Coombe Wood School

Appeals - Frequently Asked Questions



What is an appeal?

By law if your child is not offered a place you have the right to appeal against the decision to an Independent body.  

In accordance with the School Admissions Code issued by the Department for Education, Coombe Wood School is required to abide by our Admissions Arrangements, which detail the over-subscription criteria used to allocate places.  

Whilst you have every right to appeal, please think very carefully about the decision to appeal and the realistic chances of a successful appeal.  A place cannot be offered to your child over and above those applicants who came higher on the waiting list when applying the over-subscription criteria.  

ALL of the 180 places are allocated according to the determined admissions arrangements.

Your appeal application must prove why Coombe Wood School is the only suitable local school and why the child cannot attend another school. Evidence provided must be specific to Coombe Wood School.

For further information regarding Appeals Hearings and the role of the Appeals Panel and the Clerk to the Appeals Pane please click on the link below to read a Department for Education paper on the Appeals process and the role of the Appeals Panel and the Clerk to the Appeals Panel. 

Advice for Clerks & Appeal Panels on School Admissions

The decision of the Appeals Panel is final and binding.

Information on the appeals process can be found at:

School Admission Appeals Code 2022



How do I proceed with making an appeal?

There is an Appeals section on the school website where you can download the Appeal Against Admission form and read all the information concerning the procedure. Continue to read through the rest of the frequently asked questions and answers in case one of them is relevant to your appeal application.

Does the school hold any place back for upheld appeals?

No, if an appeal is upheld the place will be offered over and above the number already offered.

If I appeal, will it change my place on the waiting list?


I know of children who live further away from my home that attend this school, why has my child not been offered a place?

How far we are able to offer on distance depends on the criteria they were considered under. Please see our criteria below for September 2024 Entry, also contained in our Admissions Arrangements on our website.

  1. Looked after child

  2. Medical need - proof needed from a health professional why Coombe Wood is the only school that is suitable and why the child can not attend another school.

  3. Feeder school - St Peter's and Park Hill

  4. Sibling

  5. Child of permanent staff

  6. Distance - We do not have a catchment area. The distance will be measured in a straight line from the child's home address to the designated pedestrian entrance of the school using a computerised measuring system (GIS) and geographical reference points as provided by the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) Those living closer to the school will receive higher priority. 

On Offers Day for September 2023 entry 15 places were offered with furthest distance of 0.643, for 2022 entry 20 places were offered with furthest distance of 0.59

You are my closest school, I can't understand why my child has not been offered a place?

National Offers Day 2024 details -

If your child has been considered under the distance criterion you must live further than we were able to offer. On National Offers Day March 2024 the furthest distance offered was 0.893 of a mile and only 46 distance places were offered due to all our other criteria as above.

There will be movement due to acceptance/declines, but we are unable to provide waiting list positions until the end of April. Should you live close and a place becomes available, you will be contacted.

My child has a cousin attending the school, are they considered under the sibling criterion?

Cousins are not considered siblings. Siblings are defined as those living at the same address Monday-Friday at time of enrolment and consist of brother or sister, half brother or sister, fostered brother or sister, adopted brother or sister or half brother or sister

I put you down as my 1st preference but have not been offered a place, but my friend put you down as a lower preference and has been offered a place; why? 

Schools are not allowed to know the preference where they have been placed on the common application form, only the LA are aware of this.  All applicants are considered under the school’s published Admissions criteria. If 2 or more schools can offer the child a place then the local authority will look at the preferences and offer places to the highest preference school. 

If your child is unsuccessful in being offered a place on National Offers Day due to being allocated a lower preference than Coombe Wood, they will automatically be placed on our waiting list with Croydon Council Admissions.

My child has not been offered any of the schools we applied for and the LA have given us a school that is too far for him/her to travel. 

Unfortunately, this indicates that you have not met the distance criteria of all the schools that you applied to attend. They were unable to accommodate your child as others that lived closer would have been offered the places that were available. There are limited places available at each school and unfortunately places cannot be offered to all pupils who are within walking distance to the school. It is the LA’s responsibility to ensure that every child has a school place and will therefore offer a school that has a vacancy.  

The school my child has been offered will be a difficult journey for them; is this taken into consideration?

Journey time is not taken into consideration. If we took all such matters into consideration for every child, we would not be able to apply the admissions criteria fairly and without discrimination. 

I have to work and my family member/friend who has children attending this school has agreed to take my child and pick them up drop off and pickups, do you take this into consideration? 

We are unable to take such matters into consideration. We have set admissions criteria to ensure every child an equal opportunity. 

It would make it easier for us to drop off our child on our way to work or dropping off primary siblings.

We are unable to take such matters into consideration. We have set admissions criteria to ensure every child an equal opportunity. 

What difference would one more make?

The school’s agreed budget plan reflects the needs of the 180 students on roll and any additional student will have implications for the efficient use of resource allocations already decided, with a detrimental effect on existing students because of the need to stretch resources or share equipment.

An extra student would cause reduced room in the classroom by having to try and fit in another desk and chair. It would also create more work for the teacher in class, when marking student work, during one to one time with students and while having parent interaction eg Parent evenings.

The school was originally designed in 2015/2016 and originally planned to open in September 2017 as an 8-Form entry school with 240 children in each year group, what changed?

The opening was deferred to September 2018 and the PAN was reduced to 180 in each year group. The reason for this included Croydon Pupil Place Planning Team’s miscalculations of expected higher birth rate and inward migration trends that did not follow original modelling. The opening of Coombe Wood School and another school in Croydon created a large amount of empty places across the borough contributing to the closure of schools and current falling roll in other schools.

By going above 180, Coombe Wood School will affect the existence and survival of other schools in Croydon. This number also reflects the age and design of the buildings including the corridors, stairways and outside facilities.

The original design did not consider the size of the students once they grew and progressed through the school. This has only been fully realised since having a full school comprising of years 7-11 and then the additional sixth form students in years 12 and 13, filling the school to capacity.

What size are your classrooms?

The main classrooms are approximately 55 square metres and the music room is 49 square metres.

My child is high achieving academically/sport related and I have references, is this taken into consideration?

We are a non-selective school. All applicants are considered under the published admissions criteria. References from any organisation are not taken into consideration.

I have a child attending Coombe Wood Sixth Form, are they considered a sibling?

Siblings are only considered if within the school itself.                                                                                                          Sixth Form is separate to the school so those students do not come under the sibling criteria.                                Sixth Form admissions is separate and totally different as students are accepted on academic ability.