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Secondary School Admissions Paperwork & Medical Grounds...(6 Posts)
...For first choice - oversubscribed school
I've been really ill & struggling this last few months, I also didn't have the actual leaflet that went with the school admissions forms until last week - given letter by school telling us to apply online which I did - thankfully due to a chance conversation with DDs HT I realised there might be a problem with the software & our MAC - no 2nd/3rd choice space online, I thought it had changed, but it hadn't - so I rang SA & they sent out hard copy with booklet.
DD has quite complex health problems (Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility Type) also diagnosed with IBS, though we now know that to be a symptom - basically invisible illness that makes her vulnerable to injury from minor accidents - last 3 years has been one fracture or bad sprain etc after another, long stints on crutches etc etc, symptoms also include headaches, pain, nausea, exhaustion & anxiety which will trigger bad bouts of stomach upset. Her illness monastery other things has meant she has been a target for bullying pretty much all through school - this has affected her health badly at times
We come in the catchment area for only 2 schools, though im not sure im understanding our local system properly, not dure even our SAS is to be honest, different advice from different staff - but it was a lottery system for a while at least, not sure if that has changed or not
Sorry waffling - Our nearest school is also the one with the best layout & pastoral care, fantastic at dealing swiftly & effectively with bullying etc - but is an excellent school in all ways & very over subscribed - next nearest school is accedemically good, but poor pastoral care - also big confusing building - DD on bad days would struggle with this & panic - making her ill
We didn't put 2nd nearest school in our choices at all, but a local religious one we have no hope of getting into as second choice & 3rd choice of a much smaller good pastoral care school - down to being told by a few in the know that you never get allocated 3 rd choice
We were advised to use her health problems to swing getting her into our first choice school DDs HT confirmed this to be a good idea & suggested a few key points I hadn't thought if too - I did ask for a GP letter, but seems my letter was lost & our GP gone off on maternity leave, so I didn't get it in time - so with SA forms I included a copy of CAF notes, OT report both confirm diagnosis & problems, CAF mentions bullying & its effects on her health too & a few hospital letter for physio, fracture clinic & NHS & DWP print outs explaing the condition etc etc,
Just spotted on the leaflet it's insisting on a Doctors letter
Have I messed up - would anyone know if the paperwork I have submitted is good enough - it does include medical & official letters, just not the requested doctors
The advice is always that you need 2 testimonies from relevant healthcare or other professionals (e.g social worker if appropriate) that confirm the condition but also say 'therefore I believe that * is the only suitable school for XXX'. This is the important bit.
Can you go to your GP surgery today and ask for a letter from another GP at the practice who has access to your DD's notes? And then take a letter to submit to the 'by hand' contact address for submitting applications?
I do not know if there are any protocols for explaining that you yourself have been ill, and are therefore submitting the evidence late - but deifnitely submit as much as you can nbow and say that further evidence is in proparation.
You can always appeal and then present the letter saying 'she has this condition, therefore this is the best school for her, and if she doesn't get it she will be disadvantaged in these ways' at appeal. It has to be the GP saying this, not 'her parents have informed me that this is the best school for her'.
You say you didn't get the GP letter in time. If you have now received it there is still time to submit it. The closing date for applications is today so deliver it to the admissions team by hand or submit it online. If you can't sort this out today contact the admissions team and see if they would accept a doctors letter even though it is late. Many LAs will accept late medical evidence.
Thanks both of you, then I have messed up as the paperwork submitted clearly outlines her problems & needs, but of course doesn't mention it in context of "xxx school is most suitable because"
I didn't get the letter I requested at all, receptionists didn't know what I was talking about & my GPs not there anymore, though wont be the first time she has lost/forgotten stuff, so I expect my request letter has gone the same way, looks like I've missing hospital referrals to chase up too
I have now noticed there is a bit on the SA paperwork that said in certain circumstances they accept medical evidence etc up until January, so I'm hoping I can do that, I'm going make a follow up appointment with DD to see the new GP after I've put in a request to her with copies of her CAF & OT notes which support this being the best school for her needs as only 2 are an easy journey & one of those as I said above hasn't the best pastoral care & is a difficult building to navigate - I should be able to get the GP to confirm my own extra poor health of late too & also that we've only very recently lost my DM too
Fingers crossed that all works - I could kick myself for not getting on top of it properly sooner & getting it right
"Thanks both of you, then I have messed up as the paperwork submitted clearly outlines her problems & needs, but of course doesn't mention it in context of "xxx school is most suitable because""
I wouldn't worry about that: it is not the doctor's job to know about schools: they are supposed to limit themselves to what they know of their own knowledge= your dd's actual needs. Schools are not within their professional remit. It is then your job to show the admissions people/appeals panel how the requirements mentioned in the doctor's letter can only be met by school X.
Have been in exactly the same situation: dd with Ehlers Danlos and severe anxiety.
We failed at admissions because the medical letter by the GP was not specific enough about how dd's condition affected her needs. Got through at appeal by providing very detailed evidence of:
dd's disabled access needs, including inability to negotiate stairs safely
her need to walk as much as possible (so as not to become dependent on wheelchair) but only short distances at a time- hence small school
her anxiety about not being believed- hence need to go to school where some pupils were already aware of her condition
her inability to travel long distances to school due to pain and consequent exhaustion- so as not to be fobbed off with undersubscribed school at the other end of the country
LEA tried to argue at every point, but dh turned up with plans of the schools they were trying to fob us off with, to show them that no, you cannot access the science block in a wheelchair, it's up two flights of stairs with no lift. They were left with egg on their faces, because their reps had clearly done their homework far less carefully than we had.
I chair appeal panels and have to disagree with cory.
Any appeal panel will be looking for confirmation from a health care professional that the preferred school is the one that wil cater best for the pupil's medical needs. A statement of those medical needs won't be enough on its own - the HCP's evidence should make the connection between those needs and what the school can provide.
It would be better if OP could get that evidence now, if not from the GP then from the consultant at the hospital. It's always better to sort out issues at the initial application stage than at appeal, by which time parents have to overcome the school's argument that it is full.
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