The anxious wait to find out where your child has been given a school place is nearly over, and there is every reason to be optimistic. Almost 90% of the 9,626 children that applied for a school place were offered their first choice in March last year (2022).

In this article, we look at what you can expect on national offer day, and crucially, what to do if your child doesn’t get a place at the school you were hoping for.

What happens on national offer day?

The national offer day for secondary schools is 1 March (or the next working day). This is the day you will find out where your child has been offered a place.

Your local authority will contact you via email or post with details of your school place.

If you submitted your application after the deadline then it will be considered late, and you won’t find out where you’ve been offered a place until after national offer day.

Children are only offered a place at one school, so it’s essential that you accept the offer as soon as possible.

What to do after you’ve received an offer

If you’ve been offered a place at a school or academy in Lincolnshire, and you wish to accept that offer, you do not need to do anything. Lincolnshire County Council’s website states: ‘we automatically assume you will accept your offer. You do not need to contact us to confirm this’.

You should not reject the offer, unless you can prove that your child has been offered a place at another school.

If you didn’t get the school you wanted, accepting a place doesn’t stop you appealing.

How to appeal a school place decision

If you aren’t happy with the secondary school your child has been offered, you can appeal the local authority’s decision.

You can only appeal to be reconsidered for schools listed on your application form.

The deadline for lodging an appeal is normally 28 days after offer day. Information on how to appeal is included in the offer letter and on the local authority’s website.

You’ll be asked to complete a form with your reasons for appealing and include any evidence that might support your case.

Appeal hearings usually take place in late spring/summer before the end of the academic year. You can expect there to be at least three independent panel members at the hearing, including a clerk.

The panel will explain why your application was turned down, and ask for the reasons why you think your child should be given a place. They’ll also look at whether the school admissions code was applied correctly.

What is the school admissions code?

The school admissions code is a set of legal requirements that local authorities must follow during the admissions process. The aim of the code is to make sure that school places are allocated in a fair, clear, and open way.

You will usually hear back from the panel within five school days of the hearing.

Moving up to secondary school

In the months following national offer day, you can look forward to preparing your child for their transition from primary to secondary school.

If you’ve chosen to join us at Walton Academy, you will receive a transition pack soon. It’s packed with all the information you’ll need for a successful start to the new academic year.

To help make the move as smooth as possible, your child will be invited to join us to take part in a week of activities at the academy, known as transition week. This is a great opportunity for them to get to know the staff and the building before they officially start with us.

Further support and useful resources

If you have any questions about school admissions, or the appeals process, contact your local authority. You might also find the following resources useful:

Child law advice – information on school admissions

Government advice on appealing a school’s decision

Family Lives (support organisation) – making an appeal

For all other enquiries about starting at the academy, our transition team are on-hand to help. You can contact the academy by email or phone 01476 563251 .