Schools adjudicators work independently from the Department for Education but are appointed by the Secretary of State for Education. They are appointed on their experience and ability to act impartially, independently and objectively.

When considering a case, adjudicators take into account supporting evidence presented by each party, and any general guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) provides support to the adjudication process by providing advice and guidance to ensure papers submitted for adjudicator review are complete and make sure all parties involved in cases are kept fully informed on progress and decisions made.

 The schools adjudicator role

The school adjudicators' legal responsibilities include:

  • ruling on objections to schools’ or local authorities’ admission arrangements, for pupils entering a school in the September of the year following the publication of the contested arrangements
  • resolving local disputes regarding statutory proposals for school reorganisation
  • making the final decision on building new schools when the local authority is either the sole bidder or part of a multi-bid 'competition' of bidders
  • ruling on appeals from schools against a direction from a local authority for the school to admit a particular pupil
  • ruling on appeals sought by either a school or local authority regarding the transfer and disposal of non-playing field land and assets when a school changes its status to become its own admissions authority.