School appeals and waiting lists

You can appeal and join a waiting list for a place at your preferred school if it has not been offered to you.

1 Overview

If we cannot offer your child a place at any of your preferred schools, we will offer a place at your catchment school, if available. 

Or, if your catchment school is full, you will be offered a place at a school nearest to your home with an available place. For this reason we advise you include your child’s catchment school as one of your three preferences.

You have the right to appeal against a decision not to offer your child a place at your preferred school and to place them on a waiting list. The process is explained on the next page.

2 Before you appeal

Read the Information for parents booklet to find out what you can do if you have not been offered a place at the school you want. These booklets can be found via the relevant links below:

The booklets include:

  • how and why the decision was made
  • how waiting lists work
  • how to join a waiting list
  • how to appeal for a place at your preferred school.

3 Waiting lists

When all available places have been offered, a waiting list will be established for each year group at a school.

Waiting lists must be ordered by the same criteria used to determine the allocation; the School Admissions Code prohibits waiting lists from being ordered by date of application or length of time on the list.

A child’s position may change on the waiting list as other children join or leave the list. If a place becomes available, the waiting list, and any new applications for the school, must be considered. The place will be offered to the child with the highest priority based on the oversubscription criteria for the school at that time. 

We are unable to give any indication as to when this is likely to happen, if at all. You will be contacted if your child is eligible for a place when it becomes available.

To join the waiting list for a community or controlled school that was not named on your original application you will need a form which is available from Pupil Admissions.

Waiting lists for community or controlled schools are held until 31 December each year, when they are cleared. You must contact us if you wish your child to remain on any waiting lists after this time.

Starting school (Reception), junior and secondary transfer

The waiting lists for all transfer groups will be established 20 school days after the national offer date for that group. We will contact you after this time if your child is eligible for any available places.

If you were not given your preferred place at a school outside of West Sussex you will need to contact the relevant local authority for information on their waiting lists.

In-year (moving school)

For applications made during the school year, a letter will be sent out advising you how to confirm which waiting lists you wish your child to be added to.

Schools where the school manages the admissions

To add your child's name to church aided and foundation schools or an academy waiting list contact the school directly

4 How to appeal

Complete a separate appeals form for each school:

Online school appeals form

You can find out more about appeals for infant class sizes on GOV.UK.

Appeal hearings are heard by an independent panel and its decision is binding.

You will be sent a letter with the appeal hearing date.

A provisional calendar of appeal dates for community and controlled and secondary schools for 2019 entry is available below.

Appeals dates for church aided and foundation schools, academies and free schools are set by the school's governing body and are available from the school.

Last updated:
5 June 2019

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