School appeal failed

(55 Posts)
Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:21:59

We had our rejection letter today and it has totally knocked me back. Our appeal seemed to go so well, the panel nodding and agreeing with our points and agreeing sympathetically. The school authority seemed to be on our side and said they would welcome our child into the school and after even commented on how well we came across and presented our case.

So what went wrong it doesn't make any sense.....? They was basically given a green light, so I thought.

I attended 4 different appeals and thought I knew the difference between the good and the bad.

Surely there is still something more I can do?

JaquelineHyde Thu 13-Jun-13 19:25:41

So sorry to hear this, have they given any reasons?

As far as I was aware there is no way to appeal an appeal, all decisions are final sad

This is making me worry now as I have an appeal to attend tomorrow for DS's junior school allocation...How long did it take them to write to you with their decision?

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:31:40

The letter sea the panel concluded that our case demonstrated no compelling reason why the school was uniquely suitable for our child above any other school nor was our case strong enough to outweigh the prejudice to the school of admiring another student.

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:32:38

Said .....admitting

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:34:34

Our whole case was purely based on why no other school could offer what this school could, I honestly thought that message was loud and clear in our appeal and that's why I thought the school authority kept agreeing and at the end seemed to commend us on a job well done

NarkyNamechanger Thu 13-Jun-13 19:35:34

Is it a primary or secondary appeal?

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:36:18

We received a letter on the 4th working day after attending

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:39:31

Secondary: all our local schools are oversubscribed and we live 7,687.92 metres away to even our nearest school

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:57

We always knew we would have to appeal, as our juniors school head teacher warned us that we are a victims of our geography and we live in no mans land. Even our local councillor said yes u live in a black hole and we'll struggle .... This was back in March

JaquelineHyde Thu 13-Jun-13 19:43:44

Is there any guidance online from the CC telling you if there is anything else you can do?

Do you know where on the waiting list your dc is? If they are high up it is entirely likely that they will get a place before the new academic year anyway, not ideal I know but something to cling onto maybe.

SueDunome Thu 13-Jun-13 19:46:54

Sorry to hear this, been there hmm

The only other option is to complain about the way the appeal was conducted but it sounds to me like it all went well. And there is no guarantee that it would make any difference anyway.

Unfortunately the only option open to you now is to wait until next year and appeal again. You can appeal once per academic year, but most people don't bother because their child has settled into another school by the time they can appeal again.

Gunznroses Thu 13-Jun-13 19:48:16

So sorry about this, what a nasty blow. So what next ?

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:48:25

We are 12 th on the waiting list also due to where we live

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:52:32

I have attended 4 appeals: 4th ranked school and then 2nd and then 3rd and then 1st choice ..... A best case was our 1st choice but we lost all accept our 4th choice.

I feel sick, divorced from her dad and I haven't got the bet for my only child

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 19:52:51

Hyland, I'm sorry. We were in very similar position this time last year. Unsuccessful in what I felt was an unfair appeal. I don't feel the panel stuck to what they should have done during the appeal, the lea person actually reprimanded the panel at one point due to unfair questions!

I complained, didn't get anywhere at all.

We had to admit defeat and send dd to the school she was allocated. It actually hasn't been as bad as I thought. Schools quite a bit rough but dd has flourished and seems to be enjoying it. I don't think she's doing as well as what she would have done had she got into the school we wanted her to go to but there was oohing else we could do.

How far away is the school you've got? Can your dc get there? Will there be transport provided?

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 19:58:14

I don't know what to do next ... I don't want to give up the fight, but what can I do now

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 20:05:07

We will still have to pay for a bus pass which I believe is over a 1,000 a year, the school is the same distance as all of them over 7,000.00 metres, all four schools meant a bus ride of 30 mins or over. All schools to far to be considered near enough and no siblings to gain access, no provisions made by the county for the eldest child living in remote areas, so does that mean I have to accept my 4 th choice. That is seriously messed up, one I will tell my child that I got my 4 th choice, how is that acceptable

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 20:07:09

My child is 11 just a few days before September so the youngest in the year. I feel like they county has just deserted us...

