Any tips for primary school appeals?

(972 Posts)

This is my first time doing this, and I want to do this right. My son didn't get into any of the preferred schools that we listed? Has anyone done an appeal before?

prh47bridge Mon 04-Apr-11 23:35:05

Yes.

The first question to consider is whether the appeal will be infant class size. That basically means that admitting your son would cause the school to have a class with over 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2 at some point while your son was in infants. If the admission number is a multiple of 30 it will be infant class size. It is likely to be infant class size if the admission number is a multiple of 15. If the appeal is infant class size you should only win if you can show that there has been a mistake and that, if the admissions had been administered correctly, your son would have got a place. You can appeal even if you can't show that. You may be lucky and get a sympathetic panel. However, you should be realistic and, unless a mistake has been made, an infant class size appeal is a very long shot.

If the appeal is not infant class size it will basically be about whether the prejudice to your son through not being admitted to the school outweighs the prejudice to the school through being forced to admit another pupil. You should concentrate on anything about the preferred school which makes it more appropriate for your son than the allocated school. Don't be negative about the allocated school - that won't help. Be positive about the preferred school and explain why it is better than the allocated school. Note that arguments about childcare arrangements and travel difficulties are rarely persuasive. The fact that you didn't get into one of your preferred schools is also not the basis for a successful appeal. You need more than that.

If you give more details it will help to give accurate advice. What is the basis for your appeal? Why did you prefer these schools to the allocated school?

Yeah I thought it would be more complicated than it seemed, even though I've been advised a few times to do this. I note that theres a lot of thought that needs to go into an appeal but my Mum and some of my friends keeps pushing the idea based upon the fact that its a really good school particularly for faith reasons. hmm

I can't really come up with any additional reasons and didn't want to do something that wasn't worth the effort seeing as I would most likely be ignored. Everyone wants their kid to go to a good school at the end of the day. Thanks for your input.

prh47bridge Tue 05-Apr-11 00:21:35

I'm afraid "Its a really good school" won't win an appeal for you!

If it isn't infant class size and you want to go for it (even if only to keep your Mum happy!) you need to look for features of this school which will be particularly useful for your son. You may not need anything terribly strong if you can show that the school can cope with additional pupils without any problems, but it will also depend on how many other parents appeal.

You certainly won't lose anything by trying. You won't be ignored and you may strike it lucky. But be realistic about your chances, particularly if it is infant class size.

Autumn78 Tue 05-Apr-11 08:47:51

Thanks for starting this thread. My son also didn't get into the schools I chose. Even worse, he was accepted by a school that wasn't on my list or Admissions Catchment Area! So a mistake has definitly been made there. As well as appeals, I'm also going to look at waiting lists too. My friend and my sister keep pushing for me to mention my son's speech and language needs. But I was reluctant to use this as an entry card, because I don't want my son to be labled or known in this way, because while he has speech and language needs, he's extreamly excelled past his class mates in other areas. Fingers crossed to us both. I'm just hoping the phone lines aren't constantly engaged today!!

prh47bridge Tue 05-Apr-11 09:35:11

Autumn78 - If you didn't put your catchment school on your list of preferences the fact you didn't get into any of your preferred schools or the catchment school doesn't indicate a mistake. It probably just means you were too far down the admission criteria for any of your preferred schools and your catchment school was then full up with people who named it as one of their preferences. People who have named a school as one of their preferences always come ahead of people who haven't, even if they are out of catchment and you are in catchment. That is the way the system works.

Even if you did put the catchment school on the list it doesn't necessarily indicate a mistake. It may just be that there were a lot of applicants and you lived too far away to get in. The LA should tell you exactly why you didn't get in to each of the schools on your preference list. That will give you some idea as to whether a mistake has actually been made.

Panelmember Tue 05-Apr-11 10:22:17

Autumn78 - About your son's speech and language needs. Social and medical needs will give a child priority for admission only where there is clear evidence that one school will be better able to meet those needs than any other school. This has to be confirmed by an opinion from a professional (doctor, speech therapist, etc). So it might not have made any difference if you had mentioned your son's speech and language difficulties, as most schools should be able to cater for children with a range of needs. However, if your son's needs are beyond what most schools can cater for - and if your preferred school has particular expertise or is a specialist centre for speech and language problems - then that might give you the basis for an appeal or at least for being in a higher category on the waiting list.

As prh47bridge has said, it isn't clear from what you say that any mistake has been made. If all your preferred schools were filled by children in higher priority groups (or living closer) then you will have been offered a place at the nearest school with vacancies. This could be a long way away or outside the catchment area in which you live, if that's the geography of your area. There is no guarantee that parents will get a place at one of their preferred schools - especially if they name schools at which, realistically, they are unlikely to get a place.

You can joining as many waiting lists as you like - don't be fobbed off if your LEA tries to limit you to (say) 3 - and can appeal even for schools you didn't apply for.

Thanks for all this advice. How do I join these waiting lists? The school that he has been referred to is absolutely awful! No one wants to send their kids there, the Ofsted report even reflects educational negligence. I also have a friend whose children go there and she told me that she has noticed that her kids have become "slower". I really feel the pain of all those parents I heard complaining previously!!

befuzzled Tue 05-Apr-11 20:34:57

This happened to us, my sympathies. In all honesty if you are talking about a reception place the appeals are pointless unless they have made a technical error like measuring your distance wrong, due to infant class size laws - can never go over 30 and they won't take a place back already offered to someone else. Your only chance is waiting lists, make sure you are on them and find out where he is. If top 5 or so you might get there by sept. Good luck.

ariane5 Tue 05-Apr-11 21:16:58

befuzzled when my dd didnt get 1st choice school a few years ago i appealed and they gave her a place putting one class up to 31 children (they also changed one part on an admission rule slighty after as it was discriminatory) so it can be done but only in exceptional circumstances i think.

prh47bridge Tue 05-Apr-11 22:30:51

Indeed it is possible to win infant class size appeals. I've done it myself. But it isn't easy.

However, not all primary school appeals are infant class size and nationally around 16% of appeals for Reception are successful.

Well I've received the paper work today, I guess theres no harm in trying... However, I don't expect a successful ending!

prh47bridge Thu 07-Apr-11 00:11:50

If you need any help or advice just ask. Good luck!

Kitty0608 Thu 07-Apr-11 00:14:34

Hello there

I am putting in an appeal under medical grounds for my DS as he didn't get into any of the 3 schools I submitted, I just wanted some advice as the letter I got from the LEA showed that all 3 of the schools have the 30 spaces filled so does this mean that I couldn't win an appeal as all the spaces are filled or that if I do I will just go up the waiting list (currently 5th on list)

My DS has cerebral palsy and although can walk he gets tired very easily and wears a AFO brace on his left leg. When I originally submitted the form I outlined his conditions/any problems and I also asked the doctor for a letter to to support why DS would benefit from going to the school chosen (the 3 chosen are the nearest to me, 1st 5 mins walk, 2nd & 3rd 15-20 mins walk, although still quite far for DS to walk without getting tired both are on a bus route). The doctor said that DS last cerebral palsy report should be enough which is a general report about his health, how his condition is, any medical appliances/treatment for the future/currently being used. I rang the LEA to see if this would be enough & they said to submit it with the form & if they needed any more they would let me know - but they didn't - not until I received the letter saying that he didn't get into any of the schools. When I rang them they said that his medical condition hadn't been considered at all as the information received wasn't more specific to why DS would benefit from going to the particular schools chosen.

I have now rang people involved with him & have letters in the pipeline (hopefully will receive by next week) from the doctor, consultant, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and health visitor. So back to my original question, even if I appeal & all the evidence is there could he get a place now that all 30 places are filled (seems unfair that someone has been told has a place then someone else takes it) or will it just push him up the waiting list or can the primary classes go up?

Thanks for any advice

Kitty

prh47bridge Thu 07-Apr-11 00:35:19

Firstly, if you win your appeal your son would be admitted in addition to the children already offered a place. You would not displace someone else. Also an appeal is all or nothing - either your son gets admitted or he doesn't. The appeal panel cannot change your son's position on the waiting list. However, you don't lose anything if you lose your appeal.

You seem to be saying that the schools have an admission number of 30. That means any appeal will be an infant class size case. In order to win you will have to show that a mistake has been made and your son would have been admitted. You do have a possible argument in that it may be your son should have been considered as having a special medical need but this didn't happen. It is a shame you don't have the LA's comments in writing as that may have helped. You can still mention this as part of your appeal but unfortunately you have no proof that the conversation took place. The LA will probably argue that there was nothing in the evidence you submitted to suggest your son could not travel the distance to the allocated school.

There is no way of telling what a panel would decide. Strictly speaking if the evidence you submitted to the LA was inadequate no mistake has been made and your appeal should fail. However, it is not unknown for appeal panels to admit children even when the rules say they shouldn't.

panelmember Thu 07-Apr-11 13:56:28

Sound advice (as ever) from prh47bridge.

It sounds to me as if you were given poor advice by the doctor (but then again, it's probably unreasonable to expect a doctor to be an expert on school admissions) and by the LEA. With medical and social need, what usually carries weight is a letter from a health care professional which confirms that in their professional opinion (and not just in the parent's) the child needs to go to a particular school because of the nature of that medical/social need. So, in your case, that would be a letter confirming not only that your son has CP but also that that means that he needs to attend his nearest school because of the limit on how far he can walk. Otherwise (for all the LEA knows) you might be planning to drive your son to the gates of the school every day and so the distance is academic.

Your greatest chance of success is probably if you can persuade the panel that you relied on advice from the LEA that was wrong (so, an error on the LEA's part in not spelling out what was needed) and that the LEA then made a further error in not asking for further evidence as they had promised they would. As prh47bridge says, this is tricky because you don't have documentary evidence that the LEA gave you misinformation and poor advice, but the panel may be sympathetic. At worst, the further evidence you're submitting should get you placed in a higher group on the waiting list.

ariane5 Thu 07-Apr-11 21:59:26

i got my dd1 in after an unsuccessful appeal, i got a solicitor who started the process for a judicial review as one of the admission rules was unfair and discriminatory in terms of dds medical problems so even if you lose the appeal there may still be a chance.

good luck

Autumn78 Sun 10-Apr-11 14:50:04

Thanks again for the advice, it has been really helpful.

When I said a mistake had been made as to my son not getting into the school in our Admissions Catchment Area, the office hadn't updated our new address. So he was accepted by a school that was close to our old address, but not by the one that is now in our Admissions Catchment Area and is 2 mins away. So I have gotten the office to update our address and put in a 2nd application for the school in our new Admissions Catchment Area and fingers crossed they still have room.

I'm still appealing to two schools he didn't get in to. On their waiting list he's 92nd in place for one and 15th in place for the other. But I'm appealing on the grounds of his speech and language needs. He's had support in nursery and from the Borough. I didn't mention it first time round. What type of appeal should I be making? It's not a mistake, because they weren't aware of his needs for support.

Urgh! I feel totally lost!!

prh47bridge Sun 10-Apr-11 17:09:14

If the schools have classes of 30 in Reception, Y1 or Y2 your appeals will be heard under infant class size rules. That means your appeals should only succeed if a mistake has been made. You may strike it lucky and get a sympathetic panel who admit your son anyway but that is a long shot.

If it is not infant class size you may be able to win on the grounds of your son's speech and language needs provided you have expert evidence to support your appeal. The expert evidence needs to say something like "I have examined Autumns son and in my opinion...". If it says "Autumn tells me..." it won't carry much weight with the panel.

lovemySon Sun 10-Apr-11 19:20:16

Hi i am in a similar situation.
I am new to all of this as hes my first child, i have been offered a place at my last option school, and put on a waiting list for my first 2 choices... How long will i be on these waiting lists for?....
Thank you in advance. confused

admission Sun 10-Apr-11 22:35:37

Autumn78,
Whilst there is nothing to stop you appealing on whatever grounds you wish, the reality is that if you did not mention anything about your son's speach and language difficulties then the admission authority did nothing wrong, they worked on the basis of the information you supplied. If it is an infant class size case then there is no basis for accepting the appeal as no mistake was made by the admission authority - how can they make a mistake when they did not know about it?
However you also mentioned that your address had not been updated. If this was given to the LA prior to the cutoff date for admissions then this is reasonable grounds for an appeal. The LA made a mistake and your child has been disadvantaged by the use of the wrong address. If the change of address was after the cutoff date then this again will be a situation where the local authority did not make a mistake based on the information available to them.

prh47bridge Sun 10-Apr-11 23:48:46

lovemySon - I am not clear if you are asking how long you can stay on the waiting list or how long it will take to get a place. You can stay on the waiting list as long as you want. However, the waiting list may stop operating after Christmas. As for how long it will take to get a place, I'm afraid no-one can tell.

gcjtwins Mon 11-Apr-11 23:17:17

Hi i have twin boys who have been in their nursey since jan 2010, one of my sons has speech diffulcuties and took a very long time to settle in as not many friends/teachers understood him and he is very aware of his speech, he is now seeing a speech therapist, they have not been offered a primary school place although i do also have a daughter in the same school (year 5)the school does have its own parish but we do not live in the parish area so go to a different a church that has no attached school ,and are advised to apply for the school my children are in and one other, so i applied for the one where the boys already attend nursey and daughter is in. They have offered me another school but its not even catholic and it would be impossible to get my 3 children to/from different schools.

what do you think my chances are at an appeal ????

any advice would be very much appreciated

thanks

easycomeeasygo Mon 11-Apr-11 23:48:43

hi. who tells you where you are on the waiting list for your preferred school? the school or the LA?

prh47bridge Tue 12-Apr-11 01:13:46

gcjtwins - The first question is whether or not this will be an infant class size appeal. If the school has classes of 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2 an appeal would be infant class size. That means you should only win if you can show that a mistake has been made by, for example, placing your son in the wrong admissions category.

If it is not infant class size you will have a better chance. However, the fact the offered school is not Catholic and the transport difficulties you face don't make a particularly strong case. Your son's speech difficulties may help you win an appeal provided the speech therapist is willing to write a letter for you saying that in the therapist's opinion your son needs to go to this school and setting out the reasons.

I would add that people do sometimes strike it lucky with appeals and win even when they shouldn't, so I wouldn't give up but be realistic about your chances.

easycomeasygo - The LA will be able to tell you. However, you need to be aware that anything they say will only be a snapshot. You can go down the list as well as up. If someone moves into the area and applies for the school they may go ahead of you on the waiting list.

easycomeeasygo Tue 12-Apr-11 01:31:50

Thank you prh47bridge I will also be asking why they allocated my son a faith school when i chose not to be considered for this type of school when filling in the form. (more like i'm clutching at straws)

Charmie Tue 12-Apr-11 09:58:18

Hi,
I am about to appeal and was wondering how do you know if it is an infant class size appeal or not?
Though I do not think I have a strong case I am gong to try.
The school does have a class size of 30 students from reception through to Yr 2.
Really I am hoping the panel will be sympathetic to the fact that my daughter being a Catholic did not get into any of the Catholic schools....yes I know this is weak...also both her cousins attend the school and my sister and I share a childminder for all our children and it will be near to impossible for her to drop off and collect the children, which will result in myself having to pay for another childminder and finances are low...etc...as I said not very strong but want to go ahead with it anyway....

Any advice...?

prh47bridge Tue 12-Apr-11 10:38:22

As the school has 30 students in a class it will be infant class size. That means you should only get in if you can show a mistake has been made. Even if it wasn't infant class size I'm afraid that isn't a very strong case. You can still try and you may strike it lucky but be realistic about your chances.

southofthethames Tue 12-Apr-11 14:04:35

This might be a rather basic question but what is the difference between going on a waiting list and appealing? We didn't get any of the schools in our 3 choices, we really only need to go on the waiting list for 2 of them at most.

southofthethames Tue 12-Apr-11 14:28:52

Oh, my council says we've been put automatically on the waiting list of the first choice school. They say they will know what position next week. That's ok then. I think that kind of answers my question.

gcjtwins Tue 12-Apr-11 17:16:39

Thanks prh47bridge... the school takes 40 children in two reception classes so not sure if they would take
more because of having the space once they move up also one of the teachers told me that 2 years ago the
local authority asked the school to take an extra 5 children, this would be a great result! !!!!

prh47bridge Tue 12-Apr-11 18:11:07

gcjtwins - The Reception classes are clearly well short of the limit of 30 children but it may still be infant class size depending on the arrangement of classes in Y1 and Y2. However, it seems unlikely unless they are mixing Y3 students in with Y2 and/or Y1. That's good as it gives you a better chance of winning, but it would help if you could strengthen your case. Can you think of anything this school has which would particularly benefit your daughter and is missing from the allocated school?

musey Thu 14-Apr-11 23:25:45

Sorry in advance for the long post, I wonder if I could get some input on appealing a primary school offer. My son has been offered our 3rd choice of school. I was sooo shocked when I found out and couldn't understand it as we meet all the published criteria of the 1st (faith based voluntary aided) and 2nd choices. Anyway, when I phoned up to ask why it’s because they still have us down as registered at our old address??? Go figure, I updated our choices and address (or so I thought) the night before we moved as I knew this was the last day I would have internet access until after the closing date (I was off sick work at the time and not expected back until after the closing date and I had just lost my mum, her funeral was 2 days before we moved house)

The Admissions officer tells me not so.......I only updated the school choices not address??? I can't believe that, but obviously can't prove it as it was web based. I have provided proof of our new address in the form of house deeds/solicitors letter and have been told he'll go on the waiting list. I want to appeal, but not sure what tack to take. Do I go down the route of a mistake/weakness in the web based system or throw myself at the panel’s mercy and go down the road of the detriment to my son based on not getting into 1st choice (he would definitely got in if the address had been correct) and go into the more personal details of my mental state that may have made me miss something on the system?

The school had published they were accepting 60 kids but have actually taken in 75, I can’t get my head around whether this is likely to be an infant class size appeal or not?

MiraNova Fri 15-Apr-11 00:14:25

When I submitted our preferences online, I got an email back confirming the details. I would think if you made changes, you should have had an email on the same date, confirming which changes were made. Try checking your email for that, ours came from an email address like noreply@xxx . Try searching for eadmissions too. Good Luck.

musey Fri 15-Apr-11 01:04:10

Thanks I have all the e-mails since registering, they only confirm choice of schools and no other info, we changed the choices from those originally submitted when we registered and both e-mails are the same neither contain personal details. As such if, what they say is correct that I didn't change the address details I have no way of knowing that I didn't if you see what I mean.

I have come accress something else that I wonder might be useful. The school's own prospectus (I have a hard copy) states that closing date for application forms is 2 weeks later than the date that the LA state is correct. As such if I didn't update my details when I thought I had in Dec, maybe I could argue that I should have been able to update them up to the date published in the prospectus?

Mum21of3 Fri 15-Apr-11 08:45:27

Have just received a reception place for my 3rd child at my 3rd choice school. I moved my Year 3 daughter from this school at Christmas because she was lacking in confidence and seemed afraid of her teacher. Does anyone know if the LEA would have her listed at her new school by the admission submissions date as my 1st choice was her new school. Could I win an appeal on these grounds, or am I likely to be more successful from a logistics angle-I will have 3 children at 3 different schools-only 1 of them within walking distance!

prh47bridge Fri 15-Apr-11 09:39:21

musey - With an admission number of 75 it is likely to be an infant class size appeal but it depends how the classes are organised. If they have, say, 3 classes in Reception and 5 covering Y1 and Y2 that would be infant class size. On the other hand if they have 3 in each year it won't be. Since the reception number seems to have gone up at the last minute it may be unclear whether or not infant class size regulations apply. I would ask the school how Reception will be organised, how they plan to cope with the increased number in Y1/2 and, most importantly, whether the governors have actually taken the decision on how many classes there will be in future.

You can certainly try suggesting that a mistake has been made due to a problem with the web-based system but it will be hard to prove. How far that will get you depends on whether or not the panel is willing to accept that there may be a problem with the web-based system. I would also talk about the detriment to your son through not getting into your first choice. It doesn't have to be either/or. However, I'm not convinced the date on the school's prospectus being incorrect will help you. You can mention it but ultimately the LA is responsible for the co-ordinated admission scheme so the dates they publish are the ones that matter.

Mum21of3 - If the admission criteria give sibling priority and your 3rd child hasn't been given priority it would appear a mistake has been made, which would be grounds for a successful appeal. The logistics angle, on the other hand, is unlikely to work. Appeal panels generally can't take transport or child care difficulties into account.

musey Fri 15-Apr-11 15:12:34

Many thanks for yuor response prh47bridge its much apprreciated. I have spoken with the LA & school today. In previous years the number of places has been been kept to the advertised 60, the LA say that perhaps the school may argue that infant class sizes may come into play next year but that it shouldn't this year? Does that make sense? My brain is ringing with all the info to consider. The LA are looking at the IT angle so it may have legs yet, but I guess I'll have to see on that one.

Regarding the questions you suggest in relation to class sizes, would one ask those prior to appeal or at appeal?

