Detailed guidance on school admission appeals


5. Infant class size law appeals

If you are appealing for a school place in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 please note the class size rules. By law, in these year groups there is a limit of 30 pupils with a single teacher. Understanding the law will help you decide what to include in your appeal.

What is the infant class size limit?

The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA 1998) limits the size of an infant class to 30 pupils with a single teacher.

If class size was the reason your application failed, you can still appeal. However, the appeal panel can only uphold your appeal where:

  1. admitting extra children would not break the infant class size limit
  2. the admission arrangements:
    • did not follow the admissions law or
    • were not properly applied to your case
      and your child would have been offered a place if they had.
  3. it decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances.

Consideration of ‘reasonableness’

To show that the authority’s decision to refuse was unreasonable the panel need to agree it was ‘perverse in the light of the admission arrangements’. This means that no sensible person would make that decision.

All appeals where the law limits infant class size were unsuccessful for the September 2020 intake.

Multiple appeals

When there is:

  • more than one appeal for the same school and year group
  • a number of children would have been offered a place under the paragraph above, and
  • to admit that number would seriously prejudice the provision of efficient education or use of resources

the panel must proceed to a second stage.

Second stage – comparing cases

In multiple appeals the panel must compare each case and decide which of them, if any, to uphold.

Where the school could admit a certain number of children without:

  • breaching the infant class size limit, or
  • needing to take measures to avoid breaching it that would prejudice the provision of efficient education or use of resources

the panel must uphold the appeals of at least that number of children.

Considering making an appeal?