Infant Class Size Appeal with Special Medical Needs Help please??(19 Posts)
I'm new to Mumsnet and discussion boards! I have an ICS appeal next week for Year 2. My daughter has been granted exceptional medical status in Dec 2012 for a kidney condition. Our nearest school is 2 over the ICS limit with no physical space to admit. We are appealing for our next nearest school 1 mile away BUT have been offerred a school 3.3 miles away with transport.
Medical status was granted mainly based on distance due to pain and other more distressing symptoms related to her kidney condition. She cannot travel to school with a third party driver due to the intimate nature of her symptoms.
We have a stack of support from Consultants, GP etc but would love to hear from anyone who can offer any advice or who has had a similar appeal and won!
If it is an ICS appeal it will be hard to win but you should definitely go for it and present your case.
The reason it is so hard is that the ICS regulations are laws not guidelines. There are 3 ways to win an ICS appeal:
1. Prove the LA made a mistake with allocations (eg got your address wrong) and directly cost you a place that should have been yours - this is unlikely with mid year admissions
2. Prove the admission criteria are illegal (eg they are giving priority to people they shoudln't) - very unlikely
3. The decision to refuse you is so unreasonable that other person presented with the same facts could possibly agree with that decision - the burden of proof is very high here. It doesn't mean the parent finds it unreasonable. It means 'unreasonable' in a legal sense of beyond justification.
You will be relying on option 3. You need to prove to the panel the extent of your DD's condition and not only that but how it would be completely impossible for her to attend any other school. Your case would be helped if her consultant would write a letter agreeing with the points you have made about 3rd party transport and inability to travel. You need to convince the panel that no reasonable person presented with all the facts would consider denying your child a place at the school you are asking for.
The small flaw with your situation is that you aren't appealing for your nearest school. I know they are over limit already but the panel might assume that, as distance is such a factor, you'd at least try that route too.
Number 3 shoudl read: The decision to refuse you is so unreasonable that no other person presented with the same facts could possibly agree with the decision to refuse you - the burden of proof is very high here. It doesn't mean the parent finds it unreasonable. It means 'unreasonable' in a legal sense of beyond justification.
Thanks for your advice. I have a letter from her Consultant agreeing it would be difficult for her to travel with a third party and from an ed psych who has been helping her with emotional issues confirming it would be difficult also. The local school is a tiny village school in a listed building with no room to adapt to any more children and county have already accepted their reasons for not being able to admit her. As she has sufferred with emotional issues surrounding her illness, v common with kidney disease, this poses further problems as the school she has been offerred is only an infant school and it will necessitate another school move to Junior elsewhere in quick succession.
Just spent the entire day locked into admission codes and appeal discussion boards. Can't seem to make sense of it all. Anyone out there?
There are true experts on here who I am sure can help. I know the basics of it so can help with general stuff. What is it you are stuck on? Did you want to know how the process works or about chances of success?
The Admissions Code is the part of law that deals with how places should be allocated and all the rules surrounding how schools decide who they take / how councils decide who to allocate school places to. You are an in-year application by the sounds of things? You have applied to the school you wanted but have been rejected (correctly) I suspect because of the ICS rules but you want to appeal the decision to refuse you?
The Appeals Code deals with that - the rights of parents to go to appeal and how these are conducted. In your case, because ICS rules apply, the council was technically correct to refuse you a place. Your appeal however is centred on the fact that this is such an unreasonable decision that no other persons presented with the facts you sent with your application could possibly reach the same conclusion.
Again, because of the ICS rules, it isn't down to whether the panel think you would benefit from a place. It is down to proving that the LA's decision to refuse you a place, in the light of your medical evidence, is so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand.
If you were appealing for a Year 3 place, it would be totally different. You'd just have to show why your DD needs a place at the school and prove her need for a place is greater than the school's need not to be forced to take one more pupil. But since it is a Year 2 ICS appeal, the burden of proof on your part is much greater because the assumption is that class sizes laws cannot be breached in anything other that totally exceptional circumstances.
I suppose I have all the evidence in terms of medical but examples of successful wins under the unresaonable decision route based on medcal conditions would give me more confidence on the day!!! If her Consultant and Ed Psych have both acknowledged third party transport is not suitable for her and therefore distance needs to be reasonable in terms of her known condition then is this exceptional enough? To accept medical status based on distance of either 0.4 and 1 mile and then to offer 3.3 miles is unreasonable and illogical isn't it? If her Consultant deems this distance unreasonable and unworkable, how can his opinion be ignored? She would need to move again for Junior as the place offerred in infant only. Her Ed Psych has ackoeledged this is not workable and would seriously test her fragile emotional state. Can this be ignored? Would a reasonable person expect her to do this rather than put an infant class over for two brief months. The school is Junior offering the consistency she needs and they take 4 extra pupils in September. Surely it defies logic to put her to test so unnecessarily in a school too far away with no junior department.
Thanks so much for listening. Desperate mother!!
heartbeats - here is an examples for you of an ICS appeal won using a medical decision and one based on additional needs
Nobody can say what your chances are for sure but you seem to have the right sort of evidence (consultant and professionals saying that what has been offered is impossible and that the school you are appealing for is necessary). All you can do is present this to panel and hope they agree that no rational person can possibly refuse a place given the evidence submitted. I hope it goes well
I should add though that no appeal decision ever forms a precedent for future cases. So just because one ICS appeal succeeds on certain grounds does not mean they all will. Each appeal is judged on its own merits but I hope the links provide some help and some hope that, whilst it is very hard to win these, there is hope.
Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. Here goes!! I will let you know how it went.
I am confused.
