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Local authorities (LAs) have the power to direct the admission authority of a school to admit a child, where the child:

  • has been refused entry to, or has been excluded from, every suitable school within a reasonable distance
  • is in public care – this is known as a ‘looked-after child’.

When an LA has decided to direct a school to admit a pupil, the governing body of the school can appeal in writing by referring the case to the schools adjudicator.

Reasons for appeal

In the case of a looked-after child, an appeal can only be made on the grounds that the admission of the child to the school would seriously prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

The admission authority of the school must write to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator with reasons why it feels the LA direction should not be made.

A copy of the notice from the LA and any other information considered relevant must be included with the appeal.

Deadlines for appeal

For looked-after children, the appeal must be submitted within seven days.

For all other cases, the appeal needs to be submitted within 15 days.

Please note: these timescales are actual days - not working days - and include weekends, bank holidays and school holidays.