Q&A with John Chard on secondary school place appeals

(24 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Mar-10 09:57:14

Secondary school offers were made earlier this week and we've got a timely Q&A with John Chard from the independent School Appeals.

It has been widely reported that more children than ever failed to get their first-choice secondary school this year. If your child was one of those and you're trying to work out whether or not you have grounds to appeal, or have more general questions about school admissions in England and Wales, please come and put your questions to John.

We'll then flag up here when he has come back with answers and link to the Q&A page.

The closing date for appeals in England could be as early as 18 or 19 March, so he'll try to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

John formerly worked in local government, the last 10 years of which was almost exclusively on school appeals. He established School Appeals in 2002, and left local government to concentrate on it full time in 2007. He also trains Appeal Panel members, clerks, presenting officers and choice advisers all over the UK.

You may well have heard him on the BBC and elsewhere earlier this week, as he was much in demand on National Offer Day.

Over to you for questions,
Thanks
MNHQ

daysoftheweek Fri 05-Mar-10 10:30:33

Fantastic idea
Can we do primary schools next please?

Charliefred Sat 06-Mar-10 11:59:39

My best friend and I are both disappointed with the allocation of Secondary School places for our Daughters. My daughter has been allocated her daughters peferred choice and vice-versa. Can we arrange a mutual swap, therefore resulting in happy girls?
Thanks

daysoftheweek Sat 06-Mar-10 22:39:24

Bump or those who need this

Might be worth posting in secondary education too

Spidermama Tue 09-Mar-10 11:27:47

What happens if your grounds for appeal are as follows.

Child has been placed at Backwater High despite it not being expressed as a preference at all. It's a rubbish school with poor results and behaviour and is a very, very long way from home.

This is the situation my friend is in. What grounds has she for appeal? Her mum will be forced to home educate if the appeal fails.

SunshineYellow Tue 09-Mar-10 11:59:03

Spidermama - in addition to your question here, can I suggest you have a look at your original thread about this - loads of people have posted advice.

screwball2 Tue 09-Mar-10 12:43:04

Needing some advice please!

I am appealing for my son to go another school. He was hit by a car last March and suffered from compound Fractures of the leg..which after being in cast for months resulted in him having a deformed and short leg! he has just had reconstruction limb surgery and would prefer him to go to a school with provisions in place for children with disabilities.

Am I able to appeal with this?

Spidermama Tue 09-Mar-10 15:00:28

Thanks sunshine. I'd completely forgotton I started a thread on this. How rude. blush

Rhubarb Thu 11-Mar-10 11:06:04

scummymummy might be interested in this. She has twin boys and applied for them both to attend the same school. One got in but the other did not. How the feck does that work then?
I'll give her a link to this.

hermionegrangerat34 Thu 11-Mar-10 13:39:10

I'm in a 6 year contract, and in my line of work housing goes with job, so when my job changes, we'll have to move. But that means we'll probably be moving the summer between my eldest ds finishing primary school and starting secondary school - so I won't be living in the catchment area of the new school at applications time. If I know the area I'll be moving to, can I apply in that area on the basis of moving there? If not, how do I get a school place when I do move?

Soop Thu 11-Mar-10 13:51:36

OK, here goes. Daughter sat 11+ exams for two schools, one local and one in next borough. Got one of the limited out-of-borough places in next borough's school but it was her second choice. However, in local school test, the girl behind hummed all the way through the test. As an 11-yr-old keeping an eye on the clock in a strange place, with unknown adults in charge, she didn't complain, but I'm sure it affected her mark as she scored quite a bit less. Eventually I did write to the school before the results came out.
Ignoring the fact that she has a place in a good school (so yes, I know we're luckier than some), and ignoring the issue of whether selective schools are a good thing or not, how would an appeal for something like this work? How would you prove it?
Undecided at the moment whether to pursue this and put her through the trauma, so would be interested to know his views.

Rhubarb I think its a result of selection by ability banding.

Not sure of the circumstances in her case - but it could be that the 'lower ability' twin got into the 'better' school, whilst the higher ability twin got a place at the 'worse school' in order to bump up the GCSE results balance the mix of pupils.

Very sad when you see it applied to one family!! And hopefully whatever the circumstances Scummy's case is sorted.

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 20:56:47

Dear Charliefred - What a nice idea but I am afraid that is not how the system works. I am afraid that the only way to secure a place at the school of your choice is to either appeal successfully to an Independent Appeal Panel or through the waiting list.

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 21:02:46

Dear Spindermama - If you have been unsuccessful with any of your applications then you will need to appeal. As part of your appeal you can certainly express concerns about the allocated school but you will also need to put forward compelling reasons to attend your preferred school. There is a lot of advice about how you can go about this.

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 21:06:12

Dear screwball2 - Absolutly. You can put forward whatever reasons that you want and if the school is designed for pupils with disabilities then I am I sure that the appeal panel will consider this aspect very seriously. Did you put any of this down on the original application form?

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 21:09:27

Dear Rhubarb - The admission arrangements would normally allow for twins to attend the same school but not if a place is being sought in reception and the school is operating under infant class size regulations which prevents children being taught in classes of more than 30 unless there is more than one teacher present. If it is an infant class size appeal then the grounds for an appeal are very limited.

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 21:13:52

Dear hermionegrangerat34 - The admission arrangements will normally only take into account your address at the closing date for applications although some admission authorities do have a later date for exceptional reasons. If you move after the closing date, your application will be treated as a late application and you will probably have to face an appeal but you will be able to explain about your circumstances and the appeal panel may very well be persuaded by those arguments.

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 21:23:26

Dear Soop - This is an interesting one. I suppose the question is why did she not secure a place at your first choice school? Was it because she scored enough marks but missed out on a different criteria, eg distance, or did she not secure enough marks? If it was the latter then it may well be that the distraction from the pupil behind may well have adversely affected her mark. But the problem is that you can't prove it unless someone else also complained. However, if you lodge an appeal you could give evidence of the other test as a more accurate reflection of her ability. You would also need to provide a letter from her primary school stating that she is expected to get level 5 in English and Maths at the forthcoming SATS tests and hopefully this will convince an appeal panel. However, the appeal process is difficult to negotiate particularly for grammar schools becuase an appeal panel would not wish to place a pupil in a school where they will ultimately struggle.

schoolappeals Thu 11-Mar-10 21:26:10

Dear daysoftheweek - I am sure we could although different issues apply here because of the infant class size legislation which applies in most primary schools.

daysoftheweek Fri 12-Mar-10 01:55:01

woohooo

thankyou ever so much

I've had my first question answered.

I can't believe that more people didn't question you based on all the chatter!!

Rhubarb Fri 12-Mar-10 09:52:28

Actually in scummymummy's case her two boys both attend the same primary and had applied to the same secondary.

So I'm not talking about nursery here.

One of the twins got into the school and the other one was offered a place at a different school.

Now you can imagine the logistical nightmare it would be to get two boys to two different secondary schools miles away from each other, not to mention the impact on the boys who will be separated for the first time in their lives.

It's utterly immoral.

Rhubarb Fri 12-Mar-10 09:53:57

I would also have thought that on a thread that is about secondary school places, it wouldn't take a genius to work out that I was talking about secondary schools and not nursery schools.

What school did you go to Mr John Chard?

Hi Rhubarb. Having seen Mr Chard's post last night - I was just about to apologise that I got the wrong 'end of the stick' in assuming the boys were applying to secondary smile.

Rhubarb Fri 12-Mar-10 12:14:10

grin

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