A new Code came in to force on 17 January 2008 and applies to appeals in respect of decisions on admission communicated on or after 1 March 2008.
The Secretary of State has written:
"This Code and the Regulations strive to strike a balance between two tensions in the system â€“ the right of parents to have a fair hearing, and the right of schools to have some protection against admitting so many more children than planned that it will have a detrimental effect.
The Code is very clear that anyone who has a connection with the school or who could in any way be perceived as being partial must not sit on an appeal panel ...... clerks must be truly independent of the school and education or childrenâ€™s services department of the local authority. Parents have complained about the unreasonable time they have to wait to have their appeal heard, and the Code addresses this by specifying the timescale within which an appeal must be held. To prevent parents feeling â€˜outnumberedâ€™ where the admission authority sends more than one person to present its case, the Code makes it clear that it should be the norm for only one presenting officer to attend. But it does make allowance for a head teacher or other appropriate person to accompany the presenting officer to answer questions about the school. However, the additional personâ€™s attendance is restricted solely to this role.
Schools themselves have complained of the effect of what they perceive to be too many appeals being upheld without regard to the effect this will have, and of the burden of having to administer what can sometimes be a large number of appeals. The Code guides panels to have proper regard to the impact of additional admissions on the efficient provision of education and use of resources, and to the obligation schools are under to admit additional children through In-Year Fair Access Protocols when they may have already admitted to their published admission number.
I appreciate the burden on schools of administering appeals. But it is also a concern to me that appeal panels established by own-admission authority schools [e.g. foundation and VA schools] are so often found failing by the Local Government Ombudsman, when they could avoid this by working together or with their local authority ......."
Nationally, most appeals relate to oversubscription rather than non-qualification, and the new Code like the old one reflects this.
You can find a copy of the new Code here:
Be careful to select â€œSchool Admission Appeals Codeâ€