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Parents and carers have appeal rights in certain areas of educational law:

Who can appeal?

  • parents/carers have the right of appeal in all cases where their child is still under school leaving age (16 years)
  • parents may also have the right of appeal if their child is over that age but does not have the necessary understanding to appeal on their own
  • generally, pupils over school leaving age have a right of appeal themselves and their parents do not
  • in exclusion appeals, if a child is of sufficient maturity and understanding but under school, leaving age, both parent and child have the right to appeal

What decisions can be appealed?

  • exclusion from school
  • making or amending an attendance order
  • refusal of placing request
  • opening a co-ordinated support plan or continuing a CSP on review
  • refusing to open a CSP, or discontinuing it on review
  • failure comply with certain time limits connected to CSP
  • certain information contained within a CSP

Who decides the outcome of an appeal?

Exclusion appeals and most appeals against placing requests refusals are heard by the education appeals committee with a further right of appeal to the Sheriff.

Appeals against an attendance order will be heard by the Sheriff.

Appeals in relation to co-ordinated support plans are heard by the Additional Support Needs Tribunal Scotland. 

Information relating to legislation governing education appeals can be viewed using the links to the Scottish Government's website.


  • placing request appeals can be made and decisions appealed during term time
  • a placing request appeal must be lodged with the appeal committee within 28 days of receipt of the authority's own decision
  • in the case of appeals against exclusions, there is no time limit for appeals to the appeal committee
  • the appeals committee must acknowledge receipt of an appeal reference within five working days

Additional support for learning tribunals

The Scottish Government’s Additional Support for Learning legislation seeks to ensure that all young people who are identified as having additional support needs have full and appropriate support in order to help them overcome any barriers to their learning.

In the vast majority of cases, these needs are adequately and effectively addressed by the supports that are put in place. However, the legislation also makes provision to ensure that parents can legally challenge the authority, if they believe that their child’s needs are not being fully met. This includes mediation and dispute resolution services at a local level and a more formal level of appeal through a legally constituted Tribunal Service.

Parents will have a right under the terms of the legislation to appeal to a tribunal, if they feel they have no satisfaction in trying to resolve any dispute with the education authority. The tribunals have a range of powers that can place legal obligations on education authorities with respect to discharging their obligations under the legislation.

It is very rare that any dispute or disagreement cannot be resolved at a local level and very few cases find their way into the tribunal system. However, tribunals do offer parents and young people an ultimate guarantee that needs will be met, where it can be shown that a local authority is not discharging its responsibilities in an appropriate manner.

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