How can I appeal secondary school place in Kent or Medway after National Offer Day today

Thousands of parents found out this week which secondary school their child has been allocated for September.

But if offer day hasn't brought you the news that you were hoping for, what can you do next?

Children going to secondary school this September will be told on March 1 where they can go
Children going to secondary school this September will be told on March 1 where they can go

Not getting your child’s secondary school of choice can be a massive blow.

Having embarked on tours, listened to presentations, studied results and spoken to teachers and pupils, and maybe even envisaged your child there, it can be a huge disappointment for both you and your child to then be turned away on National Offer Day.

But if you are unhappy with the school you have been allocated, both Kent County Council and Medway Council, and the schools themselves offer opportunities to appeal, while you can also join a school's waiting list in the hope that places become available before the start of the new school year as people's choices and circumstances change.

The process will be a little different depending on where you live, and may also alter depending on an individual school's admission criteria or whether you are also going through the Kent Test appeals process, but here are some of the options open to families who have been left disappointed with the news in today's email:

Families are encouraged to accept the place they've been offered before appealing or joining waiting lists for other schools
Families are encouraged to accept the place they've been offered before appealing or joining waiting lists for other schools

In Kent...

This year, more than 95% of pupils will receive an offer from one of their four preferred schools, says Kent County Council, with a big rise in the percentage of pupils offered a place at their first-choice school, up from 12,736 (69.7%) in 2021 to 14,574 (79.59%).

And KCC recommends that you still accept the place your child has been offered, even if it isn’t the school you had chosen as your first preference.

This is because while it will not affect your appeal to other schools, and does not prevent you joining other schools' waiting lists in the hope that space becomes available in the coming weeks or months elsewhere, it does guarantee your child has a secondary school place if any appeal is unsuccessful or a waiting list is never able to free up enough space for you - particularly if you don't meet your chosen school's over subscription criteria.

It is also worth studying this over subscription criteria, as you may have done when you made your initial application last year, before considering or submitting any appeal as that will outline how a school accepts students to its roll and who is given priority - guidelines that are most likely to still apply when it comes to allocating further spaces ahead of September.

According to its website, KCC says families have until March 15 to accept or decline the offer they have been given directly with the school concerned.

The secondary schools waiting list deadline is also, says KCC, March 15.

For more details about accepting and declining secondary school offers in Kent click here.

If your child is due to start secondary school in September this year you can lodge a secondary school appeal appeal up until Monday, March 28 for any of the schools named on your original preference list last year.

This says the website guide, is so that it can be considered by Thursday, June 16.

Any appeals received after this time will be heard within 40 school days from the deadline says the guidance.

Secondary school appeals, which are heard by an independent panel, will notify families of the date of the appeal at least 14 calendar days before it is heard and a complete copy of the appeals paperwork will be sent to you at least seven calendar days before the actual hearing.

Appeal decisions released this summer will be sent out in writing, says the authority, insisting that it won't be able to tell families over the phone if they have been successful or not.

To learn more about the appeals process in Kent click here.

Kent families who need further support with the appeals process can also telephone KCC on 03000 414222 or email appeals@kent.gov.uk for help.

Families who wish to appeal a grammar school decision can't do so until March 1 when places are allocated
Families who wish to appeal a grammar school decision can't do so until March 1 when places are allocated

Kent Test appeals

Kent Test results were sent to Year 6 children last autumn, outlining whether they had been assessed as suitable for a grammar school place in Kent or not following the Kent Test which took place in September.

Families are unable to appeal Kent Test decisions - to not offer a child a grammar school place - until school places have been allocated from today.

So again - parents who wish to try and apply for a grammar school place with the grammar school of their choice, (even though their child did not pass the assessment), are advised to still accept the secondary school they have been allocated before launching any appeal process, which will involve submitting evidence to an Independent Appeals Panel as to why you feel your child is of the required standard for entry into that school.

Medway Council will send out a Next Steps guide with offers to help families
Medway Council will send out a Next Steps guide with offers to help families

In Medway...

Information about the right to appeal and how to go about putting your child on a school’s waiting list should you not get your school of choice, is included with offers says Medway Council.

As in Kent, families must accept or decline the place they've been allocated directly with the school offered - and details on how to do this is outlined in the Next Steps guide.

Any offers made on March 1 must be accepted or refused by March 30, 2022.

Medway Council, just like KCC, says it is worth accepting the place you've been given even if you wish to go on a waiting list for another school or appeal the decision, because there's no guarantee that you'll be successful and accepting a place that can be released at a later date will at least guarantee your child a start at a secondary school this September.

Refused places, says the authority, cannot always be 'offered back' while rejecting a school place, it says, does not improve anyone's chances on a waiting list or at an appeal hearing.

Families have around two weeks to accept or decline the offer they've been given
Families have around two weeks to accept or decline the offer they've been given

Families who didn't get the school of their choice can also request to join the waiting list of another secondary school. Detailed information about how to do this in Medway is available here.

But it is worth remembering that the deadline for waiting list requests to be considered during the first round of reallocation this spring is March 30 - albeit you can submit any waiting list request any time after that until the end of the year.

But your request will only be considered in the first stage of this process if it is received by the end of this month (March 30). No child, says the council, will not be automatically added to any waiting lists until completed forms are received.

The council will begin offering any vacant and available places to children on school waiting lists from Monday, April 18, 2022.

Children starting secondary school this September will be offered a place at a school today
Children starting secondary school this September will be offered a place at a school today

Children and their parents can also appeal to a school named on their application that didn't offer them a place.

In order to do this you'll need to fill out an appeal request form and return it to the Medway school you wish to appeal to. The form and details of where to send it will be released in the Next Steps guide but it is worth noting the March 30 deadline for completed forms.

Medway Council says families appealing can apply to any school they listed originally and appeals can be made to more than one named school. For further details about this process click here.

Have you been left unhappy with the secondary school your 10 or 11-year-old has been allocated? Tell us about your experience by emailing news@thekmgroup.co.uk

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