Leeds City Council (19 007 410)

Category : Education > School admissions

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 03 Sep 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman should not investigate Miss X’s complaint about a school admission appeal. The Council has offered a new appeal and it is unlikely we could achieve more.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, says an appeal panel was wrong to refuse her appeal for a school place.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word 'fault' to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
    • it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
    • it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provided by Miss X in support of her complaint and the Council’s response. Miss X had an opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Miss X says her child, D, attended School Y. D had difficulties at School Y and Miss X felt it was not meeting D’s needs. She applied for a place at School Z. The Council refused a place and said School Z was full. Miss X appealed to a School Admissions Appeal Panel.
  2. Independent appeal panels must follow the law when considering an appeal. The panel must consider whether:
    • the admission arrangements comply with the law;
    • the admission arrangements were properly applied to the case.
  3. The panel must then consider whether admitting another child would prejudice the education of others.
  4. If the panel finds there would be prejudice the panel must then consider each appellant’s individual arguments. If the panel decides the appellant’s case outweighs the prejudice to the school, it must uphold the appeal.
  5. The Ombudsman does not question the merits of decisions properly taken. The panel is entitled to come to its own judgment about the evidence it hears.
  6. The appeal panel refused the appeal.
  7. The Council has now said that is has noted an error in the appeal panel’s decision letter and the Clerk’s notes of the appeal. It has offered to hold a second appeal.
  8. If we were to investigate this complaint, the likely outcome if we found fault would be to recommend a second appeal. As the Council has now offered this, we cannot justify investigating Miss X’s complaint.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we could significantly add to the Council’s offer of a second appeal.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Privacy settings