The Education Funding Agency (EFA) - any experience?

(84 Posts)
PermaShattered Tue 02-Jul-13 13:40:21

Yesterday was a good time for MNHQ to pull a couple of certain threads ;)

Today I have submitted a detailed application form to the EFA - the academy equivalent to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) - to look into the circumstances of the Admissions Appeal for my daughter which was both conducted and decided in breach of the existing legal framework.

I have a simple question: does anyone have any experience yet of the EFA which is a new body?

For the avoidance of doubt:

1. This is a genuine request for help/advice/useful information - nothing else;
2. The phrase '3 day rule' anything associated with it is banned. Look, I know I can't 'ban' it really but please, this thread is not about the legal issues.

Thanks in advance for respecting that.

lougle Tue 02-Jul-13 14:05:41

Hi Perma, I was doing a bit of digging yesterday, as it happens.

I don't know who 'Kent Independent Education Advice are, but they have 'Peter's blog' and it seems that he's put in some FIO applications.

The link there shows the statistics for the EFA so far, for Kent, Medway and Nationally.

PermaShattered Tue 02-Jul-13 14:12:11

Interesting. thanks - I shall take a look later. Perhaps a FOI to the LGO would also be productive ;)

lougle Tue 02-Jul-13 14:23:25

Incidentally, the EFA and LGO seem to have the same level of 'success' for parents.

The figures released for the www.lgo.org.uk/GetAsset.aspx?id=fAAxADQAOAAzAHwAfABUAHIAdQBlAHwAfAAwAHwA0 LGO in the 2010/2011 cycle showed 1,195 complaints of which 28% got either a new hearing or a new hearing with a fresh panel.

The EFA released figures showing that 120 complaints were considered by them for the 2012/13 cycle, again with 28% 'success' rate for parents.

PermaShattered Tue 02-Jul-13 21:49:21

Lougle I find 'Peter's blog's' view of the EFA's role worrying - hardly independent is it?

lougle Tue 02-Jul-13 22:16:49

Yes, I'm not sure exactly who 'Peter' is, but the key difference between the EFA's Procedure and the LGO's Procedure is that the LGO states that it will send copies of information received (except when DPA applies) to the complainant, whilst the EFA makes no such statement.

Having said that, I was comforted a little by the Stats being comparable, albeit from different cycles.

HabbaDabbaDoo Tue 02-Jul-13 23:09:32

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NotAroundTheEyes Wed 03-Jul-13 08:49:21

Yes but for veeee-ry slightly different reasons, eh grin

Good luck with all this Perma. It's all Greek to me but I wish you and your DD all the best.

Lougle I hope you rectified the chocolate situation.

HabbaDabbaDoo Wed 03-Jul-13 09:05:52

The end result was the same though grin

NotAroundTheEyes Wed 03-Jul-13 09:12:02

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NotAroundTheEyes Wed 03-Jul-13 09:12:49

Actually, dear heavens, please don't answer that. I have SO much work to do. Over 'n' out.

<leaves, distributing weighty copies of Wolf Hall>

PermaShattered Wed 03-Jul-13 09:16:59

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LaVolcan Wed 03-Jul-13 09:57:42

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RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Jul-13 10:20:47

We've deleted posts that break our Talk Guidelines now - we'd appreciate it if you could stick within them from now on please.

PermaShattered Wed 03-Jul-13 10:33:01

Thanks MN. Not quite sure how posting a definition of 'forum troll' breaks the guidelines but hey ho!

Back to the EFA. It will be interesting to see how they approach this.

PermaShattered Wed 03-Jul-13 10:38:50

Ah, yes I do - MN say's it's troll-hunting sorry blush

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Jul-13 10:39:15

PermaShattered

Thanks MN. Not quite sure how posting a definition of 'forum troll' breaks the guidelines but hey ho!

Back to the EFA. It will be interesting to see how they approach this.

It wasn't so much the definition itself as the direct statement that you had reported another poster for trolling. Troll-hunting is against our Talk Guidelines, we're afraid. (Although posting up a definition of 'troll' in a way that seems designed to imply that another poster is trolling would also fall foul of our no-troll-hunting rule.)

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Jul-13 10:39:46

Sorry about the x-post PermaShattered!

PermaShattered Wed 03-Jul-13 10:51:43

Right, I get it! Thanks for clarifying smile

LaVolcan Wed 03-Jul-13 10:52:52

Not quite sure why my post got deleted then, although I mentioned a poster by name, which is perhaps why.