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 20:11:42

You have to be positive about it for your dc. I know it's hard but the last thing your dc needs is to see you upset and slagging off the school which in all probability they will go to. So in front of them find some nice things to say about it, etc.

Why do you have to pay for the bus pass? Don't they have to provide free transport?

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 20:25:43

I haven't bad mouthed the 4th school, so that won't be a problem. But I can't hide out upset and disappointed I am. Children can sense it, I'm not exactly chirpy right now. A fake smile can't hide your eyes, I can't pull the wool over my child's eyes unfortunately.

I will have to pay for bus, the only way I wouldn't have had to pay is if I sent her to the out of county school they originally allocated, but this was an option for many different reasons such as the stabbing and the bus not leaving until two hours after school finishes for a child who would have only just turnt 11

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 20:26:56

And it was a public bus as supposed to a school bus just for school children

prh47bridge Thu 13-Jun-13 22:04:19

If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether the appeal was conducted properly you can refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. However they will only intervene if you were disadvantaged by errors in the appeal process or the panel's decision is clearly at odds with the facts.

Regarding the bus, if the out of county school is further from home by the shortest safe walking route than the school you have accepted the LA must still pay for transport.

lljkk Thu 13-Jun-13 22:11:25

Wow, £1k for an annual bus pass seems steep. Per yr I'm paying £330 for DS (train) or £510 for Dd (bus).

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 22:16:52

The out of county school is to far to walk but they would provided a bus free of charge but we told that if we went to a different school we wouldn't get a free bus coz then its our own fault for choosing a school that is even further away but the out of County school was never an option due to bus back to where we live not departing until 17.17

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 22:21:53

Yep over 1k for the bus 30 mins ride to school and home again 5 days a week .... So considering I'm lumbered with the bus fare, it seems wrong that I should just accept the 4th choice school. The whole system seems to be set up so they we all think that they have the last say and we must accept it, but is this rely how it is? Or does the authority just hope that we all behave and follow everyone else with the conclusion nothing more I can do!

lljkk Thu 13-Jun-13 22:23:54

Are you quite out in the sticks? May I ask what county you're in?

tiggytape Thu 13-Jun-13 22:35:46

I am sorry to hear your appeal failed. If you do not think your appeal was conducted properly, you can go to the LGO but this isn't a fresh appeal (although they may order one), it deals with appeals where the rules aren't adhered to or the panel's decision has not been made properly eg if they ignored overwhelming evidence on the need / best interests of the child.

I assume you had a similar case for all 3 appeals. What was it about the 4th choice school that won it for you where the others didn't. The decision letters should tell you. It could be that the school you won is less oversubscribed than others (so the prejudice to them is lower) but if you feel the compelling reasons that won you that case were ignored or not taken into account, you might want to refer it and see if you get anywhere.

In the meantime though, you will have to put the best brave face on it you can unless you opt to Home Ed or get lucky on the waiting lists, there is little you can do immediately. Have you made sure you are on all 3 other lists?

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 22:42:08

We live in Hertfordshire a small village. I think you're right that all though all 4 schools are oversubscribed they seemed to be not as concerned about going over PAN. My case for the last appeal ( 1st choice school) was based on us wanting a Christian education for our child and it being the only school that can provide that so not sure how they figure that isn't a compelling reason ! Amongst l the other reasons .... Even the school said we did well explaining our case.

prh47bridge Thu 13-Jun-13 22:42:32

The question is whether the out of county school is nearer to your home by the shortest safe walking route than the school you have accepted. If it is then the LA is right that by turning down that school you have forfeited your right to free transport. If however the school you have accepted is closer to home the LA is wrong.

The appeal panel has the final say as they can and do overrule the LA. Once the appeal panel has ruled against you your only options are to go to the LGO who will intervene if the appeal was not conducted correctly, or to go for judicial review which is expensive and unlikely to succeed. Apart from that there is nothing effective you can do. You can of course write angry letters to the local paper and demonstrate outside the council offices but that won't win your child a place at your preferred school.

