Appeals: What to do if you've been refused a school place

Page updated on: 09/11/2023

When considering whether to appeal, it is important to note that although the law allows you the opportunity to appeal against admission decisions, there is no guarantee that your appeal will be successful.

If your appeal is unsuccessful, you could be left without a school place for your child. So in addition to lodging your Appeal, you should consider applying for another school that has available places if you have not already done so in case you are not successful with your appeal School Admissions and Changing Schools (

Applying for another school will not affect your appeal. The most important thing to happen out of this process is that your child has a school to attend.

You can ask School Admissions to go on the waiting list of your preferred school if you have been refused a place, even if you decide to appeal. Should a place become available at the school your application will be considered for a place, you will be notified by email if successful. There is no guarantee a place will become available. Applying for another school will not affect being on the waiting list.

If you want advice on alternative schools with places available or add your child’s name to a school waiting list, please email


The Process for Appeal

Appeals for Voluntary Aided (Faith) schools

Voluntary Aided Schools administer their own admissions to school. So you will need to contact the school directly.

The 6 VA schools are:

  • St John Lloyd Catholic Comprehensive School
  • Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli
  • Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Carmarthen
  • Model Church in Wales V.A. Primary School
  • Penboyr Church in Wales V.A. Primary School
  • Pentip Church in Wales V.A. Primary School

Appeals for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools

If you are refused a place for your child at a Community or Voluntary controlled school the Local Authority School Admissions department will notify you of the decision by e-mail. School Admissions will only refuse a place at a school if the year you are applying for is full. If your child is refused a school place to any of your preferred schools, there is a right to appeal against this decision.

The only exception to this is if you are applying for a part-time nursery place for your 3-year-old, in this instance there is no right to appeal.


How to appeal

Once you receive an email refusing your application for a place for your child at a Community or Voluntary controlled School. The process of appeal is as follows:

  • Your refusal email will include a link you need to click on for the School Admissions appeal e-form. You will need the application reference number from this email to submit your appeal form.
  • You must appeal within the time date on your notification of refusal email.
  • You need to complete all the fields in the School Admissions appeal e-form and outline the main grounds for the appeal and include any supporting documentation such as reports/letters from your Doctor/NHS Consultant/ Social Worker/Court Order etc.
  • On completion, check the details are correct and submit the e-form. You will be provided with a unique appeal reference number.
  • You will be contacted by Democratic Services (part of the Chief Executives Department) who administer the independent  appeals process on behalf of the Panel, to confirm your appeal has been received.
  • Once your appeal is submitted, arrangements will be made for the Independent Appeals Panel to hear your appeal in accordance with the timescales set by the School Admissions Appeal Code 2023.
  • You will be notified of the arrangements for the appeal hearing and invited to attend an independent appeals panel hearing by the Democratic Services Unit.  
  • All documentation for the appeal will be emailed to you 5 working days before the date of your appeal.


Appeal Hearing – what to expect

  • Your appeal will be heard by an Independent Appeals Panel of 3 or 5 members comprising of lay members (persons who have no experience in the management/delivery of education at a school) and persons with experience in education. None of the panel members will be connected to the school, but all will have received training in conducting appeals. They are not employees of the Council. 
  • Your appeal will be arranged virtually via Zoom unless arrangements for an in person hearing have been agreed with the Admission Authority no less than 5 working days in advance of the hearing If an in person hearing is granted this will usually be held either in Carmarthen or Llanelli.
  • The appeal process will be explained in detail by the Chairperson at the start of the meeting.
  • You cannot be accompanied by a member of Carmarthenshire County Council (a Councillor), a Local Authority officer, Assembly Member or a local politician.
  • The appeal is a two stage process:

o   Stage 1 -  the admissions authority will explain why your child has been a refused a school place.  Parents have the opportunity to question the admission authority’s process  at this stage.  

The Panel will make a decision, in private, if the appeal proceeds to stage 2.

o   Stage 2  - Parents will have  the opportunity of outlining the grounds for appeal to the Panel.

Further information on this will be included in your appeal pack.

You can expect to hear the Panel’s decision on your appeal within 7 - 10 working days of the hearing via email.


Withdrawing your appeal

If you change your mind, you can withdraw your appeal at any time before the Appeal Hearing. Please email as soon as possible.


If your appeal is successful

If you are informed that your appeal is successful, you will need to contact the School Admissions team to discuss the arrangements for admission to the school.


If your appeal is not successful

There is no further right of appeal for the same school until the following academic year.

The School Admissions team can assist you in identifying alternative school/s with space, if you have not already applied for an alternative school.

Begin your appeal

Education & Schools