In the innocuous bit which didn't mention anyone said that there were serious issues and I hoped that the thread wouldn't get pulled because these questions get lost: at what stage can you accept that an offer is valid, whether considerations of the type of school outweigh the time of the withdrawal, and whether the EFA will agree with previous rulings.

I said that I was pretty sure that next year some Admissions/Appeal authority somewhere will be sure to mess up and that this information will be useful for the parents concerned, even if it comes too late for Perma's family.

PermaShattered Wed 03-Jul-13 10:58:54

Yes, these are serious issues which I hope the EFA will address and deal with in line with the LGO's remit. My concern is that though statistics suggest otherwise, the EFA appears not to be entirely independent in relation to complaints about misconducted appeals.

Should I be concerned, I wonder? I'm off now as I have loads of work to do!

HabbaDabbaDoo Wed 03-Jul-13 12:54:37

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lougle Wed 03-Jul-13 13:06:42

Perma, I'll look around for other information sources. I'm not confident that the one I linked to is an impartial view either, to be honest, particularly as people pay that service to represent them in appeals, so he may well have a vested interest in making the system seem more 'difficult' for parents to win without his valuable advice.

If I get anything, I'll let you know by PM.

prh47bridge Wed 03-Jul-13 14:24:16

HabbaDabbaDoo - As I've pointed out previously, the LGO takes a different view to you of the way its own decision should be interpreted. This is not MN folklore. This is fact. The only question is whether the EFA will take a different view to the LGO.

HabbaDabsLLB Wed 03-Jul-13 15:50:59

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HabbaDabsLLB Wed 03-Jul-13 15:51:36

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PermaShattered Wed 03-Jul-13 16:03:46

The only question is whether the EFA will take a different view to the LGO. That's what will be very interesting to find out.

Incidentally, prh I thought it was someone else who had rehashed the legal issues not you. confused

FormaLurka Wed 03-Jul-13 17:03:51

Is this still going on? I didn't think that the subject had legs back in May. After all, DD got offer. 7 days later it was withdrawn. Mum appeals. Denied.

Bit of a non event given what else is being posted elsewhere on MN. I didn't think that it would reach 1000 posts but here we are with more sequels than Star Trek.

lougle Wed 03-Jul-13 17:23:43

This thread isn't about the grounds for appeals though, FormaLurker. This thread is a request for knowledge and/or experience of the EFA.

ljny Thu 11-Jul-13 23:05:39

Wishing you best of luck with the EFA, Perma.

Do you - or anyone else - know how long their process is likely to take?

pusspusslet Fri 12-Jul-13 19:03:37

Good luck, Perma! My fingers are crossed for you.

Fairdene Fri 12-Jul-13 19:09:52

The EFA should take no more than two months to give a response. After that there's judicial review + appeal + appeal. I don't know the time scale for that. Does anyone else? Are admissions cases ever taken to the HOL/ Supreme Court? Presumably there's no possibility ever to take them beyond?

prh47bridge Fri 12-Jul-13 23:37:09

I'm not aware of any cases going beyond judicial review. In theory one could go all the way to the ECHR but I can't imagine an admissions appeal raising the sort of issues that would justify going that far.

Fairdene Sat 13-Jul-13 09:27:16

When you say no case has gone beyond judicial review do you mean that no admissions case has gone to the CA as far as you know? I suppose the time factor makes it redundant. But how long does it take to get judicial review?

PermaShattered Mon 15-Jul-13 22:24:57

Just logged back on after a few days. The EFA website says 2 months. I've had a response today from the EFA today about how they're taking it forward/investigating so i'll keep you posted.

I've asked a specialist admissions law solicitor about the possibility of taking this on as a Judicial Review on a conditional fee agreement basis if the EFA refuses/another appeal fails). The main issue is that as JR can be very unpredictable it's whether you can secure insurance for it. And we couldn't fund JR privately.

It could, as prh says, go all the way to the ECHR but to be honest, i think that would only be if you had the backing of an organisation on the basis that there is a principle of major importance/public interest at stake. No person in their right mind would fund the cost of litigation on admissions law all the way. let's face it by the time it went to the European Courts, the child would probably be sitting GCSEs anyway!

