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On what grounds can I appeal?

You are not limited on the grounds on which you base an appeal, however, please be aware that the panel will only uphold an appeal in very specific circumstances. 

You would need to demonstrate that:

  • the admission arrangements have not been properly followed
  • the admission criteria do not comply with the school admissions code
  • the school is the only school in the area that would be suitable for your child


Below are some common reasons that parents give for appealing, but which are unlikely to persuade a panel to override the school’s decision.

  • The school is the best in the area. The panel will understand your disappointment at not being offered a place, but the appeals process is not an opportunity to make a second application.
  • My child is very able and will be a credit to the school. Portfields Primary School is not academically selective, so do not consider academic ability when offering places.
  • This is the closest school to me. For popular schools it is often the case that the school cannot offer places to families who live relatively close by. Places are allocated using information on distance provided by the local authority.
  • Children who live further away were offered a place. This will be because those children have a higher priority in the published oversubscription criteria. For example, they might be a sibling of someone already at the school.
  • My child’s cousins or friends go to the school. According to our admission policy, the only connection to other children that schools can consider are siblings. We recognise that it would be easier for a child to attend the same school as their friends and wider family members, but it would not be lawful to consider this information when allocating places.


Infant class sizes

The law states reception (EYFS), Year 1 and Year 2 classes may not normally contain more than 30 pupils with a single teacher. As such, there are limited grounds in which an appeal for an infant class will be successful.

There are only three grounds on which infant class size appeals can be upheld.


  1. If the panel finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit.
  2. The panel finds that the admission arrangements for the school 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. Here, the panel must be satisfied not only did the arrangements not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied but also the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied.
  3. The panel decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would make in the circumstances of the case. Please note that the law defines ‟unreasonable‟ very narrowly in these cases and it means a decision which was “perverse in the light of the admission arrangements”, i.e. it was “beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker” or a decision which is “so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind could have arrived at it.”. The panel must use the legal definition of unreasonable‟, and not their own personal definitions.


If the panel decides that the answer to any of the above categories is yes then your appeal may be allowed. Otherwise your appeal will be refused. Please note that the panel may also take into account the practical consequences for the school and the children in relevant infant classes if any or all the appeals were to be successful.


Making an appeal

If you wish to submit an appeal, please use this form: