What you can appeal and how to make an appeal.

Right to appeal

You've a right to appeal to an independent appeal panel against the decision to refuse your child a place at your preferred school.

Appeals for  the academic year 2023/2024  must be made by  5 June 2023.

Appeals are heard from the end of June.

Appeals in previous years

See information about appeals heard and outcome for September 2022.

Appeal guidance

Read the primary school new reception admissions appeal procedure below for information on presenting your case to the appeals panel.

Infant class size appeals

To make an infant class size appeal for a Bristol community school read:

To find out if your preferred school is a community school see reception places and admissions policies.

Infant class size appeals

Government legislation means that infant classes (reception, year 1 and year 2) with one teacher can't contain more than 30 pupils.

At the appeal the independent appeal panel can only look at whether:

  • the admission arrangements were lawful
  • the admission arrangements were incorrectly applied and your child should have been offered a place.
  • it was unreasonable or perverse (in law) to refuse your preference.  The appeal panel would need to be satisfied that the decision was so completely absurd or outrageous that no reasonable person, with the same facts would have made that decision 

It is unlikely that a decision that makes it impossible for you to transport all your family to school on time or even impossible for you to continue working would be considered perverse.

If the admissions authority refused a place to a child who had to move house under a witness protection scheme, a panel might decide that the decision is perverse. This decision is up to the panel.

'Unreasonable' here means that an admission authority's decision is not rational in light of the admission arrangements in terms of its legal responsibilities or is outrageous in its defiance of logic.  It is extremely difficult to win an infant class size appeal on this ground.

Appeal hearing

You're encouraged to come and speak at the appeal hearing.

If an appeal is dismissed

When an appeal is dismissed there is no automatic right to a second appeal. A second appeal can only be granted if a relevant and significant change in circumstances has occurred since the original appeal was heard. A significant change in circumstances would include:

  • a sibling has been offered a place or started at the preferred school since the original appeal and this information was not known at the time of the original hearing
  •  you have moved house so that the home address is significantly closer to the preferred school
  • new evidence which couldn't have been introduced at the time of the original appeal hearing is introduced and supported by, for example, a letter from a doctor, psychologist or social worker.

What happens if places become available in the year group at your preferred school

If places become available after the start of the appeal hearings but before the decisions are made, they will be allocated in accordance with the published criteria to children whose parents have lodged a formal appeal or have decided to remain on the waiting list together with any late applications received.

If places become available after meetings of the independent appeal panel but before the start of the academic year,  they'll be allocated in accordance with the published criteria to children whose parents have an outstanding application for a place at the school.


Contact information

School admissions

Bristol City Council (City Hall)
PO Box 3399
Bristol, BS1 9NE

To contact us, fill in our school admissions contact form.

Tel: 0117 903 7694

Opening Hours

Telephones: 9am - 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am - 4.30pm Friday.