Appeal experts - help

(5 Posts)
PomQueen Mon 06-Jun-16 11:20:31

I recently returned from abroad an applied for a school for my year 3 and 5 children. I emailed to chase the admissions and an officer replied saying that the school was full up (no surprises there). We were offered another school, but it's far away and so have declined to homeschool for the rest of this term and hope something nearer turns up in the holidays.

But a friend has now informed me that we could appeal for these places. It also seems that they should have provided information about appeals when rejecting the initial school, rather than a brief email. Is this correct and could their failure to provide this information have any bearing on a subsequent appeal? Thanks.

admission Mon 06-Jun-16 11:52:26

If you made a formal application for the school, then there should have been a formal rejection letter, which confirmed that you can appeal for a place if you wish and any details about whether the school / LA operated a waiting list
If it is does not say that then this was an illegal act. If you have been disadvantaged by not knowing that then it would be maladministration. However for it to have any consequences in terms of getting your children places at the school, you would have to prove that it fundamentally changed your children's chances of getting a place at the school. In other words, since your formal application and rejection, the school needs to have taken pupils into the school in years 3 and 5, which if the school had applied their admission criteria correctly would have meant the places went to your children in years 3 and 5.
That sounds unlikely to be honest. I would appeal now, as you are already looking at a situation where school places are being offered for September 2016 start. Apply for other schools that you consider to be appropriate and when rejected, appeal for them. You need to try and put the pressure on the LA to find your children places in an appropriate school. Unfortunately by rejecting the proposed school and saying you will home educate, you have removed from the LA the right to a school place, as they have made an offer which you rejected.

PomQueen Tue 07-Jun-16 12:59:19

Thanks for reply. Rather what I suspected. We didn't receive any formal letter from the council at all, but don't think it would have made a difference.

I have sent off appeal form. It is worth mentioning the missing letter to the panel? My husband thinks it might be as shows general council incompetence handling admissions. I also think someone should know as it shouldn't have happened. Luckily we discovered we could appeal, but many others will still be unaware.

tiggytape Tue 07-Jun-16 18:00:14

It is worth mentioning the missing letter to the panel? My husband thinks it might be as shows general council incompetence handling admissions. I also think someone should know as it shouldn't have happened. Luckily we discovered we could appeal, but many others will still be unaware.

Yes it might show they haven't followed proper procedure but unfortunately it is unlikely to make any difference at appeal.

As admissions says, only an error or maladministration that wrongfully led to you being denied a place (i.e. a place that would have been yours have they followed correct process) would be relevant at appeal.

An error or maladministration concerning a school that is full - so had no places for you anyway - hasn't caused you any material loss. It might mean they send the correct letter next time but it won't help your own case.

You can apply (and appeal) to as many schools as you wish and hopefully will find one that is a better fit. If the school you were offered is more than 2 miles from home by the shortest walking route though, the council is obliged to fund your children's transport costs (this will be public transport in many areas but might be a taxi or school bus in some regions). If that applies, and if having transport funded makes a difference, it may be worth accepting the school you've been offered at least until other options come along.

prh47bridge Tue 07-Jun-16 19:00:22

If there were other problems with the way your application was administered it would be a good idea to tell the appeal panel about the missing letter. It would add to the impression of incompetence which may make them more likely to give you the benefit of any doubt.

Unfortunately it does not sound like there were any other problems. It is pretty unusual for a council to get an in year admission application wrong. So I am with Admission and Tiggytape - it won't do any harm to mention this to the appeal panel but it is unlikely to make any difference to the outcome.

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