Mum21of3 Fri 15-Apr-11 16:34:53

Thanks for the feedback prh47bridge, sibling priority is part of the admission policy but we are out of catchment of the preferred school. The school we have been offered a place at is where my oldest is currently in Year 6 and although I never gave his details on the admission application as he won't be there in September, I wonder if this has had any bearing on the place offered. We are also in the catchment of the school where the place has been offered.

admission Fri 15-Apr-11 16:37:25

75 in the year group is not going to be a straight forward infant class size regs case. The complication as far as you are concerned is that this is the first year that they have gone to 75 in a year group. If all three year groups (reception, yr1 and 2) had 75 then as PRH says I suspect that they will work on 5 classes of 30 across year 1 and 2 and that would be future prejudice as far as infant class size regs are concerned.
As you are the first year of 75, in twelve months time, you will have a year 2 with 60, a year 1 (your year) of 75 and a reception class of either 60 or 75. If they revert to 60 it is not infant class size, if they keep at 75 it is likely to be infant class size, though they will have mixed age classes all over the place. That they do not know what next year holds is why the LA is hedging their bets on whether there will be future year prejudice. However for the appeal the school as the admission authority will have to make a decision and this will be contained in the paperwork that you get prior to the hearing. I would work on the principle that it will be infant class size regs case, though knowing how poor some VA school are at presenting their case they might not even realise the situation they are in.
If it is an infant class size case, then you have to in effect prove a mistake by the admission authority. As such you do need to be saying that you believe that you did alter the address but that at the time you had various issues, which you should detail for the panel, so you cannot be 100% sure of doing it. It could be that the LA will be able to categorically prove that you did not alter the address or alternatively they might not, it depends how good their ITC system is.
Another thought is given it is a VA school was there a supplementary form to complete and what address did that have on?

prh47bridge Fri 15-Apr-11 20:59:14

Mum21of3 - For sibling priority they are only allowed to include siblings who will still be at the school in September, so your oldest wouldn't have counted even if you had put him on the form.

You need to ask the LA which category your son was placed in for this school. If it was not the correct category that is grounds for appeal. However, if he was treated correctly as an out of catchment sibling but just didn't get a place I'm afraid you don't really have grounds for a successful appeal. You can still try. You might strike it lucky and get a sympathetic panel who will admit despite the rules. But be realistic about your chances.

musey - You've already got the answer to the questions. As Admission says, they are hedging their bets at the moment. That is good as it means the decision hasn't been taken. That could be significant. If they want to argue infant class size they have to show that admitting your child WILL cause infant class size prejudice, not that it might under some circumstances. That means they should only be able to successfully argue infant class size if the governors have decided what will happen next year prior to the appeal hearing. I had a case with the LGO which turned on this point. I'll tell you more if they do argue infant class size.

However, your best chance of a quick resolution is your argument that there was a mistake over the address. If the LA are looking at the IT angle I hope they come up with something.

gcjtwins Fri 15-Apr-11 21:49:13

Hi.. (prh47) the school they have allocated is not a catholic school and the school my daughter has been in since nursery and is now in yr 5 is our local catholic school, its the boys (twins) that i am now trying to get in the school , as we live out of the schools parish area we are 4th in the admissions criteria as 1st is looked after children, 2nd - those who practice at the schools parish, 3rd- those who practice within the local community of the above parish ????? (think this means other catholic churches) the 4th- our parish which has no school attached ,so that makes the school my kids are in one of two of our local catholic schools but as my daughters there thats why i obviously wanted this school. After lookin at lots of other schools admissions if you dont practice at the local parish but practice at another local church near the area that does not have a school you seem to fall into cat:3 . which i think is unfair that at our school we are cat;4 it does'nt give us much of a chance ..

any advice appreciated

prh47bridge Sat 16-Apr-11 00:11:42

If it is not infant class size you have a decent chance of winning. However, complaining about the admission criteria is unlikely to get you anywhere unless you can show they are contrary to the Admissions Code. It doesn't sound like they are from what you have described. Having said that, if yours is the only Catholic parish in the area which doesn't get priority for one of the Catholic schools you could try suggesting that the admission criteria are unfair in that they disadvantage Catholic children in your parish where the parents want a faith school. I'm not sure a panel would accept that but it is worth a try.

I don't think you have an overly strong case so a lot will depend on the strength of the case to refuse admission and how sympathetic a panel you get. I would try to build a case around your son's speech difficulties (especially if you can get a letter from his therapist which supports your case) and the faith angle. I would also mention the transport difficulties but I wouldn't dwell on them too much as a lot of families face the problem of getting children to different schools so appeal panels can't generally take this into account.

Find out where you are on the waiting list and keep checking as that may be your best chance of getting a place. Don't build your hopes up too much for the appeal but don't give up. You may strike it lucky.

When you get the case to refuse admission I may be able to give more advice if you post it here.

Good luck.

musey Mon 18-Apr-11 14:14:33

I am still struggling to get my head around everything, had long conversations with school and admissions officer at LA. I am awaiting info back from the LA regards the IT system. I have looked again at all the papers I have and have printed off the app form from the online application site just for my records. On close inspection I see that it reads "this is the information that you have supplied to the LA online application system" and at the bottom the time and date correspond with the date I made the changes in Dec. Previous to this I just had to accept it when the admissions officer told me that I hadn't updated details for either of us.

Whilst the details for me & son are different, an email I have been cc'ed into by the LA seems to suggest that there should be a prompt to update child’s details if they don't match that of the applicant (even if there isn't currently). Is this ammunition to argue an error has been made I ask myself? Or am I clutching at straws? I have taken screen prints of the form as well as printed it off so I can't be accused of altering the details on the form.

prh47bridge Mon 18-Apr-11 17:58:21

If I understand you correctly you now have evidence that you updated your address, so the admissions officer was wrong or their IT systems messed up. However, I think you are saying that you updated your address but not your son's address. That weakens it a little. However, I would have expected their system to at least have required you to tick a box to say your child wasn't living with you before it accepted that your details were different. So overall I think this is ammunition to say an error has been made.

musey Mon 18-Apr-11 18:40:45

Yes thats what I'm saying, although I have been told verbally by the admissions officer that their IT system shows that on date of closure both my address and that of son's was the same......the old one. However I'm struggling with that given the print out I now have. I appreciate that I am somewhat weakened by the fact that on my copy the addresses are different, I was hoping to argue that there was no prompt to alter the childs details to match and that given the personal circumstances I was working under which I can evidence I can't exactly recall the website 4 months afterwards. Do you think they'll force me to appeal?

prh47bridge Mon 18-Apr-11 21:05:04

A lot of councils force people to appeal even if there is cast iron evidence that a mistake has been made. They shouldn't but it happens.

If there isn't a box you tick to say the addresses are different and you weren't prompted I think you can reasonably argue that the council's IT system was insufficiently clear, leading you to a reasonable belief that you had updated your address correctly. In any case, if the council say that you didn't change your address at all the panel should be asking some hard questions when faced with screen prints showing that you did.

admission Mon 18-Apr-11 22:20:14

I have been involved in cases where the appealant printed off a copy of what they thought that they had inputted but in fact they had not completed the actions necessary for the system to update.
Is it possible that this is the case?
I say this because I will more or less guarantee that this is what the LA will say at the appeal, that you did not complete the exercise.
Is there any other information that you can find that can establish that you did alter the address, because realistically this is going to come down to who the panel believe most, as neither side appear to be able to prove themselves or disprove the other side.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Apr-11 00:25:16

I also wondered that but I came to the conclusion that the fact that the screen print states "this is the information that you have supplied to the LA online application system" means it has to have been taken after submitting the information. However it is impossible to be sure without seeing the screenshot. If it says that on the screen before the information is submitted it isn't a terribly well designed system in my view.

musey Tue 19-Apr-11 21:48:42

Thanks again for the responses the input is really helpful. I have taken 3 screen shot, moving down the page by degrees so as to capture all information. I too feel sure that the LA will argue that I have not done something in order to finalise the application but am a losst at how to prove that I did not, not do something. The only information I have access to and can print off is that which says this is the information you submitted etc and which sows the date and time corresponding to the date I submitted it. prh47 I could send a sanitized copy for you to cast your eye over if you wouldn't mind?

musey Tue 19-Apr-11 21:56:03

Apologies for spelling lol meant to spell check and forgot

prh47bridge Wed 20-Apr-11 00:21:49

I'm happy to take a look for you. I don't think you can send images via PMs so contact me at prh47bridge@hotmail.com. PM me when you've done so to remind me to take a look as that isn't my main email address. I'm at an exhibition this week so may be slower responding than normal but I will get back to you.

prh47bridge Wed 20-Apr-11 23:28:12

Just to say that I have now seen the screenshots and responded to Musey. For the benefit of anyone else following this thread, I think there are a number of features in these screenshots that clearly show Musey had completed the exercise of updating her address. To name a few of them, it is not a form for entering data (it actually appears to be intended to allow the parent to print the application form after submitting it), it says it "details the information you have provided" and states "application submission date and time". I think the LA will have a hard job convincing anyone that Musey had not completed the actions needed to update the system unless they want to argue that their system is too complex for the average user to understand!

What is more problematic is the question of the child's address being different from Musey's. This is where I suspect the LA will say that Musey will have been prompted but Musey says she wasn't. The fact Musey has an email indicating a previous suggestion that this didn't work correctly may help. I wonder if the system prompts correctly on the initial application but not if the parent subsequently updates details. It may be, for example, that the developer thought that the parent would already have been prompted on the original application if the addresses were different and therefore shouldn't be prompted again if they updated the form, but failed to consider the possibility that the addresses were identical originally but different following an update.

Musey - A thought which has come to me since responding to you. Perhaps it might be an idea to ask the LA to test their system's behaviour in the scenario I've just given, i.e. enter an application where the addresses are identical and submit it, then go back in and change the parent's address whilst leaving the child's address unchanged. I suspect they'll find it doesn't prompt the parent regarding the address discrepancy in this situation.

admission Thu 21-Apr-11 16:08:08

Oh I would hate to be on the appeal panel for this one. It is going to depend entirely on the way that the panel views what happened on the computer system and the two conflicting sets of evidence from the LA and you Musey.

I think PRH has a good idea in asking them to carry out the test. If it shows nothing it does not do you any harm. If the LA do find that there is a glitch in their system, firstly it helps you at the appeal in terms of pushing the emphasis on the LA that the system does not do what they say it does. The second thing is that LAs, like everybody else, do not like having to explain why things went wrong if they can avoid it. They can avoid it if they suddenly find there is a place available at the school, even if there are 31 in the class! If they make it public that there computer system is suspect can you imagine how many appeals they suddenly might find they have got.

musey Sun 24-Apr-11 12:48:00

Firstly thanks to PRH for looking at my screenshots, but back now for more advice. Whilst I'm confident of what my screenshots show the LA have now sent a series of screen shots (equally convincing) that they say evidence I changed neither address before the dealine. I had asked that as they were saying i hadn't changed either address before the dealine that they tell me when the address was changed but they are unable to do so. So I guess on the chances of the panel accepting an error has been made its down to who the panel believe as such I don't want to solely rely on that.

The school have said DS is 1st on waiting list but that it is possible another child would be placed before him. I have been asked by the school to provide proof of worship in the parish in order to place him in the highest category possible, yet the original additional application form does not ask for proof merely that the parent state which parish......is it unfair then for them to ask now for proof? This also makes me ask myself, how many children got into the school under the criteria "lives or worships in a feeder parish" didn't actually live in the parish, ie. got in one the worships....given that they ask for no proof anyone could say they worshipped but wouldn't have to evidence it. Am I chasing a redherring here? Or is it something to ask at the appeal?

On the subject of infant class size I am feeling more confident that this is not an infacnt class size case. I have found evidence (again I have a screenshot) which shows the school are recruiting for a temporary teacher (one year) to cope with a temporary increase in numbers as such I beleive that infant class size isn't an issue as this is the first year and it looks like the last that they plan to have this increased intake.

prh47bridge Mon 25-Apr-11 01:05:39

What do the LA's screenshots say about the date you submitted your application? The weakness of your screenshots is that, if I recollect correctly, they don't show the date on which you took them. However, if the LA's screenshots show an earlier submission date it may help the panel to believe you.

Also is there anything on the LA's screenshots that confirms when they were taken? If they were taken recently that could be quite significant. If there isn't anything on the screenshots I would ask the LA to confirm when they were taken.

Personally I am not impressed that the LA cannot say when you changed the address. If I were writing this system I would log that kind of information.

As far as I can see there are a number of possible explanations (ignoring the possibility that you faked your screenshots - most people wouldn't have the required expertise to do that and I am absolutely certain you didn't):

- The LA are right and you changed the address after the deadline. That would mean the submission date shown on your screenshot is the date on which you submitted your original application and your screenshots were taken after the deadline.

- The LA are wrong and you changed the address before the deadline. Assuming their screenshots are as you say, that would mean that their screenshot was taken prior to the deadline and therefore doesn't show your changes or it suggests some kind of defect in the system. All software has defects so this is by no means impossible. Persuading the appeal panel of this may be harder.

It may be worth asking the LA whether the submission date on your screenshots represents the date you originally submitted your application or the date you updated it. If it is the latter it would tend to confirm your version of events.

On your new points, I would certainly ask why they are requesting more proof from you now than they wanted at the time of your application. I would also ask them how they know that the children claiming to worship within the feeder parishes actually do so. I would ask them that question now so that you have the answer before the hearing. It may be that there is a robust process in place whereby they check with the feeder parishes. However, if there is no such process I would ask the question again in the hearing. It certainly can't harm your case and could help.

Regarding infant class size, the big question is whether or not the governors have decided what is going to happen next year. If they haven't it is not infant class size - they cannot argue infant class size on the basis of a decision which hasn't been taken. However, it is possible that neither the LA nor the panel will get this right so you may still find yourself facing an infant class size case.

prh47bridge Mon 25-Apr-11 10:45:50

Just to add a bit more as to why the date of the LA's screenshots matters...

I suspect they were taken recently in which case there are three possibilities to consider.

Firstly, they could show your application as originally submitted. If that is the case they are completely useless as evidence. What matters is the state of your application at the time of the deadline.

Secondly, they could show the state of your application today. That again makes them useless in determining what your application said on deadline day. However, it raises some questions. Given your screenshots showing a different address, are they saying you never made that change or are they suggesting that you made the change then changed it back again? Of course, they could be suggesting that you failed to complete the process of changing your address. However, I think the average lay person changing their details and arriving at the page shown in your screenshots would think they had completed the process. There is also the possibility that someone restored the database from a backup at some point and the backup used was taken before you made your changes.

Finally, the screenshots could show the state of your application at the time of the deadline. However, they can only generate such a screenshot now if their system knows whether you changed your address before or after the deadline. If they cannot tell you when you changed your address that throws serious doubt on their ability to say with certainty what your application said on deadline day.

Gilbo1972 Wed 27-Apr-11 12:54:40

Can anyone give me advice. My son will be leaving an infant school this july to go on to a junior school. he has received our 3rd choice C of E primary school which is technically our nearest church school.

the thing is this. We recently moved to the country where we are now, August last year, previous to this we were living abroad for a year and my son was in the local greek village school and previous to this he was in reception in a primary school in outer london, who could not offer him a place until he was 51/2 as the were building the class room. As you can see due to unforeseen circumstance he has had a very disruptive and unsettling start to his education.

He joined his present C of E infant school for year 2 as a late applicant. He was extremely lucky to get a place as it is oversubscribed and a lovely small village school. Sadly it only goes up to year 2 and everyone then tends to join the two local junior schools one is a church school and the other isn't. The school are so pleased with him as he come leaps and bounds and has become settled and happy and is storming ahead academically. We as a family feel we have more connection and are very much part of the school, church and village community of the infant school even though we are living in the neighboring village. Our place in the neighboring village is rented and in our heads temporary accommodation until we were settled from coming back from greece. We are in the process of selling a property abroad so we can buy here. We do not intend to stay here as the house is tiny and my son shares with his 5 year old sister. If we could we would move into the village where the infant school is, and nearly did but our buyer pulled out last december.

Unfortunately, because we are in the neighboring village, we do not live in the published criteria parish of the C of E junior school which was our first choice. But we are active members of the parish church affiliated to the present infant school and our first choice junior school.

My son has had some issues originally with settling and making friendships for the 3rd year running but now is really beginning to settle.

We have no connection with the school we have been offered which is in yet another area. We don't go to have no need to go to that area, we don't know anyone there, no one else from the infant school goes there. We don't know the local church. Fine if our son had had a good steady foundation, but with his history we don't really want him to have to start all over again. Our infant school is very supportive of our worries.

We are on the waiting lists for the other 2 local junior schools. But what really gets me is that on the council application for the schools, I put under over comments you think may be suitable, I put that we are in the process of selling (which we were at that time) and very likely to move into the parish in the foreseeable future. I then filled in the supplementary church form in good faith, only to learn they didn't even bother processing it as we were out of catchment area. So now we have no religious grounds even on the waiting list. (and if we had moved, I would not have known that we would not have any religious ground even on the waiting list in the right area, that would have taken us up a criteria). I know its irrelevant as we didn't move, but I find it quite arrogant that they didn't bother to find out if we really are church goers and take into account that at a later stage of application we may have been in their catchment area.

Anyway would we have any basis for appeal on our close ties with the schools and churches, and our son's history and progress for an appeal? Our infant school thinks we should and will do what they can?

many thanks

prh47bridge Wed 27-Apr-11 17:17:09

I'm afraid they are quite right to ignore your comments that you were expecting to move into the parish. What matters is your address at the time you applied. If you had moved before allocations were made you would probably have been treated as a late applicant so you still wouldn't have got a place at this school.

Do you think they have made a mistake and placed you in the wrong admissions category? If they have a category for children from outside the parish who attend church they should have placed your son in that category. However, if all out of catchment children are treated equally they have got it right. They cannot give your son priority because you are church goers who may be moving into the parish at some unknown date in the future. You describe this as arrogant but all they have done is follow the rules.

If you move into the parish now it will move your son up the waiting list.

To win your appeal you will need to show that the damage to your son through not attending this school outweighs the problems the school will have if they are forced to admit another pupil. I don't think that your close ties with the schools and churches are the basis for a successful appeal. Your son's difficulties with settling are also unlikely to lead to a successful appeal unless you have expert evidence to back you up and say that your son really needs to attend your preferred school. Having said that, you may still win an appeal if the school's case for refusing admission is weak so it is certainly worth a try.

musey Tue 03-May-11 14:39:25

I need to submit the appeal form for DS's school place this week. On reading the form, I am a touch confused, the form states....Grounds of Appeal - Please set out your reasons for appeal in the space below. You must state why you wish to appeal....do I at this stage have to set out my reasons? This seems to imply set out your full argument or is it just the way I am reading it? Can I wait until closer to the appeal date, I haven't fully formulated my arguments yet and don't want to rush this. If I don't have to porvide full details now, what should I put down on the form?

wolfhound Tue 03-May-11 14:50:29

don't mean to hijack this thread at all, but prh47 seems to be so knowledgeable and useful i would like to ask my own question. Will be applying for DS1 school places this autumn. My situation is that DS1 has no special needs, but I have a severe disability which means i cannot drive and have great difficulty with public transport - so need a school within walking distance so that I can take DS1 there. Also important that it is safe walking distance (visually impaired so can't deal with routes without pavements or difficult crossings). Can this be taken into account? Or is it only the child's needs taken into account?

prh47bridge Tue 03-May-11 15:14:28

musey - Put an outline of your case on the appeal form and say you will provide further details later. Don't leave it too long, though. You don't want to end up with the appeal being adjourned because you were late providing your case.

wolfhound - It depends on the admission criteria used by the school in question. If they have a category for special medical needs you may be able to use your disability to argue that your son should go in that category.

wolfhound Tue 03-May-11 15:25:52

Thanks prh47, will look into it.

musey Sat 07-May-11 07:44:37

Ok so just to update. I took my appeal in by hand yesterday (and got a receipt). It was very short with just 3 paragraphs, I made it clear that I would be submitting more information at a later date. The council have confirmed it is NOT an infant class size appeal, which is good.

I have drafted an e-mail to the council asking for some information

A. Indicated admission number for school

B. Net capacity information for school, including when this was last assessed

C. Current number of pupils attending

Can anyone suggest other stuff I should be asking them for that might be useful to have in appeal?

In respect of the 'fuller' appeal document I am planning to submit,
1. Is it is wise to draft it as a statement as one might give the police or a series of bullet points that I can expand upon when at the appeal?

2. Does one refer to supporting documents as appendices?

Supporting Information to use
1. Letter of support from my old parish priest although bless him, he does state that I forgot to update all the details, so not sure if I should use it or not (although he is a very very influential force in my town and he hopes that given the circumstances that a place should be found)

2. I plan to approach new parish priest for the same.

3. Information on DS from Nursery

4. I am seeing Doctor on Monday to ask her to outline the distressing medical problem I had at the same time as breavement and house move that will hopefully go some way to explain why I can't really remember all the details of what the website looked like when I submitted the changes (this is very personal and I would prefer not to have to send it in at all, would rather take it on the day and pass it to the panel - is that a bad idea?)

