Late Grammar School offer: over the moon but stressed/flummoxed

(1000 Posts)
PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 19:35:12

What a 3 days we've had - any insightful comments welcome. In short:

1. Our daughter was offered 3rd choice (her 11+ score was about 30 down on passmark);
2. 3rd school is outstanding but we appealed to 2nd choice school as was our preference;
3. Last Friday took calls from our local Ed admissions authority saying why appealed when have offer from grammar school?
4. Said we hadn't. She made further calls to other relevant admissions authority and came back and told us we definitely have an offer and it would be in post next day (Saturday just gone);
5. It duly arrived, and we posted our acceptance same day (they should have got it today) - verbal acceptance of place given by phone on Friday;
6. On Friday the Authority also withdrew both our place at 3rd choice school and our appeal to 2nd choice school;
7. Today i take a call from a friend whose daughter got substantially higher score than my DD - and she is 188 on waiting list;
8. I call our admissions auth to check they received our acceptance (they said still in posttray but will be dealt with this afternoon);
9. I query whether there could possibly an error and i'm told categorically 'no'. And if there was, we have a written offer, accepted it and they can't take it off our daughter;
10. Finally, my other DS is that grammar school.

I'm perplexed. What could be a possible explanation?

lougle Thu 16-May-13 17:52:31

lilo, when you read the whole thread, you will see that it is an administration error, so your astonishment is well placed. It doesn't affect Perma though, because once offered and not retracted in time, the place is theirs regardless of the reasons for the error (misinformation from the applicant being the exception to that).

Perma, good idea. Keep breathing smile

breward Thu 16-May-13 19:11:15

I have been following this thread and have found the whole business shocking. Firstly, huge sympathy for OP at having been put through such a roller coaster. The LAs who have made such a mistake but also the ripple effect this whole situation as for another family and DC.

My ds is 3rd on a grammar school waiting list. He missed out on an automatic place by 0.5 of a mark, scoring 340. I would be seriously cheesed off if I knew a child had been given a place with a score of 313, some 80 places behind my child on the list. The only reason they got a place was not on ability, but on an admin error. Whilst I have huge sympathy with what has happened I certainly will not be letting my ds try on any school uniforms until we know for certain where he is going. His place will only be decided on ability and not how well I can play the system and fight a case legally. It reminds me of the lawyer who managed to get people off speeding tickets (mr loophole) when they had obviously been speeding. This child has not made the required mark, but other children get penalised for the error by missing out on their place that they earned fair and square. It is a roller coaster, but one the OP could have got off after 5 days when the place was withdrawn.

LaVolcan Thu 16-May-13 19:39:34

The LAs who have made such a mistake but also the ripple effect this whole situation as for another family and DC

Will it necessarily have a ripple effect? If the LEA finally admit their mistake, won't they just have to admit the extra pupil, even if that takes the school over its admission number?

As far as I recall, the OP initially wondered whether the paper had been moderated which led to the place being awarded. Once it was offered she accepted. It was only later that she found out that someone else with a higher score was on the waiting list. So I don't think it's fair to accuse her of playing the system. The law has decided that withdrawing a place after three days is unreasonable. IMO it's a good thing that a time limit for withdrawing a place has been agreed - otherwise you could have an LEA coming along in the last week of August and saying," Sorry, we made a mistake, tough luck. Oh and by the way all your other choices are now full too."

LaVolcan Thu 16-May-13 19:44:34

Nor is it like being got off speeding. Imagine if you thought you were doing exactly 30 but the speed camera decided that you were doing 33. You would plead that you weren't breaking the speed limit because you genuinely thought you weren't. You wouldn't expect them to accept this, and then come back a week later and say that they had changed their mind and were going to give you three points on your licence anyway.

lougle Thu 16-May-13 20:35:13

breward your viewpoint has been addressed upthread. 5 days is too late. It's not a legal loophole, it is legal precedent.

It's not playing the system. It's expecting that the LA will uphold the law and act according to it.

Tasmania Thu 16-May-13 21:41:27

Off topic - I never knew this five day rule! If I offered my house to someone for sale £50k, went on a long weekend, and came back to say - shock horror it was meant to be £500k... would I have to sell for £50k?!?

lougle Thu 16-May-13 21:51:09

Tasmania, it's not a 5 day rule. It's simply that Local Government Ombudsmen rulings have taken place which establish boundaries of 'reasonable' withdrawls.

One such judgement found that a place was withdrawn legitimately because it was withdrawn on the same day as it was offered.

Another such judgement found that places withdrawn after 3 days were withdrawn too late because a legitimate expectation of a place had been formed, even though the offer of the places was made by someone with no authority to do so (a head teacher of a school which was not its own admitting authority).

So that gives a 'timeframe' on reasonable withdrawl.

5 days is longer than the 3 days that has been found to be unreasonable in the past.

However the new code does give specific rights of a LA to withdraw a place given in error, so it is possible at some point that an appeal panel will decide that the previous LGO rulings should not constrain their judgement, in which case the parents may well take it to an LGO hearing, when it will need to be decided afresh under the new Code.

lougle Thu 16-May-13 21:52:00

In answer to your question, no, because the law of sales is different to that of school offers.

tiggytape Thu 16-May-13 22:30:32

His place will only be decided on ability and not how well I can play the system and fight a case legally

OP isn't playing the system. She didn't create this situation - she double checked the offer was correct and was told absolutely that it was (twice). She assumed a remark had taken place.
5 days later the LA tried to withdraw the offer which they're not allowed to do - after 3 days the offer has to be allowed to stand. There's no legal shenanigans on this - it shouldn't even need an appeal. Morally and officially that place was awarded in writing and accepted in writing - it was was not withdrawn within the deadline so it is hers.

It isn’t at all like speeding loopholes being exploited or a verbal offer on a house.
In fact it is much nearer to buying a house, exchanging the contracts at the solicitors and then the seller trying to pull out when it has all been signed and paid for.
Legally after exchange the house is yours and the seller cannot change their mind and force you to hand it back again. It would be your house at that point even if the seller realises that actually they could have got a higher price afterall and regrets selling it to you.

PermaShattered Fri 17-May-13 07:05:50

Interesting recent posts! (and thanks for support ....)

It's a bit galling to be accused of playing the system really <wry smile>. Maybe some people would do that, but my DD isn't a toy and I wouldn't play the system when her future is dependant on this issue. If posters joining the thread would take the trouble to read all the comments that might help (if you have the time!).

I do keep meaning to point out that this is the first year actual scores hae been published in this area. In terms of my case, it's proved a curse. To this day we don't know what my eldest DD scored and it was for the best. Had we not known what my youngest DD's score was there would be no debating about her ability/fact she was about 25 (as she is now) below cut off....... it wouldn't be relevant to the debate.

Re the house sale comparison: this is (as pointed out, completely different). The law says no agreement to sell land or property is binding without a written agreement and 'consideration' (ie usually money transfer). This means on exchange of contracts.

PermaShattered Fri 17-May-13 07:09:50

tiggy just seen your comment: good point there. Whilst this wasn't a legal contract, there as an offer and acceptance - and my DD acted to her detriment in reliance on this.

BTW the offer was withdrawn 7 days later not 5. It was 5 days later that we were told there had been an error.

tiggytape Fri 17-May-13 07:34:59

Perma - absolutely. There's no legal contract but it was too far along the process that they tried to withdraw - they were beyond the point of going back (and previous rulings have established this is the case). In any process there comes a point when the deal is done and it is too late for either party to change their minds.