You say that your daughter has been granted "exceptional medical status" but she seems not to have been given a place on that basis - usually (although not always) one follows the other. And you mention that this is an appeal for Year 2. Where does she go to school at the moment?
Can you say more about the sequence of events here?
I will outline events to help I hope. It is quite complex.
DD at private school till December 2012. With one terms fees outstanding and no means to meet future bills we approached LA to discuss options. Our catchment school has 32 in Year 2 is a v small listed building village school with no physical space to admit. The head mistress at this school was really helpful and kind but simply cannot even squeeze her in anywhere. Next nearest school which is the one we are appealing for in 1 mile from our home but has 30 in Year 2. Next on from that has 31 in Year 2. DD has chronic kidney disease, duplex kidney, renal scarring and left VUR diagnosed in Recep. Previous school referred her to Ed Psych in Recep as she was having serious emotional and behavioural issues which the Ed Psych concluded were associated to her ilness and the constant pain she was feeling. It has taken two years a few proceedures and alot of hard work to turn the situation around for DD who still suffers daily with pain and has recurrent UTI's. Surgery is being considered as a final option. Having discuused our options we decided for many reasons financially and other to move into rented from Jan in order to downsize and be in catchment for Junior transfer as the school we are appealing for has 4 additional places available for year 3. It was at this point county suggested we apply for medical status in order to increase her place on the waiting list or put her in a higher priority for Junior Transfer as the school puts medical above distance if you are in catchment. We did this and county called to say that our application was granted as we clearly explained why thie school in question was the best option for our DD. The planned move did not go ahead as it would only have been possible with financial assistance from family who could not committ so in late December we applied under FAP for the school we are appealing for and for a school in a different county as our younger daughter is in Recep. As predicted the neighbouring county would not consider her under the FAP as she was not resident and so let to our LA to deal with. Having accepted the reasons our catchment school could not admit county went to school we are appealing for with Junior places coming up next year but they declined to admit. We were then offerred a school 3.3 miles away with transport. My DD simply cannot travel with a third pary due to her known medical and emotional needs. County were in full knowledge as to the expent of her illness, her emotional fragility as they had received circa 30 pages of submission with Consultant, GP, ED Psych etc etc and actually remarked how comprehensive my submission for medical was and how well I had demonstrated the need for the school in question. The school offerred is too far, aside from the obvious issues for my DD, I need to be able to take mid stream samples from my DD regularly and simply cannot do this with a school so far away.
Can they accept her medical status with specific relevance to the school in question and then offer one further away? The school offerred is an infant school so would necessitate another change more or less straight away. I have mentioned her fragile emotional state well documented by her Ed Psych and known to county. She simply wouldn't cope with 2 school moves.
Hope this helps and thank you for your help.
I think I see what has happened. The school you want DD to go to has an admissions policy that looks something like this:
1. Looked After Children (children in care)
2. Children with an exceptional medical reason (evidence required)
4. All other applicants with priority for those living closest
When you first applied you were in category 4.
After submitting medical evidence, the council agreed you meet the criteria to be moved up to category 2. As such you will be higher up the waiting list that everybody else.
But that doesn't help you because places are not offered from the waiting list until someone leaves the school and creates a vacancy.
As such the council have acted correctly. They agree you meet the criteria for category 2 so have bumped you up the list but they cannot offer you a place until the class numbers in Year 2 fall below 30. That is what the law states.
In the meantime, the council have an obligation to offer you a school place not to leave you without one. So they have to look around and find the school closest to your home that has less than 30 per class in Year 2. Unfortunately the closest one is 3 miles away. They cannot expect you to travel that everyday and are obliged by law to offer you free transport. This is what they have done.
In short - the council are tied by laws. They cannot breach these and it looks like they have done everything totally by the book. That doesn't hinder you at appeal of course. Your case is that the decision to refuse you is unreasonable and you have the evidence for this.
Thank you, that clarifies several things I was curious about. I have to go out in a few minutes, so this will just be notes.
1. Being accepted into the medical need category puts you higher up the oversubscription criteria for most schools - your LEA is right about this. Your difficulty now is that if the classes are full, it will put you high on the waiting list but won't actually get you a place. If you had been applying for a reception place, you probably would have got one but applying in-year and for Y2 makes all the difference.
2. The FAP should get you a place at the nearest school that accommodate your child but LEAs will only exceed the legal limit of 30 per class if there is no other school with a spcae. That is probably why you have been offered a school 3.3 miles away - it's (I assume) the nearest one with a vacancy or the only one where the LEA is willing (exceptionally) to go over the limit of 30.
3. I agree with tiggytape that you should also appeal for the village school. The headteacher is bound to say that she can't take a 31st pupil and the LEA will take that line too, but if you put the matter before an appeal panel it will be the panel's decision, not theirs.
4. As tiggytape says, you need to argue for the schools that you want, not against the one you've been offered. Highlight all the reasons why it would be unreasonable for your daughter not to have a place at the schools.
5. You can make the same arguments for both schools. It won't count against you if you appeal for two schools - you don't need to put all your eggs in one basket. The fact that you were appelaing for two schools might be evidence that you are willing to be flexible and reasonable in your search for a suitable school for your daughter.
Cross-posts with tiggytape. Hello tiggy!
Thanks for this I can see my appeal will be more based on the unreasonable option and this is where we have all the evidence. Is it noteworthy that four additional places become available in September and so one and half terms is so short a time to be at 31?
No. The ICS rules apply for the duration of KS1 so saying it's "only" a matter of so many weeks with a 31st pupil is missing the point. You need to base your arguments on your child's needs.
Has your child been out of school since December? You could mention that as evidence of her need of a school place (although the LEA may counter that by pointing out that she could have a place at the school 3 miles away).
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