School admissions arrangements
How to object to admission arrangements and how admission authorities can apply for an in-year variation or appeal against a direction to admit a child.
Applies to England
Object to a school’s admission arrangements
Anyone may object to the admission arrangements of a school. This includes:
- members of the public
- governing boards
- academy trusts
- local authorities
- religious authorities
You can object to the schools adjudicator because you consider a school’s admission arrangements do not comply with the
School Admissions Code or other legislation.
To object to or refer the admission arrangements of a school, complete and return theform.
Deadline for objections
Objections must be made before 15 May. Objections will be considered by the adjudicator if they’re made on time.
Admission arrangements can be referred to the adjudicator at other times,
however the adjudicator has the discretion on whether or not
The adjudicator will decide whether or not to uphold an objection, or parts of an objection.
The adjudicator which do not conform with the School Admissions Code or other legislation.
They will write their decision in what is called a determination, and set a date for the admission authority to revise its arrangements.
Adjudicators’ decisions are binding and enforceable and can only be challenged by judicial review in the High Court.
Adjudicators do not consider the admission of individual children to schools other
then through the direction process.
Apply for an in-year variation to admission arrangements
Once admission arrangements have been determined for a particular academic year, they cannot be revised by the admission authority unless to give effect to:
- a mandatory requirement of the
- admissions law
- a determination of the adjudicator
- any misprint in the admission arrangements
Admission authorities may propose other variations where they consider such changes to be necessary in view of a major change in circumstances. For community,
voluntary and foundation schools, such proposals must be referred to the adjudicator for approval, and the appropriate bodies notified. See paragraph 3.6 of the School Admissions Code.
Admission authorities should use the
Academy schools proposing to vary admission arrangements should contact the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
Appeal against a direction to admit a child
A local authority has the power to direct the admission authority for a
A local authority also has the power to direct the admission authority for a
voluntary aided School Admissions Code.
For academies, directions are made by
the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA ) on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. Requests from local authorities for an academy to be directed to admit a child should be made to the School Admissions Code.
Before deciding to give a direction, a local authority must consult the governing board of the school, the parent of the
child and the child if they are over compulsory school age.
If, following consultation, the local authority decides to direct, it must inform the governing body and headteacher of the school of its intention to direct. The governing board can appeal the intention to direct the school to admit the child to the OSA within:
- 7 days for a looked-after child
- 15 days for a hard-to-place child
These timescales are actual days, not working days, and include weekends, bank holidays and school holidays.
If you wish to appeal against a direction to admit a
child email: email@example.com.
Updated versions of the 'Objection to school admission arrangements' and the 'Request for an in-year variation for admissions' forms have been added for the academic year beginning September 2023.
Updated the ‘Request for an in-year variation for admissions’ form to help completion.
Updated the instructions in the ‘Objection to school admission arrangements form’ to clarify that it must be returned in Word format, not PDF.
Updated versions of the ‘Objection to school admission arrangements’ and the ‘Request for an in-year variation for admissions’ forms have been added for the academic year beginning September 2023.