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Cardiff Council

Appealing a decision about a school place

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​If you are refused a place at any Community School for your child, then you are able to submit an appeal to the Cardiff Independent School Appeals Panel.

Members of the Cardiff Independent School Appeals Panel are entirely independent of the City of Cardiff Council and their decisions are legally binding, which means if your appeal is successful your child must be admitted to the school.
Panel members are volunteers who are fully trained in the legal tests that must be applied under the School Admissions Appeals Code. The Appeals process is administered by the City of Cardiff Council’s legal services department, who act as Clerk to the Panel.

Parents are able to attend a hearing with 3 Independent School Appeal Panel members to explain why their child should attend a particular school, before the Panel Members make a decision about their appeal.

If you wish to submit an appeal, you should complete a school admissions appeal form (33kb DOC)​ setting out your reasons for appealing.

The form must be submitted by email to or to: Clerk to Cardiff Independent School Appeals Panel, Room 462, County Hall, Cardiff CF10 4UW.

The letter sent confirming that a place at a community school has been refused will also give the date by which you must submit an appeal. If you submit your appeal after this date, it will not be accepted unless you can say why it was not possible to submit your appeal on time.

Appeals for Foundation or Voluntary Aided (Faith/Church) schools must be made directly to the school.

Appeals for Whitchurch High School must also be made directly to the school.

​ The appeals process

Your appeal will normally be heard in private, but, if there are several appeals for one school the first stage of the appeal will be done as a group with other parents present who have also appealed. Any group appeals will take place in person at a designated venue, details of which will be sent to you. Individual appeals can be heard in person or virtually via Microsoft Teams – you will need to specify your preference on the appeal form. The appeal hearing is held in 2 parts:

  1. In the first part, we will explain why they turned down your application and why the school would be too crowded if extra pupils are admitted. You will be able to ask us questions about their reasons for refusal. We will then leave the room whilst the Panel makes their decision. If at this stage the Panel decides that there was no need to refuse a place, for instance, if the school would not be too crowded, the hearing will end, and you will be informed that the appeal has been successful.

    If the Panel decides that there were reasons for refusal on the grounds, for example, that the school would be too full, then a second stage will follow. 

  2. The second stage is always individual (private) appeals. You will need to indicate on the appeal form if you would prefer this stage of the appeal to be held in person, or virtually on Microsoft Teams. We will explain which other schools are available for your child and will list how far they are from your home address. You will then be able to explain why your child should be provided with a place at the school even though it is full. We can ask you questions, and the Panel may also ask you questions so that they can understand all of the circumstances.​

If you do not specify a preference regarding the format of your hearing this will be scheduled on Microsoft Teams.

After the hearing, you will receive an e-mail at the end of the day (or at the end of the day when all appeals have been held for group appeals) confirming whether or not the appeal has been successful – a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ about whether your child can attend the school. After that you will usually receive a full written decision notice giving you the reasons for the Panel’s decision within 5 working days although this may be longer between April and July.

The decision of the appeal panel is final and legally binding. The decision can only be overturned by the courts where either you are successful in applying for Judicial Review of that decision.

If you consider there was maladministration on the part of the Panel, or a fundamental flaw in the way the Panel conducted the case or arrived at its decision you may have the right to make a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman, the National Assembly for Wales.

​What are the chances of being successful at​ the appeal
​​School Year
​Number of appeals
​​Successful appeals
2022 to 2023
​2021 to 2022
2020 to 2021

© 2022 Cardiff Council