in terms of the views of the parents or your personal situation. 

The appeal panel would need to be satisfied that the decision was so completely absurd or outrageous that no reasonable person would have made the same decision while

  • following the same process
  • with the same facts and figures
  • referencing the same published admission arrangements and government legislation

It is extremely difficult to win an infant class size appeal on this ground. 

It is unlikely that a decision that makes it impossible for you to transport all your family to school on time or even impossible for you to continue working would be considered perverse.

See the Local Government Ombudsman website for more details. 

Future prejudice appeals

Future prejudice appeals follow the same rules as the infant class size appeals. They also apply to Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. 

Future prejudice is when in the future, the 30 children to 1 teacher ratio may be broken due to changes in how classes and years are structured at the school. This may be several years in the future.

Normal prejudice appeals

The independent appeal panel will consider both your case for wanting the school, and the school’s case for why they are not able to admit any more children.

If the appeal panel decides that your case for your child is stronger than the case for the school, it will uphold your appeal. 

If the appeal panel decides that the school’s case is stronger than your case for your child, it will dismiss your appeal.

If your child has been refused a place, the school will argue that another child will cause prejudice to the efficient education or efficient use of resources in the school.

Prejudice to the efficient education or efficient use of resources means there will be an adverse effect on the education and resources provided by the school if they have to admit another child. The school’s case will explain how admitting an extra child will have a negative effect.

Usually only the strongest of parent’s cases are successful against the school’s case. Wanting your child to go to a school because you think it is the best one in the area is not likely to convince the panel that your child should get a place there.