Starting secondary school

Apply for a secondary school place for September 2020, if your child was born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan or statement of special educational needs you don’t need to apply through this admission process. Contact instead.


You have the right to appeal for any school named on your application that hasn't been able to offer your child a place.

You will need to complete an appeal request form, which will be available after offer day, and return it to the school you're appealing for addressed to the 'Clerk to the Independent Appeal Panel'.

The deadline for submitting an appeal is 31 March 2020.


  • Medway Council isn't involved in the appeal process for any secondary school or academy.
  • You can only appeal for schools named on your application.
  • You can appeal for more than one school at the same time.
  • You must complete a separate request form for each school you're appealing for. 
  • Each school won't know you have appealed for another school unless you tell them. The appeals for each school are completely independent of each other.

After you submit your appeal

After you submit your appeal, a hearing will be set up and you will be invited to attend. You must be given at least 10 school days' notice.

You should be given a deadline to submit any further evidence you wish to provide.

Your child's current school may also provide evidence (e.g. letter from the headteacher) to support your case, but aren't obligated to. You will need to discuss this with them.

Any evidence submitted after the deadline may not be considered at the hearing.

The hearing

Your appeal will be heard by an independent panel who have no connection to the school.

The panel will decide on whether or not to uphold your appeal and grant your child a place.

You will be invited to the hearing to explain why you think your child should be given a place and the school will be invited to explain why a place can't be offered.

There will be a clerk present, who makes sure correct procedure is followed throughout and keeps a full record of proceedings.

You have the right to bring a friend or family member to the hearing to support or represent you. However, this person must not have a connection with the school being appealed for (e.g. a member of staff from the school).

What happens at an appeal hearing

  1. The panel will decide on whether or not to uphold your appeal and grant your child a place.
  2. The admission authority will explain why they turned down your application.
  3. You’ll be able to give your own reasons why your child should be given a place.
  4. The appeals panel must decide if the school’s admission arrangements were properly followed and are legal according to the school admissions appeals code.
  5. If the arrangements are legal and were properly followed, the panel must decide if they were followed fairly and thoroughly.
  6. If the arrangements weren’t properly followed or are illegal, your appeal must be upheld.
  7. If your appeal has not already been upheld, the panel will decide if your reasons for your child receiving a place outweigh the school’s reasons for not admitting another child.
  8. The panel will send you and the admission authority their decision within 5 school days.

A panel’s decision can only be overturned by a court. If there’s a change in your circumstances which could affect the decision, you may be able to appeal again.

The decision

The independent panel will make their decision after all appeals have been heard.

You will be notified of the decision in writing, usually within five working days of the last appeal.

The decision of the panel is final and can only be overturned by a court. Full details of the appeals process and regulations are available in the School Admissions Appeals Code.

Other types of appeal

In addition to individual appeals there are three other types of appeal:

Grouped appeals

If there are a large number of appeals for a school, the school can decide to hold a grouped appeal for all the children to look at the issue of 'fullness' (e.g. the school's case is that they're full and can't give places to any more children).

Only the school can decide on whether or not to hold a grouped appeal. You can't request for them to have one.

All those appealing for a place at the school are invited to a joint meeting.

What happens at the joint meeting

An independent panel will listen to the case put forward by the school and the responses to questions put forward by the panel, parents and their representatives. There will be no discussion at this point on individual cases.

Appeals are not heard unless the school has admitted children up to its published admission number (or where the appeal is for a grammar school and the child is assessed as non-grammar), but an appeal panel can decide to admit further children into the school and place the school over its published admission number.

The panel will also make sure the school's admissions arrangements meet the legal requirements and have been correctly applied in your child’s case.

The decision

If the panel decides that all the children could be given a school place without causing impact on the school, it must uphold all of the appeals.

If, however, the panel is satisfied that the school has proved it would be impacted if it gave places to any more children (e.g. the school is full), the panel will begin to hear individual appeals. Parents will be given a date for their individual appeal.

The panel must not make decisions on individual appeals until all cases have been heard.

Assessment appeals

An assessment appeal is for a grammar school when your child has been assessed as non-grammar under the Medway Test, but you believe they didn't perform at their best when the test took place.

If your child's test hasn't been reviewed

If your child hasn't had their Medway Test reviewed, the panel must only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied that:

1. There's evidence to demonstrate the child is of the required academic standards, for example, school reports giving Year 5/6 SATs results or a letter of support from the child’s current or previous school explaining why the child is considered to be of grammar ability

2. Where applicable, the parent's case outweighs the school’s case (that giving school places to more children would cause an impact on the school).

If your child's test has been reviewed

Where a local review has taken place, the panel must only consider whether the child’s review was carried out in a fair, consistent and objective way. If there's evidence that this isn't the case, the panel must follow the process above.

Allocation appeals

This is an appeal when your child has been refused a place at a school when the oversubscription criteria has been applied. This includes grammar schools when your child has been assessed as grammar under the Medway Test, but not received a grammar school place.