And if this is the first year scores have been published, this could potentially have been going on for years. There's nothing to say that 3 of the children who got in last year for example didn't score very low scores but parents all round (theirs and all the others) woud be none the wiser. It has all come to light this year because parents of higher scoring children realised something didn't add up - which is good in hopefully forcing the admissions to be more careful in future years but not good for you and the upset it has caused.

tiredaftertwo Fri 17-May-13 08:02:05

And - for what feels like the umpteenth time - you are doing nothing wrong if you follow the rules and tell the truth. That is all any of us can do as parents - admissions criteria vary hugely and are not fair (whatever that system would look like)

Perma enjoy your break from it. I think that is an excellent idea given the number of errors and complexity of the situation - you could be sucked into the admissions vortex...... Have a lovely post SATs weekend with your dd.

NigelMolesworth Fri 17-May-13 10:48:02

Still following here to Perma. As I said before, their system and their mistakes and therefore their responsibility to sort it. I can't see any evidence of you 'playing the system'. I think you have behaved very reasonably and sensibly bearing in mind the catalogue of errors that both LAs have created.

I hope you and your DD have a chance this weekend to put it to one side and relax a bit.

DIddled Thu 23-May-13 22:21:38

Perma I think you are having a break- but hope you are ok xxx

gazzalw Fri 24-May-13 07:39:16

Yes, I've been checking back on the thread to see if Perma has touched base, but she's probably, sensibly, trying to 'regroup' before the appeal date.

We are all thinking of you, Perma and LittlePerma and good luck for the appeal which I am assuming is mid-to-late June?

wheresthebeach Fri 24-May-13 09:16:26

Hope you're all holding up okay and that the appeal date is sooner rather than later. Like others have said - they've made a series of mistakes which aren't your fault. Fingers crossed for you.

jckhgg123 Sun 26-May-13 19:51:07

My son passed his eleven plus, but sadly did not get a place at the prefered grammer school as it was over subscribed. But we were told that he is 9 on the list. Does any one now, children on the waiting list do get offered a place.

tiggytape Sun 26-May-13 22:40:47

jckgg123 - Yes children get offered a place from the list every year. How many children and when the offers are made depends on the school.
Is it an area with lots of grammars? - If so the grammar you want may be somebody else's second choice and they may turn it down if they get offered their first choice from the list
Are there lots of people going private locally? - If so there may be people who've accepted the offer who also have a private school offer and will eventually relinquish the grammar one
Is it a large school? - If so there is every chance one or more pupils with an offer will move away over the Summer and free up places.

There's lots of scope for some movement. You can even ask the school how many got offers from the list last year but nobody can say for certain how far the list will move this year or how quickly places might become free.

gazzalw Mon 27-May-13 08:58:26

Jckhgg123, DS got his place at his preferred choice grammar (he was offered his third choice one on Offers Day) from 9th on the waiting list - but that was 9th on Offers Day rather than at this stage. So there is hope! We are in a super-selective area if that helps!

Good luck and fingers crossed for your DS smile

PermaShattered Mon 27-May-13 17:45:34

Hi all, it's so lovely to log back on and see you're thinking of me and my DD smile We're on holiday so i'll be 'back' next week.

I'll update and I have a query but will wait, otherwise I will be awake all night all holiday again! See you soon. And good luck jckhgg

lougle Mon 27-May-13 18:30:30

Enjoy the holiday, Perma smile

gazzalw Mon 27-May-13 19:30:55

Happy hols Perma and lovely to hear you sounding relatively chilled!

PermaShattered Mon 03-Jun-13 12:07:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gazzalw Mon 03-Jun-13 12:21:44

Hi Perma, sorry to hear that you can't sleep now you're back home...sad

I'm not one of the experts so can't help with the advice/information you require (although here for moral support and brew), although it sounds to me as if the Head is not at all addressing the pertinent issues of your Appeal hmm - he doesn't know that he's up against: a lawyer with the backing of the creme de la creme of Mumsnetter admissions specialists wink.

Hope Tiggytape, Admissions or Prh47bridge comes along soon to offer the information you need....

The 'insider' information from your DD1 (about the 'spare' classroom and the two new larger ones) sounds most useful to you in counter-arguing the Head's claim though.....

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