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 1.2% for infant classes and 2.2% for other primary classes.
As expected there is a greater contrast in the success rate with 10.5% of heard infant class appeals being successful (849) compared to 30.9% of other primary classes (974).
There has been a decrease in the proportion of infant appeals lodged over time, which is likely to be a result of the more limited chances of success.
 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.
The number of appeals heard has dropped since 2015/16, from 2.6% to 1.4% in 2020/21. 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 heard has dropped by differing levels the success rate has fluctuated rather than consistently declined. The success rate for 2020/21 is the lowest seen for the whole time period.
Primary geographic variation
Figures are provided at LA level, both for infant classes, total primary appeals (including the infant appeals), and secondary classes. Differences in success rates can be driven by the results of a small number of appeals and can vary significantly from year to year. Therefore caution should be used when comparing the figures.
By rate of appeals heard, the highest and lowest local authorities for 2020/21 were:
- Bolton (7.2%)
- South Tyneside (5.8%)
- Sandwell (5.4%)
- City of London and Isles of Scilly (0.0%, on 34 and 17 admissions respectively)
- Rutland (0.0%)
- Brent (0.2%)