Successful appeal for reception class place above 30

(35 Posts)
seahorse Fri 14-Feb-03 12:57:54

I've just heard that my appeal to allow ds a place in a reception class has been upheld. We had to argue on the very narrow grounds allowed when all 30 places have been allocated.
If anyone needs any advice, help or ideas as to how to go about this process please post them here.

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 17:09:45

This is a very old thread so much of the advice given is out of date - the latest Appeal Code we are now working under is the Feb 2012 Code.

To answer your question megangrace1 a lot depends on how big the classes are in the school you want
30 is the magic number when it comes to how likely they are to win an appeal:

If there are 30 or more children per class, there are only 3 ways to win which are:
1. an LA mistake costing the child a place (eg somebody recorded your address wrong and you missed out on a place at a school that you should have qualified for)
2. illegal admission criteria (very unlikely - applies to schools trying to sneak in pupils of their choosing rather than using fair and legal criteria like siblings and distance)
3. a decision so unreasonable as to be unable to stand eg in witness protection or child protection cases - the criteria for this is very high and doesn't always apply to a child's medical needs unless evidence of it was submitted with application and unreasonably ignored by the LA - the unreasonable bit in such cases would be ignoring expert evidence.

If there are less than 30 per class, parents can win by explaining all the reasons they want the school and demonstrating why the school will be the best one for meeting their child's needs and interests.
If there are less than 30 per class, you could make a case to show why your daughter needs to attend the school and forward any professional opinions that it would be harmful for her to be denied a place. You can also talk about aspects of the school that meet her other needs or suit her interests (clubs, choirs, activities etc)

megangrace1 Wed 24-Apr-13 16:38:32

my child has been going to the nursery of our local school for nearly 5 terms..only to loose a place due to simply and purely our postcode...oh and a baby boom!we live in a rural village with no young children..we are older parents and all our friends and families children are either university are working...there are two schools within a 5 minute drive...the one we chose was the one slightly further...her only friends she has are the nursery friends ..her teachers hav said she is so far and above any expectations of a child of her age..by moving schools at this point will have a serious effect on her both socially and mentally...do we have any chance with an appeal....any advice would be grateful..p.s.she is very sensitive to change..there hav been two intakes of children at the school which hav affected her.....constent wetting accidents..behaviour etc..

LittlePushka Thu 18-Feb-10 01:28:37

Humzinger - come and talk to me about this...

Tell me about the appeal.

Littlefish Fri 30-Jan-09 18:58:55

Humzinger - I think you might get more replies if you started your own thread to ask for help.

humzinger Fri 30-Jan-09 17:07:01

Hi there

Only just found this website and was wondering if anyone - maybe seahorse? had some advice for us. We are going to appeal on 10th February to get our daughter into the local catholic school. She is in reception, the class has 31 (one permitted exception with special needs and full time support) and we have only just moved into the area. This is the only school we wish her to go to as we want her to have a catholic education. It is the only catholic school within a 2 mile radius. So far, our arguments centre around the fact that we believe it was unreasonable for the school to deny her a place because the benefits to her outweigh any disadvantages but we still feel this will be somewhat of a fight. Does anyone have any advice for us? It would be very much appreciated. Thanks

Littlefish Fri 09-Mar-07 16:32:25

Hope the appeal goes well Littlefishy1.

I'd be really grateful if you could think of another name if possible.

littlefishy1 Thu 08-Mar-07 20:51:20

thanks for all the comments, I'm going to put the appeal in later this week, hopefully a place will come up on the waiting list

and littlefish... didn't realise our similar names, this is my ebay name I've had for a few years (pet name for ds!), used it automatically... we've got similar taste! I'm sure I can come up with something else if its a problem

fennel Fri 02-Mar-07 10:42:43

We also appealed and won places for my dds in yr 1 and yr 2 at the local, officially full, school. It was maybe similar to seahorse's case, we moved into a village and very much wanted the dds to go to their local school (a 5 minute walk) rather than to the nearby city school they had been going to, which was now a drive away. Officially the yr 1 class was oversubscribed and the yr 2 class full. Even though the classes only had about 16-20 children in, the school is limited by physical space restraints.

I wrote a rather impassioned appeal essay which got the girls a place that same week, even though we had been told it would be a long wait to go to formal appeal and probably then a long time on a waiting list til 2 other children left the school.

my appeal focused on the immense importance for small children to be part of their local community and go to their local school, and the impact on car use of having to drive them to another school rather than walk them to our local school. I think this worked as our LEA is very keen on reducing car traffic into the city at rush hour, and is also keen on children going to their local catchment school where possible. I used quite emotive phrases such as "forcing infants to become car commuters into the city rather than being integrated into their local community"!

so I suggest it might be worth looking at your LEA's priorities on a website and seeing if you can tie these into your appeal.