4. Print out of app form showing DS & I at different addresses

5. Screen shots of the same (the ones referred to by pr47)

6. Copy of e-mail council email to IT support asking when I changed the address & the IT response saying they can't tell only that it was after the deadline (my screen shots & app form contradict this)

Can't think of anything else at the moment, although I'm sure I will.

prh47bridge Sat 07-May-11 12:48:45

You need to know the current number of pupils in each year. If any years are already over PAN that can strengthen your case as it shows they can admit additional pupils without the sky falling in. That information should be in their written submission to the appeal but it is worth asking anyway.

I would ask the LA how they know your change of address was submitted after the deadline if they are unable to say exactly when it was submitted. If the answer you receive is unconvincing this is definitely something you can bring up at the hearing. I would be very interested to know what they say on this point.

It is entirely up to you how you set out your appeal document. As long as you set out your case clearly, the way it is set out isn't going to affect the outcome. I wouldn't personally refer to supporting documents as appendices - I'd refer to them by name. But it is entirely up to you.

The information about your condition will be seen by the Clerk, the members of the panel and the LA's representative at the hearing regardless of whether you submit it before the hearing or take it with you. It is safest to submit it before the hearing so that the panel can prepare properly.

mamalocco Sat 07-May-11 13:58:53

When we had an appeal for DS in January we were asked to have all evidence submitted a week before the appeal date.

Apologies if this has already been covered but in addition to asking for current class numbers we also asked for details of the classes sizes over the past couple of years and numbers of children leaving the school. If it is usual for one or two children to leave during the school year, the increase in numbers in admitting your child will (obviously!) be a temporary increase.

Wolfhound - we won our appeal because of my medical condition.

Best of luck.

sethsmummy1 Sat 07-May-11 18:49:52

This is the first time I have posted and so I apologise for doing it on the back of someone elses thread but there seems to be some really knowledgeable people and I just wanted to capitalise on that knowledge.

My youngest has been refused the same primary school as her older brother due to class size. In the appeals pack there seems to be 2 grounds of appeal firstly a mistake (I think this is unlikely) and secondly an unreasonable decision and it is this that I seek clarity.

I believe the decision is unreasonable because they have allocated a school several miles away(thus not walking distance) and we walk to school. It is clearly impossible to be in 2 places at the same time! I spoke to admissions about this and they informed me they would pay for special transport. I believe it is unreasonable to expect a 4 year old to go on this transport to a new environment without her parents. I am also concerned about the psychological message this gives me daughter that we are able to take her brother to school but not her. Further concerns include safety issues i.e. taxi's / minibuses do not have child seats as standard. Do others think this counts as an unreasonable decision?

Other facts that are maybe relevent are that the boundaries of our catchment area changed last year so that our school of choice is no longer our catchement school. I did not put a second choice down (foolishly in hindsight) because I believed that we are unable to be in 2 places at one time thus any school other than her siblings is unmanageable, however we do live accross from our catchment school (although havent been allocated this either due to class size). A final point is that the PAN is 30 but my sons school runs regularly with class sizes of 33. Do they fill these extra places with appeals or will they have already been filled?

Many thanks for any comments / opinions offered

prh47bridge Sat 07-May-11 19:45:08

sethsmummy - You would get help from the knowledgeable people on any thread!

Decisions by the courts mean that "unreasonable" in this context means "irrational". I'm afraid your child will not be the only one expected to go to a school several miles away. It happens all the time. And they don't just ring up the local taxi firm and get them to send someone. They make sure the vehicles are safe and the drivers are CRB checked.

The LA has complied with the law. You didn't get in to your preference and, because you only named one preference, that means you get a place at the nearest school with places available. So I'm afraid you are unlikely to win an appeal with these arguments.

If PAN is 30 that is the number of children admitted. There are no extra places. They don't hold back any places for appeals or for any other purpose. If they get to 33 it is due to successful appeals, children admitted because the LA realise they made a mistake, children moving into the area when there are no other places available, children with statements of SEN admitted outside the normal admissions round, children in care admitted outside the normal admissions round plus a couple of other reasons.

With a PAN of 30, appeals for Reception, Y1 and Y2 should only succeed if a mistake has been made. Once we get to Y3 the rules change and it becomes easier to win appeals, so classes of 31+ in those years will be more common. If they are regularly running classes of 33 in infants they are probably breaking the law.

admission Sat 07-May-11 20:28:04

Musey,
Do not under-estimate the influence of the old priest. They may not be able to influence the panel directly but they sure as hell will have some pull in the background. It would not be the first time that where the priest thinks the pupil should be admitted they somehow get admitted, legally or illegally.
I enclose the letter from the old priest but would also get the letter from the other priest because basically in this situation the more relevant letters you have the better your case.

Panelmember Sat 07-May-11 20:37:11

Sethsmummy - prh47bridge's advice is spot-on.

You are very unlikely to win your appeal - a panel may well agree that it is difficult to have two children in two schools but not that it is unreasonable or irrational - so you need a plan B. Can you share the school run with a friend? use a childminder? You can join waiting lists for other schools but (and I know it's easy to be wise after the event) your naming only one school has really backfired on you. If you had named the catchment school or some other nearby schools, you might well have got a place there instead of in the school miles away.

sethsmummy1 Sat 07-May-11 22:22:32

Thank you prh47bridge and panel member. Just two last questions, would I have any grounds in arguing that the LEA should have some sort of transitional policy for when catchment area boundaries are changed i.e. siblings become a priority over catchment for the first year? I know its a long shot. Second question (looking at plan B) is can I go on wait list for catchment school if I didn't put them down as a choice? Thanks

prh47bridge Sun 08-May-11 01:35:39

You can try arguing that there should have been a transitional policy. It is a long shot but you can make the point that you had a reasonable expectation of getting both children into the same school until the change of catchment areas. I don't think it will fly but you may get a sympathetic panel who will use this as reason to admit.

Yes, you can go on the waiting list for the catchment school even if you didn't put it down as a choice.

NormanConquest Sun 08-May-11 14:12:50

Hi. We didn't get our first choice and I don't think we have any real grounds on which to appeal. However, we've been told that our son is 2nd or 3rd on the waiting list, and so we were wondering what the chances might be of getting in that way? If we start him at the allocated school and after that a place crops up at our first choice, could we switch? Thanks very much for any advice or tips.

teacherwith2kids Sun 08-May-11 15:29:26

NormanConquest, yes you can switch BUT be careful to find out how long waiting lists / continued interest lists are maintained for.

In some areas, the waiting lists remain in place until Christmas. In others, they are 'wiped clean' at the beginning of September as it is assumed that once all the children have started school, parents are at least adequately content with their allocation. Others are maintained forever.

You can of course 'return' your child to the waiting list once it has been 'wiped clean' but you have to actively do that, it doesn't happen automatically.

Also weigh up the prospective advantages of your first choice school vs the disruption to your son of starting him at school A with one set of children / staff and then moving to school B.

sethsmummy1 Sun 08-May-11 16:01:18

Thank you prh47bridge, I'm beginning to get an understanding of how the appeals system is going to work. A lot of researching and thinking planned over the next week, not just for the appeal but looking at plan B also. Thanks.

mynameisjess Sun 08-May-11 16:40:06

@NormanConquest

Whilst it might seem that your are close to getting into a school if you are number 2/3 on the waiting list, remember that your position can go up and down as children with greater eligibility under the admission criteria join and leave the list. Many parents assume that they are close to getting in, but never do. I don't want to sound negative, but it's important you remain realistic.

I actually work in the Legal department of a local authority and act as the principle School Appeal Clerk. If anyone has any questions, I'll try my best to help. That said, judging by some of the other posts on here, I am already among experts... smile

Panelmember Sun 08-May-11 19:51:16

Welcome to the team, MyNameIsJess. smile

NormanConquest Mon 09-May-11 09:05:38

Many thanks for the replies. Feel in a bit of a dilemma in that I don't think we have any genuine grounds for appeal, and yet I'd feel I was letting my son down if I didn't at least try to keep him in his current school, where he's been very happy. Anyone got any experience of appealing when you have little real hope of success? Thanks again for any advice.

Panelmember Mon 09-May-11 09:46:16

I've certainly heard some appeals which stood no earthly chance, eg (and I'll keep this vague) parents who would not accept the LEA's measurement of the distance to school because they had used a completely different system of measurement and parents of children with disabilities of the sort which most schools should be able to cater for and where the preferred school had no better provision for the particular disability than any other local school. (All YR admissions appeals in my LEA are infant class size cases so we are essentially looking for errors or maladministration).

I am very torn on this. Part of me questions why anyone would want to waste their and the panel's time on unwinnable cases. Another part of me - and this is the part that usually wins - thinks that appealing is your democratic right, that sometimes something turns up which makes an unwinnable case winnable and that you probably won't rest easy until you've tried every option.

What's important, I think, is that you have a realistic notion of your chances of winning (or not) and don't bank on it. Those people who convince themselves that only the preferred school will do may face real problems (practical and emotional) if they don't win their appeal. Always have a Plan B - alternative school in state or private sector, home education, moving house, whatever it may be.

Panelmember Mon 09-May-11 09:49:02

MyNameIsJess -What's your opinion on whether LEAs can limit the number of waiting lists that parents can join? You might have seen from other threads that this is an issue in some LEAs. Mine lets people join as many as they like, but some are limiting parents to three lists.

The3Bears Mon 09-May-11 10:07:45

Im waiting for an appeal for my Son and you may think it's a case that cannot win panelmember Its not a mistake they have made. However I am going to try because I can and why shouldnt I ?

This is the school I have ALWAYS wanted to send my Son to and I will do anything to help him get there, I am thinking if he doesnt get in Im going to keep him home until the term after he is 5 and we will move house, its going to be a hard year and so hard to move but what can I do ?

There is so many more children being born in our area right now and nothing has been done to ensure all these children can go to a local primary school, we are 2 roads out of the catchment area and the school we've been offered is a huge walk in a morning for a 4 yr old, I dont drive so this is not going to be an option.

I really feel for people who havent been able to get there children into the same school as there siblings but around here the school is overtaken with siblings and it gives new children absolutley no chance of getting in, what is being done to help new children get into schools they want to attend...NOTHING!

Sorry for the rant but I am fed up of people saying dont bother trying, they havent made a mistake and you dont have any chance, but its happened before and for my Son im hoping it can happen again. I wont stop hoping for one minute that he wont get in and will keep all my fingers crossed and hope for a miracle.

The3Bears Mon 09-May-11 10:09:00

That he *will get in blush

Panelmember Mon 09-May-11 10:16:02

What I said, 3Bears, is that if it is an infant class size appeal - where the law says that appeal panels can order the school to admit only if there has been an error, maladministration or the admission criteria are unreasonable (ie irrational) - then anyone arguing on any other grounds has to be realistic about their low prospects of success. I also said that, on balance, I don't begrudge anyone having a go, even if their case is weak and they're almost certain to lose. Appeal panels do sometimes allow appeals in circumstances where, if they had followed the law, they would not.

If your allocated school is not an option, have you got another back-up plan in case you do lose the appeal?

The3Bears Mon 09-May-11 10:28:21

No I havent, the schools closest are full with waiting lists of 20, My only other option is to keep him out of school as he is 5 in Febuary and we move house and try again, I really dont have another option I can send him the offered school but its a huge walk and there isnt a bus route there so what can I do?

The school has let people in on appeals before, only last year with a girl who attended the preschool and was very shy like my son. I have a nephew in yr 1 and 6 new children started this year in his class alone so it gives me some hope.

southofthethames Mon 09-May-11 12:59:27

Well, The3Bears and NormanConquest (and other parents about to do appeals)- look at it this way, if you are on the waiting list, you can still get a place when you move up to first and are then a place comes up. You can still get the place even the appeal is lost. Logically, look at it this way - if you don't appeal, there is only one avenue of getting in. If you do appeal, you have two chances to get in: via the appeal, via the waiting list. Even if the success rate was statistically less than 15%, someone is still getting in. And if there was a rule that they would never, ever, ever let people in because of infant class size, they wouldn't let you appeal in the first place. So logic says if you want to use all possible chances you would appeal, even if chances of success were low. Just be prepared for what to do next if it doesn't work.

(I'm in the same boat having not got any of our 3 choices at all, just not choosing to appeal - but I do see where you're all coming from and I wish everyone the best of luck for the appeal day.)

southofthethames Mon 09-May-11 13:00:18

Typo : "even IF the appeal is lost" (line 2).

mynameisjess Mon 09-May-11 17:56:32

@Panelmember

Like you, my LEA allows parents to join as many waiting lists as they want, but I can see the logic of limiting it to a certain number. Waiting lists are already too long in many cases, and having parents pushed further down a list by someone that doesn't particularly want the school but just happens to have greater eligibility under the admissions criteria seems a little unfair.

Then again, whilst I can think of some exceptions, most parents I have encountered at appeal have been fairly coordinated in their efforts to get into a specific school - not many have simply "spammed" the waiting lists of every school in the borough.

For my LEA, I think imposing a limit would be unnecessary at present, and would probably simply make a number of people angry.

@The3Bears
I understand your frustration towards the sibling link admission criteria. In fact, it is a common complaint I hear from parents and, to some extent, I sympathise. That said, even when parents have multiple children at the same school, the first child would have had to have got in without a sibling link - relying purely on other admission criteria or the tie-breaker (distance).

But all that aside... I entirely understand your desire to appeal in the face of overwhelming odds. Parents are often put in a very difficult situation when it comes to admissions, often feeling that they had "let down their child". I don't know your case very well (only glanced through some of the previous posts), but all I would say is that don't ever lose sight of the bigger picture. Think about other options and try to realise that 99% of children do fine, even if they don't get their preferred school.

Good luck no matter what you decide to do...

Anabanu Mon 09-May-11 18:42:03

Hi
I'm in the same boat as many here in regards to waiting lists,appeals etc. Just wanted to say thanks for the helpful advice that's been posted here. Has helped me to get things into perspective.

The3Bears Mon 09-May-11 18:59:21

With the sibling rule I understand one child would have had to get in first however birth rates have risen so fast that 2 yrs ago when my nephew got in there wasnt even a waiting list and now there is 19 on that list alone, nothing is done to deal with the rising birth rate there is no extra teachers, no extra schools nothing so people with their first child cannot have a choice which I think is unfair.

I know that eventually my child would be fine in another school however my point in my appeal is he has attended the preschool there for a yr, he wouldnt talk to anyone there. Luckily he had a cousin put in the same class so would join in with her but his lack of confidence really affected his ability to learn and he has finally started to get used to the surroundings and teachers there (the reception teachers greet them every morning) and is begining to learn at a better rate and catch up. I and his key workers and health visitor agree that moving him now would undo all the work we have all put into trying to help him gain confidence and talk to people more.

I am sure anyone who has an extremely shy child like mine would agree that it's the hardest thing in the world watching your child be the only one on his own, the only child not talking to his peers and seeing how anxious they are in front of anyone else apart from you and close family. I will not go through all this again with him, I wasnt helped as a child with my shyness and as a result I am a very unconfident, quiet adult I get nervous going to shops fgs. I feel it has held me back all my life and I am NOT having that for my child.

bluesodium1 Mon 09-May-11 21:22:34

Does anyone know whether the distance from home to school is measured from where your property joins the road (i.e. end of the drive) or from your house itself? They have measured from our property which is 40m down our driveway to the road - I think this is wrong and am appealing and if successful should get allocated a place as my daughter missed out by less than 40M. Thanks.

Panelmember Mon 09-May-11 21:28:44

It is usually from a datum point on your house to a datum point on the school, but the LEA should be able to confirm that for you.

Whichever system is used, it has to be consistent - so it can't be from your front gate if it's been from the house itself for other applicants. There is only an error if the LEA hasn't stuck to its own system as published in its school admissions booklet or has treated different applications differently.

bluesodium1 Mon 09-May-11 22:06:49

Thanks for the advice. The admissions booklet / policy dosent specify this detail, but I will contact the admissions team for clarification.

Jim37 Tue 10-May-11 14:39:40

Hi

Can anyone help with this? We did not get any of our 4 choices for our son although he is first on a reserve list for our 2nd choice. We are going to appeal about his first choice as we love the School and he is at pre-School there.

The intake for this School is 40 so we don't think it is an infant class size issue. I have come across an education authority document which states that altthough the net capacity of the School is 56 the determined admission number of 40 "satisfies the demand for places and is more appropriate to the School facilities". Is the figure of 40 something that can be challenged at appeal?

We have heard some talk of mixed classes which is why the number has been reduced but when we visited the School the head was clear that they did not have mixed classes. The head has also advised us that the figure of 40 is set by the LA and the School has no choice.

Judging by what I have read our other grounds for appeal (logistical, preschool, daughter due to go to same pre-school) are not strong enough but it seems to be that they have made a mistake re anticipated demand for the School.

Thanks for your help

NormanConquest Tue 10-May-11 21:53:31

Just to tie up our little story, we've been offered a place at our first choice school after all. Think we were originally 2nd or 3rd on the waiting list, so to anyone else in a similar situation, there is hope that way. Best of luck to everyone.

mynameisjess Tue 10-May-11 22:08:19

Congrats NormanConquest/

@Jim37
Your case sounds very interesting and I wish I had more time to respond (off out). The difference between the alleged net capacity assessment (NCA) and the planned admission number is interesting, not because there is a difference, but because of the size. The LEA does not have to make these figures tally, but there are some rules surrounding how far they can deviate from the NCA. However, I need more info before we can discuss this properly. I will try and post tomorrow, but in the meantime some of the others might be able to help.

Just quickly... if the yearly intake is 40, and there are, presumably, 2 classes (?), you will not be having an infant class size appeal - which is good.

admission Tue 10-May-11 22:11:55

Jim,
I think you should appeal if for no otehr reason to try and resolve the situation here.
The net capacity is actually a measure of the whole school and is the maximum number of pupils the school can take based on the available classroom space. So if the admission number is 40 then you might expect a net capacity of around 280 (40 x 7 year groups). There are actually two net capacities calculated, the maximum and a figure that is 90% of the maximum and the school and LA are allowed to set the admission number at any figure that is sensible in between the two figures.
An admission number of 40 would normally suggest some mixed age classes and quite often they run with 2 classes of 20 in reception and then 3 classes adding upto 80 for year 1 and 2. The alternative would be 4 classes of 30 over the three infant age groups and this would then be an infant class size case. The key issue is though that with an admission number of 40 the school either has a number of small classrooms or more likely only 10 classrooms in use.
However you are being told that the school does not have mixed age classes, which suggests that you actually have classes of 20 and have 14 classrooms and this ties in with the comment about an admission number of 56. The LA and the school have artificially reduced the admission number and they actually have loads of spare capacity.They can under certain conditions do that but this is one situation where I would minded to reject to reject the schools case. The school is not full, you have classes of 20 when it can take 30 per class or 28 if you stick to the admission number of 56.
All the issues you quote do have a bearing on the outcome of any appeal giben it is almost certainly not infant class size. I would also check what the numbers are in other year groups i suspect that they are not all 40.

Jim37 Wed 11-May-11 09:34:14

@my nameisjess and @admission thanks for your help.

I assume that we need to get information form the LA re class sizes and number of classrooms. Would we get this as part of the appeal documentation or do we need to ask for it seperately? Will the LA also give information as to why the gap between the numbers is so large?

I have checked the Department for Education website and in 2010 the School had 276 pupils.

One other issue to raise, when we visited the School in June 2010 the headteacher advised that we would get a place if we applied as it was an inclusive school (we asked as we are outside the catchment area). We are not sure whether to use this at our appeal as we don't want to personalise the issues. However it did help us clarify our choices at the time as we were torn between 2 schools (and we would have got into our second choice school if we had put this as first choice). We have spoken to the head since who has acknowledged that he said this and now says that the situation is unprecented i.e many more applications than expected as the school is so successful.

admission Wed 11-May-11 21:57:13

The head is a very naughty boy and will get his bottom smacked by the LA for saying that.

Yes you must use it at appeal as the head has given you an expectation of success. Paragraph 1.36 of the admissions code specifically refers to this and says Head teachers or other school officials must not give parents an expectation that their application will be successful. Panels are told that they must give weight to any such pronouncement so I would say it is vital you use it. The other thing is that you do not know what other appealants will say and if you do not use it and 4 or 5 others do, then they give themselves the advantage that you have thrown away.

You need to document when the head said this and especially when he acknowledged saying it for the appeal.

As far as the information is concerned, yes it should be in the documentation but it is best to ask for it now and then you have the maximum amount of time to find and pick holes to undermine the schools case not to admit.

Appleforme Wed 11-May-11 23:21:54

I am appealing on behalf of my dd1 into a Middle School (yr.5) so first year. She is 2nd on the waiting list out of 30+ on it right now - I don't know if she'll go up or down. I have a GP, and two other Profs letters, but wondered if I should go back to the Admissions people to give them the info from the GP and 2 other profs since I didn't give them the information in the first place. Would that get her higher on the waiting list or at least keep her from being pushed down? Or do the admission people talk to the appeal people? Thanks ...

Appleforme Wed 11-May-11 23:25:37

Oh ... also ... the school has space for 480, but last year only had 450 ... can I argue anything about the school having space even though her Year doesn't?? Thanks

whattodonowanyone Thu 12-May-11 00:18:53

Hi there everyone, can't sleep, my daughter wasn't accepted into any of our prefered schools, I have filled out the appeal form as the school she was offered she cannot go to and the only other option is a 15/20 minute drive each way a day. The school we put first is literally on the same road as us and is a very good school and all her friends are going and her nursery she attends now is on the grounds (not that they take that into account now) but what I am annoyed about is my sister who lives a 25 minute walk from me and would have to walk/drive PAST my house to get to this school has been offered a place there? I don't understand? ):

whattodonowanyone Thu 12-May-11 00:20:04

her daughter has been offered a place I mean....

mynameisjess Thu 12-May-11 07:53:42

@Jim37

There have been so many occasions where Heads have given parents incorrect advice. It really baffles me...

janeyjampot Thu 12-May-11 08:33:07

whattodonowanyone - have you checked that your daughter was placed in the right admissions category? Is your sister in a different category? (Sibling, faith, etc?)

Put some more information up and I'm sure there'll be an expert along soon smile

Panelmember Thu 12-May-11 11:15:55

Appleforme - If this is a middle school application, infant class size regulations don't apply and so you have a better prospect of success. If you have information about a health need that wasn't submitted with the original application then it is worth submitting it now, as if the LEA accept it it may move you into a higher place on the waiting list. The LEA are very unlikely to offer you a place, though, if the class/year group is already at its Published Admissions Number. Then you can take all of this to appeal and can present other arguments about (eg) capacity, If the school is 30 under capacity you can certainly mention that, but bear in mind that the panel will be looking at the capacity of (say) classrooms and communal areas, so spare capacity in another year group doesn't necessarily help you very much if your child's own year group is full.

Whattodonowanyone - Yes, it does sound odd. If you live on the same street - unless it's a very long street indeed - it's surprising that you didn't get a place. Have you checked that you were placed in the right admissions category and that the distance to school was measured accurately? One possible explanation would be that your sister's child, although living further away, was in a higher admissions priority than you. Could that be possible?

You need to find other acceptable schools and join waiting lists. If this is an infant class size appeal you should only win if there has been an error (which sounds like a possibility at the moment but not a certainty) so you can't put all your eggs in one basket.

vjo891 Thu 12-May-11 13:59:26

Hi you all seem to know your stuff!! Please can you help me with our situation? 10 days ago we were sent an email from admissions saying our daughter had been given a place at our first choice of school, but then we didn't get sent an acceptance form in the post. Yesterday I emailed them to chase it up and was told that the offer of a place had been withdrawn because they had made a mistake and her place should have gone to a child with a sibling in the school. There was a pdf of a letter to us attached, dated the same day as the offer email, which said that she had not got in because of distance and the class limit of 30 had been reached. We never received that letter, the first I heard of all this was when I contacted them yesterday. Are they allowed to make an offer and then withdraw it? Is that a ground for appeal? Any advice much appreciated, thank you.

clam Thu 12-May-11 17:53:08

Jim, you say you would have got into your 2nd choice school had you put it first. Are you sure about that? Our LEA abandoned that a few years back and I thought all LEAs had too.

PanelMember Thu 12-May-11 17:55:08

VJO - Yes they are, but there are some ifs and buts. Para 1.50 of the school admissions code says:

1.50 Once an offer of a school place has been made it is only reasonable for an admission authority to withdraw that offer in very limited circumstances. These may include when a parent has failed to respond to an offer within a reasonable time or the admission authority offered the place on the basis of a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application from a parent (for example, a false claim to residence in a catchment area) which effectively denied a place to another child; or where a place was offered under co-ordination by the local authority, not the admission authority, in error. If a parent has not responded to the offer of a place within a reasonable time, the admission authority must remind the parent of the need to respond within a further seven days and point out that the place may be withdrawn if they do not.

What sort of school was the offer for? Was it a foundation or VA school? If it is, and the LEA made the offer on their behalf in error, then that would seem to fall under the bit of para 1.50 that I have highlighted. If it isn't a foundation or VA school then none of the circumstances listed in that para seem to apply, although you need to bear in mind that these are examples and not an exhaustive list. Even so - even where the LEA is correct in withdrawing the offer - there is case law which suggests that they should do so quickly, because otherwise parents are entitled to rely on the offer that's been made. Quickly is taken to mean within about 3 days.

I suggest that you write/email to the LEA and say that you do not accept that, in all the circumstances, para 1.50 applies to you and that they therefore have no basis for withdrawing the offer. Reinforce that by saying that even if they did have the right to withdraw the offer (which anyway you don't accept) they lost that right because they took far too long to do it. Point out that the supposed withdrawal of the place only came to light because you chased up the missing acceptance letter and so (presumably) you could have gone on for days or weeks believing you had a place at the school.

Where LEAs make mistakes (and the mistake here is the withdrawal of the offer) they are supposed to rectify them without making you go to appeal. Many LEAs do, though, insist on such cases going before an independent panel. If you do have to appeal, the panel will take note of the LEA's apparently chaotic (lack of) systems. Make sure you have copies of all letters and emails - especially the email which shows that you did not receive the rejection letter until many days after it was dated.

PanelMember Thu 12-May-11 17:59:02

Clam - Most (all?) LEAs operate the equal preference system but what Jim says may very well be true. You don't get any additional priority because you place a school 1st on your list but if you fulfil the admissions criteria for more than one school, the LEA will pass on the offer for the higher-placed school. So, if Jim would potentially have received offers from schools 1 and 2, the order in which they were placed on the list would make all the difference as to which offer was passed on.

maz4474 Thu 12-May-11 22:30:51

Hi, I would like to add a new question. My son has been refused admission to catchment school on infant class size. The PAN was decreased from 60 to 30 3 or 4 years ago when infant and junior were merged into a primary on one site.

We are appealing on unreasonable grounds. The school has classroom space for another class (confirmed by headteacher), but not funding for a teacher, and has a precedent for taking a second class 3 years ago when all school places in area were full. We know there were 17 applications refused from within catchment this year.

Does anyone have any information or experience about success of multiple or group appeals, based on a whole village being refused their catchment school?
Many thanks

PanelMember Thu 12-May-11 22:49:06

Mello Maz.

I think you need to frame your appeal differently. The appeal will centre on the fact that the PAN is 60. Arguments that the PAN could be 90 if the school created another class and hired another teacher are beside the point - the panel has no power to direct the school/LEA to raise the PAN.

If you want to campaign with other parents to create a bulge class at the school, you would do better (in my view) to lobby councillors, pointing out that this school seems like a good site for an extra class. You'll probably only make headway with this if there is a shortage of places across the LEA - most LEAs have to live with the fact that there's some degree of mismatch between where the schools are and where the pupils live.

Think carefully about group appeals. In the first place, there is no provision for a group appeal, in the 'class action' sense. Each refusal of a school place can be appealed against. At the appeal hearing, the LEA may well present its case against admission to all parents, and then there would be sessions at which each family could present its case and the LEA could respond to that. If it should turn out that the panel is inclined to grant all the appeals - let's say there are 15 - then it has to consider whether the school can cope with admitting 15 additional pupils and (if not) it prioritises which of the pupils should be admitted. So if anyone is really determined to get their child into a school, they need to convince the panel that their child is more deserving of a place than the other children whose appeals are being considered. Presenting the appeals as one undifferentiated block would not do that.

PanelMember Thu 12-May-11 22:49:48

Hello. blush

vjo891 Fri 13-May-11 07:50:50

PanelMember thank you very much for your really clear and helpful advice. The LEA has now said that we will have to appeal the decision, so I think that's what we'll do, and your tips are really appreciated. They have now shown me the 'pupil audit' which shows how the rejection was made and if they are right then we were 0.023 miles further away than the last successful candidate (my daughter's best friend). The LEA say the rejection letter was sent out on the day and their only mistake was not amending the email before sent out. We don't believe it because i'm sure we would have received a letter if sent, we think they probably only realised the mistake after the emails sent and they were contacted by the other parent - but if their evidence is accepted, would the panel not just say that the criteria were applied fairly and we are seeking to take advantage of an administrative error to get round what is ultimately a fairly reached decision?

PanelMember Fri 13-May-11 10:37:22

VJO - Yes, the LEA probably will say something like that, but the panel ought to be aware of para 1.50 (and the rest) of the admissions code. The gist of your appeal is that

* you received the offer of a place

* you had no reason to think that there was anything wrong with that offer, especially as you live very close to another child who got a place

* para 1.50 of the code allows LEAs to withdraw offers in very limited circumstances. 'General administrative cock-up' isn't one of those circumstances (and I am assuming here that there is no question that you (eg) misrepresented your situation etc). The LEA therefore has no reason for withdrawing the place that can be justified by reference to the code.

* even if they had such a reason at the time of the error, they left it far too late to act on it. There is case law (I think it is Admission or PRH47bridge who knows chapter and verse on this) that says that the maximum period for withdrawing mistaken offers is 3 days, because after that parents are entitled to trust and accept the offer.

* Yes, it could be argued that the original decision was fair and reasonable as it was based on the published admissions criteria but that's not the point at issue here. On your side, the argument is that it is unfair to withdraw an offer 10 days after it was made and that the admissions code and associated case law supports parents who are placed in your position through no fault of their own.

This is why evidence about dates will be crucial, because it will demonstrate to the panel that you had had the offer for 10 days before you were told it was being withdrawn. It's true that you cannot prove that you did not receive the rejection letter at the time it was supposedly sent, but make sure you have all the other e-mails and correspondence, especially the e-mail that had the letter dated 10 days earlier as an attachment and the original offer of the place by e-mail. It's the panel's job to weigh up your child's interests against those of the school, but it seems to me that the admissions code is very much in your favour.

As you live so close to the last child admitted, I also wonder whether your child was the 30th on the admission list before the LEA discovered that they had omitted a sibling, and so the LEA dropped your child from the list to make a place for that sibling. Again, if they did that after the offers were made, that is wrong - they should have admitted the sibling as the 31st pupil who would be an 'excepted pupil' under the infant class size rules. This is something that you may or may not want to probe at the appeal. If I am right (and assuming the panel know their stuff, which they should do) the panel will not be impressed.

admission Fri 13-May-11 15:34:49

VJO,
The arguement that you did not receive the email is obviously going to come down to who do the panel believe more. You that you did not get the email or the LA saying we sent the email and therefore believe that we informed the parent very quickly and the legal arguements about not knowing for ten days are invalid.
What is however completely factual is the circumstances around your initial email confirming a place. If panelmember is right and you were 30th on the list and therefore offered a place but then on discovering the glitch the LA then bumped you then that is a much stronger case. The LA should not have bumped you but should as panelmember says have offered a 31st place to the unfortunate sibling. That is maladministration by the LA
So I would go with both arguements at appeal

vjo891 Fri 13-May-11 18:33:14

Thank you panel member/admission both for your comments, much appreciated. A friend of mine knows the mother of 'the unfortunate sibling' so should be able to do some detective work and find out when their error came to light .....

When we make our appeal do we have to cite this case law? Is it from panel decisions or the Courts?

prh47bridge Fri 13-May-11 19:12:15

Panel decisions don't set precedents. You don't have to cite case law as such, but I'll give you the references just in case.

The issue about the amount of time the LA has to withdraw a place is covered by two cases. One was a judicial review which decided that it was ok to withdraw the offer the same day it was made. The other was a decision by the Local Government Ombudsman (case 99C01876) which said it was wrong to withdraw an offer 3 days after it was made.

The action an LA should take on finding they have made a mistake is covered by the Admission Appeals Code paragraph 2.7 (which says they must offer a place without an appeal) and paragraph 3.18(c) (which says that children admitted late because the authority realises they have made a mistake are regarded as excepted children and do not count towards the infant class size limit) combined with Admissions Code paragraph 1.50 (which has been mentioned above).

A properly trained appeal panel will know all of this.

maz4474 Fri 13-May-11 21:05:53

Thanks Panel Member for your valuable info re group appeals. I have been contacting other parents to share ideas to strengthen all our appeals, in the hope that the panel will be inclined to grant them all, but we will still present our own individual cases.

I am not aware of a shortage of places across the LEA, but contacting local councillors cannot do any harm.

Are there any examples of how many children are needed to create a viable extra class, eg 10 successful appeals added to original 30 would then make 2 classes of 20? Having read all the above I cannot see individual appeals being successful as there were no mistakes made, our only hope is the sheer number of people who were refused from the catchment school.

PanelMember Fri 13-May-11 22:33:55

You're welcome.

I think your last question is unanswerable. As you know, admitting even one child over the statutory limit of 30 means hiring another teacher. I suspect that - in these cash-strapped times - few LEAs would want to create a class smaller than 30 (assuming that that is the usual class size in the school in question) simply for economic reasons, but that really is the LEA's call.

You need I think, to decide how many of these issues you ventilate through the appeal and how many are better pursued through a political campaign to expand the school.

vjo891 Sat 14-May-11 14:10:17

thank you prh47bridge, and previous contributors for your advice, that is really helpful and we are very grateful to you for taking the time to respond

Mumelie Sat 14-May-11 14:27:02

We went through a primary (infant) appeal last year (and lost). Best bit of advice i had (after the appeal) was it has to be a 'need' not a 'want'. ie. a sibling at the school already so impractical for you to drop at 2 different schools is a 'need'. I think this school is better than the one offered is a 'want'.
Good luck.

Mumelie Sat 14-May-11 14:28:04
admission Sat 14-May-11 18:11:26

If you want to talk about how many pupils you have to have in a class to make it sustainable financially, the figures do vary from LA to LA as they have different funding regimes and they get different amounts of funding, plus teacher's salaries vary from £20k to £35K +.
An average cost for a teacher and materials and everything else that is needed directly for the classroom is about £50000, which would equate to around 18 to 20 pupils. However this is in isolation, when you add in the costs of the school office staff, headteacher, school hall etc then the figure is usually considered to be equal to about 23 to 27 pupils depending on age and LA involved.
Obviously if a school is operating with classes of 20 then it is in effect balancing out teacher's salaries with things like less resources for the class or scimping on maintenance or less TA support.

sarja Fri 27-May-11 23:09:45

Hi my son has been refused a place at our prefered school, he is first on the waiting list and i am going to appeal on the grounds of not being able to physically get him to any other school. My sister's child attends prefered school and she was going to drop off my child along with her own as i start work before breakfast club starts. Do i have a good case???

PanelMember Fri 27-May-11 23:47:57

Sarja - To be frank, probably not. If this is an infant class size appeal (as discussed here and on other threads), you will win only if you can show there's been a mistake in not giving you a place or the decision was so unreasonable as to be perverse. Nothing you've mentioned here indicates a mistake.

If this isn't an infant class size appeal, you can argue that the prejudice (ie disadvantage) to your son in not attending the school is greater than the prejudice to the school in admitting another pupil. Even then, though, your case isn't very strong. Problems with the school run aren't usually enough to win an appeal. The LEA will argue - and the panel may well agree - that you could use a childminder or find another parent willing to help you with the school run.

You've got nothing to lose by appealing but, as your son is 1st on the waiting list, you're more likekly to get a place through that route.

prh47bridge Sat 28-May-11 00:55:55

I agree with PanelMember. An appeal based on transport difficulties will almost certainly fail.

Emmaeek Wed 01-Jun-11 08:26:55

Hello, this is my first post on here but I am in the same situation as many of you. My son has been turned down from our first choice of primary school (about 5 minutes walk from our house) and has been offered a place at another school which is about 45minutes walk from our house. I assume that this is because when we applied, we had to enter our current address at that time, even though we knew that we would be moving 2 weeks after the deadline. They were made aware of the new address, but I was warned that they could not take this into account at the time. Has anyone been in or know anyone who has been in this situation? I was really hoping that at the hearing, it would be decided that he would have been offered the other school had we already moved at the time, but after reading all of these posts, I'm now worried that this will not be the case.
My main reason for wanting him to go to this school is that all of his friends are going there. We moved to this area about a year ago and he has just started settling in with this new group and I really don't want him to have to go through all of that again.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated confused

prh47bridge Wed 01-Jun-11 09:17:48

You need to check what the admissions booklet says will happen if you move. Some LAs allow you to move for a few weeks after the deadline for applications and will use your new address. If the admissions booklet indicates that they should have used your new address you can argue that a mistake has been made. However, many LAs will treat you as a late application or continue to use your old address. If your LA is one of these they have administered admissions correctly. The panel should not decide which school you would have been offered if you had moved before the deadline. They should base their decision on whether the LA has followed its published arrangements correctly.

You should go ahead with your appeal. You may strike it lucky. But on the information you have posted here I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Jim37 Wed 01-Jun-11 11:54:46

Hi

I posted above re our first choice school and the appeal hearing for that is on 14 June. We think we have a strong case. We have also appealed against our second choice but as yet have not given any reasons for doing so. The appeal is on the 15th June.

The intake for this school is 75 and we have not been informed that it is infant class size. Therefore is it possible to appeal against the decision on the basis that they could admit one more pupil as we don't have any strong reasons apart from the fact it is a better school than the one he has been allocated, a couple of his friends are going there, we are in the catchment area and it will be more convenient to get there (we are also first on the waiting list).

We don't want to waste people's time going through an appeal, equally we feel as if we have to explore every option to get as good a school as possible.

Thanks for your help

admission Wed 01-Jun-11 17:28:18

If the LA say it is not an ICS Regs case (and 75 can be an ICS Regs case or not depending on how the classes are organised) then yes it becomes much more about your own personal circumstances for wanting the school. I would not say that your personal circumstances were very strong based on what is in your post but on the other hand the freshhold for prejudice for the school may be very low if they have smallish classes in big classrooms. I would appeal as you have absolutely nothing to loose by doing so.

musey Fri 03-Jun-11 21:26:00

Hi All

Well I now have my appeal date (last week of June) and wonder if I can get some ideas from people. As it stands at the moment I submitted only the barest of bones on my original appeal form and want to flesh out my arguments and submit additional information.

I'm starting from a standpoint that a mistake has been made with our address (I have a printed form that shows my address as changed on the details submitted online but not DS's and screen prints of the same) I have also found details of a LG Ombud. complaint that I feel I can possibly use to support my idea that at least a phone call should have been made by the LA because of the difference in addresses. Do I mention the LGO finding now, or raise it at appeal? I will be submitting the form/screen prints this week with a short commentary, I have part prepared something to say at the appeal to go with it.

In case the panel do not support that a mistake has been made I am getting together a statement regarding DS and why he should go to the school, mainly focussing on the faith element. I have 2 letters; my old & new priest confirming worship and some paragraphs regarding the affect not going to the school will have on DS and information on our beliefs and how they are the same as the school’s (and wonder about mentioning at appeal DS’s rights under The Convention on The Rights Of The Child that says “education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents” or does that come across as too “I know my rights!!” if you get what I mean). To try to show the school can take another child, I am wanting to go down the route that the school has consistently had more than its net capacity for the last few years with no ill effects. I need to get the school to confirm the exact numbers. Is it worth finding out why the school has decided to admit so many more that it’s IAN this year? I know they are recruiting for another recep. Teacher. So teacher:pupil ratio shouldn’t be a problem.

Am I right in thinking that even if the panel are convinced that no error was made, that they should consider the fact that we moved when we did last year (both the LA/school both accept this is true)?

I think I may explode for all the research I have crammed in the last few weeks lol

ps sorry for the essay

prh47bridge Fri 03-Jun-11 23:01:58

I would put the LGO case in now and submit the full decision. You shouldn't add new evidence at the hearing. It isn't completely forbidden but it may result in the appeal being adjourned to a later date and you don't want that.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child isn't binding in UK law and yes, there is a risk that it would come across too much as "I know my rights". Personally I would steer clear of it but others may disagree.

If this is an infant class size case the only thing that matters is whether an error was made. They cannot admit you just because you moved. Even if it isn't infant class size the fact of your move on its own isn't that relevant. The panel is not there to consider which school you would have been admitted to if the LA had used your new address unless they accept that the LA got it wrong and should have used your new address.

Good luck.

PanelMember Fri 03-Jun-11 23:08:29

I agree with all that prh47bridge has said. A further reason for not mentioning the Convention is that it is a very big leap indeed from “education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents” to "the child has an absolute right to attend the school of his parent's first choice" which is (more or less) what you would be arguing if you go down that road.

musey Fri 03-Jun-11 23:28:37

Thanks for the feedback I thought it was a stretch, I think I knew by asking here that I shouldn't be raising it at the appeal but was clutching at any straw lol.

In terms of the LGO decision, I guess I just put the ref no and quote the appropriate paragh in full?

The LA have confirmed that this is not an ICS appeal so at least that is a benefit.