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 22:47:13

What is the LGO

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 22:48:32

How far away is the school in miles?

Herts transport policy says free transport will be provided for kids over 8 if the distance is more than 3miles.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 22:50:13

Ah sorry, didn't realise you'd turned down a closer school.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 22:51:37

Lgo is local government ombudsman.

That's who I complained to about our appeal but got nowhere.

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 22:52:35

It is technically closer but would take her two hours and 30 mins to get home due to a bus not coming our way straight after school compared to the other 4 schools that are all 30 min bus rides straight after school finishes

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 22:53:27

What grounds did u appeal on and what did they do and say

prh47bridge Thu 13-Jun-13 22:56:30

The only grounds on which the LGO will intervene is if the appeal has not been conducted correctly or if the panel's decision is clearly at odds with the facts. They would normally order a fresh appeal in those situations.

If the out of county school was closer I'm afraid the LA is correct that you have forfeited your legal right to free transport.

Hyland Thu 13-Jun-13 23:05:25

I'm surprised they can take away our rights to the free buss pass when it would have meant a child hanging around the streets before being able to get a bus home lol, honestly my worries have always been more about getting into at least one of the top three schools and my priority was always the 1st school she has 6 friends going there as appears to 2 in the school appeal she won

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 00:03:47

I'm afraid that is the law. In most cases you are only entitled to free transport if the LA was unable to offer you a place nearer your home.

LaVolcan Fri 14-Jun-13 08:47:25

Do they really expect people to wait for a service bus, if there isn't one for more than two hours after school finishes?

I know in my school days some children had bus passes issued instead of a school bus being laid on, but in that case the bus service was regular i.e. there was no more than a half hour wait. Those villages which had one bus in the morning and the return in the evening had a coach/minibus/taxi laid on.

Hyland Fri 14-Jun-13 10:18:38

I imagine they expect the parents to pick their children up, but seeing as I would be at work, that isn't possible. They probably also feel its my own fault for living where I do.... The issue has only been a problem the last two years.

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 10:30:56

In the circumstances I think you may have been able to force them to provide a taxi to get your child home had you stuck with the allocated school, although you may have had to appeal to get it. They certainly can't expect you to pick your child up as they are legally required to provide free transport.

The law takes the view that if you don't send your child to the nearest available school that is your choice and you must therefore pay the transport costs. As far as the law is concerned the reasons for your choice are irrelevant. The LA is allowed to be more generous than the law, of course, but most are not. Indeed some seem to try to find ways of wriggling out of their legal responsibilities wherever possible.

Hyland Fri 14-Jun-13 11:44:44

Does it matter that the allocated school is out if county and no child from the juniors is going there... As they all benefitted from sibling rule

Hyland Fri 14-Jun-13 11:48:01

Seems like they have got out of the free bus pass by the loop hole of knowing that the village Has always been left no choice but to appeal for places due to being out in the countryside.

LaVolcan Fri 14-Jun-13 12:51:01

Are you saying that they didn't allocate a place at all because of your being in a 'black hole? There are counties where there is no school within 9 or 10 miles, never mind 5miles/7000 m. Or are you saying that you didn't realise that legally they would have been obliged to provide transport to the one on offer?

Maybe an expert could tell us what is defined as reasonable in an area where there is public transport but it's not very frequent? I'm sorry I am highjacking the thread a bit, but other people will read it, and getting to and from school is an important consideration, so it's worth knowing what the position is. I live in Oxfordshire which is quite rural in lots of places but they put on school buses for villages which only have one bus an hour.

There was a case last year where someone was in a similar position and on 1st March had a letter saying 'no offer possible' but in the end the LA did come up with a place which was some distance away - I think it took a month or so.

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 13:18:08

As far as the law is concerned no, it does not matter if the allocated school is out of county with no child from the juniors going there. And I don't see how they have "got out of the free bus pass by a loophole". Anyone who accepts the school offered will be entitled to free transport. If you had stuck with the offered school you would have been entitled to free transport and, as I say, I think you would have had a good case for saying they must provide a taxi or similar to get your child home. It is only because you have chosen to send your child to a school further away than the one offered that you have lost that entitlement. Rightly or wrongly the law is not interested in why you made that choice.