Ladymuck Mon 26-Feb-07 14:28:08

littlefishy1 - usually schools have a policy which gives priority to siblings. so you should be OK. If not, and given this school has been allocated to your older child I would expect that you would have strong grounds to appeal on the basis of unreasonableness for you younger child. But of course you need not appeal until such time as the younger starts school (and indeed only if they do not get a place).

bakedpotato Mon 26-Feb-07 14:19:32

Can't offer any advice re the appeal, but do you know where she is on the waiting list?
Waiting lists can shrink pretty rapidly. Between 10 and 15 children ended up refusing places in dd's reception entry of 60 -- maybe they moved or went private. (Which is why she got a place.)

Littlefish Mon 26-Feb-07 14:12:01

Hi Littlefishy1.

I will bump this for you to keep it going.

However, without wanting to seem rude, your name is very, very similar to mine. I have been posting on here for a couple of years and wonder if it would be possible for you to change your name in order to avoid people getting us mixed up.

Hope that's ok

littlefishy1 Mon 26-Feb-07 14:07:03

re my previous message....this is my first time on mumsnet - have just realised how old this thread is .... any way if any one can help , would love some advice

littlefishy1 Mon 26-Feb-07 14:03:31

congratulations on winning your appeal. i am about to go throught eh same process having just been advised that i have not been offered a place at my local catchment area school.

I have been offered an alternative that is further away. I am concerned that when it comes to applying for my DD in a few years time I will be unable to get them in the smae school (there is a large housing estate being constructed in teh vicinity which will pout pressure on my allocated school - I am out of catchment for this therefore will be low down thelist when I come to apply for my DD). Any advice from anyone about constructing my case?


many thanks

Jimjams Fri 25-Apr-03 08:09:33

willow2- there is one criteria on which schools can refuse absolutely to have more than 30 in a class- and that is if they are physically too small. So if it is almost impossible to add an extra desk then you wouldn't have any chance of getting in. Might be worth checking out that situation first. I think the LEA decides whether the school is physically too small or not.

seahorse Thu 24-Apr-03 23:20:10

willow2

Best of luck with all this - you might be lucky and get a place without needing to appeal - lets hope so! THe process of appeals is the same whether it's and LEA or the School itself who sets admission criteria. Have a look at the admission criteria set by the LEA (it should be in the admissions booklet) and see if it says anything about special circumstances. If not ring the LEA direct and see if you can atttach a letter/doctors cert etc to the admissions form. If a place is refused look at the aducation act 1998 and see if anything is mentioned relevant to your special situation. I'd mention this in your letter to the LEA also. Try everything to avoid having to appeal if you can - it's a bit of a nightmare! BEst of luck

willow2 Thu 24-Apr-03 22:46:30

seahorse - reviving old thread here, but will be applying for schools for ds this year and was interested to read your comments re special circumstances (eg: you are ill). The nearest two schools to us are heavily over subscribed - the others are an easy drive outside of rushhour - but potentially at least a half hour round trip in the morning, if not much longer. However, for medical reasons that I don't want to go in to, this would be very difficult for me. Do you think this will have any bearing on getting ds in to the nearest school? I have all the medical documentation to prove the point. Also, you said that a school has to give you a reason for not giving you a place - but round here it's the LEA that decides where anyone goes (church schools excepted). I need to make ds' application as powerful as possible as I know that, due to demand, we live too far away (ooh about ten minutes walk!) to get in to either of the two nearest schools - so only my circumstances will swing it. What should I do??? I'm really worried so any tips gratefully accepted.

caroline55 Tue 18-Feb-03 11:48:41

seahorse
thanks for the offer of help and the supportive words. I too am unsure how to go about e-mailing you - perhaps I should therefore post my e-mail address (work as I don't have a connection at home) which is Caroline@bespokecommunications.com

Many thanks

seahorse Tue 18-Feb-03 11:39:01

caroline55

Meant to also say that I had lots of sleepless nights and anxiety - its hard to rationlise it when you really think you know ds would be better off at a particular school. I think I was upset since this was the first time I felt really helpless to do the best for my son etc etc. Its the old guilt trip again that if I sent my ds to the school which wasn't (maybe!!) as good then I had somehow failed him. Total rubbish of course. But know how you feel.

seahorse Tue 18-Feb-03 11:35:08

caroline55

Please email me directly and I will send you our appeal we filed and any other help I can give you. (not sure how to go about giving you my email address but let me know on this thread).

You have a right to knnow why your child was refused - badger the school to find out even if it means photocopying the relevant legal reference that shows you should have had a reason. The church issue came up at the appeals last week (there were a number of parents appealing, so the school presented their case to us all, before we individually presented ours (without other parents present). The panel inferred, through their questioning of the governor) that practising christians means only going to church at christmas/baptisms etc. You didn't have to go to church every week or even month to satisfy that criteria although a letter from another vicar would be very persuasive. If you have been refused on the basis of distance then thats a hard one to win. If simply more parents live closer then you, then you could only win in very exceptional circumstances (ie you are ill/have pnd/child is special needs etc.

If you have been refused on the grounds that they didn't think you or your child complied with the CofE requirement then you could clearly win on this point if you can prove that you are practising christians to at least some extent (depending on their admissions wording). I doubt that they could have an admissions criteria which favours children who go to one particular church. The criteria has to be fair and unambiguous.

caroline55 Tue 18-Feb-03 10:26:58

Thanks for the support and encouragement - it's much needed and really appreciated.