My local councillor is happy to support my appeal and if aware of all the circumstances, is it worth getting a letter from him?

musey Fri 03-Jun-11 23:34:43

Also, I am interested in knowing the reasons for why two appeals were successful last year, I know previous decisions are not binding but am interested notheless. The LA haven't refused to give me the reasons, they've just implied they're not relevant and basically told me to concentrate on my own appeal, do they have to tell me if I have asked (I've been clear that I don't expect any personal information). How can I know if there is relevance if I don't know the reasons?

prh47bridge Fri 03-Jun-11 23:50:45

I think the ref no and the appropriate paragraph should be enough for the LGO decision. The panel will get your case before the hearing so will be able to look the case up if they feel the need. Having said that, it wouldn't do any harm to enclose a copy of the full decision as well as referring to it in your case.

Good that it isn't an ICS appeal. That improves your chances.

Personally I wouldn't get local politicians involved unless they are giving expert evidence. A general letter of support isn't going to carry much weight with the panel and may feel like an attempt to apply undue pressure.

Previous successful appeals do not set precedents so last year's appeals are not relevant, except inasmuch as they indicate that the panel thought the school could cope with a couple of additional pupils. Appeals are supposed to be private so the LA won't give you any detailed information. The most you will get is that the panel decided that the prejudice to the pupil outweighed the prejudice to the school (or possibly the panel decided a mistake had been made, but they won't tell you the nature of the mistake). If they give any more information than that it risks identifying the individuals involved.

admission Sat 04-Jun-11 21:08:03

I agree with what PRH and panelmember have said.
Please do not mention the Convention, it is drilled into panel members that it cannot be taken into consideration and it is just a wasted opportunity and time to say what really matters in this case.

musey Sat 04-Jun-11 22:03:47

Thanks admission, I'm taking the advice. I know I'm grasping at anything and everything and that I need to reign myself in to concentrate on important things. I suppose I'm so keen to get it right and give DS the best possible chance that I'm getting carried away blush. I've taken the liberty of e-mailing prh47bridge to check if i'm being silly with the LGO decision I think i've found, as I may be way off the mark and just desperate to draw a link from it.

prh47bridge Sun 05-Jun-11 00:04:37

I've taken a look at the case. It isn't quite the same in that the decision in question basically says that it is good customer care to ring parents if they haven't provided proof of residence rather than simply refusing a place which the child would otherwise have got. However, I don't think it is too much of a stretch to say that it would be equally good customer care to check with the parents if the child's address was different to that of the parent's.

The LA will argue that they covered that by their computer system asking you to confirm when you entered your change of address. However, you will argue that no such prompt appeared. You already have an email indicating there may have been a problem with the system. Did they ever do the test I suggested?

musey Sun 05-Jun-11 12:56:21

Thanks for having a look at the case and giving me your opinion.

I asked the LA to tell me when the address was changed if I didn't change it before the deadline but they saythey are unable to tell me when it was changed. They have provided a series of screen prints to support their assertion that I changed neither address. Which admittedly their screenprints do seem to support. However my evidence supports that at minimum I changed my address if not DS's. They have also provided screen prints of how the wesite would have looked prior to the cutoff date, and the place to enter the child's addres is directly below that of the parent so I can only think it didn't save after I changed it or somehow I missed changing the address altogether. I know my case for error is pretty weak, but I do think there is the hint of an error which might be enough confused

prh47bridge Sun 05-Jun-11 14:09:27

I don't know what the panel will think but personally I don't think having the child's address directly below the parent's address is enough. People will change their address and not realise they need to change their child's address as well. In my view the website should pop up a warning that the addresses are different and ask parents to confirm. The LGO case you have found suggests that the LGO may have similar expectations.

musey Sun 05-Jun-11 14:50:48

That's the way I've thought about it as well. There is no pop up warning to be seen on the anywhere on the submission form or any of the details that they have provided. I will put in my statement that I think there should be some sort of warning or prompt in place to avoid this type of occurence.

Jim37 Wed 08-Jun-11 08:28:59

Hi

thanks for all of your help on here, we had some good news as we found out we have now got a place for our son at our second choice school where he was first on the waiting list. This takes the pressure off while we prepare for the appeal for our first choice.

I would be grateful for some advice on the appeal as we have now received the authorities case, minus the School plans which are due to be sent. In summary:

The PAN was set at 40 although the next capacity is 56. They received 59 preference applications, allocated 40 and have since allocated a further 2 who have moved in the area. The School will operate 2 classes of 24 including 6 year 1 pupils. The NET capacity of the School is 283 and they expect 263 pupils on the roll. Numbers across other years are 45 in year 1, 43 in year 2, 39 in year 3, 29 in year 4, 35 in year 5 and 32 in year 6. There are some mixed classes in year 1,2 and 3 which is not what we were told when we visited.

The headteachers submission states that they aim for classes of 25 in KS1 and 30 in KS2 and that the rise in numbers if having an impact on class sizes and they are unable to employ any extra teachers. Furthermore they have a lot of children with special needs and from challenging backgrounds and this increases the workload on staff. Again this is different to what we were told when we visited as his comments then were that having pupils with special needs brought extra money into the School.

I am not sure how strong our case is but would you recommend focusing on the difference between the net capacity and the school roll? Our arguments are based on the fact that our son has been at pre-school nursery, that logistically it is going to be difficult to take our daughter to nursery there and then drop our son off at a different school 15 mins away and that the headteacher told us that we would not have a problem getting a place.

Thanks again

prh47bridge Wed 08-Jun-11 10:40:46

I'm not sure what you mean by "the next capacity is 56". With a PAN of 40 I would expect a net capacity of around 280, which is what you show. The good news is that this does not appear to be an infant class size case on the information posted.

They have gone beyond PAN already. That should only have happened if there are no places at other schools in the area. It is worth asking about that. If it turns out there were places for these children elsewhere but the school has chosen to admit them anyway that will help your case.

I would point out the numbers in Y1 and Y2 as these indicate the school can handle more pupils than they have at the moment, as does the difference between the number on roll and the net capacity.

Pupils with special needs do bring extra money to the school but they also increase the workload. Both statements are true. The bigger weakness in the head teacher's submission is the aim for classes of 25 in KS1 and the comment that they can't employ extra teachers. They don't need to employ extra teachers until they have 30 in a class. Indeed, the fact they are planning on two classes of 24 but the head says they aim for classes of 25 suggests they can admit at least 2 more pupils without problems.

Looking at your case, the fact that your son was at the pre-school nursery is not relevant unless the school gives priority for admission to children at the nursery. You can mention it by all means but it won't carry any weight with the panel. The logistical problems also won't be relevant. If the head teacher did say you would not have a problem getting a place that was naughty of him and definitely something you should raise. Your case would be stronger if you can give some reasons why your son needs to attend this school - things offered by this school that are not available at the offered school and which will be particularly useful for your son.

admission Wed 08-Jun-11 21:00:56

The school's case simply does not add up to classes of 25 in the infants.
The total number of pupils is 42 + 45 + 43 = 130, which to meet the infant class size regs says that as a minimum there has to be 5 classes containing infant children.
We have been told that the 42 reception pupils and six year 1s are in two classes of 24, which leaves 39 year 1 pupils and 43 year 2 pupils = 82 pupils which is 2 classes of 27 and 1 class of 28. I am assuming here that there is not a mixed year 2 /3 class.
Based on these figures I think there is a reasonable arguement that the school is easily able to cope with not an admission of 42 but an admission of 45 or 46 to even the classes out at the 27 and 28 pupils they have in the mixed year 1 /2 classes. The fact that they have already admitted two over the 40 is a clear indication that the LA feel that extra pupils can be accomodated.
I agree with PRH, the comments about they can't employ extra teachers is nonsense. They can use the same teachers till the class reaches 30 and there is nothing to suggest that the class rooms cannot physically take 30 pupils. This is about a school wanting to run with low numbers in the class, which is very laudable but simply not realistic.
I have to say that I have some questions over how the two were admitted over PAN. They simply cannot admit because they moved into the area. If they were late applicants they should be treated as such and go onto the waiting list, like everybody else. To me it is quite possible that two people may have been disadvantaged by the LA doing this, but it does depend on the details and the dates involved.
If you can prove that the head said anybody in the nursery would get a place then that would be a massive positive for a successful outcome to the appeal. It is clear in the admission code, para 1. 36 that the head must not do that, so do you have it in writing or is it on the school website or even the nursery website?

musey Thu 09-Jun-11 16:03:43

Well, yesterday I submitted my statement (3½ pages) & quite a few sheets of supporting info (school nos, LGO decision etc) to the LA for our appeal. As I've said earlier one piece of information is something I would prefer as few people to know about as possible (medical info about me), during my professional life I have cause to meet with Council employees (sometimes from the very office I have had to submit my papers to and would be embarrassed if many people were privy to it. Does my information get sent to the school/anywhere else in the council or does it just go straight to the panel?

admission Thu 09-Jun-11 16:53:59

It should just be to whoever handles it in the LA offcie, the LA presenting officer and to the panel members. However if you feel it is more appropriate I see no reason why you cannot refer in your submission to you going to make a medical declaration at the appeal but that you do not have all the information to hand at this moment in time. You can then bring it up direct with the panel at the appeal and therefore will have minimised the number of people seeing it.
I would recommend that if you decide to do that then it would be best to make 5 copies of the documents, 3 for the panel, 1 for the LA presenting officer and 1 for the clerk to the panel. You should hand them to the clerk before the appeal starts and they will make sure that the panel and presenting offcier get the documents. There is a slight danger that this may cause a short adjournment for the documents to be studied but nothing that is a problem.

musey Thu 09-Jun-11 20:50:01

Thanks admission, I submitted it all yesterday inc the medical information. I am just having a moment at the thought of others having hold of the information shock

maz4474 Thu 09-Jun-11 23:16:12

Hi, I would just like to share some good news. Further to my posts on this thread on 12th/13th May, & being advised to lobby councillors to create a bulge class we have been successful.
Following letters to councillors, the MP and an article in the local paper, all 17 children who were in catchment but refused a place have now been offered a place at our catchment school without having to go to the appeal.
Thank you to those who offered useful advice, and it is nice to know that parent power does sometimes achieve results, or maybe the county council just used some common sense!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 09-Jun-11 23:19:35

Well done!

APieOfButter Fri 10-Jun-11 13:37:41

Hi - what a useful thread! My question is, as I am appealing on the grounds on my health (specifically that i receive dla mobility as I am often unable to travel a complex route due to mental health problems, and also that sai mental health issues means the children are at risk of isolation, an being at one of the local schools would reduce that risk.) would my dla award notice be enough (it just says what dla I get, not why) or do I need a letter from a doctor etc?

She is now on the waiting lists for the 8 closest schools. Any further away would mean at least 30 minutes and two buses each way. We applied on time, we live in a pretty average suburban place, I never expected this sad Apparently only one school in the entire town has a couple of places, and there is about two classes worth of children left over. We could end up at a school at the opposite end of the LEA at this rate, although tbh if that happens (up to 2 hours each way on public transport and I am medically unfit to drive) we will have to either HE or look at the other LEAs nearby. Can't see them being any better off though, as they are more built up and just as deprived.

PanelMember Fri 10-Jun-11 13:57:06

Hi. There are a lot of questions here.

How many appeals are you submitting? Are they all infant class size appeals?

Infant class size appeals have been discussed on several other threads, which you ought to read. The bottom line is that you should win only if you can show that the LEA made a mistake or their decision not to admit was so unreasonable that it can be regarded as irrational and one that no other LEA would have made.

The other question is what (if anything) the schools' oversubscription criteria say about social/medical need and whether they are willing to look at parents' medical needs and well as pupils'. The admissions code allows LEAs to do so, but local practice varies.

How much information about your mental health problems did you provide with the original application? If you did not mention them (and I can understand why you might be reticent about doing so), the LEA cannot be blamed for not taking them into account when deciding on your application. The appeal panel cannot substitute the decision which the LEA might have made, had it had the information.

However, I think you can still construct a case here. You will need (in my view) more than your DLA award notice. The best thing would be a letter from your psychiatrist, social worker or other professional which confirms what you have said here about your inability to cope with difficult journeys and your child's need to be at a local school to overcome the risk of isolation. Presumably too it would help your child to be at a nearby school because friends' parents (say) could help with the school run if you were unwell.

This still leaves the problem of how high the bar is set in infant class size appeals - you would have to convince the panel that no reasonable LEA would expect you to trek across town to get your children to school. This is exactly the situation that many parents face, so you have to explain why you and your child would be particularly badly affected. You could mention that you are on 8 waiting lists as evidence that you are not being picky and are willing to consider any local school that meets your and your child's needs.

Your odds of winning the appeal increase if it is not an infant class size appeal. Then, you need to argue that the prejudice (ie disadvantage) to your child of not attending the school is greater than the prejudice to the school of admitting another pupil.

Kducks Fri 10-Jun-11 14:07:29

Hi, I am reading through all the treads and getting very disheartened, I have never been in this situation before and found mumsnet whilst trying to organise what to say at my appeal next week. I am appealing as my son did not get offered either of the two schools I applied for. On the second round I have put the catchment area school, all be it not a good school, but my problem is I have been offered a school 9 miles away due to it being the next closes school avaliable. I will struggle to get him there, and have another son who starts nursery in the opposite direction in Sept as well...can anyone give me any advise as to how I can tackle the appeal panel with this situation..

PanelMember Fri 10-Jun-11 14:23:12

To put it very bluntly, you have done your child no favours at all by only applying for two schools. Were there really no other schools that you could have applied for?

When a child doesn't get a place at any of the preferred schools, the LEA will allocate a place at the nearest school with vacancies. This might well have been your catchment school if you had applied for it, but as it is, it's a school 9 miles away.

If this is an infant class size appeal (see above) you will win only if there's been a mistake. By the sound of it, the LEA have done things by the book and I doubt you'll persuade the panel to admit your child. If it isn't an ICS appeal you have more scope for arguing your case but, even then, transport difficulties or the distance between school and another child's nursery aren't usually winning grounds for appeal.

Do your best at the appeal, but your best option now is to get your child onto waiting lists for other nearby schools and investigate what help the LEA will give you with transport costs.

APieOfButter Fri 10-Jun-11 14:47:06

Hi, thanks for your advice. We are appealing for 3 of the nearest 4 (missing out the catholic one, as, not being catholic, we didn't think we had much chance with the special appeals procedure they have). We know she is number one on the waiting list for the nearest school, so we are focusing our efforts on that one.

I spoke to a lady at the admissions office by phone, and she said that, while there is no way to submit information about the parents health in the orginal application, it will be considered at appeal, which is why I'm giving it a go.

I am pretty sure (from what I have read) that the schools have all admitted the maximum amount (ie 30 or 60), so I understand it will be more difficult. However, I am encouraged by the fact that there are so many "extra" children in our town, which is accepted as a separate entity by most people -it is much nearer to two other cities (Gateshead and Newcastle) but somehow is under Sunderland's administration. I have spoken to several knowledgeable people in an informal capacity, who have indicated that it is a massive problem, and that, at the very minimum, a full extra class and expansions of others will have to happen, and we only have a total population of 50,000 or so, with 16 primary schools and four secondary. Even if these things aren't at our nearest school, they may free up places.

PanelMember Fri 10-Jun-11 14:56:27

Your chances at appeal don't depend on where you are on the waiting list, so don't feel that you don't stand a chance at the other two schools for which you're appealing. Your chances at all of them are probably the same. The difference is that you may get a place at the nearest school anyway, via the waiting list.

Make sure when you submit your appeal and make your statement that, in describing your problems, you emphasise how they will have an effect on your child, as the panel has to focus on the needs of the child. (That's why, for example, appeals along the lines of 'I need a school near my workplace' always fail). The person at the LEA may be right in saying that the LEA doesn't consider parents' health needs, but they do consider the child's social needs and you are arguing here about your child's social need to be at a local school with local children, to counteract any isolation, that arises from your health problems.

Give it your best shot.

Kducks Fri 10-Jun-11 14:58:04

Hi, many thanks for your help, I only moved back to the Uk in December from living in France, and only put 2 schools, as I thought he would get into the local schools, I have since been asked to be put on the waiting list for 10 other schools closer...and my appeals are on ICS basis.. if there are alot of appeals for a certain school what are the general chances of them opening another class to accomadate ?

Kducks Fri 10-Jun-11 15:02:59

sorry, we are appealing under the grounds of unreasonable admissions.

PanelMember Fri 10-Jun-11 15:47:55

The decision on whether or not to open a bulge class has nothing to do with the number of appeals. It will be made on the basis of overall demand in the LEA and in the vicinity of the school - LEAs don't generally open a bulge class in one school if there is spare capacity in others.

If there are lots of appeals for one school, the appeal panel has to make a decision on each case in turn. If the result is that several appeals are likely to be allowed, the panel has to decide whether the school can cope with that number of additional pupils. If the panel feels that the school won't cope, it has to put the cases in order of priority and decide which will therefore be admitted.

The situation is even more restricted in infant class size cases. There (as you know) the scope for winning is very limited indeed, not least because admitting even just one child above 30/60/90 means hiring another teacher once the pupils move into year 1. So, in theory, even if you were the only person to win an appeal, it could mean the school having to take on another teacher (even if the class stays as one class of 31).

Was your application on time? Why has the LEA said you did not get a place at your two preferred schools? Was it because you applied late, because you lived too far from the school or for some other reason? Can you say more about what you think is unreasonable about the admissions?

On the information you've given so far, I really don't hold out any hope of your winning your appeal. You cannot realistically argue that it was unreasonable for the LEA to comply with the legal limit of 30 pupils per class if you were applying late and/or you live farther from the school than the other children admitted. The fact that you didn't use all your options (you can usually name about 5 or 6 schools on the application form) is likely to weigh heavily against you, too. The panel may well think that you created this problem by not naming some of those other 10 schools when you applied.

Kducks Fri 10-Jun-11 16:35:11

I was living in France at the time I made decisions , and only wrote 2 choices as I was struggling to get my son into pre school at the time, and wanted him to go to a school where he was going to make friends he could also see out of school in the area, so I picked the best schools I believed to be suited to him, and did not forsee any problems. As you can imagine I am now regretting not naming 3, or even more if I had only known..!! I will not make the same mistake for my second son !! My application was in time as we bought a house months before we moved into it, so I could prove I lived there. They have said I did not get a place due to other children in the catchment area / siblings rules.. I think addmissions is unreasonable only due to the daily stress it will cause my sons on travelling up to 3 hrs a day to school and back, not to mention the added costs, which I know is not a reasonable factor to the admissions people but it is a concern to us. I was also due to go back to work, which is another problem i will have to get round ! anyway thanks you for your advise, I live in hope something will come up..

prh47bridge Sat 11-Jun-11 00:08:17

I'm afraid that doesn't class as unreasonable. I understand your concern and sympathise but I agree with PanelMember that you are unlikely to win your appeal. Sorry.

nevaehjaide Wed 15-Jun-11 19:25:19

Hi

My daughter has been refused a place at the school where she currently attends the F1 year. They advise there are no spaces in the F2 year due to infant class size prejudice. The school admission number for that year group is 75. The overall admission for the infant school is 225.

I have spoken to the school and. .the 75 student are split between 2.5 classes (2 classes of 30 and 1 class of 15. However today i got my appeal statement for the school which shows previous admission numbers-

It shows that the current number of children in year 1 is 79. This is 4 pupils more than they claim they can take. It also shows the current number of children on roll is 226, which is also more than they have stated they can take.

It then goes on to show the class size structure which is as follows

Class1 (F2) 15 pupils (this class also has F1 children attending in morning and afternoons which takes the number above 15 but it does not confirm how many.
Class2 (F2) 30 pupils
Class3 (F2) 30 pupils
Class4 (Y1) 30 pupils
Class5 (Y1) 30 pupils
Class6 (Y1) 30 pupils
Class6 (Y2) 12 Pupils
Class7 (Y2) 30 pupils
Class 8 (Y2) 30 Pupils

As there are over 30 pupils in class 6 and over 75 pupils in year 1 surely this will already mean that they can accommodate for extra pupils and also that there is already 'future infant class size prejudice'. This would mean that there is already an extra teacher and that my daughter attending would made no difference.

Does anyone have any idea how I can put this forward in the appeal?

The school they have offered my daughter is my catchment school but is terrible. It only scored satisfactory in the latest Ofsted report, compared with the school I am appealing for scored outstanding (this is where my daughter has already currently been attending for the past year).

The opening line of their Ofsted report is 'This is a satisfactory school. Most pupils that attend here come from white British backgrounds' (my daughter is mixed race and has very dark skin. I would hate for her to attend a school where she will feel isolated and different).

It also then goes on to say 'Attainment in English, Maths and Science has been significantly below average for the past 3 years'. My daughter is doing very well at her current school and her teachers have advised me she is quite advanced for her age. I feel that moving her to this terrible school would send her education and confidence backwards rather than forwards.

I cant bare the idea that my daughter may have to attend this school. \Is there ANY way possible of me winning this appeal?

all your comments will be very much appreciated! They have only given me 8 days to prepare for my appeal.

