Secondary School Appeal(2 Posts)
My son is due to start secondary school in September and on national offer day he did not get any of the 6 schools chosen on our list.
I appealed for 3 of the schools on our list and have had 2 hearings. We won the appeal for the 1st school on our list which was our 6th choice - we are happy about this. We used medical grounds (GP referred son to CMHS due to low self esteem etc...) and the fact that none of his friends are going there. For the second appeal we lost as they said that he could make friends at new school etc.... this is fine because after seeing their administration of their appeals process I got put off (they are a newly formed academy).
I am now counting on my final appeal which was our 2nd choice and the school that my son really wants to go to. I am going to bring up the medical reasons but am worried that they might turn around and say that he has now got one of the schools on his list - Any tips or ideas on how to make my case stronger?
It is very common for people appealing to already have one of the schools from their list.
Some people get their 2nd choice but win appeals for their 1st
That doesn't really get considered at the appeal (unless you are claiming that the school you want is the only one that can meet his needs whereas in fact the school he's been offered is nearly identical).
That's the crucial part of winning an appeal really - to show that the school you are asking for best meets your child's needs or interests. The panel weigh that against the school's evidence that they are too full to take more pupils.
Whoever has the strongest case wins (which is why some appeals with identical cases fail when others win - it depends on the relative strength of the case against the school's case for refusing admission). In the case of your first appeal, the school's case that they were full wasn't strong enough to overcome your argument that your son needed peer support. In the second appeal you attended, the school's case to refuse admission was judged stronger than your case for the need for peer support
If there are medical reasons why the school you want is the best one for your son, then definitely seek to get evidence of that. For example if they have specialist support for his condition and other schools don't or if they are located next to the hospital he always attends (to minimise time lost for appointments). The same applies to any other reasons you have for wanting your son to go to this school (not Ofsted or anything like that but things personal to him that tie in with what the school offers).
And on the other side, you can seek to chip away at the school's case that they are too full to admit more pupils. This might mean it is easier to prove their case is weaker so yours is relatively stronger. For example if their PAN (Published Admission Number) is 180 but every year group has 185+ pupils then you can say that they obviously cope very well going slightly above numbers.
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