Fairdene, JR is a relatively quick process. You have to apply for JR within a relatively short time period; and (unless it's heavily defended) it can take a matter of months. In theory.

PermaShattered Mon 15-Jul-13 22:26:32

..... it's quick but potentially expensive: if you win, no problem: loser pays the winner's costs. And the total costs could be £30k +.

Fairdene Mon 15-Jul-13 23:24:27

Thanks for that OP. £30k is brutal. Would it really be £30k? I've had a case recently resolved by the ECHR but it had only been there a relatively short time, nothing like five years, in fact not even one, so I don't think your child would actually be sitting GCSEs. I think the problem would be more that this might vey well not be regarded as a HR issue.

lougle Tue 16-Jul-13 06:25:27

Perma, have faith. I've observed two appeals in the last week and I outlined your case to each panel, including that the appeal was lost. Both panels were shocked and said 'the panel got that wrong'.

PermaShattered Tue 16-Jul-13 09:15:31

Fairdene, that's interesting - I thought it took an absolute age to reach the ECHR. I've heard the costs can be at least £30k but much depends on whether or not it's defended. This particular academy foundation has a mountain of cash and could afford to defend all the way if it was minded to - though it wouldn't be in its interests to.

I don't think it's a human rights issue at all - a child has a human right to education (not sure which article or its exact wording) but my DD isn't being denied that in any sense.

Just to reiterate, though, I'm pursuing this because I want to see the law applied properly and i want to see due process carried out - not the shambolic way the AP treated our appeal. My DD is now really excited about going to the '3rd choice school' which is utterly fabulous. If i wasn't a lawyer maybe I wouldn't take this further. But the lawyer in me says I must.

Lougle - that's comforting. And interesting!

prh47bridge Tue 16-Jul-13 10:40:20

It is article 2 of protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which means it hasn't been agreed by all the countries involved so is not a full part of the ECHR). It gives the right not to be denied an education but it does not guarantee any particular level or quality of education. It is possible that other articles may come into play in some circumstances (e.g. Article 14 - discrimination).

I sincerely hope that all this is academic and you won't need to get involved in any form of legal action. I am glad you are taking this further, though. We need clarity and we need to be sure that the rules for academies are the same as those for other types of school.

alreadytaken Tue 16-Jul-13 10:42:13

if you have insurance it is always worth checking to see if you have legal cover. We get the option on and include it but it may be automatically included on some policies. I believe ours would cover us against the other parties costs if we lost a case and that educational issues are covered. You may even find if you have car insurance and legal cover it goes beyond cars. The timescale for judicial review is very short. Good example of why even lawyers should consider paying for legal insurance.

If the EFA don't do things properly the next step not requiring insurance might be the Parliamentary Ombudsman www.ombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complaint/how-to-complain as the Department of Education is responsible for its agent the EFA.

Perma isn't there a Human Right to a fair hearing? From what I saw of your posts about the appeal hearing letter the process wasn't carried out properly. That doesn't mean the EFA have to award a place or even refer it back for a new hearing but they should at least say it wasn't handled properly.

prh47bridge Tue 16-Jul-13 12:50:50

I don't think the Parliamentary Ombudsman would get involved. The EFA is not listed as one of the bodies about which they will handle complaints and the DfE is probably too remote. No harm in asking, though.

There is a right to a fair trial if you are charged with a criminal offence. It would be a bit of a stretch to apply that to an admissions appeal!

alreadytaken Tue 16-Jul-13 13:19:31

DfE is still responsible for the activities of its agents and the Ombudsman has quite wide discretion. However if they declined to get involved you complain to the DofE about the actions of its agent and then if necessary complain to the Ombudsman about the DofE failing to oversee its agent. An academic discussion as I'd expect the EFA to act properly.

alreadytaken Tue 16-Jul-13 14:00:57

prh thinking about this I suspect the EFA wasn't in the Ombudsmans list when the EFA was set up because it didnt deal with the public. Now it does it probably ought to be part of the Ombudsman's remit for that part of its actions and it has been overlooked. Of course the only way to find out would be to ask.

Didn't realise the right to a fair trial was confined to criminal actions. However badly the appeal was carried out it wouldn't meet that definition smile.

Fairdene Tue 16-Jul-13 17:43:59

I think it's worth being cautious about getting into the mindset that if the EFA decides against ordering a fresh appeal, it 'isn't doing things properly'. It will need to explain itself and if it gives sound reasons for its decision then it will have acted properly. Of course it may decide for OP but in the event that it doesn't, it may not be acting improperly, that's all I'm saying.

lougle is it professional to discuss a case with appeal panel colleagues when you only know the outline of the case from one of the parties to the case and on the internet to boot? Maybe I'm being a bit prim smile

prh47bridge Tue 16-Jul-13 18:20:44

If the Parliamentary Ombudsman got involved at all they would only look at whether the correct process had been followed. They wouldn't interfere just because they thought the EFA had made the wrong decision. Judicial review, however, will overrule if they think the EFA has got it wrong.

Nothing wrong with Lougle discussing this admission appeal with colleagues. She doesn't know the OP's real life identity or anything else that would identify the case so no confidences are being broken. In most admission cases the case to refuse admission is pretty similar. And if, as here, maladministration is involved the case to refuse admission is completely irrelevant.

lougle Tue 16-Jul-13 19:58:19

Fairdene, in answer to your question:

1) I am confident that as I am many miles away from the OP, none of the people I discussed the case with would have any connection with the OP's area.

2) I was not discussing it with colleagues. I was discussing it as a panel member in training - my role is to learn about the process and the application of the legislation to appeals. This is my opportunity to understand why such an appeal may fail. I was prepared to hear sound reason. It happens that the answer I heard was 'shouldn't have happened.'

3)I'm not bound to confidentiality in relation to Perma's case. I wouldn't discuss a case which is confidential.

Fairdene Tue 16-Jul-13 23:07:43

That's fair lougle. I suppose I ws thinking that you haven't seen the papers ad have only heard one side orally, as it were. I can see that asking for an off the top of your colleagues heads type of response is fine.

I only skim read the original thread prh47 but isn't the whole point that maladministration on its own may not suffice to secure a place in a grammar school case. Nevertheless, I don't intend to get involved in the substance!

prh47bridge Wed 17-Jul-13 00:11:33

I don't want to start that argument again. I will just say that the Appeals Code is clear and the rules for dealing with cases of maladministration are the same regardless of whether or not the appeal is for a grammar school.

lougle Wed 17-Jul-13 07:17:24

Fairdene, I don't want to start the argument again either, but if you want to look further into it, the key is that there is a big difference between a situation where a mistake is made but no offer of a place is made (I.e. maladministration but the question remains as to whether the maladministration denied a child a place which otherwise would have been theirs) and a situation where a child has a place offered and subsequently removed (regardless of the reason, save fraudulent claim on the parents' part).

The complication is the change in the appeals code, which brings a little uncertainty, but that's all been hashed out on other threads.

My point to Perma was that I asked two separate panels their view and they were both shocked by the outcome and said 'the LGO would send that back'. In this case, of course, it's the EFA, but nonetheless, I was encouraged.

PermaShattered Wed 17-Jul-13 08:25:27

I can't understand any issue at all with lougle sharing in the way she did. one side - true, but facts are facts and it's anonymous anyway. She has no duty of care or confidentiality. I suspect many mumsnetters have talked about with other people to a certain extent...

As a general point, this thread isn't an argument about the law/facts, and if it degenerates yet again, then it's goodbye from me! My overarching concern now is to ensure we get a fair hearing, due process is followed and the legal framework is followed.

That is all.

Fairdene Wed 17-Jul-13 17:37:57

Admissions isn't my area, though of course I understand the general legal framework. If the EFA does order a fresh appeal, is the school bound to honour that prh47? Does its being an academy make any difference? And how long after the EFA decision will it take for a fresh appeal panel to be convened and the appeal be heard? I'm wondering in relation to the start of the new school year. Does the LGO put a time limit on the thing to stop schools dragging their heels?

FormaLurka Wed 17-Jul-13 19:08:08

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LaVolcan Wed 17-Jul-13 19:30:51

What an unpleasant and unecessary post FormaLurka, and I have reported it.

PermaShattered Wed 17-Jul-13 20:17:31

Fairdeene, good questions but I have no idea about time scales. I'm absolutely certain the school would have to appoint a new appeal panel and I'd suspect it would say a new hearing must take place within a certain timescale. No idea about the LGO but prh/lougle or someone else might know.

lougle Wed 17-Jul-13 20:37:42

The admitting authority, in this case the Academy, is given a recommendation by the EFA/LGO. They can't be physically forced to follow the recommendation.

The LGO site says: "Can the Ombudsmen force a council to follow their recommendations?

No. The Ombudsmen have no legal power to make the council act on their decisions. But in nearly all cases councils do follow their recommendations.

What if a council doesn’t comply with an Ombudsman’s recommendations?

If a council does not agree to a settlement we have proposed, the Ombudsman may issue a formal report about the complaint, naming the council involved. The report must be made available to the public and advertised in the local press covering the council’s area.

If the council does not agree to carry out the recommendations in the report, the Ombudsman can issue a further report. After this, if the council still does not take satisfactory action it must publish a statement in a local newspaper explaining why it has refused to follow the Ombudsman’s recommendations. But it is very rare for a council to refuse to carry out the Ombudsman’s recommendations."

prh47bridge Wed 17-Jul-13 23:48:15

As far as I am aware it is unheard of for an LA to refuse to carry out the LGO's recommendations in an admissions case. VA schools however have sometimes refused to comply.

I'm going to disagree with lougle about the EFA, though. Unlike the LGO, the EFA can require the academy to establish a fresh appeal panel to hear the case. So yes, being an academy makes a difference in that they have to conduct a fresh appeal if the EFA says so. If it refuses to do so the EFA will consider the academy to be in breach of its funding agreement and take action accordingly. That could ultimately result in the school having its funding withdrawn.

As for timescales, the normal timescales laid down in the Appeals Code apply. That means the academy has to hold the fresh appeal within 30 school days of the decision. That doesn't prevent the fresh appeal taking place during the summer holidays but realistically, given where PermaShattered is in the process, it is unlikely any fresh appeal will be heard until after the start of the autumn term.

lougle Thu 18-Jul-13 07:01:33

Ahh, I didn't realise that about the EFA. You're right, of course, wrt the VA/LA distinction, too.

PermaShattered Thu 19-Sep-13 12:08:33

Hi all, a few Mumsnetters have been thinking about us and asked how it's going with the EFA, and how my DD is doing at her new school - thanks so much for thinking of us smile

There's not much to report yet really, except to say the EFA is formally investigating but taking its time. Interestingly, the EFA split our complaint about the maladministration surrounding the appeal into (I think) 9 separate heads - ie 9 separate alleged breaches of the admissions code. Says it all really.

When i have more news i'll update.

In the meantime, my daughter has settled in really well at the '3rd choice school' and is generally happy. Given what she's gone through we are so relieved.

Fairdene Fri 20-Sep-13 15:53:52

Very good to hear your DD likes her new school PermaShattered but isn't the EFA into overtime now? If you lodged the complaint on 2nd July, shouldn't there have been a resolution by 2nd Sept? Perhaps I've got that wrong but I thought they had up to two months but no more. If you want the option of moving your DD then the sooner the better I'd have thought. I'd be rattling their cage myself!

prh47bridge Fri 20-Sep-13 18:05:39

There are various deadlines involved.

After receiving a complaint the EFA has 10 working days to respond with a summary of the complaint and, if necessary, request further information from the complainant. Once they have contacted the complainant the clock stops and doesn't start again until the complainant has agreed the summary and provided any information requested.

Once the clock has started again the EFA has 20 working days to get information from the clerk to the appeal and, if necessary, the academy. If there are delays at this stage they are supposed to inform the complainant and say what actions they are taking to deal with the delay.

When they have all the information they need the EFA has 10 working days to make its decision.

Having said all that, they do appear to be over time with this case and haven't stuck to their own procedures unless they have told the OP there will be a delay.

PermaShattered Fri 20-Sep-13 18:09:38

mmmm, prh - FAR more than 20 days have passed since I was told the clerk was notified/info requested. And I've heard nothing from the EFA about delays/action proposed. Nor have I had a response from the EFA with a request for an update. So no, they haven't stuck to their own procedures!

pusspusslet Thu 26-Sep-13 19:40:55

Many thanks for the update: great news that DD is enjoying her new school, and also that EFA are investigating.

It's rather disturbing, though, that the EFA appear to have let the deadlines slip hmm

PermaShattered Wed 09-Oct-13 16:59:26

AT LAST I've heard from the EFA. And it seems what the Appeal Clerk says trumps what the law says confused . Ie the EFA has rejected every single complaint. For those of you with expertise in/practical experience on appeal panels - I suspect you might be as astounded as me.

