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. The changes to the law, and the updated Scottish Government coronavirus guidance on school placing requests and appeals, are explained below.
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.
If you made a placing request for the start of the next school year in August, the deadline for you to submit your request to was 15 March. Usually, local authorities have until the end of April to make decisions about these requests. This was extended for the 2021 round of admissions because of coronavirus, and the local authority must have given you a response by 15 May.
For placing requests that are made at other times, local authorities have a maximum of two months to make a decision.
If you have not had a decision about your placing request by the local authority’s deadline, 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 local authority’s deadline, 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 factsheet 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.
If you have appealed a placing request decision, you may still be waiting to find out which school your child will be attending in the future. This may be because of the delays in the appeals processes caused by coronavirus.
This is a very difficult situation for you and your child and one that you should discuss with the local authority. You can ask how the local authority plan to educate and support your child until the final decision is made.
For example, your child may need to, at least in the meantime, attend their catchment school or the school they are currently enrolled in until you know whether they will be moving to your requested school.
If you have not already heard from the local authority about your child’s school placement, you should contact them as soon as possible. You can find the contact details for your local authority by clicking on the Local Authority contact details link below.