Matt Richards
  Matt Richards

Founder and Senior Partner

Matt Richards, the founder and Senior partner of School Appeals Services LLP, has personally attended over 1,000 school admission appeals as clerk to hearings and legal adviser to schools over the last ten years. Matt was responsible for the legal advice and clerking arrangements for one of the largest education authorities in London.

During his time in local government, Matt trained over 50 admission appeal panel members (the people that sit on the hearings and decide appeals) and managed over a dozen clerks servicing 100 schools, It is fair to say that his experience in this area would be difficult to match.

On leaving local government, some ten years ago, Matt is now a skilled and trained legal advocate, equally at home in any tribunal situation, Matt has represented over 500 parents who have been successful in securing the school place that they wanted.

Matt also has considerable experience of being a Chair of Independent Appeal Panels for a large London borough and this has enabled him to have an unparalleled insight into all aspects of the admission appeal system.

Matt has appeared regularly as a guest on BBC Breakfast News, BBC News 24, Radio 5 Live, LBC Radio Breakfast News and Nick Ferrari programmes to talk about school admission appeals. He has also in the last year been acting as the legal consultant to the BBC who have been working on a documentary relating to securing school places.

Matt no longer works for the above mentioned borough and is now available to share his expertise and experience with parents to attempt to help them successfully appeal for a place at the school of their choice.

So successful has School Appeal Services been, that to meet the demand of parents who want assistance, Matt has three highly qualified Associates working with him (see below). This now means that School Appeal Services has national coverage the length and breadth of England and Wales.

Jeremy Haw
  Jeremy Haw B.A. (Hons) ICSA.

Jeremy Haw

Jeremy has 25 years experience of Education Appeals, having been a former Head of Democratic Services in a City Council in the North of England and before that in london boroughs. As an experienced and well-respected professional in education appeals work, his views are widely sought and have appeared in the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Independent. He has detailed knowledge of the framework which Appeals take place within and has trained both Panelists and Clerks. His personal experience of hundreds of Appeals is supplemented by having also overseen thousands of others in a managerial role. He has 15 years experience in local government and 9 as a private Consultant. Jeremy has consistently brought these dual experiences to bear, with proven success and an outstanding winning record at appeals hearings.

Jeremy is our lead Associate for the Central and Northern area of England (and when we are snowed-under occasionally helps out further South). He is equally familiar with the whole range of Appeals - Community, Grammar, Voluntary-Aided, Faith, Academies and Primary.

Having gone through the process of an Appeal on a personal level as a parent recently, he is more aware and sympathetic than ever of the stress that parents go through at this critical time in their children’s upbringing. By means of a well-established and thoroughly professional service he will help ease you through the process to facilitate the school of your choice.

To view testimonials from parents that Jeremy has helped recently click here.

David Knight
  David Knight BA (Hons) Government and Politics.

David Knight

David Knight has 20 years experience of Education Appeals [Including 15 years as a Member of the team at School Appeals Services] and he has accordingly developed a detailed knowledge of the process and has trained both panel members and clerks. His personal experience of hundreds of appeals is supplemented by having also overseen thousands of others in a managerial role. He has had 25 years experience in local government. In the past 12 months he has been able to help 40+ families get their preferred school including a number of families appealing for places in infant classes.

David is also a parent and has two children of school age so he understands exactly what parents go through in terms of securing he right school. David has superb customer service skills and you will be able to rely on David to get back to you when he says he will !

David is based in Suffolk and covers both the midlands and most of the South East / East of England.

Click here to view David Knight’s testimonials.

Nabil Dance
  John Chard

John Chard

John formerly worked in local government in democratic services for nearly 30 years, the last 10 years of which was almost exclusively on school appeals. In the course of organising well over 3000 appeals he has given advice and guidance to all parties involved with appeals including the admission authority, parents/guardians and Panel members.

Since then, John has also spent much of his time training panel members, presenting officers and clerks all over the country, both in England and Wales after linking up with a training company. In addition, he has been approached by a local Catholic Diocese to provide advice on the school admissions process and criteria for all their schools. John has also provided advice to hundreds of parents over the last 10 years on grammar school appeals, normal prejudice appeals and also infant class size appeals.

