Parents have appeal rights in certain areas of education law:

  • Placing requests
  • Exclusions
  • Additional Support Needs

Who has the right to make an appeal?

Parents have the right of appeal in all cases where their child is still under school leaving age (16 years old). They may also have the right of appeal in cases where their child is over that age (i.e. is a young person), but the young person does not have the necessary understanding to appeal on their own. A person is of school age if he/she has attained the age of five years and has not attained the age of sixteen years (see Section 31 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980).

However, generally once pupils are over school leaving age, they will have the right of appeal and their parent(s) will not.

Parents or young persons have the right to appeal against an exclusion. In addition, children who have legal capacity have the right to appeal. A parent can appeal on behalf of a pupil who is older than school leaving age if the pupil is unable to do so due to learning difficulty or mental incapacity. The national guidance on exclusions states that either the child or the child’s parent can appeal against an exclusion, but not both.

What decisions can be appealed?

There are only certain decisions which can be appealed and they can be considered by a Council’s education appeal committee.  In Aberdeenshire’s case, this is known as the School Placings and Exclusions Appeal Committee (SPEAC). There are also some decisions where the appeal will be considered instead by the Additional Support Needs Tribunal Scotland (ASNTS).


  • exclusion from school
  • refusal of a placing request


  • opening a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP) or continuing a CSP on review
  • refusing to open a CSP or discontinuing it on review
  • failure to comply with certain time limits connected with a CSP
  • certain information contained within a CSP
  • new grounds of appeal as introduced by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009

Where do appeals go?

Exclusion appeals and most appeals against placing request refusals are heard by the SPEAC, with a further right of appeal to the Sheriff. Appeals against an attendance order are heard by the Sheriff. Appeals in relation to Co-ordinated Support Plans (including some placing request appeals) are heard by the Additional Support Needs Tribunal Scotland.

The ASNTS can hear some exclusion appeals if the alleged ground of exclusion is disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

There is some overlap here as parents have a choice between appealing an exclusion decision to the SPEAC or to the ASNTS on the grounds of disability discrimination.

The ASNTS website will provide information on the rules and procedures relating to the hearings undertaken by that organisation.