Infant class size appeals

The law limits the size of an infant class (reception and years 1 and 2) to a maximum of 30 pupils per teacher (there are exceptions to this rule for certain limited categories of children). If the school refuses your child a place because admitting them would breach this limit then your appeal will be an infant class size appeal. This is different from all other school admission appeals.

In an infant class size appeal, a panel will only uphold the appeal where one of the following applies:

  • it finds that the admission of an additional child would not breach the infant class size limit
  • it finds that the school’s admission arrangements were unlawful, or were not properly applied, and the child would have been offered a place at the school if the arrangements had been lawful or had been properly applied
  • it decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one that a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case

To find a decision to be unreasonable the panel would need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse admission was ‘perverse in the light of the admission arrangements’. In other words, the panel believes that no reasonable admission authority considering the matter could have come to the same decision.

As an example, a decision that makes it impossible for you to transport all your children to school on time is unlikely to be considered perverse. However, a decision to refuse a place for a child whose family had to relocate under a witness protection scheme might be. The decision on whether a refusal was unreasonable will be made by the appeal panel and will depend on the facts of the particular case presented at the appeal.

The threshold for finding that an admission authority’s decision to refuse admission was unreasonable is high.

As such, it’s unlikely that the panel would uphold the appeal on that basis. It’s important that parents recognise this before investing what can be a significant amount of time and effort in an infant class size appeal.

Before you make your decision to appeal you should think carefully about your reasons for appeal and be realistic about the likely outcome.