National Offer Day 2020: What to do if you don’t get your first choice of secondary school?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Tens of thousands of families across England will find out which secondary school their child will attend from September on what is known as National Offer Day.

Councils will reveal whether children secured their first-choice secondary school on Monday. 

The majority of Year 6 pupils in England will receive an offer from their top choice of school, but a youngster’s chance of winning a place at their preferred school can vary depending on where they live. 

Secondary schools have already begun to see a rise in numbers, prompted by a spike in the birth rate in the early 2000s. The large numbers in primary schools are now entering the secondary school sector.

What can parents do if their child does not get their preferred school?

If the family is unhappy with the school offered then they can challenge it through an appeal with the admission authority. This will be the council or the school - depending on whether it is an academy.

Parents can also add their child to the waiting list for other schools if they are disappointed. 

Families should check the school admissions appeal code before deciding whether to appeal a place. 

What is the appeal process like?

The appeal process can be lengthy and families who choose to enter it must provide strong evidence as to why their child should be granted a place at their preferred secondary school. 

Appeal hearings will normally take place between eight and 12 weeks after National Offer Day, and in some cases they can occur as late as June or July. 

Figures released last year revealed that the number of parents appealing because they are unhappy with their child's allocated place in secondary school has increased by a third over the past three years. 

However, the proportion of secondary school appeals that were successful fell slightly. In 2018-19, 23.3 per cent of appeal cases were successful compared with 26.6 per cent in 2015-16, the figures show. 

Source: Independent