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Don't give up if your child misses their school of choice, you can always appeal!

I have met a lovely couple Mrs Maria Proszowska and her husband Mr Mariusz Proszowski.Their first son was not allocated any of the three prefered secendary school choices. They have appealed, but unfortunately the appeal was unsuccessful, the application was turned down.

Their second son also didn’t get the secondary school from the list of their three choices. As you can imagine this could be a very stressful situation, of course as a parent you would like your child to go to your prefered school. All parents hope that you get the decision that they want and can celebrate the good news with their child. However, if you are not successful and you receive a letter from your local authority stating that your child has not got a place at your chosen school, what happens next? Firstly, do not panic and try not to get upset – especially in front of your child. Obviously, a negative decision is hugely disappointing but don’t forget that there are things that you can do. 

What should you do if you don’t get the school of your choice? Accept the decision? Or fight it tooth and nail?

Mrs Maria Pruszkowska and Mr Mariusz Proszkowski knew they had to appeal. They recognised that the start of secondary school is the time to make a concerted effort to do the best for their child.

They also had help from Diversity Voice and Local Council, who met them and advised them what's the best to do. Somerset County Council provides interpreters. 

If you feel you need help with school appealing you can ask Diversity Voice for help. We also provide translaters. We aim to promote welfare, provide information and create a support network for members of All communities living and working in the North & West Dorset, West Wiltshire, Somerset and North Somerset and East of Devon of England. 


Diversity Voice

Victoria Park Community Centre
Victoria Park Drive
Bridgwater, TA6 7AS

Tel: 03000 750 105
Fax: 03000 750 106

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There are other organisations who can help you. One of them is Somerset SENDIAS. 

Choice Advice offers impartial information and support on schools' admissions and the transition process.The Somerset Choice Advice Service is an impartial service which supports families with advice and practical support through the school admissions and appeals processes.

Information can be provided about all schools in your area however it is families who decide the best choice to make for their child's requirements. The Choice Advice Service cannot guarantee or offer a place at a specific school.

This service exists to ensure that parents are able to play an active and informed role in securing a school place for their child. Moe infomration link below.


If you need any further help or information on Choice Advice please contact:

The Choice Advice Service
Somerset SENDIAS
The Holway Centre
Byron Road
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone: 07775 027442 

It can be extremely difficult to win an appeal on the grounds that the decision to refuse your child a place wasn’t reasonable, so make sure that you do lots of research and prepare your case thoroughly. For an appeal to be successful, it needs to be proven that the admission criteria have not been applied correctly and/or that admitting your child would not cause prejudice to the school. 

The important thing if you want to appeal is to understand how the system operates and know how to work it to your advantage.

In theory, the procedures are quite straightforward. Local education authorities advise parents how and when to appeal and those appeals are then heard in the course of the spring and summer by panels made up of three to five independent members. It is not a court of law, with proceedings riddled with legal jargon, but more like an employment tribunal.

Unfortunately The Pruszkowski family didn’t win the appeal, but they didn’t give up and have put their child’s name on the waiting list. They have received an email a month later in October that their son got a place in Heathfield School - their first choice from the list.

So remember don’t despair. If you loose , you can still put your child’s name on the waiting list for your school of choice. Bear in mind that a lot can happen between spring and autumn, places maybe become available. You can remain on the waiting list as long as you like. Of course, you’ll want to think about the impact of moving your child once she’s settled in to school.



Admission criteria

All schools have admission criteria to decide which children get places. The school or local council usually set these.

Admission criteria are different for each school. For example, schools may give priority to children:

  • who have a brother or sister at the school already
  • who live close to the school
  • from a particular religion (for faith schools)
  • who do well in an entrance exam (for selective schools, for example grammar schools or stage schools)
  • who went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)
  • in care or being looked after (all schools must have this as a top priority)
  • who are eligible for the pupil premium

Your local council can give you a booklet about schools’ criteria and how to apply.

For more information abut schools- admissions/ appealing click on this link below.