Primary and infant classes
The primary level data is further split into infant (reception and years one and two) and other primary classes. There are regulations in place which require infant classes (reception and years 1 and 2) to be limited to 30 children. This reduces the possibilities for appeal for these years.
The rate of appeals heard is 1.3% for infant classes and 2.7% for other primary classes.
As expected there is a greater contrast in the success rate with 10.9% of heard infant class appeals being successful (924) compared to 34.7% of other primary classes (1,386).
One reason for the lower number of infant appeals lodged over time could be the realisation that there are more limited chances of success.
Primary time series
The number of appeals heard has dropped since 2015/16, from 2.6% to 1.5% in 2019/20. Although we can’t know why each appeal was submitted, there were a reducing number of new admissions recorded year on year, and, separately, increases in the preference rate for applications for a primary school place.
The number of successful appeals has dropped over the whole time period. However, as the number of appeals being heard has also dropped the success rate has not changed significantly.
Primary geographic variation
Figures are provided at LA level, both for infant classes, total primary appeals (including the infant appeals), and secondary classes. Because the number of appeals heard in each local authority varies widely, large differences in success rates can be driven by the results of a small number of appeals. Therefore caution should be used when comparing figures within this dataset.
By rate of appeals heard, the highest and lowest local authorities were:
- City of London (13.3%, based on just 30 new admissions)
- Bolton (10.5%)
- Derby (7.9%)
- Isles of Scilly (0.0%, only 30 admissions)
- Rutland (0.0%)
- Westminster (0.1%)
- Darlington (0.1%)
The proportion of successful appeals varied widely, with the highest and lowest results being:
- Coventry (57.5%)
- Bath & NE Somerset (52.6%)
- 12 local authorities upheld no appeals for 2019/20. Only five of these (Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Merton, St Helens and Hackney) heard more than 20 appeals.
 The School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 2012 prescribe certain limited circumstances in which pupils may be admitted as lawful exceptions to the infant class size limit of 30 for one-teacher classes. This means that a class of, for example, 32 pupils is lawful if two or more of those pupils have been admitted under lawful exceptions.