Thanks
Charlene

musey Thu 16-Jun-11 17:02:26

Our appeal for DS is next week, I purposely booked today and tomorrow off to set out any response I want to make to the schools's case as I am up and down the country next week and will literally have time to do nothing next week other than sleep, work & eat (sleep is already pared to a minimum). However we've had no paperwork from the LA, I plan to phone to chase it tomorrow. I am right in thinking that I should have it 7 days before the appeal aren't I? Would it be unreasonable to request that I can collect a hard copy from them tomorrow? I really don't want to ask for it to be postponed but feel I should have time to prepare which I won't have unless I get it tomorrow.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jun-11 17:43:02

The clerk is required to send the school's case to you 7 worknig days before the hearing not including the day on which it is sent and the day of the hearing. For an appeal next week the clerk has clearly missed the deadline.

I think it would be quite reasonable to ask if you can collect a hard copy tomorrow.

musey Fri 17-Jun-11 18:24:33

Well I have been done to LA and picked up a hard copy of the appeal pack as it did not arrive in the post today angry and now am here to seek the advice of the wonderful MNetters in preparing a response to the school’s case and any questions I should be asking.

In essence the school say they increased their intake this year as they rec’d 149 applications, 78 of which put the school as 1st preference. They decided to up the intake to 75 because as 10 families with siblings would not have been offered a place had the original PAN of 60 been kept to. They say in the statement that they did not want families to be split up and that apparently this was done in agreement with the LA & Diocese.

The plan is to do some work over the summer to convert a small area (30m2) for the additional numbers. Should I be asking if the plan is to have 2 classes of 30 & one of 15 (I know they are recruiting an extra teacher, it just seems so unlikely that they will have the classes set up in that way). They have provided no information on any other facilities so should I assume that other space/facilities in the school are sufficient for additional children?

Other than that the statement consists of how they categorised DS and changes made to that recently, his position on the waiting list, a vague comment on limited school resources (finance, accommodation and personnel) but gives no detail and finally says that to admit another child would predjudice the effective education of other children and efficient use of resources but does not elaborate on how.

I have in my statement included information that clearly shows in the past 5 years the school have had far more pupils than the net capacity figure and more than they would have if they let DS have a place. Ofsted reports from these years mention no issues of overcrowding. I'm hoping I don't get to the second stage and that the panel find an error has occurred but want to be prepared for all eventualities.

Any suggestions of questions/arguments?

musey Sat 18-Jun-11 08:35:13

Having further thoughts, if the LA/school insist that our application for DS is processed using our old addres have we then got scope to make a late or in year application after the results of the appeal based on the fact that there has been a substantial change in our cicumstances?

prh47bridge Sat 18-Jun-11 18:13:08

If they have not mentioned the words "infant class size" this is not an infant class size appeal. That is good news as it gives you a much better chance of winning.

If they are stupid enough to insist on using your old address and your appeal fails I would refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. I doubt they will be impressed by an LA that insists on using an incorrect address.

musey Sat 18-Jun-11 19:05:00

I am a smidge confused. On further reading of the schools statement it states that one additional child has been admitted on appeal. I am unable to tell when the school's statement was written as it is dated April 2010 and the fax date stamp at the top of the page (I'm assuming it was faxed to the LA) is June 2010. However reading the LA's appeals guidance document it states
If your appeal is one of a number of appeals for the same school and there are several cases that outweigh the prejudice to the school the Panel will then consider whether or not the school could cope with that number of successful appeals. If they decide that the school can cope then all of those appeals will be successful. If they decide that the school will not be able to cope then the Panel must then compare all of the cases that outweigh the prejudice to the school and decide which of them to uphold.

By putting in their statement that one appeal has already been upheld surely this puts DS at a disadvantage? A different panel has obviously heard the other appeal and our panel cannot compare the cases to see whom would suffer the greater prejudice?

musey Sat 18-Jun-11 19:12:03

Sorry meant to add there is no mention of ICS anywhere in the pack and (not sure if it's relevant) I have been told by the LA there are 4 appeals

prh47bridge Sat 18-Jun-11 19:31:36

You need to clarify that. If they have admitted a child on appeal without hearing all of the cases that is potentially a serious problem provided you appealed on time. I hope this simply means they have used old documentation and failed to update it properly.

Ring the LA (the school if they are their own admission authority) and ask them to clarify. If the answer is that the successful appeal wasn't for Reception this year, make sure that is made clear to the panel.

musey Sat 18-Jun-11 20:33:52

After desperately scrabbling through my paper recycling I have found the written receipt I received when I delivered my appeal form by hand, its dated as received on the closing date. However my appeal form has been dated five days afterwards by the LA. Nothing in any of the correspondence (e-mail and letter) received from the LA indicates that my appeal form has been treated as received late. The school is VA and its own admissions authority but everything to do with administration of school admission is done through LA apart from deciding who gets a place. I shall contact both legal services and the school to seek clarification on this other appeal including when it was held and will also ask the school to clarify the date it provided its statement to the LA. I will undoubtedly be back for further advice when I get their response.

musey Sun 19-Jun-11 20:06:13

Had an interesting conversation with a friend today, apparently he attended an open evening at the school to discuss how next year will work. At the meeting the H'mistress stated that they had allocated 75 places originally but that had gone up to 76 because of an appeal but went further to say they definitely won't be taking anymore. How can she be so sure? I will be contacting the school & LA tomorrow but am really concerned that DS's appeal is not being taken seriously or at least the result appears to be a forgone conclusion. confused

prh47bridge Sun 19-Jun-11 21:03:28

She cannot be sure. It is up to the appeal panel, not her. And we now have a problem. The LA are required to ensure that all the on time appeals are heard together and, as far as possible, any late appeals should be heard at the same time. The same panel should hear all the appeals and no decisions should be made on any appeal until all have been heard.

The only legitimate possibility I can think of is that the child concerned has a statement of SEN and the parents wanted to name this school but the LA refused. The parents would then appeal to SENDIST. That is a separate process. That could explain why there has been one successful appeal when there are 4 appeals still to be heard. However, if it was a normal appeal you potentially have grounds to refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman if your appeal fails on the grounds that you have been disadvantaged by the LA's failure to follow the Admission Appeals Code.

musey Sun 19-Jun-11 21:30:25

So I need to find out the situation regarding the other appeal. I'm thinking I need to ask if the panels are the same for both appeals, when the other appeal was and why it was upheld. Can they refuse to answer the questions? It smells wrong to my untrained nose and make me wonder about the upheld appeals last year, which according to numbers took them above ICS/

prh47bridge Sun 19-Jun-11 22:27:46

They can tell you when the appeal was and if it is the same panel. Why the appeal was upheld is less likely.

Ihavenoclue Mon 20-Jun-11 17:06:38

If there was an undisputed error in the admissions procedure the child would not need to go to the appeals process.

prh47bridge Mon 20-Jun-11 18:15:58

That is only the case if the child would have been admitted but for the mistake. That is by no means clear in this case. And, although the Appeals Code says that the child should be admitted without an appeal in such cases many LAs still insist on making the parents go through an appeal.

musey Mon 20-Jun-11 19:56:46

I suppose its a possibility that the other child was admitted because of a mistake, however I can't see why they would call it an appeal in that case. I have been away with work all day and am just about to send an e-mail to both LA & school with some questions. Before I send it I'm wondering if I'm going too far by asking for the dimmensions of the all classrooms the school intend to use for reception given that they have raised the issue of space in their statement? And how they intend to split the classes, I actually already know this curtesy of my friend with a place. He says the H'mistress said they were splitting the classes into equal(ish) numbers) but am interested in what they say to me. I think I might be taking this too personally lol and seeing conspiracies confused

admission Mon 20-Jun-11 20:39:28

I suspect that this extra addition is actually a child that was disadvantaged in the original allocation in some way and the admission authority have made a correct decision to admit. I would doubt that there has been time to have an appeal hearing and then suddenly find they have 4 more. The 4 are the appeals arising from the first allocations in my opinion.
In some respects that makes your problem worse because they have gone from 60 to 75 by agreement and then had to admit another one. On the other hand an admission that they have already made one mistake must be something that you can use to your advantage at the appeal, in effect you are questioning all of the admission process and whether it was handled properly.
I would definately ask for the room sizes and ask for the breakdown of how the extra pupils will be accomodated.
A 30 square metre room would just about accomodate 15 pupils and would make sense but you do need to ask how the actual system will work because they are supposed to have free flow of pupils to the outside areas etc. If they split into equal numbers that would suggest circa 25 per class which would be a very tight squeeze in a 30 metre square room.
As a panel member knowing they have an extra teacher, I would be immediately questioning what the actual rooms are like and what facilities the kids would have as there is clearly the opportunity to have upto 90 without breaking the ICS Regs, so to me that info is absolutely vital.

ussy Mon 20-Jun-11 22:26:41

hi, i really need some help. my daughter has been given a place at a school which is 1 mile away from my house, whereas my son who is starting nursery in september has been given a full time place at a nearer school where my daughter is currently at. my daughter didnt get a place at the nearer school because there were other children who lived closer to the school who were given priority. my problem now is that i am nearly 8 months pregnant with a baby due at the end of august, i have no family living near me and i do not have a car! i cannot drop both my children off at different schools and pick them up at the same time (that to walking) it is physically impossible! i appealed but my application was refused. i was told to put my son in the same school as my daughter but i rang them and their nursery is full. my children are too young to be walking 2 miles a day to and from school! when i appealed i actually thought my appeal would be accepted because i was desperate. i didnt do any research and didnt expect it to be as strict as it was as it is my first child and i have not had experience like this before. the appeal has been refused and i have been told to send my daughter to the school they have chosen for me. my daughter is on the waiting list for that school but she is at no. 14. my husband has now rented a house which is around the corner to the school which my son will be starting in september, because i have already appealed will i be able to appeal again and tell them that i have moved closer to the school? also as today is the 20th June 2011 will my appeal be accepted? i really dont know what i will do in september if my daughter doesn't get a place in the nearer school! please help!

PanelMember Mon 20-Jun-11 22:47:22

Ussy - I understand you are upset but the things you mention - child at a nursery far from the school, not driving, being pregnant - are not usually the basis of a successful appeal and especially not if it's an infant class size appeal. I'm not surprised you lost your appeal, I'm afraid. You can appeal once every academic year, so you can have another go in September, but nothing is likely to change unless your circumstances have changed substantially.

If you are moving as a family to the house your husband has rented, that should help as (as you know) it is the distance from home to school that is important. However, you need to be aware that the LEA will be looking for evidence - utility bills, where child benefit is paid or similar (according to their own policies) - that you are actually living at this address. If they get any whiff that you are not living there but have just rented it to have an address near the school, they'll reject your application.

If you don't get a place for your daughter at the nearby school, the LEA will expect you to use a childminder, share the school run with a friend or do anything else to get her to the allocated school. Many people are in a similar situation.

LadyPeterWimsey Mon 20-Jun-11 23:02:23

Am shock in admiration for both the technical knowledge displayed and the time so cheerfully given answering questions by people on this thread.

May I pop a question in?

We have four children, three of whom are primary age. One of those is starting reception in September, and we have a place for him at our nearest and massively oversubscribed school. The other two (one infant and one junior) have been refused places at all the three schools we applied for. The one at junior level has been offered a place at a school some distance away; the other has not been offered a place at all and the LEA are meeting this week to decide what to do about a place for him. We assume that he will be given a place somewhere out of the borough but at this stage we don't know.

We are contemplating an appeal for both of them. Reading this thread has beena little sobering because we thought that the difficulties in transporting three children to and from three different schools on time would sway the appeal panel - but it seems not!

So, two questions:

- will the panel take any notice of our transport issues? It will be physically impossible to get all three to school on time without paying for extra help, and collecting them will involve having to leave one or more in after-school clubs (which we dislike for a variety of reasons). Is it even worth mentioning these issues?

- what sort of things can we emphasise about the school we want to show that it will be the best school for our children? We have made a list which includes things like Christian ethos (we work for a church and this is very important to us), intellectual ability (this is one of only two schools which won an award for their G & T provision, artistic ability (one child is gifted in this way and the school we want has an art club) and school size and ethos (one child is extremely shy and hates places with lots of people and the school we want is both small and boasts of its individual care of pupils). Will any of these carry any weight or do we need to resign ourselves to an as-yet unformulated Plan B?

LadyPeterWimsey Mon 20-Jun-11 23:04:18

Should say we have just moved to the area which is why we are in this situation.

PanelMember Mon 20-Jun-11 23:34:32

Hello Lady Peter Wimsey. I give my time willingly but need to get to bed, so this will necessarily be quick (but not necessarily brief, as little time for editing).

Transport difficulties aren't usually a factor in the panel's decision. LEAs expect parents to use childminders or before and after school clubs or share the school run with a friend to get the chidlren to school on time and many people do exactly that. By all means mention your transport problems but it won't be this (I expect) that carries any appeal.

You need to emphasise all the things that your children need that the preferred school can offer. All the things you mention would be relevant, but make sure you make the connection between the child's need and the school's provision, rather than just make statements about your child. My one reservation is about "intellectual ability" - primary schools can't select by academic ability and the LEA will no doubt be arguing that all its schools can cater for pupils at all points on the spectrum of academic ability. So, saying anything on the lines of "my child needs to go to this school because s/he is academically able" won't get you very far but if you can make a more specific connection between your child's needs and aspects of the g&t provision at this school which aren't available at the allocated school, that may be more persuasive. Another argument you might want to use - if it applies - is the value to your children in going to a local school, to enable them to make new friends in this new location.

I guess you've seen the general advice about infant class size appeals. If your preferred school admits in multiples of 30, you will only win the appeal for the middle child if there has been some error that has deprived them of a place or the admissions procedure was demonstrably unfair. Your appeal for the older child, though, will be decided on the balance of prejudice (ie disadvantage) between your child and the school. If you win that appeal, then the middle child will (presumably, unless the school has very odd admissions criteria) move up the waiting list as a sibling.

Don't assume - although it is possible - that your middle child will be offered a place out of the borough. The LEA has some powers to allocate him a place at a local school as an additional pupil if there really is no other school with a place for him.

In short, you do need to think about a Plan B, but I think you've got a fair chance of winning an appeal for your older child and that may change the whole situation.

Ihavenoclue Mon 20-Jun-11 23:45:32

They will consider you already have a child starting at that school in September which may benefit the acceptance of a child into a junior class where numbers are less prohibitive. I assume its a primary school?
They may feel that the problem of transport can be overcome simply by the provision of free transport to the other children? You would need to check where you stand with provision and distance. It is reasonable to expect a child to travel 45 minutes each way if under 11.
Apealing with transport as the main issue is always difficult.
If the school is a C of E school have you read through the Sias report for inspiration?

ussy Tue 21-Jun-11 12:31:00

thanks everyone, i will have to change my daughter's address as she is on a waiting list and then hope she gets moved up as we are moving nearer the school. i have been told i can appeal again in september and will hopefully be more prepared.

admission Tue 21-Jun-11 16:51:35

LadyPeterWimsey,
A lot is going to depend on the outcome of the LA deciding what to do with your infant age child. There are mechanisms in place (the in year fair access protocol) to allocate the child to the same school as the reception age child even if the school is full and it is subject to infant class size regs, if they so decide. Having said that it is not usual to invoke that, though it is also unusual for the LA to be having a meeting to decide where to place your child, it is usually just there is a place at that school.
If by any remote chance the LA did place your infant age child in the same school, then I would immediately appeal for the junior school place in the same school. I say this because the LA must know about the other child and must have taken some consideration of it in deciding what to do with the infant child. Any panel is going to hear that the LA made a decision to place the infant pupil in the school and is then going to be rather tempted to say well you can have the junior age child as well.
However if they do not allocate your child to the local school then I am afraid it is Plan B, which must be having a long conversation with the LA about which school can take all three of your children. None of your reasons will have much substance in terms of deciding which school, it will be which school has places or places for two of the three which you can reasonably get to. Reasonably is anything within an hours journey in legal parlance.

LadyPeterWimsey Tue 21-Jun-11 21:27:48

Thank you so much for your advice, all - so much helpful information here. We are encouraged to appeal although not overly-hopeful, and certainly won't be relying on the transport argument! Interesting to hear about the in-year access protocol, the Sias report and being able to argue that my children need a local school to help them make new friends. Will follow up all those things.

I should have explained that the papers we have been sent (by the Diocese as it is a CofE school) have said that the appeal for the infant school place will not be under infant class size regs. I don't know if that helps or hinders.

What we are trying to do now is to find supporting evidence for our case - letters from previous school re personality issues, letter from previous art teacher re ability and benefit of art provision, that sort of thing. We'd be grateful for any ideas as to how we can 'make a more specific connection between your child's needs and aspects of the g&t provision at this school which aren't available at the allocated school' (thanks for this idea, PanelMember) - where can we find out about the specifics of the schools' G&T provision?

PanelMember Tue 21-Jun-11 22:06:51

It helps you a great deal that the infant appeal is not under ICS rules, because you will be arguing on the basis of prejudice (mentioned in my earlier post) rather than having to pinpoint some error or procedural unfairness. You need to set out for the appeal panel all the elements of prejudice that you child might face if not admitted to the school. The panel then has to balance that against the prejudice to the school of admitting another pupil.

As you know that the school has won some sort of award for its g&t provision, I imagined that you already had details of that provision. I'm a little perplexed (forgive me if I have misunderstood) that you are planning to argue for the school on the basis of its g&t provision without knowing what that entails. I guess you can get the school's g&t policy from its website or from the school office.

As I said before, you need (in my view) to tread very carefully here. Parents often argue at appeal along the lines of "my child is academically able and therefore needs a place at this [high-performing] school". These arguments don't usually succeed: in an ICS case, the panel is looking to see whether its admission criteria (which never mention academic ability) have been correctly applied and in other cases the fact that a child is academically able doesn't necessarily mean that they will suffer prejudice if not admitted to the school. As far as I can see, if you want to mention your child's intellectual ability, the only way it could be brought within the scope of what the panel is looking for - ie prejudice - is by identifying a need arising out of that ability which the school is better-placed than other schools to meet.

I am not trying to put words into your mouth, but the argument about needing a nearby school to make friends in a new area is one that is often made at appeal. It's certainly relevant to the question of prejudice.

PanelMember Tue 21-Jun-11 22:10:24

As a post-script: The 'local school' argument obviously becomes weaker if the allocated school is also close to home. As Admission says, a journey to school of up to an hour is held to be reasonable.

LadyPeterWimsey Wed 22-Jun-11 20:42:53

Thank you, PanelMember. Re G&T I just meant that we only know that the school is one of a very few who hold an award for this. We need to get hold of both the schools' policies and see if there are differences significant enough to try to use this criteria. My guess is that there probably won't be - on paper at least. I guess I was wondering if there is any other way of assessing the specifics of what they provide other than through their paperwork, but I can't think how!

In terms of friendships, the only children our children have met already go to the school we are appealing to - one family, and most of the children they met attending the church's holiday club (the one connected with the school) during half term. It seems a little flimsy but since this is the only school with which we have any connections, we may give it a go. We are in a city, so none of the schools are very far from each other.

It is really helpful to think of it in terms of prejudice - to our children and to the school. Thanks for all your help in clarifying our thoughts.

musey Fri 24-Jun-11 21:36:35

I wanted to update on my appeal and to offer my heartfelt thanks to all those who commented and offered assistance. Special thanks to prh47bridge who kindly looked and commented on several documents I was hoping to rely on.

The update is that today we WON our appeal!!!! The actual appeal was pretty anti-climactic if I'm honest. I was soooooo prepared, I had a long list of questions colour coded to address firstly the error element of the appeal, secondly the application/appeal process and thirdly questions that I hoped would help me firm up my prejudice argument. Plus additional things I planned to say in addition to the long statement (and supporting information) I had already submitted. I didn't get to say much at all, in fact the whole thing lasted less than 10 mins, I didn't have the chance to ask any of my prepared questions. The panel asked a couple of questions and then adjourned for a few minutes (apparently this is unusual?), called us back into the room and upheld our appeal, they went further than that though, the chair thanked us for the comprehensive, clear, well argued and well set out appeal submission we had made (*again, big thanks for all the assistance*) and said that on the basis of our arguments they were upholding all appeals.

So, ultimately a positive result! However I have real concerns with the admission of the additional pupil. I had a vague response from the LA to my queries about how an extra child was placed. They informed me that originally there were five appeals but one was withdrawn as the school decided to offer and extra place (there was definitely no mention of an error having been made, just that the school had allocated an extra place). This is where I come really unstuck, having been told by the school on several occasions that they double & triple check everything before making offers if there was an extra place to be had, why did DS not get it being as he was top of the waiting list from 1 day after the offers were made??? I know several parents from the school and there has been the suggestion that the additional child is somehow connected to one of the governors. This has really left a sour taste in my mouth, not only have my OH & I had months of stress and time spent putting a case together but it makes me question the moral character of the school I have fought so hard to get DS into. Am I over-reacting? The whole process has been personally very difficult for me, my OH tells me to leave it alone saying “we’ve got the place, leave it be Musey” but I can’t help it the questions are dancing in my mind. My mom always used to say “if it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck and looks like a duck, you’ll tend to find that it is a duck! Well this walks, sounds & looks like a duck to me IYGWIM? I thought I’d post on here because I think those going through or with experience in this type of thing may understand where I’m coming from. Do I leave it alone and be grateful DS has his place? Or doing I keep poking at it?