John also advised the Welsh Assembly over certain aspects of their School Admissions and Appeals Codes and is also regularly approached by national newspapers, television and radio when they are running articles on school admissions and appeals.

John appeared on BBC Breakfast and ITN to discuss the issues surrounding National Offer Day which was first introduced on 1 March 2010. He has also given live radio interviews on BBC London, Berkshire and Surrey BBC Radio Sussex Drive time and Radio 5 Drive time.

As a result of all this experience, John has obtained a unique insight and extensive knowledge of the legislation and the evidence requirements that contribute to successful appeals. Whilst the success of an appeal is based on the merits of each individual case, John’s success rate is on average more than double the national average.

Click here to view John Chard’s testimonials.

Nabil Dance
  Nabil Dance LLB (Hons) BVC

Nabil Dance

Nabil is an experienced paralegal and independent advocate who has completed the vocational stage of Barrister’s training.

As well as working in private practice, Nabil has supported parents in their appeals to the First-Tier Tribunal (known as SENDIST) as a Legal Advisor for two leading children’s disability charities. These roles involved supporting parents of children with a wide variety of difficulties ranging from hearing and visual impairments to those on the autism spectrum.

He is also an experienced Independent Appeal Panel Member in school admission appeals for a large London Borough. Nabil acts in the capacity of a specialist Education Chairman of the Panel. Consequently, he has a valuable insight into what Panel Members expect to see in appeals made by parents.

Nabil also specialises in school admissions and has handled over 200 appeals, including faith, grammar, comprehensive, secondary, primary, and Infant Class Size.

We are particularly proud of Nabil’s recent achievements, including winning two appeals for St Clement Danes, arguably the most popular selective state school in Hertfordshire. He has also presented evidence in an appeal for a popular Surrey school, which persuaded the Governing Body to concede and grant a place BEFORE the hearing (very rare!).

Nabil is particularly keen to empower parents by helping them to understand what is usually a bewildering process of getting the right level of support for their children.

Lastly, Nabil is also a Contributor to the leading journal on education law in the UK (Education Law Journal) and regularly writes on school admission appeal matters.

To view testimonials from parents that Nabil has helped recently click here.


Mike Teahan
  Mike Teahan B.Ed (Hons), PG Dip Education Management.

Mike Teahan

Mike joined School Appeal Services LLP after a successful career in education in a large London local authority.

Most recently Mike was Head of Admissions developing admission policy and managing the day to day delivery of the admission service for 225,000 residents. He worked with other London Admission Officers in developing the Pan-London admission scheme. He also assisted in training panel members to assist their understanding of admission procedures.

As Head of Admissions Mike has presented hundreds of appeals annually for the past nine years and has a thorough knowledge of the Admission and Appeal Codes, the education system and the impact of additional children in classes.

Previously he was a primary school head teacher for thirteen years in the same local authority area and has long experience of parental aspiration to achieve a place at their chosen school.

He took up the post as Head of Admissions in order to work in a post that had a wider strategic influence but also one that touched the lives of a wider group of parents.

Mike no longer works for local authorities and is now available to use his unique blend of professional experience to assist parents who are seeking a school place with the support of an experience.

Vincent Monaghan

David Boobyer

David qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and is a member of the Educational Law Association. As well as working with School Appeals Services, David is a Director for Tollers LLP, a large legal practice, and  specialises in the following types of educational issues:-

  • School appeals -representing parents before the Appeals Panel.
  • Legal issues involving school closures.
  • SENDIST applications in relation to Statements of Special Educational Need.
  • Educational Negligence.
  • Contractual issues arising from private education.
  • Advice on School Exclusions.

David has spent many years volunteering at a Youth Agency in Northampton, training as a Counselor and offering legal advice on a wide range of legal issues.


There are a number of ways in which School Appeals Services can help you. These being:

  • by purchasing the detailed 125 plus page manual written by Matt entitled "Secure the School of your Choice".
  • by providing individual and personal advice relating to your and your child's personal circumstances at a one off telephone advice session , and
  • by providing a full consultant service that conducts the appeal for you from, if you wish, the moment you learn that you have been unsuccessful in securing the place you wanted to the admission appeal hearing itself.

For more details on all of the above, click on the "121 service " link button on the home page.

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