Posted by Francesca De Franco on 16 Apr 2018

Your child starting school for the first time or moving up from infants to juniors is an exciting and important milestone. The wait to hear whether they got a place at your preferred school is often a very anxious one.

Congratulations to everyone that got the school they wanted. What a relief!

I know however that many of you, despite being diligent in your applications, doing the research, visiting the schools and scouring the Ofsted reports, won’t have got your preferred school.

If that’s you, here’s what you can do…

Waiting lists

Make sure you’re on the wait lists for the schools you originally listed. When the May deadline arrives for accepting or rejecting offered places there is often some movement in waiting lists, as offered places are sometimes declined. Also, places can open up during the school summer holidays, so if you can hold your nerve there is a good chance of success.

The appeal process (explained below) and the wait list for a school are two separate things. You can appeal or go on the waiting list or do both. Your position on the waiting list isn’t affected by whether or not you appeal.

Appeals process

The Surrey School Appeals Service organises school admission appeals for all Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, as well as most (not all) Surrey Voluntary Aided, Academies and Free Schools.

If you are refused a place at a school you’ve listed as a preference on your application form you have a right to appeal that decision.  If you accept a place at any alternative school, you can still appeal to any of the schools stated on your preference form, where you were refused a place.

To lodge an appeal visit the Surrey County Council website using the link You have to use the option ‘find your school to appeal’ and follow the links to the school you wish to appeal for.

If the Surrey School Appeals Service organises appeals for that school there will be a link to an online appeal form and/or a PDF version (you have to click on the ‘Appeals’ tab to get to the forms). You’ll also find a link here to guidance notes, which should be read before completing the form. If Surrey School Appeals Service doesn’t organise appeals for your school then you need to contact the school direct.

Put everything you feel is important in your written case, but if you have specific queries on the appeal process you can email: or call on 020 8541 8092.


If you’re not offered any of your listed schools then phone the The Surrey School Appeals Service straight away. In the days following place allocation the phone lines will be very busy; be prepared for a wait and in some instances a reduced window for calling.

Make sure you are on those wait lists; there really is a lot of movement when the May acceptance deadline arrives.

The overriding advice is to be persistent and stay in regular contact with the council/school by phone so they don’t forget about you!

A final thing…

Catchment areas appear to be narrowing every year. One friend told me they hadn’t fallen into ANY school’s catchment area for that particular year as it had shrunk since they’d looked at the previous year’s catchment data for their application. Unfortunately you can’t assume you will get your first choice even if your house has always previously been in the catchment area.

I hope this helps.


The Parent Social

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Francesca De Franco
I’m Fran a Londoner living in Surrey with my great husband and our three lovely children. My eldest daughter is 15 and my twin daughters are aged 12.

I'm a freelance PR consultant and also run The Parent Social blog where I write about the activities we do, the places that we visit, the games that we play as well as all the every day parenting (and some non-parenting) stuff in between. I also have a wine and food PR consultancy and blog -

My love for communicating and writing, mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. Interests include good food and wine, Italian culture, football and personal finance.

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