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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10953
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I wish to challenge a schools entrance criteria. The school

Customer Question

I wish to challenge a schools entrance criteria. The school is in Northern Ireland, they do not have and entrance exam, their criteria is as follows:- siblings first, then if a member of your family was a past pupil, then eldest child, using a random alphabet, which they have picked the year before. My daughter has been declined admission to this school because we do not fall into the above criteria. My daughters primary school is the closet to this school practically on their doorstep and it was our first school of choice, the school have accepted children from a different town because they fit into the above criteria. My daughter has been allocated an inferior school even though her standardized tests are above average. I want to legally challenge their criteria but may not have enough money to take them to court. I cannot appeal through the education system because they have applied their criteria properly. My daughter is not the only child in this situation. How can I begin to challenge their decision. Time is of the essence.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am happy to wait. I would be grateful for any information I can use for an appeal.

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.


We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.

Thank you for your patience,
Expert:  Buachaill replied 3 years ago.
1. Essentially, what you have to do here is to challenge the criteria laid down on the basis of irrationality, and inherent unreasonableness in not taking into account proximity to the school location in the criteria laid down for determining entrants. I would advise you make this case on appeal within the Education system as a prelude to taking judicial review proceedings challenging the decision made legally. The reason I would advise you make this case initially within the appeal system is that it affords the decision maker an opportunity to remedy the error without recourse to (expensive) legal proceedings. The decision maker has to take into account any legal arguments made in reaching their decision. So it you make an argument based upon Wednesbury unreasonableness and inherent irrationality within the criteria laid down, then the decision maker must take these into account in setting its criteria for its decision making.
2. Additionally, you should also make the argument that there is a legitimate expectation in a pupil that the nearest school will take children from its own catchment area when determining entries to the school. This breach of legitimate expectation is also grounds for review. Additionally, pursuing a policy of only allowing siblings and offspring of former pupils is not proportionate to the aim of seeking to provide a rational system of educational intake. So these are also grounds for review. However, you should make these arguments in the appeal within the education system as otherwise you may be precluded from making them in expensive judicial review application proceedings.