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School admissions and appeals - making a complaint

This advice applies to Wales

This page tells you what to do if you want to complain about anything to do with a schools admission application or appeal.

Top tips

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) has a fact sheet about School Admissions and Appeals complaints, available on the PSOW website at www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk.

If you are unhappy about anything to do with a schools admission application or appeal, you should consider all your options before deciding what actions you want to take.

Why do you want to complain

You may want to make a complaint if you are unhappy about:

  • a school admissions policy
  • the way your application was dealt with
  • the way your appeal was dealt with.

Complaining to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

You can make your complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW). You should make your complaint as soon as possible.

Complaints about school admissions should be made to the local authority first, but complaints about admission appeals can be made straight to the Ombudsman.

The PSOW cannot overturn a decision, but can recommend that a decision be looked at again, or another appeal hearing should take place.

  • The PSOW has a fact sheet about School Admissions and Appeals complaints, available on the PSOW website at www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk

The PSOW Complaints Advice Team on 0300 790 0203, can tell you what to consider when deciding whether to make a complaint and how to make a complaint.

Other action you could take

You could also consider complaining to a Welsh Minister. Ministers cannot change a decisions of an admissions authority or an appeal. They can consider whether the rules have been followed, and whether the authority or appeal panel have behaved reasonably.

  • You can find details of how to contact a minister on the Welsh Government website at www.wales.gov.uk

You may want to consider applying for a judicial review of the local authority's decision. A judicial review is a special court procedure you can use to challenge decisions made by public authorities.

  • For more information on judicial review applications see the Public Law project website at www.publiclawproject.org.uk
  • If you’re thinking about taking court action, you should get advice from an experienced adviser - for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau.
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