The EFA did not even uphold my complaint that the letter notifying us of the decision was nonsensical: ie no errors had been made. But then acknowledging an error. Notably, the EFA has made no mention of the issue of the time period between offer and withdrawal of the offer.

So if your child gets an offer of a school place at their first choice school, and it gets withdrawn a week later - it's tough basically! Sod the law.

FormaLurka Sun 13-Oct-13 14:43:42

Various people back in April was telling you that you had no grounds for appeal. Since then you have appealed the appeal and failed at each stage. Yet you still refuse to accept it. Time to move on.

LaVolcan Sun 13-Oct-13 16:06:04

What an ungracious post FormaLurka. OP has 'moved on' and her DD has settled into her new school.

So not only does this appear to contradict previous judgements made in respect of LA schools, but failing to meet laid down timescales also appears to be irrelevant.

PermaShattered Wed 16-Oct-13 21:12:37

*LaVolcan" I expected comments like forma's - I'm amazed it's the only one - so far! I've been advised I have good grounds for a judicial review as both decisions are so off the mark as far as existing law and codes are concerned. Whether or not I will, i'm undecided: if I decide against it I will always feel that i'm letting others down because I don't want to see any other child go through what mine has.

LaVolcan Wed 16-Oct-13 23:11:51

It does seem as though the rule book has been ripped up, and since increasing numbers of schools are no longer under LA control, that is very worrying. Is it just a question of whether you have the time plus the emotional energy to pursue it? What is the time limit for taking further action?

PermaShattered Thu 17-Oct-13 13:15:47

It's not so much the emotional energy as it won't be for our/my DD's sake; it's the lawyer in me wanting to see a properly reasoned decision. The law and codes seem to have been discarded and that cannot be right. Time limit? V short: I think it's a matter of weeks in which to launch a JR.

Fairdene Thu 17-Oct-13 13:55:13

Did the EFA not give reasons for their decisions on the various heads of complaint? Surely it has to?

I'd definitely go for JR. To clear up what the reason is for the clear reluctance on the part of each of the two appellate bodies to allow the appeal.

prh47bridge Thu 17-Oct-13 14:51:02

I hope PermaShattered doesn't mind me answering this question. I have seen the EFA decision letter.

The EFA do give reasons. The quick summary is that they appear to be taking a very narrow view of their brief. The LGO will intervene in a case if the appeal panel's decision is unreasonable (e.g. clearly contrary to the evidence or previous legal decisions). The EFA appears to be unconcerned as to whether or not the decision is reasonable as long as the panel has followed the correct process.

One part really annoys me. The EFA acknowledges that a mistake was made by one of the LAs but appears to accept the appeal panel's view that it is not their role to do anything about that (which seems to me to be contrary to the Appeals Code and is definitely contrary to previous LGO decisions). The EFA suggest that the OP seeks redress from the LGO regarding that mistake. Even if the LGO would take the case (which I doubt), what do the EFA imagine they can do? The LGO certainly can't get the school to admit the OP's child. This seems to open up the possibility that, unless you were willing to take it to the courts, you would have no redress if, for example, your LA failed to pass on your application to an academy or free school resulting in your child missing out on a place that should have been theirs.

In another part the EFA respond to the OP's complaint that the panel did not test the school's case by questioning their representative by saying that the clerk has assured them that the panel questioned the school prior to the hearing. Really? And the EFA think that is acceptable? If the panel had a private meeting to ask their questions that is a clear breach of the Appeals Code. If they asked their questions in the first appeal hearing relating to this school and didn't repeat them in subsequent hearings that is, to say the least, poor practise as later appeals would not have heard answers which may have been helpful to them.

Near the head of this thread Lougle posted some figures which suggested that the success rate for parents was similar for the EFA and LGO. Looking closer at these figures I believe parents are significantly less likely to succeed if they have to use the EFA. The EFA upholds or partially upholds complaints in 28% of cases with half of these requiring a fresh appeal. Since a fresh appeal is the only remedy offered by the EFA that means only 14% of cases resulted in a remedy for parents. The figure for the LGO is 28%.

I intend to make these points (and more) in a letter to Michael Gove.

LaVolcan Thu 17-Oct-13 15:00:17

Do you think you will get any joy from Michael Gove?

