Appeal for a primary place at our local school

(22 Posts)
Kally38 Tue 24-Sep-13 16:56:50

I am after some advice regarding my daughters forthcoming appeal and would be so grateful for any advice! It's all proving very stressful at the moment! In March of this year, we moved out of one Local Authority into another. We moved in with my husbands parents whilst we looked for a house in the village we wanted our children to attend. We applied for an in year place for my daughter who was in Year 1. We knew that the two local schools that we had applied for were full so put down the school where my sister in law works as third choice. This is a 30 minute drive from my in- laws house but we felt it was a good temporary solution for my daughter whilst we found and bought a house. To cut a long story short, we have moved into the village of our first choice school and put in a appeal. The school has a PAN of 21 and 6 year groups: reception, Year 1, Year 2, year 3/4, year 4/5 and 5/6. The schools net capacity is shown as 150 (30 temporary places allocated within this figure). There are currently 157 children on roll. I have been informed by the school that quite a few places have been given following appeals. The LA haven't been forthcoming with any information related to net capacity, how' many children in each year group etc. they said that this information will be given to me prior to the appeal. My question is, if the net capacity is shown as 150, shouldn't the PAN be 25 as there are 6 teaching classes and not 21? There are currently 22 children in year 2 which is the year group we are appealing for.

Hope someone can help clarify this! Many thanks

Kally38 Tue 24-Sep-13 17:07:12

I forgot to add that my son is currently attending the reception class of the school we want for my daughter.

BlackMogul Tue 24-Sep-13 18:53:26

It looks like the PAN has not been increased to reflect the temporary places included in the capacity, however it does reflect the intake for each cohort, ie 7 x 22 is 154. Whichever way you look at it, the school will argue it is full. As the class you want has only 22 and therefore less than 25 I would argue they should take up to this number, but i thnk it is a dosgy argument. It may also depend where they have used the extra temporary capacity. It looks like early years and KS1 have stand alone classes, so are these larger or smaller than the classes further up the school? They could be looking to have all separate classes (7) with 22 in each in the future but do they have enough classrooms for this? Or do they always mix year groups in KS 2? As they have more than 150 it looks like people are winning appeals, but this has to end somewhere. You may have a chance as you have a sibling there and you presumably live in the catchment area. Have any appeals been turned down, if so, can you find out why. Good luck

Kally38 Tue 24-Sep-13 19:42:21

Thanks BlackMogul for your speedy reply! The number of actual year groups that they have is 6 in total or am I missing something in my calculations??! They have 3 year groups in the infant stage (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) and then 3 year groups of mixed age ranges in the juniors (year 3/4, year 4/5 and year 5/6). I know from the school they have 21 children in Reception, 25 in Year 1 and 22 in Year 2. I think some of the classes in the junior stage have between 23 to 27 but will need to confirm exact numbers with the school. The Local Authority set the PAN last year for reception before that as either 22 or 23 I think. Not sure why it was set higher but that it was definitely over 21. So if there are 6 year groups, wouldn't the net capacity figure of 150 be divided by 6 rather than 7?

I know people who have moved into the village have won on appeal. The 30 temporary places included in the net figure are because there is only space for 120 children in the classroom. So am assuming that there is a temporary building outside the main building where a class is taught. Again I have only found out this information by calling another professional in the LA who does not work for admissions!

We do live in the catchment area, school is less than 5 minute walk. The LA however have said that as year 2 is full, she won't get a place!

NickNacks Tue 24-Sep-13 19:47:33

There are 7 year groups though. Years 1-6 plus reception. ??

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 19:50:46

Year group = Y3, year 4, Year 5 etc.

Class could = year group OR be mixed.

Your school has 6 classes for 7 year groups IYSWIM. 3 are single year group classes, 3 are mixed.

Putting it another way, every primary in England has 7 year groups, and every child will spend 7 years (give or take a term or two) in the school. The number of classes in which the children are taught can range from 1 (all year groups in a single class) to 21+ (3 parallel classes in each year group).

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 19:52:11

What matters for the appeal, I think, is whether any YEAR GROUP is over PAN, and in infant classes, whether admitting another child would take any CLASS over 30.

Kally38 Tue 24-Sep-13 20:03:10

Thank you every one for your replies. I think I understand now! I know Year 1 has gone over Pan and probably one or two classes in the juniors. No class throughout the school has over 30 children in it. Does this mean that are chances of winning appeal are very slim??

I'm hoping that when I get further information about the net capacity, this will tell me whether the figure of 150 is the maximum or minimum. If its the minimum, might I argue that the school still has capacity to admit children?

It's all very stressful at the mo, particularly as the LA aren't being very helpful. When I request information about numbers, previous PAN numbers etc, I am just told that this information will be sent out to us 7-10 days before the appeal. The appeals panel told me that the LA is not obliged to tell me that information before the case if they choose not to.

Thanks again for everyone's advice.

Smartiepants79 Tue 24-Sep-13 20:03:53

PAN relates to year group not class. They are running with mixed age range classes who's upper limit really should only be about 30 for primary school.
7 year groups with 21 in each is 147. So not quite sure where the 150 comes from at all.
The maximum intake at reception is where you should see what the actual yearly intake should be.
I also don't really know what a 'temporary' place is.
At 157 they are already well over their supposed capacity.
With a reception intake of 21 they look they are working towards having less mixed classes. Cos as those children work there way thru school they will end up with classes of 42 which is untenable.
They do have a bit of leeway with the numbers they can accommodate by the looks of things so you may have some success.

Smartiepants79 Tue 24-Sep-13 20:06:18

Set capacity should be for the maximum. But it seems they have been allowed/forced to go over this already.
This happened in a school I know about that was forced by the LA to take a few children extra. They had to create a whole other class and it put into massive debt!

Kally38 Tue 24-Sep-13 20:39:38

Thank you smartiepants for your thoughts. I know from posts I have seen from other members who have sat on appeal panels that the net capacity can range from the maximum to 90 per cent of this figure and that LA set a figure between this. I was hoping that the 150 figure was lower of the figures!

It never occurred to me that one class (year 3/4) could potentially have 42 children (21 from each year group) as you say! I don't know how I managed to miss that!

My hopes of winning the appeal look even bleaker now.

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 20:54:35

It couldn't. Year 4 is split between 2 classes, as is Year 5.

So, PAN of 21, 3 classes for 4 years.

84 children between 3 classes = less than 30 in each class.

30 in each class gives 90 children over 4 years (and remember that there is no maximum class size in KS2, the largest mixed-age class I have taught is 35). That would give a 'PAN equivalent' of 22.5 -so 22-23 in each year group would still give all KS2 classes of around 30.

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 20:56:24

Typically, it would be arranged:
22 Y3 + 8 Y4
14 Y4 + 16 Y5
8 Y5 + 22 Y6
(or thereabouts)
to give 3 classes of 30 for the 4 Year Groups.

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 20:59:11

(The school I taught in used to go over PAN for some year groups but not for others, because once one group was over PAN, then the total number of children in a mixed age class prevented the 'sharing' year group from going over PAN too. So in such cases, there is a slightly complex calculation involving not only the year group size but also the maximum that clan be accommodated in a whole seres of classrooms!)

Kally38 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:24:15

Thank you for your reply teacherwith2kids. My emotions are going from complete dispair to some glimmer of hope!!

So what I need to do is find out the exact arrangement of the classes in the year groups in the juniors. I do know that Year 2 has 22 children and although I don't know the figures for Year 3, have been told that a child left that year group in July of this year. I don't think the classroom sizes can hold 30 children, so am assuming they are being taught in a class of 25.

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 21:27:33

As I have said on your other thread, you need to find out the maximum size that a class has ever been in that classroom - and say if they managed to do that before, they should be able to again. Even if the class size is currently 24 and it has in the past been 26, that is a great argument to admit your child.

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 21:30:40

You also need the admissions experts to confirm whether they can refuse you a place this year (in a small class of 22) on the basis that next year, in Y3 when there is no maximum class size except that dictated by the size of the classroom, the mixed class might by a bit big - you could always argue that another Y4 child could move up into the next class up if that question comes up. However, I may be wrong...

lougle Tue 24-Sep-13 22:00:47

The admissions panel isn't allowed to consider how the children may be arranged differently to accomodate a child. That's an operational issue for the school concerned to decide.

The admissions panel needs to consider whether given the stated arrangements, the school is full in the year group in question.

The admissions panel will consider the impact of the whole number of children in the school and the school layout, etc., not just the potential class in question.

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 22:24:44

But logle, if the school argues e.g. that they cannot accommodate a Y2 child now, because in September they want to choose to split the Y3/ y4 class and the Y4 / Y5 class in a particular way that makes the Y3/4 one especially big, can they do that? That is an as yet undecided operational matter, so can the school argue that just because they WANT to arrange future classes in that way, the child cannot enter Y2 now?

teacherwith2kids Tue 24-Sep-13 22:28:13

(I appreciate that they cannot admit another Y3 now, even if it is possible to argue that a Y4 could be 'bumped up ' to the next class because there is 1 more chair there. But the situation is that the child is applying for a place in Y2, where there are 22 children, and the only argument seems to be one about FUTURE Ks2 classes . Is it possible to argue that the school could easily arrange those as-yet-undecided classes in such a way that when the child is in Y3 they can be comfortable accommodated? Or is the school allowed to say 'No, we want to arrange them with lots of the Y4s in with Y3 so we can't take you in Y2?)

lougle Tue 24-Sep-13 22:33:10

No. The LA's case has to be as up to date as possible. So they need to provide details of the classroom arrangements as they stand. But equally, the admissions panel can't tell them to rearrange their classes as they stand because if they did things in another way they may make space.

prh47bridge Tue 24-Sep-13 23:05:58

Apologies if I repeat stuff that others have said.

PAN relates to year groups, NOT classes. They could have all 150 children in a single class and PAN would still be 21 as there are 7 year groups in a primary school. If all years are full there would be 147 pupils, so PAN looks correct for the net capacity.

As there are 22 in the year group they are already over PAN. However, given the class arrangement it is clearly not an infant class size case which is good. It means the case is about balance of prejudice. You need to show that the prejudice (disadvantage) to your daughter of not being admitted to this school outweighs the prejudice to the school of having to cope with an additional pupil. You therefore need to highlight anything at this school that will be of particular benefit to your daughter. Remember that child care and travel arrangements rarely win an appeal as they are problems for you, not for your child.

The school can argue that the mixed classes will be too big if another child is admitted. Unless the classrooms are particularly small most appeal panels will be happy with 32 in a class. If it starts going beyond that the appeal panel may think that is too big.

Lougle is right that the appeal panel cannot tell the school how to arrange its classes. They certainly could not admit a child if the only way they could be accommodated was to start operating mixed classes, for example. Similarly if the school had a Y3/4 class and a Y5/6 class a panel should not admit a child on the basis that a Y4 child could be moved into the Y5/6 class. However, the situation here is somewhat different and takes us into a bit of a grey area. Many panels, faced with this arrangement, may conclude that, provided all the children can be accommodated satisfactorily, it is ok to admit another one even if it is pushing the school towards putting an additional Y4 child in the Y4/5 class. After all, they aren't forcing the school to do that and they aren't changing which years are in each class. And at the end of the day it is still up to the school to decide whether or not they are actually going to put an additional Y4 child in the Y4/5 class.

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