I strongly suspect you will find that many people in the village have accepted the school they were offered and will therefore receive free transport.

LaVolcan - I'm not aware of any hard and fast rules. If the LA in the OP's case had refused to supply a taxi she would have had to appeal. The appeal would usually be heard by local councillors. If they rejected the appeal the OP would then have been able to refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman who can intervene if the council's policy is not fair or is not being applied fairly.

LaVolcan Fri 14-Jun-13 13:29:27

prh47bridge That's interesting - we had a case a couple of years back where the county was trying to cut the school bus service from a couple of the villages on the grounds that there was a good public bus service. Concerted opposition to the proposals knocked that on the head and the school bus service still runs.

(Never mind that the older children decide to hang about after school, miss the school bus, walk into town with their mates and catch said service bus at a time when it suits them.)

Hyland Fri 14-Jun-13 18:23:04

Thank you for everyone's opinion, all advise and views appreciated. My child and only one other was given the out of county school, they subsequently got a place else where on the continued interest list that was allocated at Radom. My child ( has no siblings) has meant they have been difficult to place. I have been advised that apart from the ombudsman I wouldn't be able to appeal until next year for a year 8 place. Unless my circumstances greatly change, apart from moving can anyone give any examples of what would be considered as reason enough to be considered again for this new term in September year 7 still. Also what is deemed as the panel being at odds with the facts! So I can decide if this is to be ruled out or not .

LaVolcan Fri 14-Jun-13 18:53:31

So you did get a school, but turned it down, (possibly on the grounds of not realising that they are required to provide free transport)? In that case though, the LA have discharged their obligation to you.

It doesn't seem to be quite like the case of the person last year, who didn't get anything on the offer day, but the LA had to keep searching until they came up with a place, and which the other poster accepted as far as I remember, but then managed to get a waiting list or appeal place.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Fri 14-Jun-13 19:52:30

OP, it is hard for you but wanting a Christian based education seems unlikely to be enough for an appeal, many parents would want that and the school could not take all who applied on that ground.

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 20:14:44

The panel being at odds with the facts would be them applying ICS rules when it wasn't an ICS case, thinking they were dealing with an able bodied girl when they were actually dealing with a disabled boy - that kind of thing. You may think they made the wrong decision but that isn't enough for the LGO to overturn it.

There is no definition of what constitutes a big enough change in circumstances to allow a further appeal. It could be something like your child developing a serious illness or the school adding extra classrooms. It is unlikely that you can do anything that would be considered enough to entitle you to an additional appeal.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Fri 14-Jun-13 20:19:32

It sounds like you did present your case well and you did a great job. As the school is oversubscribed it was always going to be a balance of factors.

Stay on all the waiting lists, you never know, some people may go private at the last minute etc.

PatriciaHolm Sat 15-Jun-13 00:18:19

Based on what you have said here, the panel made the right decision, but I'm sorry you aren't happy with the outcome. There seems to be no grounds to suggest the appeal was incorrectly conducted. You are very unlikely to be able to engineer a significant change in circumstances.
You need to accept that you can't appeal again this year, and prepare as best you can for your child to go to the school you did win an appeal for. I'm sorry but that's the reality of it.

Hyland Sat 15-Jun-13 00:27:14

Thanks for the encouragement, it's nice to hear.... I suppose I was raised not to give up, so feels like I'm waiting to discover a different avenue that perhaps most people don't reach due to the exasperation of all the efforts already made up to that point. I have to admit it is draining, but it feels a waste to quit now. Perhaps I'm deluded lol, maybe I have learnt when to accept the inevitable but I have a little over two months to turn over any stone I can. Trying to stay positive, the alternative is to admit defeat!

nennypops Tue 18-Jun-13 21:35:00

Hyland, if there is no nearer suitable school offering a place, then you're entitled to free transport because you live more than three miles away.

teacherwith2kids Tue 18-Jun-13 23:22:40


The OP was offered a place at a closer school but turned it down - so she has to pay for transport.

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