It sounds as though the judicial review is the best route to follow. If that then upheld the EFA parents would then know where they stood, even if that is basically an unwelcome 'tough luck'.

prh47bridge Thu 17-Oct-13 16:33:16

I don't know if I will get any joy from Gove. My view is that if he is to achieve what he seems to want he needs a robust appeals system for academies. As things stand the net effect could be that more parents go to judicial review successfully for matters that could have been sorted out by the EFA. Each time that happens the school concerned will lose out financially.

PermaShattered Fri 18-Oct-13 12:36:42

Perhaps I should also write to Gove. Perhaps I should go to the national press! And embarrass this education secretary who I saw described just this morning as 'mentally challenged'

Xoanon Fri 18-Oct-13 12:48:14

Going to the national press is never a good idea. Write to Gove, write to your MP, take it to JR, but never involve the press. UNLESS you take the issues prh47 raises to eg The Guardian. Without actually mentioning your own situation - the removal of effective redress against LEA failures in the handling of the application process for academies is clearly potentially a wide ranging issue that will increasingly affect parents all over the country as the number of academies increases. They may be interested in following it up. But I doubt the original story about the offer of a grammar school place will get sympathetic traction from all quarters and it might bring very unwelcome attention to your DD which surely is the last thing you want.

PermaShattered Fri 18-Oct-13 12:51:46

I wouldn't Xoanon smile It's not in my nature to do anything remotely like that. I might write to Gove though.

Xoanon Fri 18-Oct-13 12:58:33

Well...you said 'PErhaps I should' so I took that at face value! Gove AND your MP. And like I said, the wider story of the fact that the EFA's remit seems qualitatively different from the LGOs and that parents as a result may find themselves effectively with fewer rights might be worth proper journalistic investigation, from a proper newspaper (so, the Guardian or the Telegraph - not the Times - Murdoch way too cosy with Cameron and also with Gove himself). But not your specific case.

PermaShattered Fri 18-Oct-13 13:05:19

I know. MP too? I was chatting with him just 6 days ago actually - and I have a lot of respect for him. But what could he do? Just take it further up.....? A journalist's in depth investigation would be good. Why not the Times? wink

Xoanon Fri 18-Oct-13 13:23:36

Because - as I said in my last post - Murdoch is way too cosy with Cameron and Gove. The Times and Gove form a stomach turning mutual admiration society on a regular basis - and the connection through his wife is another reason to avoid them.

If your MP is a Tory or a Lib Dem then he won't do anything. If he is not representing a coalition party then you have more chance of him going in to bat for you. My MP (with whom I was texting this morning, although not about education, since we are sharing anecdotes about friends in westminster smile ) has put Gove on the spot several times and was part of the (to be fair, widespread) pressure that got him to retract on his original English Bacc plans.

Xoanon Fri 18-Oct-13 13:25:15

The issue here isn't whether your DD should have a place at the Grammar school - for what it's worth I don't think she should - but the fact that parents now seem to have fewer avenues to effective redress as a result of Gove's changes.

PermaShattered Fri 18-Oct-13 20:05:50

No, Xoanon, you're wrong. This isn't about whether she should have a place at the grammar school. It's whether she should have had the place that was offered, reinstated - when it was accepted - then withdrawn by the local authority after 7 days. I'll reiterate - the fact that it's a grammar school is not the issue: if it involved our 2nd choice school we would have still appealed. And gone to the EFA for the same reasons.

Xoanon Fri 18-Oct-13 20:18:47

No perma, I'm right, the wider issue, the one that it's important to resolve, and that may interest MPs, journalists etc is the reduction in the rights of parents as a result of Gove's changes.

Xoanon Fri 18-Oct-13 20:28:09

Anyway I definitely think you should pursue it and our disagreement over which element of the whole saga constitutes the public interest bit is irrelevant really - at the end of the day, there was an LA fuck up and you can't get redress.

PermaShattered Fri 18-Oct-13 21:51:45

You're right in your opinion Xoanon.

I would say it's more about the rights of the child, over and above the rights of the parents. It's my DD who has really gone through the mill with is - not us, her Mum and Dad. But she has had no recompense for it. Not even an apology. So yes, you're right about the lack of redress.

I don't know what I'll do yet - I'm waiting for an expert education/public law solicitor contact to let me know if the firm can take the case on a conditional fee agreement basis. For that to happen, the firm will have to be very very certain we have a very good case. Otherwise JR would financially be out of the question.

But Gove and my MP - yes, I think I should so. I'll keep you posted.

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