If you want your child to attend a school that is not the school your local authority has suggested, you have the right to make a placing request to a school of your choice. The law has changed to extend some of the normal timescales, giving your local authority more time to decide which school your child should attend while they respond to the coronavirus situation.
For more information on placing requests, for example the reasons why requests may be refused, see our factsheet on School placements.
You have the right to make a placing request for your child to attend a specific school at any time. Usually, local authorities have a maximum of two months to make decisions about placing requests. Due to coronavirus, this has been extended to three months.
This does not mean it will always take the full three months for you to get a decision – if they can, local authorities will often try to decide sooner than this.
If you have not had a decision about your placing request by the end of the three months, the request is treated as being refused (sometimes called a ‘deemed refusal’).
One option is to accept the local authority’s decision and for your child to attend the school that the local authority has proposed. You can focus on working with the school to make sure your child will have the support they need.
You can also request mediation with the local authority to try and reach an agreement about the best way forward for your child. Find out more in our factsheet on Mediation.
If your placing request is refused, or you have not had a decision about your placing request by the new extended timescales, you also have the right to appeal the decision. You will normally appeal the decision to the local education appeal committee. In some cases, your appeal should go to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal. Page 12 of our factsheets on School placements explains where and when to make your appeal.
If you do submit an appeal, it may take longer than normal to get a date for your appeal to be heard and there may also be changes to how the process works. To find out more, see our pages on the changes to education appeal committees and the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.