I have suggested that 'their' vicar contact our 'vicar' to verify what I have written - but I imagine a letter from him upfront would have been more immediate and powerful.

We don't know why we didn't get a place - although I assume it is proximity (never before an issue in our road) and the wrong church. It's been so frustrating as I haven't been able to speak to the Head (who is new this term incidentally) - despite endless promises that he might be available tomorrow/next week etc - and we had a deadline of last week for finding out our place on the list (I know there are over 35 people who have asked to be on the list!)but I was told that they are now going to write to everyone after half term. (I can't help feeling that this will be another fudge - the school has never been in this position before of being so over-subscribed and in our area of SW London there are a LOT of very articulate, angry parents - and my instinct is that we are being kept at arms length to make life easier for the school - which is understandable to an extent - but it doesn't seem outrageous to want to know where we are on the list.)

In our area there is an extreme postcode lottery - if you live in the middle of the 'village' you can easily qualify for all three of the very good primary schools, but move away from the centre to where we are (i.e half a mile from one, just over half a mile from the second and a mile from the third) - and you may not get in to any. (There is talk of a bulge class but as our CofE school had it last year it is highly unlikely that they would get it.)

Sorry to ramble on again - up until a few weeks ago I had no idea what a nightmare this could be and how it would feel to be so utterly powerless about something so important. (DS had a sister - so I feel I'm fighting for her schooling too.)

Batters Tue 18-Feb-03 08:56:40

caroline55, how stressful for you.

I think Marina's idea of getting the vicar involved is a great one.

Also - there is always hope. I have bored people on Mumsnet ad infinitum with my experiences of dd getting into the school of our choice . But, basically, we were told not to even bother applying to the school we wanted dd to go to. Well we did, got rejected, and asked to stay on the waiting list. Within 5 days of dd starting another school (not a bad school, but just not our first choice) she was offered a place at the school of our choice and started the very next day. So always ask to stay on the waiting list if it does come to that, and be proactive in finding out on a regular basis where you are on that list.

Also, things change from intake to intake and even house to house. My friend's dd got into a certain school, whilst her next door but one's neighbour's ds didn't.

Good luck - I hope you find that you are offered the school of your choice.

titchy Mon 17-Feb-03 16:21:08

No experience just sympathy. Are you on a waiting list - and how near the top are you? It may be that a child drops out anyway leaving a space for your ds.

Doesn't the LEA have to provide a school which is within walking distance, or else provide transport? Do you know why your ds didn't get in - are you just the furthest from the school or is it because you don't go to the right church?

Do you appeal to the LEA or the Governors?

Here's hoping!

Marina Mon 17-Feb-03 14:59:16

Caroline55, if you are still attending the other local parish church, get your vicar to write to the vicar in question. Ours was glad to do this so that he could be considered for a CofE school near where we now live. We were married and ds baptised at our "old" church and we have many friends there. In my experience all these vicars know each other!

caroline55 Mon 17-Feb-03 14:14:55

Congratualtions Seahorse!
It is inspiring to hear of someone who has tried to appeal and won - and thanks for the practical tips. We are are the begining of a process of wondering whether to try and appeal and so far have been told by the LEA and a friendly lawyer who handles such work that it is as good as impossible.

Our case is obviously different from yours and sounds much less clear cut but I wondered if I posted it whether you (or anyone else with any experience) could see if they think we stand a chance.

In essence our local school is CofE - most children in our road of 80+ houses go there - we are CofE (but ds baptised outside the parish) - school has great reputation and results. Having viewed it and the main other local school (which no child in our road is ever judged to be close enough to)I picked the church school and applied to preschool (even though when I did this some 18 months ago it was not 'top' of the local league - but I liked it).

DS got a place at the preschool - and goes there and is very happy and expects to go there to 'big school'. The trouble is that one good set of results in 2002 have sent the school right to the top of the local league and now it is so oversubscribed that for the first time in my memory of living in our road (7 years)a child (ds) has been refused a place.

Not only am I gutted as I have a strong preference for this school (and for a church school) - and we are highly unlikely to get into the other main primary LEA school (we will probably be allocated a place outstide of our area)- but ds will know at least 30 of the 60 children starting in reception at the church school (preschool kids, several siblings who live in our road, friends from his playgroup and from his daycare nursery).

I don't believe that the school have broken their stated admissions procedure (the CofE quota one assumes must relate to those families the vicar knows best)and preschool is not a guarantee - but it feels so unjust that it is our local school, where our neighbours kids go and where ds is already a part of the school - and he is being denied this and the liklihood is that ds will be sent outside the area to a school where he knows no one.

Any ideas to ease the sleepless nights would be most welcome.

Ailsa Sun 16-Feb-03 12:39:46

There used to be a 'Standards Fund Grant' available so that schools can employ another teacher. In the case of my ds's school one reception class had 31 pupils, so they had 2 teachers instead of 1 teacher and 1 teaching assistant.

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