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Guide: School admission appeals

Infant class size appeals (reception and year 1 and 2)

Government regulations limit the size of an infant class (reception, year 1 and year 2) with one teacher to 30 pupils.

The admitting authority can refuse to give a child a place if it would take a class over 30 pupils and cause ‘class-size prejudice’. Only in very limited circumstances can admission over the limit of 30 pupils be allowed.

It may be more appropriate to consider these cases as reviews of the original decision rather than an appeal to which new evidence can be presented. This means that the panel can only review the decision to refuse admission based on the information that was known at the time of the application.

The grounds for allowing an infant class size appeal are extremely restricted and the panel can only allow these appeals on very limited grounds, for example, either the admitting authority has not processed the application correctly or the decision to refuse was completely unreasonable.

Independent appeal panels hearing an infant class size appeal have no power to consider personal reasons such as:

  • childcare arrangements
  • children attending different schools
  • travel or work arrangements
  • academic performance
  • health and medical grounds (except where this need can only be met by the school you are appealing for and this claim is supported by professional evidence)

The panel must dismiss cases that are based on these reasons alone.

Please bear this in mind when considering an appeal for reception and years 1 or 2 where there are 30 pupils in the class, or continuing with your hearing, as parents often find it frustrating when they realise the limited powers of the panel.

If you are considering an appeal for these year groups, you are advised to contact either the School Admission Team or the Appeals Office for further information about the law relating to infant class sizes.