Advice for Wigan parents who miss out on their child’s first-choice primary school place

Anxious parents waiting to hear if their children have secured a place at their preferred primary school are being given advice on steps to take if they do not get in.

With national offer day for primary school places approaching on Tuesday, Wigan-based law firm Stephensons is advising parents who are unhappy with their allocated place that they may be able to appeal.

Mike Pemberton, who specialises in education law, said: “When you consider that it is going to have an effect on the next seven years of your child’s life as they develop, it is not surprising that national offer day can be stressful. The main thing is not to panic.

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“Parents’ starting point should be to firstly look closely at the school your child has been given a place for, there may well be more merits in that option than you first realise.”

Mike Peberton, partner and head of the civil liberties & public law team at Stephensons, specialises in education law.
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For parents who still want to appeal, Stephensons suggested this nine-step plan:

Find out who to appeal to, as the type of school will determine who will consider your appeal, such as the academy trust, local authorities or governing body. Check the admissions policy of the school by referring to its website and ensure that the correct policy has been followed. Find out the published admission number of the school. The law for reception and infant classes means there can only be 30 children per qualified teacher unless there are exceptional circumstances, which comes under section four of the school admissions appeal code. Check if the school’s oversubscription policy has been applied correctly. You may also want to check the School Admissions Code of Practice 2014, School Admissions Appeals Code 2012 and relevant parts of the School’s Standards and Framework Act 1998. Gather evidence supporting any medical, social or other exceptional circumstances you wish to rely upon. An appeal must be made in writing, so do this in good time. Consider whether you will need assistance or representation. As a parent you’re entitled to be represented by a friend or lawyer and it is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible. Once an appeal is logged it must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline.