Appeal against a school place decision

If you are not happy with the decision we have made about a school place, you have the right to make an appeal to the School Placings and Exclusions Appeal Committee, which acts as an independent panel. This is where local councillors and lay members (such as teachers and parents) hear our reasons for the refusal, and your reasons for challenging it. The committee will decide what the final outcome should be. 

You may be disappointed that your child can't go to the school you want, but you must have a good reason for asking us to look at your request again. Before you decide to appeal, you should consider whether you agree with our reasons for refusing a place and whether you feel we have followed the guidelines. You can find more information on how to appeal on the Scottish Government's website.

To make an appeal you need to apply within 28 days of either receiving our decision or the time limit for us to give you a decision having passed (i.e. by 30 April for applications received before 15 March, or within two months). 

You can only make an appeal if you are the person who submitted the original application for the school place. Please remember that you:

  • Can't appeal against the refusal of a place in a nursery school or nursery class.
  • Can appeal only once a year for each of your children.
  • Can appeal only against refusal or deemed refusal of a place in your first choice school.

You will need to sign into your account to make an appeal online: 

After you make an appeal 

We will check that your appeal is valid under the legislation and arrange a hearing with the School Placings and Exclusions appeal committee. This is where local councillors and lay members (such as teachers and parents) hear the Council’s case for the decision, and your case for challenging it. The committee will decide what the final outcome should be.

The hearing will usually be held within 28 days of you making the appeal. You will usually get at least 14 days’ notice of when the hearing will take place.

Reasons for refusing a placing request

The legislation states that the Education Authority can refuse a placing request in terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 as amended, if placing the child in a requested school would:

  1. Make it necessary for the Education Authority to take an additional teacher into employment;
  2. Give rise to significant expenditure on extending, or otherwise altering, the accommodation at, or facilities provided in connection with, the school;
  3. Be seriously detrimental to the continuity of the child's education;
  4. Be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school;
  5. Be likely to be seriously detrimental to the educational well-being of the pupils attending the school.
  6. Assuming that pupil numbers remain constant, make it necessary, at the commencement of a future stage of the child's primary education, for the Authority to elect either to create an additional class (or an additional composite class) in the specified school or to take an additional teacher into employment at that school.
  7. Even if neither of the tests set out in 1 and 2 above is satisfied, have the consequence that the capacity of the school would be exceeded in terms of pupil numbers.

The Education Authority may also refuse a placing request if:

  • The education normally provided at the specified school is not suited to the age, ability or aptitude of the child;
  • The Education Authority has already required the child to discontinue his/her attendance at the specified school;
  • The specified school is a special school, the child does not have special educational needs requiring the special educational facilities normally provided at the school.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 as amended allows Education Authorities to reserve places in certain schools if it anticipates that places will be required for families moving into an area. This currently applies only to specified secondary and primary schools.


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