Junior school appeal board tomorrow and I'm suddenly terrified and don't have a clue what to expect...Help Me!

(18 Posts)
JaquelineHyde Thu 13-Jun-13 20:47:26

DS is currently in year 2 in an infant school and so moving up to a junior school.

We moved from the Shetland Isles last summer holidays to the south east coast and as soon as we had a house sorted out I applied to get the 3 dc into schools.

DD1 (yr3) was offered a place at a school across town and started early October.

DS1 (yr2) and DD2 (yr1) could not be offered a place within the town at all and so they were offered a place at a school in an adjoining town that we had to turn down as there was no way that we could get them there.

So we home schooled them both and in January I put the application forms in for DS's junior school place naming 2 schools; the primary school DD1 attended and the Junior school we live opposite (232 meters to be precise).

In February we received an offer of a place at the local infant school for DS and accepted it straight away. The school is a 5 minute walk away from us and is a linked/feeder school to the junior school we live opposite.

When I spoke to the admissions team I asked about the application and they advised that everything was fine and that it was almost guaranteed that DS would be offered a place at the local junior...

He wasn't, we didn't get either school choices and were allocated a school even further away than DD's that is impossible for us to get DS to.

When I spoke to the CC they told me that DS would have been given a place at our chosen school had he been in school at the deadline date for applications, but because he didn't start at the linked school until after the January deadline he could not be allocated under that category and despite living closer than most of the pupils allocated (the CC employee actually laughed when he told me this) all the places were taken before they could consider any allocations for distance!

My God this is long, I am so sorry!

So I have appealed and explained all of this and that we cannot send DS to the allocated school as we cannot physically get him there or pick him up on time and we are not in any position to pay for morning/afternoon clubs, so we would have to withdraw him from education all together and wait for a space to become available.

Well done if you got this far grin basically I am now terrified about tomorrow, what shall I expect from the appeal board, what do I need to do/not do?

Also should I mention DS's previous difficulties in settling into a new school as part of the reason we moved back from Shetland is because DS had become very unhappy at his school and had stopped learning all together, he had completely disengaged and was suffering a lot, we later learned he had been bullied rather nastily and so we were worried about him going into another school again. Yet when he started at his current school he hit the ground running, has made excellent progress academically and more importantly made some fantastic friends all of whom are going up to the linked school, no one is going to the school he has been allocated so he would have to start from scratch again.

I am rambling now and I am worried this is what will happen tomorrow, I shall stop now.

Words of wisdom would be appreciated if you got this far grin

JaquelineHyde Thu 13-Jun-13 20:49:15

OH God I am so sorry!!!

In 8yrs of MNing I have never written a post that long.

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 21:12:20

I'm sorry I scared you, if its any consolation I have heard junior schools are easier than secondary school placements. I definitely recommend not arguing with the panel avoid any confrontation, show your passion for wanting a place at that particular school. Any conversations you have with admissions are best made at work if you have the facility where you k ow the call is recorded. I did have to use this measure after I was misinformed. Any supporting evidence will help, even if it is only to prove all the points you are making.

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 21:18:48

A letter from the teacher regarding the bullying would be advisable .... They have heard it all before and u need to show that your genuine and it isn't all made up. School reports showing your child's setbacks and how it affected them academically. Emphasis how you child will be isolated being the only one attending the allocated school but don't put the allocated school down, instead just say it isn't suitable for your child's needs etc.

JaquelineHyde Thu 13-Jun-13 21:19:31

Hyland you didn't scare me, you made me think about it all which is a good thing smile

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 21:26:23

I was in ur shoes with our original allocated school, only child given that school, which is why I think we won our 1st appeal ( just a shame it was our 4th choice)... I'll dig out the letter and tell u the reasons why we won that one as it may help u

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 21:52:49

Found it: the panel concluded the reasons I put forward for child's admission outweighed the authority's case coz they had noted the socials logistic reasons for wanting our child to go there. They were mindful that child is a Late August birthday and somewhat lacking on confidence and not streetwise so could fully understand my concerns about the journey my hold would have to make to the allocated school, particularly as they would be doing it alone. Also they noted the already changes of schools 3 times and agreed with me that the child now needed continuity and support offered by her friends of whom two would be going. They felt that if my child didn't get that school and has to go elsewhere on their own there would be a danger that they would become isolated both from them and the community we live in. ........... Hope this helps (believe it or not this was my weakest case, go figure)

prh47bridge Thu 13-Jun-13 22:52:18

Transport difficulties do not make for a successful appeal. It is a shame you have said you will withdraw your child from education if you lose your appeal. The panel will think you are trying to bully them into admitting your son to your preferred school. That means they will be less likely to give you the benefit of any doubt. You need to be clear in the hearing that this is not meant as a threat. You also need to be clear that you mean you will home educate - not educating at all is not an option legally.

I would certainly mention the fact you were told it was almost guaranteed your son would get a place at the local junior school. It sounds like you were given misleading information. I would also check exactly what the admission criteria say about attendance at the feeder school. Unless they say that the child must be attending on the date of application you can argue that they should have treated him as attending the feeder school as he clearly was by the allocation date.

You also need to talk about how your son will be disadvantaged if he doesn't go to this school. It needs to be about difficulties that affect him, not problems such as childcare and transport that affect you. If you can identify features of the appeal school that are missing from the allocated school and would be of particular benefit for your son you should talk about them as they help your case.

Good luck.

JaquelineHyde Fri 14-Jun-13 07:04:18

Thank you for the advice I really appreciate it.

Hyland that post is fantastic thank you for sharing, I really can use that when I speak later today.

Prh47 thank you. I was very careful with how I worded everything when I submitted the appeal that we would have to home school DS because getting to the other school is completely impossible. I know we have to offer some form of education at home and actually home schooled DS1 and DD2 for several months as there were no places at any local schools for them.

I will make sure it is clear that my intention to withdraw DS from school until he can get a place at the local school is not an idle threat meant to pressure them but something we will have to do that we don't want to do at all!

I did mention in my statement that I had been advised everything would be ok and I shall be sure to re-cap on this as well.

I will however, place most emphasis on my DS's need to remain with his current peer group and will stress how concerning it is for us that he is the only child going to the other school and how he has struggled with this in the past.

The criteria does state that the allocations are given based on information at the time of the deadline and that they have the right to not include any information that changed after the January deadline date. For example a change of address after the closing date may not be taken into account when allocations are made. So apparently because DS was not in the linked school until February (despite having been on the waiting list since September) they refused to allocate him under that category and although he would be top of the list based on distance (we live opposite the school) all the places went to sibling and linked school children so no offers were made based on distance.

I will let you know how it goes when I get back...fingers crossed!

scaevola Fri 14-Jun-13 07:17:07

If you didn't get an offer for the feeder school until February (ie after on-time applications deadline), I think you can expect to be asked about your original application. What school/s did you list on it? (And was you offered school one of them?) And was the application on time?

There is a potential snag here - if your application was on time, then your DS hadn't even been offered that school and so wouldn't be entitled to the feeder link. If it was a late application, then all the places might have gone to those who applied on time. You need to have all the detail of deadlines for timings of applications (and notifying change of circumstances) at your fingertips.

JaquelineHyde Fri 14-Jun-13 14:39:29

Right I'm back and it went as well as I could have hoped.

Our application was on time and the CC confirmed to the panel that DS began school 14 days after the application deadline and so they chose not to allocate him under the linked school category.

The panel didn't appear to like this and questioned the CC on this fact to ensure they had understood it correctly and I made sure that they understood that the CC could, if they wanted to, have chosen to accept the changes to my application and if they had done he would have been one of the first children to be allocated a place.

I managed to remember everything I had to say and made it very clear our choice to home school until we get the school place we desire is not something we want to do but we feel we must do to ensure the best for our ds.

I feel I have done my best and that it went very well so that is all I can hope for. Now what will be will be and we shall find out by next Friday.

Thank you for all the advice smile

Hyland Fri 14-Jun-13 18:26:08

I wish you all the luck, hope you get a good result

JaquelineHyde Tue 18-Jun-13 22:35:05

Woohoo I won my appeal grin grin

I am so, so happy and the look on DS's face when I told him was priceless.

springrain Tue 18-Jun-13 23:12:30

well done and congrats.

JaquelineHyde Wed 19-Jun-13 12:45:05

Thank you, still over the moon and waiting for the written confirmation.

jellysmum77 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:14:20

Just reading your story and wanted to pass on congratulations at winning your appeal. It is reassuring to read a positive outcome.

Hyland Thu 11-Jul-13 15:38:10

Congrats

FairyThunderthighs Thu 11-Jul-13 15:51:28

Congratulations Jacqueline and family! I think (by virtue of also living on the SE coast) I know which school you are talking about and it's a lovely one smile

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