Thanks for listening and again thanks for the help.

admission Fri 24-Jun-11 22:36:48

My inclination is to say quit now as you will only drive yourself to distraction over it and you are unlikely to get any satisfaction.
What is not well advertised is that if the panel do agree that the admission code is not being kept too rather than an honest mistake being made that the panel is required to report it to the school adjudicator. So it is possible that this may happen in this case.
There is also something else that does happen and that is the Chair of the panel can write to the admission authority when they feel that something wrong has taken place.
You are never going to know about either of these happening, but certainly sometimes it does get things sorted out.

lisaj86 Sun 26-Jun-11 19:48:37

hi
my son was not accepted into a school it is a catholic school and i feel strongly that i want him to be a part of this. yes it is a "good school" but it has qualities i feel he will need when he is older. it runs special requirement programmes for speech language reading but most importantly anger management.
my sons actual father was discovered to be a section 1 offender and one day he will obviously need to deal wth this and i feel that the religious side and the educational side of this school will help with this .
how do i comunicate this at my appeal

admission Sun 26-Jun-11 21:04:29

All panels have to abide by confidentiality of submissions from parents, so i think that you need to explain why this a school that you believe will benefit your son in some detail, so that the panel understand the significance of the school ethos.
Of course if the appeal is classed as an infant class size regs then you can only win a place by proving that there was a mistake in the admission process thats topped your child getting a place.

--

HI Everyone
Sorry to be on here so late tonight. We have our appeal tomorrow. My DD is going into reception in Sept, she has her 3rd choice school, is on 2nd Place for her 2nd Choice School and on 4th for her 1st place.

Our 1st place is .24metres from our house, the 3rd is 4.1 miles. The appeal is not based on ICS due to the way the school actually schools the children. They teach vertically and horizontally and this year there was an admission of 35. However they have already made one error in admission and have had to admit one more child (over the 35), I have also found out that they have admitted a sibling out of catchment (which comes below children in designated catchment), but this is not stated on the admission form. However it clearly shows from the map that the house is out of catchment.

I have been and am driving myself insane and am trying to fine tune our appeal.

The admissions authority argument:
The school can take 260 (Infant and Junior) it will have 255 in Sept 11
Last year it took in a bulge year (60 instead of 35), however there are only currently 52 places filled out of the 60 allocated. With this bulge,they were provided with additional teaching staff and a new classroom was built to accommodate.

The admission authority say they are trying to reduce the number back to the original admission number of 35 children. The planning consent for the additional classroom space to support these children made it clear that a condition of the plannning consent being agreed was that the overall number of children on the roll should not exceed 260 pupils.

The school and governers do not to admit over the 35 (now 36) this year, because according to the school admissions code if they admit over the original number for 3 years in a row they have to always admit that higher number. The governer of the school sent out a letter to parents of existing children at the school telling them that they would not allow additional children to come to the school and the words were, "we will do all in our power to stop additional children" - this was prior to the 36th child being admitted.

The basis of their argument is on quality of education, they claim the pupil/teacher ratio is already above average, but when we questioned this at the open day, the head teacher told me that this is due to how they educate and teach in groups and isn't a problem. It is an open plan school and they teach in teams and have developed distinctive team approaches to learning within these spaces. When we asked about noise during the open day we were told it wasn't an issue to learning and wasn't an issue whilst we were there (with the additional children in situ and without the additional classroom)

Later in the document, it states that a NET capacity assessment used in setting the PAN was carried out in JAN 2006 (5 years ago!) and resulted in an indicated admission number of 30. using the maximum workplace number of 249( but states 260 earlier in the document) the school can increase to an indicated published number of 35.They claim adding 36 students to the equation would exceed the range of workplaces being available to the school and would exceed the net capacity in the classroom areas. (yet they will not be at full capacity as they didnot admit the full 60 last year)

In summary it is citing that further places cannot be allocated as to do so would prejudice the provision of further education and use of resources. However this contradicts an earlier statement which explains that the school performs well (last ofsted outstanding) in spite of having a higher than average pupil to teacher ratio.

We have a number of other elements of our appeal. but my goal here is to prove

1. unfair admissions and error
2. There is clearly space at the school in reception and Y1 ( and the years are schooled together)
3. Contradictory statements in their argument
4. the disadvantage to my child if she did not go there and to our family

Really would be great if anyone could provide some last minute advice.... :-)

prh47bridge Sun 26-Jun-11 23:52:18

Taking your points in order...

I am unclear what you think is unfair about their admissions. It is also unclear whether there has been an error that has denied your daughter a place. It is not enough to show they have made a mistake. You have to show that your daughter would have been admitted if they hadn't made a mistake. If you live in catchment and your concern is around the out of catchment admission, are you sure this was a sibling who was admitted incorrectly? Is it possible this child is looked after or has special medical needs which place him or her in a higher category than your daughter? If a mistake has been made which has denied your daughter a place that is a strong case for an appeal.

The fact they are below capacity helps you. However, if any years are currently below PAN the panel will have to consider what happens if all years fill up to the admission number.

I don't think a panel would view the statement that further admissions would cause prejudice contradicts the statement that the school performs well. Further admissions will worsen the pupil to teacher ratio which could damage the school's performance. The question is how great that prejudice will be and whether it outweighs the prejudice to your daughter through not being admitted.

You haven't said how your daughter will be disadvantaged by not going to this school. You also haven't said how your familiy will be disadvantaged but that is unlikely to be relevant, I'm afraid. What matters is prejudice to your daughter. Unless a mistake has been made and your daughter should have been admitted, the strength of your argument for prejudice to your daughter will be crucial to the success of your appeal.

Good luck.

lin12 Wed 29-Jun-11 10:46:51

Hi, could i ask for some advice please....

My DD's appeal is next week. It is for year 4. The admission authoritys case states that the school can take 420 (60 in each year group). They currently have 424,
60 in Y4,
61 in Y5
63 in Y6

I am going to be saying that i would be looking for DD to start in Y5 in Sept, as they have left my appeal date this late. It was way over the 30 school days it should have been!
They can clearly take the extra child in that year, as they have one now so the class would be 61 again, but would it be also be okay to say that as the 63 in Y6 will have left then they will then have the 3 extra spaces available because they can easily admit 424.

Any advice would be really helpful smile

prh47bridge Wed 29-Jun-11 12:01:35

The fact that the current Y6 will have left doesn't create 3 extra spaces as such. The school's capacity is 420 and they will, presumably, have 421 children so they will still be over capacity. You could, of course, make the point that they will be less over capacity than they are at the moment. The other interesting question is what is the calculated capacity. This should be a range, with the lower figure being 90% of the top of the range. It could, for example, be 414 to 460. The net capacity of 420 will be somewhere in this range. If it is near the bottom of the range as per my example that is worth bringing up because it helps you. Ask the admission authority for this information before the hearing. You don't want to bring it up if the net capacity is at the top of the calculated range.

In the hearing you should ask what problems have been caused by being over PAN in Y5 and Y6. The likely answer is that they have coped, which suggests they can cope again.

dc123 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:15:02

I am helping my daughter with an appeal and would appreciate some advice. It is a Reception year appeal and both Reception classes are 30. The LA say they can’t take any more children without employing another teacher. We are appealing under the grounds that we were not informed or did not receive any documentation of how the admission criteria worked. We do know now that this is available on the internet along with many other documents guidance & policies. If we had received this admission criteria we would have appealed under health grounds due to Psychological reasons and have some a GP letter to support this. Do we have sufficient grounds?

prh47bridge Wed 29-Jun-11 14:33:19

I'm afraid not. Provided the LA makes the information available the onus is on you to check it.

As the Reception classes already have 30 children this will be an infant class size appeal. That means you need to show that the LA has made a mistake in order to win. From the information you have posted it does not appear that the LA has done anything wrong. You may strike it lucky and get a sympathetic panel who will be prepared to admit your daughter even if the rules say they shouldn't but that is a long shot.

PanelMember Wed 29-Jun-11 14:41:00

dc123 - I would be very interested in what admission and prh47bridge think about this one. My view - which is very much shaped by what happens in my LEA - is that we have posters in all sorts of places (GP surgeries, libraries, bus stops, on the backs of buses) advertising the publication of the school admissions booklet and the deadline for applying for places. The "I didn't know how to apply" argument is therefore a weak one.

The difficulty here is that the panel has to review whether the LEA took the right decision with the information available to it at the time. In an infant class size case, it can allow your appeal only if a mistake has been made (and nothing you mention suggests that it has), the admission arrangements do not comply with the admissions code (but there is no evidence of that here) or the decision was one that no reasonable LEA would have made (again, no evidence of that here).

I can see no basis here on which you could win your appeal. Even if the panel think that the LEA has not done enough to publicise the admissions arraangements, they will very likely take the view that - especially if you believed there were medical reasons why the child should have priority for a place - you should have been more proactive in doing your own research (and I have to say, at the risk of being controversial, that if you're familiar enough with the internet to be on Mumsnet I wonder why you didn't check out the LEA's website).

The best you can hope for, I think, is that the LEA will take your evidence of the child's psychological problems and refer it to its medical/social needs scrutiny panel. If the medical/social needs scrutiny panel agrees that the child should have been given priority under that heading, the child will move to the top of the waiting list, but they won't immediately get a place because there are no grounds here to allow the appeal.

PanelMember Wed 29-Jun-11 14:41:40

Crossed posts with prh47bridge.

smit123 Thu 30-Jun-11 18:21:51

I have just had my appeal for a nursery for my daughter. I listed everything I needed to mention as when nervous I forget stuff. This was a class size appeal, and I think it went ok, the only thing is I have had a letter back saying the panel could not come to a decision on my appeal on the information presented to them at my hearing, specifically by the school. Now they are saying they will need to reconvene and if I have any further information I think would be helpful to my case to send it to them. I rang the number on the letter to ask what information they needed from the school but they said they would let me know what information they wanted when they get the answer from the school. I think this is all very strange as I thought everything needed to be presented at the first hearing, I have not heard of a second hearing in any other cases I have read about. Has anyone else been in this situation?

smit123 Thu 30-Jun-11 18:49:21

Sorry I meant to say reception class on my last post, not nursery!!!

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jun-11 21:44:23

As it is a class size appeal you need to show that a mistake has been made and that your daughter should have been admitted. It is difficult to be sure but it sounds to me like the panel may think that there has been a mistake but need more information from the school to figure out if your daughter would have been admitted if they had got it right.

smit123 Thu 30-Jun-11 21:56:54

I hope the delay is a good thing.I know another family have had the exact same letter do you think this means there may have been a problem with the whole process or will they not give yes or no answers to anyone until they find out all the facts.

smit123 Thu 30-Jun-11 22:05:08

i have one more question if that is ok? can a child be given a place at a school due to the problems with a sibling already at that school because I am not sure if a child should be accepted on there own credentials.

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jun-11 23:38:00

If the panel is doing this right, it sounds like there has been a problem with the process and they are trying to figure out which children should have been admitted. I am, of course, guessing so I may be completely wrong but that seems the most likely explanation.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by your second question but the basic principle with infant class size appeals is that you will only win if there has been a mistake and your child would have been admitted but for the mistake. A sibling is only relevant if they were overlooked during the admissions round resulting in the younger child being placed in the wrong category.

admission Fri 01-Jul-11 12:40:50

I would agree with PRH that the only reasonable explanation for the panel not making decisions is that somewhere in the process something has been said that has led the panel to believe that there was an error in the admission process. If that is the case they will have requested that the LA go back and come up with a revised list of who should have been offered a place if the admission process had been correctly administered. That sounds easy but actually may be very complicated and take time to do depending on exactly what has gone wrong.
With it being an ICS case that does not necessarily mean that all those that have been disadvantage will be given a place. So if for instance there were 30 available places and only one was disadvantaged then I would expect the panel to admit that child and run with a class of 31 for the next year. But if there were 10 who should have been admitted, expecting a class of 40 to function in a class designed for 30 is both unrealistic and not acceptable. The panel will have to decide what they then can and cannot do in conjunction with the LA and school. It could be none would be admitted or it could be that all 10 could be admitted if the school happened to have a spare classroom and the LA funded the extra teacher.
I am however slightly concerned by the comments about any extra information that you may want to submit. I would be tempted to press the admission office for information on exactly what has gone wrong to do with the school, as you could be being disadvantaged if some appealants know what the issue is and others like you do not know. Obviously during the personal part of the hearing one of the appealants has raised something that has caused this decision and it must have been somebody after your personal hearing, otherwise they would have adjourned all the appeals.

CheeseMeisterGeneral Sat 02-Jul-11 15:31:46

Admission experts advice please. Have ICS reception appeal coming up for a CofE school.

Complicated appeal involving, unclear admissions criteria, issues around governors enquiry form deadlines, sibling at the school already and no provision for medical need in the admissions criteria.

Completed our paperwork and outlined all of the above as clearly as we could. Heard last week our appeal is the only one and will be held in the local church.

Received school response to our appeal today and am a tad shocked.

No mention of prejudice to the school in admitting another child over the 30 class size, by way of pan, roll, size, facilities or resources. Just takes some of our raised issues and argues against them, including a statement from the vicar at the church our appeal will be heard in.

More concerning a statement of part of the conversation we had with Head of school following placement results being public. Offered to us as a 'can l help support you' come into my office kind of way, started with "anything l say in this room cannot be used as part of your appeal if you have one". In the school response they claim we are misleading the panel in detailing why the offered school is not right for our child as we have already declined the place, and they know that as a result of the conversation with the Head on X date.

l am miffed they can refer to our comments but we clearly were instructed by the Head not to use her's. Also do not like in insinuation we are misleading the panel - we did include a section in the appeal detailing why we declined our allocation and why it was not suitable for our child, and the impact on the sibling and reasons why our first choice school is the right school for our youngest and older sibling as well.

Do we prepare our responses to the above ready for the appeal day and just ingore the lack of school prejudice arguments ?

prh47bridge Sat 02-Jul-11 16:19:10

The school's written submission fails to meet the required standards, to say the least. If the panel wants to play it by the book they should admit your child because the school has not made any case to refuse admission. Realistically that is unlikely to happen but you should certainly point out that the school has broken the appeals code in spades with its evidence to the appeal and that you have been seriously disadvantaged as a result as you have not been given a proper chance to prepare your case. If you lose your case I would expect a reference to the Local Government Ombudsman to result in a fresh appeal on those grounds alone.

The fact that the school feels it can get away with a case like this suggests that they have used the same appeal panel for so long that they are no longer truly independent. Whilst you should assume that they are independent, you should watch for any evidence that they are not as that would also be of interest to the LGO. I would also check who the clerk is carefully. The clerk must be independent, not someone who works for or is associated with the school.

If the school fails to make out a case for prejudice at the appeal you should point this out. Under the appeals code the panel is required to admit your child if the school fails to show prejudice. Remind them of that.

Since they have mentioned the conversation you have had with the Head I would say that the "anything I say in this room" deal is off and you are now free to use anything from that conversation that helps you. I would point out forcefully to the panel that there is absolutely no logic in saying that the fact you have declined the place at the offered school means your statement as to why it is not right for your child is wrong. And they should not be accusing you of misleading the panel - more for the LGO to chew over.

CheeseMeisterGeneral Sat 02-Jul-11 17:38:16

Thankyou prh47bridge for your response.

Another concern - one of the issues l raised concerned was the way they processed extra information after the closing date for submissions in a way not acknowledged in any published document either their own or the LA's - their response was to produce a photocopy of the signing in sheet for the open days, including all personal information (not needed by me) to prove a) l did not go (well l already have a sibling at the school so why would I ?) and b) that those present could ask questions regarding such process issues and know the answer.

Having to ask the right question to get the right answer requires you know or have an understanding that they stray into what l have referred to as a 'grey area' non-defined in the admissions process. Surely that is not a defence for making this information available in a written form readily to all prospective parents?

prh47bridge Sat 02-Jul-11 22:21:08

It gets worse. It is completely unacceptable for the school to require parents to attend an open day in order to find out that they need to provide additional information. Any supplementary form must be available from the LA (Admissions Code para 1.77). Appendix 4 paragraph 13e of the Code states that the school must tell the LA if they have adopted a supplementary form and how that form can be obtained. The form must appear on the LA's website and the school's website. They must also be available in hard copy from the LA.

This school appears to have no idea how to run admissions.

CheeseMeisterGeneral Sun 03-Jul-11 10:50:09

Sorry i was not clear - the extra info form is available freely, but it states on it in bold it must be completed and returned at the time of application to be considered in the main admissions round. By that l would interpret the 25th Jan the deadline for applications. What I am concerned about is what the definition of the end of the 'main admissions process' is - is it when the 30 offers for places are made or filled after the non-acceptances are processed ?

However it seems they freely take the forms after the closing date and add them to original applications. In this case two of them in a period of time between 'allocation day' and the deadline for the 30 offered places to be accepted. I only know this because one of the two told me and l asked the school whether this was accepted as part of their process. I also doubt whether the forms cover the period they are required to eg: once per month in the 12 months prior to application.

My issue with it is it not being openingly communicated, in either the LA booklet, school prospectus or in writing to all parents on the waiting list informing them they are open to do the same. It just does not strike me as in the spirit of the schools admission code.

Lastly l am trying to do some digging on who the panel are, in particular the clerk (he is listed as working for the local LA's democratic services dept ?), but how can l find out whether they have been used by the school/diocese before and therefore question their independence ? I don't think the school have had many appeals at all. many thanks again

prh47bridge Sun 03-Jul-11 14:48:21

The main admissions round ends when offers are made. There is no problem in them taking suppliementary forms after offers are made and taking those into account when sorting the waiting list. That is entirely within both the letter and the spirit of the Admissions Code. If you think about it, the parents concerned could withdraw their original application and then submit a new application with a supplementary form. There would be absolutely no problem with that and their child would then be in the same position on the waiting list as they are at the moment. If you submitted your supplementary form at the time of your original application you have not been disadvantaged. Equally if you didn't, you are free to submit it at any time.

As the clerk works for the LA he is independent so there is no problem there.

It is likely that any appeal panel has been used by the school and/or diocese before. That isn't a problem. It only becomes a problem when the panel fails to act independently.

prh47bridge Sun 03-Jul-11 14:53:35

Actually, as the clerk comes from the LA there is a good chance they have contracted out the whole appeals process to the LA. That is good as it means you should get a panel who understand that the school's case as presented is wildly inadequate.

admission Sun 03-Jul-11 19:00:44

Difficult to not suggest to you that you write to the LGO now as the school as the admission authority seem to be getting it so wrong but to be serious that is not sensible as you need to go through the appeal process before you can go to the LGO.
You will need to carefully bring your different strands of issues over this admission process together, so that the panel have no doubt over the lack of precision in the schools dealings on this. From what you have said a key part of that submission should be that the school called for supplementary forms to be completed and in by the 25th Jan, when you know that they accepted them after this date. There is no question that this means that those that did not supply the forms by the due date of 25th Jan should not have been given any priority in terms of faith and must only be considered on presumably distance criteria. The idea that they could supply them after the allocation of places is just not appropriate. The question then becomes whether if those forms had been processed correctly you would have been offered a place.
One area that I think you also need to probe from previous experience is that the school is the admission authority and as such the decision of putting all the applicants in appropriate order is carried out by a panel of the Governing Body. Given the casual nature of the above, I suspect that the person who did it was the vicar or the Chair of Governors. Whilst that does not get you a place it raises with the panel plenty of questions to answer about all the rest of the process.
This appeal is an ICS Regs appeal, so the school only has to show that qualifying measures would be necessary and what they are. There should be in the schools documentation a short paragraph saying this is an ICS Regs appeal and that the qualifying measure would be an extra teacher. If it does not say this, whilst it is slightly naughty I would be very tempted not to say anything about it and let them present their case. The school goes first and then it is for you to ask the school about the case presented (which should eb about ICS and how full the school is, not a rebuttal of your case). My temptation is to ask as the first question "is that all your case" and when they say yes, ask the panel whether you should go any further in asking questions as the school have clearly not shown any prejudice to the school nor have they proved ICS prejudice. That might have the Clerk spluttering. I suspect you will end up taking the appeal all the way through but it will look rather good in the notes that the LGO see, if you involve them, that the school could not even do that right.
I think that you also need to make a note of the main things that are said by the panel and by the clerk as well as any other outrageous remarks by the school. You might need them later.

CheeseMeisterGeneral Sun 03-Jul-11 19:23:02

Thanks admission - have found a paragraph, no mention of ICS regs appeal in any of the paperwork at all. But does have comment about the limit of 30 for infant classes and that their budget allocation has been calculated on this basis. To be instructed to take one more pupil would mean this limit is exceeded and a second teacher would need to be employed, the school does not have the resources for an extra teacher.

Is this one paragraph without mentioning ICS regs enough of a presentation of prejudice to the school ?

Also do the schools in cases like this not get an academic year's grace before they have to have a 2nd teacher in post ? so because of the natural movement in classes they are usually back below the 30 limit before the academic year end anyway.

Have my pack of index cards ready to note the things l want to say on the day and a list of questions to ask, good to know the school goes first and your suggested 1st question thankyou.

prh47bridge Sun 03-Jul-11 22:13:05

Just to be clear, I assumed, possibly incorrectly, that parents supplying supplementary forms after offers were issued only affected their position on the waiting list. If offers were made on the basis of supplementary forms that had not been submitted that is clearly wrong.

It is true that any pupil admitted as the result of an appeal is an excepted pupil for a year, so the school does not need a second teacher immediately. However, appeal panels are specifically instructed that they may not admit a child on the basis that natural movement will bring the class back down to 30. Regardless of how unrealistic it may be, they have to assume that the school will still be over the infant class size limit.

admission Sun 03-Jul-11 23:19:42

I think that their quoted sentence just about covers ICS Regs but it should really state that it is an ICS case.
I think however you still need to ask the school to confirm this is their case and that the panel do believe that it is an infant class size case. If the Clerk and Chair of the Panel are any good they will make sure that they ask the school that but there is no reason why you should not ask it before the panel get to their questions.
I think you need to prepare on the basis that it is ICS regs case and that you have to prove that the school made mistakes in their admission process that disadvantaged your child such that if they had done it correctly your child would have been offered a place in the first round of admission allocations. That is in effect the only way to win an ICS Regs case

lin12 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:22:13

It's my school appeal in a few days and i am having a nightmare trying to find out any information from the Admissions Authority. They refuse to answer any of my questions and keep passing me on to different people!

They have put false information on their statement of case, stating that there are 60 children in each year group, but the Edubase website says there are 424 in total. 4 more than they claim.

They have sent my original application back with their case but it is for my other daughter. The address i put on it to say that i had moved has been doctored, so it says the same as my other address.

My argument is going to be that they have had higher than 60 in each year for the past 4 years so they are able to accomodate another child without it being too much of an issue. The school results have also improved showing the extra children haven't been affected.

My question is if the legal class size for 30 children is 49m². The schools classrooms are between 55-63m² but i can't find any information on the rest of the areas. Can i therefore use this in my case?

Please help

Thank you

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 13:36:43

To take your points in order:

The authority is required to answer any reasonable questions you ask to help you prepare for your appeal. If they don't do so and you lose your appeal that could be grounds for referring the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The figures for pupil numbers on the Edubase website are from January 2010. That doesn't necessarily mean the statement of case is correct but it is more likely to be correct than Edubase.

If they have sent the wrong application form with their case that is a serious error, as is doctoring the form. Again, that is possible grounds for a referral to the LGO.

If this is an appeal for Reception the fact that they have had more than 60 children for the last 4 years is not relevant, nor is the size of the classrooms. Your appeal will be an infant class size case which means you should only win if you can show that the authority made a mistake in processing your application and your daughter would have been admitted if they had got it right. If there was no mistake your appeal should fail, I'm afraid.

If you are appealing for Y3 or later that would be a different matter as infant class size rules no longer apply. In that case the points you raise could be relevant.

lin12 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:54:32

Thank you for your reply.

Sorry, I should have said the appeal is for year 4.

After looking at Edubase I rang the Admissions Authority to confirm how many pupils are at the school and they said 425. Thats 5 more than the statement of case claims.

I can't find out the schools calculated capacity as this is one of the questions i have repeatedly e-mailed and rang the Admission Authority about.

I have no idea what to base my case on because i can't get hold of any information.

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 14:42:15

As it is for Y4 then I would certainly raise the points about previous years having more than 60 and the sizes of the classrooms.

The LA's inability to get the number of pupils at the school right and failure to respond to a simple question on calculated capacity are worrying.

You should base your case on the reasons your daughter will benefit from going to this school. Look for things this school has which are missing from your daughter's current school and which will be of benefit to her. Tell the panel why this is the only school for her. You need positive reasons why she needs to go to this school. Don't be negative about her current school and try to avoid things like child care and transport difficulties as the panel can't take those into account.

Why do you want your daughter to go to this school?

lin12 Tue 05-Jul-11 14:56:30

We have recently moved into the area and it is the local school.

She was also bullied at the school she is at now. Because of this she was forced to move down a table/group in her numeracy, so it is affecting her education.

She has also had problems with the teachers.

The local school has a fantastic anti-bullying policy and a holistic approach to teaching. This will be beneficial to her as she will begin to build up her confidence and self esteem again.

I have tried to build up my case based on these things, without bad mouthing her current school, but no matter what i put it just doesn't seem like enough. sad

admission Tue 05-Jul-11 17:09:50

The size of the classrooms can have some bearing on the number of pupils in them, but the 48sqmetre figure is an old figure which was superceded about 5 years ago. The figure for a new classroom for 30 pupils is now 62 sq metres but that does not means that every old classroom gets somehow downgraded. If you are talking about the difference between 30 and 31 pupils all the figures prove is that there is no real reason why one more pupil could not be accomodated if there are compelling reasons to admit. I would almost for sure guarantee that the net capacity of the school is 420, the standard for a 2 form entry primary school.
You need in my opinion to talk openly about the bullying and the effect it has had on your daughter so that the panel understand why you see this school as the one to go to. Panels hear many tales of bullying so it is important to submit any written evidence of you having meetings or complaining about bullying at the previous school. Don't be openly negative about the old school but bring out the bullying aspect as something they just did not gtet on top off. Yes it is by association being negative about the school but you are not openly criticising.
Also talk about the fact it is the local school and it will give your child the opportunity to build up a circle of lcoal friends, which is needs as she is shy.

lin12 Tue 05-Jul-11 19:36:26

Although i have had a lot of meetings with the school about the bullying, I don't have any written evidence. The school prefers to ignore the problem and hope it will go away. One of the worst things was that my daughter was threatened by one of the parents. The school just tried to brush it off like it was nothing.

I could talk for hours about how her current school have let her down.

I am trying to find a case against the Admission Authority, and so far have that they have admitted extra pupils into years 3 4 5 and 6 every year.

I am just a bit worried as this is the school that my daughter really wants to go to and i don't want to let her down by not having the best case i can.

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 21:25:50

Has anyone witnessed the bullying? Haven't you written any letters or sent any emails to the school about it? You must talk about the bullying but it will be more credible if you can produce something to confirm it has taken place.

admission Tue 05-Jul-11 23:38:09

Failing anything written correspondance do you have a diary or anything that can tell you when you went into the school to discuss. If you could actually name dates when you went to the school and discussed it with the head / teacher and explain that the school does not seem to want to put anything in writing, then at least it sounds more credible. If you do not have any data to present then the panel will only be able to go on the credibility of you as a witness and I am afraid that panels have heard far too many cases where bullying is alleged but there is no evidence. Appealants seem to think it is the easy option to get their kid into a different school by alleging bullying and many panels will not give much weight to the allegation unless backed up with evidence.

Dreamingspires Wed 06-Jul-11 05:55:15

Wow this thread is so informative. We're in a situation where we haven't appealed as yet but our LEA is telling us to do so!

We're currently in the process of moving house. Not ideal timing as DS1 is due to start Reception in September. In May, once we were 'under offer', we requested a place at two schools in the town we're moving to, one of which we knew had two places left. This request was done via our existing LEA, who liased with our soon-to-be new LEA. The application was sent in time for third round allocations and used our current address i.e. miles away and in a different county.

We found out on Friday (a week later than the third round should have been completed) that we had been unsuccessful for both schools. Our local LEA were not told on what grounds so suggested we contact the soon-to-be LEA to find out! This was like getting blood out of a stone so we actually ended up phoning the school directly to see what they knew. They phoned the LEA on our behalf (soooo lovely of them) and came back to us saying they didn't know why we hadn't been offered a place as there was actually still one available! This was later confirmed by our existing LEA who also spoke to them on Friday afternoon.

We were however told that the new LEA muttered something about lots of local children still needing places, lots of appeals to do etc. I know for a fact this LEA has really struggled this year (I think it's the same LEA that had to put a bulge class for the 17 children earlier in this thread as I remember it all being in the papers etc).

My question is, if there's a space at a school and we've requested it and no other local children have, are they legally obliged to give it to us? Is there any obvious legitimate reason as to why they wouldn't?

The only explanation I can think of is that maybe there were local children who asked for a place, we were so far away we stood no chance, so they declined our application before they're going to go back to the other applications and applying the admissions code. Hence why the place was technically still available on Friday. Even if this is true it sounds like a pretty chaotic way of doing business so to speak.

Our LEA are waiting for an explanation but did recommend on Friday that we appeal so I'm beginning to prepare my case already.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

prh47bridge Wed 06-Jul-11 08:21:42

If there is a place available at the school and there is no-one on the waiting list they must offer it to you by law. They cannot hold back the place for children who haven't applied for this school nor can they hold it back in case of successful appeals.

It does sound like things are fairly chaotic with several rounds of allocations and possibly some local children without places. They should have allocated places for all local children by now.

I am not surprised your local LA is telling you to appeal. They know that your new LA is breaking the law.

Dreamingspires Wed 06-Jul-11 10:05:27

Thank you so much prh47bridge! It's great to have it clarified. It will be interesting to see on what grounds we've actually been refused.

I was thinking of citing section 2.63 of the schools admission code (exceptions to infant class size) as part of our appeal but it looks like this only applies if there are more than 30 children in a class. Maybe section 1.24 is clearer:

"Section 86(5) of the SSFA 1998 requires that in a normal year of entry, a child must not be refused admission to a school on the grounds of prejudice to efficient education or the efficient use of resources except where the number of applications for admission exceeds the admission number."

I'm not that familiar with the code to know which is the most appropriate section?

admission Wed 06-Jul-11 21:48:35

Section86 (5) of the SSFA is the right quotation, which is effectively reproduced in paragraph 1.24 of the school admission code. Quote that at them and ask for confirmation that the school place is yours as you asked for it on (date) when there were no other people applying for it. Please can I have a response within 3 days. It needs to be in writing (email is fine) so that they cannot wriggle around giving you the place.

Lhasa63 Tue 12-Jul-11 23:38:24

I, like others above me, am staggered by the wealth of ideas and support on here. What an example of a support network. Anyway .. my issue is a bit like Dreaming Spires above, although not exactly...

18 months ago we left our base in the home counties to move north for work purposes. This involved moving our children to new schools. We now are making the move home in reverse as the job has ended and we unfortunately couldn't find new work up here, whereas we can down south. (We kept our own home throughout and rented it out, renting a house up here).

Our two eldest childrens' schools are sorted but the primary school where all our children used to go, and to which we applied for our youngest child, is now full (we also applied for the two other primary schools nearest us, the second of which is also full, and we have yet to hear if we will be offered a place at our third choice where there seems to be lack of agreement as to whether there are spare places for year 4 or not - school says yes, LA says maybe not.) (We are applying for a year 4 place from September and move back to our old house at the end of July).

I have met with the Headteacher of our old school who was as supportive as she can be in these circumstances and has told me that she doesn't consider that admitting my child would prejudice other children (the children already know her, the teachers know her, she wouldn't need special support, there is room in the classroom, the teacher of her class has actually taught her before etc) but that it is not her decision to make and that what she says will not necessarily influence the LA as technically the school is full (all classes are at 30 and there is a single class intake per year).

My desire for my child is to minimise the disruption she has already suffered in her education/friendships through moving schools twice within two years and from a social point of view, this is where her old friends are and where she desperately wants to return; where all our prior relationships/out of school activities etc have been developed; where she can walk to school independently as she grows older, the school feels like home etc - but I fear these reasons are not sufficient to sway the panel. Other points to mention include the fact that when my sons were in the junior school, the policy was to allow up to 32 children per class, but that this policy has been changed since we moved north (i.e. the facilities/teaching levels used to be considered sufficient for 32 children); also that appeals which have taken the class size over 30 since then have tended to be for children with special educational needs; also that I am unaware of any other appeals for places in this year group, although there is a waiting list. Has anyone any advice for a sound base on which to appeal? (I have been asked to list ideas under religious/cultural/philosophical; social/medical; educational; and 'other'.)

Apologies for long post.

prh47bridge Wed 13-Jul-11 01:06:58

The head isn't allowed to support your appeal. However, if the LA ask her to attend the appeal and she says that admitting your child would not cause prejudice that would give the panel little choice but to admit.

You can certainly talk about the disruption your daughter has suffered and suggest that going to yet another new school will disadvantage her compared to returning to her old school. The fact that they used to allow up to 32 children per class in juniors is something you can bring up. I would ask the LA's representative (or the head if she is there) whether having this many children in Y4 previously caused any problems. You can also ask if they have had over 30 children in any years since they stopped going up to 32 automatically. Don't go into the fact that these children were admitted on appeal. That doesn't help you. The fact that the school coped does.

Apart from that I would think about any facilities the school has which would be beneficial for your daughter and which are not present in the offered school (when the LA finally gets around to offering one).

Lhasa63 Wed 13-Jul-11 08:33:20

Thanks for this. I have just remembered that the class my daughter would go into has had 31 children in it, in the last academic year in fact, and that when the cared for child moved to a new foster family, the school reverted back to 30. So I should be able to make that point.

One additional thing, how do I compare facilities between the two schools when I think, timing wise, I will have to lodge the appeal before any other school is technically offered to us. (We were told to put our own house address on the appeal form and go ahead and appeal, but regarding the normal schools offer process, we technically still live in our rented house in the north and won't get an offer of an schools until we are physically back in the town which will be one day before appeals are finished being heard for the summer.)

prh47bridge Wed 13-Jul-11 09:49:12

You can add to your appeal case at any time. Provided you don't introduce substantial new documentary evidence you can add to your case at the appeal hearing.

I can understand the LA wanting proof that you are going to be living in the area before making an offer. I am surprised they are insisting on waiting until you have actually moved.

In the situation, I suggest you talk about any facilities the school has which will be beneficial for your daughter. You don't know whether or not the offered school will have these facilities as no offer has been made so put everything in.

admission Wed 13-Jul-11 10:51:47

The only thing that I would add to what PRH has said is to emphasise that you are moving back to your old house which has been rented out whilst you have been away. As such the LAs tardiness in not being prepared to offer a school place without having physically moving in, means that you are now without a school and this is causing your child stress not knowing whether she will be going back to school with all her old friends.
This puts a bit more pressure on the panel in terms of needing to ensure that the pupil is in a school but more importantly on the LA to get their figure out and decide whether they can off a place at the 3rd school.
I do have to warn you that if there is a waiting list for year 4 and only 30 in the class that it would suggest that there have been other appeals which have been unsuccessful. The key to winning the appeal will be the strength of your personal circumstances. So it might be kinder to your child to down play the possibility of getting a place at the preferred school until you know the outcome of the appeal.

admission Wed 13-Jul-11 10:58:58

Sorry, should also have said that if the LA is a bit naughty they will announce at the appeal hearing that there is a place at the 3rd school.

This puts you at a disadvantage in that the inference to the panel is that there is a school place available and that therefore they do not need to admit.

If that happens I would make a statement to the panel in part 2 of the appeal and probably the concluding remarks that you were advised to apply for the three nearest schools but that your preferred school is X and that it is somewhat unfair of the LA to spring this place being available at the other school today when they have had weeks to make that decision. Your preference is for school X and you ask the panel to view the appeal in that context not the context that suddenly there is a place available elsewhere.

darners Wed 20-Jul-11 00:01:33

Hi there

I am a Wanstead mum and I need some help; My daughter has been refused a place at any of the 4 schools I applied for owing to distance. I live off of Snakes Lane West and a number of mums and children were affected in the same way.

My daughter is without her rightful place at our most local school owing to an error made by Redbridge Schools admissions team.

Our home is located a maximum of 0.90 miles from our local school, The incorrect route provided by Redbridge measures it to be 1.413 miles from our home. When the first round of admissions took place the last admitted child was 1.005 miles away. Had Redbridge measured the route correctly, my daughter would have been offered one of those 90 places. On the day of the appeal the last admitted child via the waiting list was 1.20 miles away from the school.

Redbridge have also provided an unsafe route, the route was mapped and documented in a way that required I cross the A12 Redbridge roundabout with my daughter. As I would be required to cross the A12 as follows; 2 lanes of Westbound traffic, 3 lanes of Eastbound traffic, a 1 metre high central reservation, and a slip road for the M11. I do not see how this could be a safe route!

Redbridge have not responded regarding my route and have insisted that I raise my grievances via the appeal. The appeal panel did not allow me to question the authority and state my own case and I have lodged a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman regarding some issues with the way the appeal has been handled and am also speaking to as many other people as possible.

The appeal was not upheld I believe on the basis of Infant class size prejudice. I am awaiting the formal paperwork. Both Redbridge and the appeal panel have not taken responsibility for the incorrect and dangerous route provided which is illegal and in breach of the Schools admissions code.

So, as before I am in touch with the LGO, but Should I go a step further now and also write to the Schools adjudicator?

Do any other Redbridge Mums know whether the A12, Wanstead bridge has been raised as an issue previously when measuring routes to Redbridge Schools?

Everyone I speak to in a formal capacity agreed that the case was strong and also is surprised by the way it has turned out, they all believed that the appeal should have been upheld.

Does anyone have any knowledge of other issues about the bridge and anyone have any good advice for me....?

Thanks x

prh47bridge Wed 20-Jul-11 00:26:29

Provided your route to the school follows public roads and recognised footpaths I would have expected you to win your appeal unless a lot of mistakes had been made and the school couldn't cope with all of the affected children.

You say that their route is illegal and in breach of the Admissions Code. I'm afraid I disagree. There is nothing in the Admissions Code that requires them to use a safe route for measuring the distance. The Code simply requires that the measurement is reliable and reasonable. No-one is saying you have to follow this route to the school, simply that this is the shortest route that meets the LA's criteria. The only question is whether or not that is correct.

The Schools Adjudicator would not get involved in your case. They are only interested in complaints that the admission arrangements are contrary to the Admissions Code. They cannot get involved in complaints that the LA has not followed its arrangements correctly. Even if they did find that Redbridge's admission arrangements are contrary to the code they still would not tell them to admit your child.

Stick to the LGO. They will look at the way the case was handled. If you are correct that the panel did not allow you to question the LA or state your own case that is a major breach of the Appeals Code. Equally the LGO will be interested in whether or not the panel considered your complaint that the LA measured the distance incorrectly. If they find that there were problems with the appeal they are most likely to order a fresh appeal with a new panel, although there is a chance that they may conclude that a correctly conducted appeal would only have one possible outcome and recommend that your child is admitted.

darners Wed 20-Jul-11 16:11:04

Thank you for the response. There were round 5 Mums / children that I know of being affected by the exclusion of the bridge mentioned.

I now know that 3 of the children have been provided a place via the waiting list (even with the incorrect distances). This leaves myself and another that I am due to catch up with soon. So 2 children.

Do you think this is the reason that the appeals panel seem to have decided not to uphold a single appeal for this particular school? ie: do for one, will have to do for all?

I appreciate that you say the route does not have to be the safest, but I am sure they have an obligation to ensure that it does not cross A12 like roads?

I will stick with the LGO, I do believe the appeal was not fairly conducted and your very last comment gives me great hope! Which is all I have right now!

Thank you!

admission Wed 20-Jul-11 17:57:34

I am going to disagree with PRH over the route being safe or not. The Redbridge admission criteria defines the shortest walking route and specifically says that the Authority is mindful of every child's safety and that walking routes will be well-maintained with unrestricted visibility and accessible at all times. If you honestly do have to go over a 1 metre high barrier then that clearly is not appropriate and the LA are failing to administer their process correctly.

However if you do get anybody to agree with you then it does not necessarily mean anything because it would mean that every pupil using that route would have to be remeasured and it could mean that you are actually worse off with the changed route. The other little gem is that the admission criteria says that the LA will not change any recognised route till the next year. Personally i think that is unacceptable but I suspect that the LGO would accept that to do so would cause chaos.

I am not clear from your posts whether you have an alternative route that is shorter or whether you just think the measurement is wrong. If it is the latter then that should clearly have been aired at the appeal and for such a significant difference the panel should have insisted that the LA remeasure the distance. If it is the former then my guess would be that the panel did not accept your alternate route as being appropriately meeting the criteria set. But again there should have been some discussion over this at the appeal.

Hopefully the letter from the appeal panel will clarify exactly what the reasoning was and give you a better feel for what to do next in discussion with the LGO.

darners Thu 21-Jul-11 16:51:26

Thanks Admission. I too understood that Redbridge criteria made comment re the safety of the route and have just spoken to the chap in Redbridge Highways department who's job it is to ensure the safety of travel routes to schools!

Redbridge hid behind the appeal and the appeal panel were not interested in listening to me ask questions about the route, also would not allow me to mention the route again, hence my feeling that the LGO will agree the appeal was not properly carried out!

We can only hope that someone out there is interested in doing the right thing!

prh47bridge Thu 21-Jul-11 22:37:46

The point I was trying (and obviously failing) to make is that using an unsafe route for measurement is not of itself illegal or a breach of the Admissions Code. However, it is a breach of Redbridge's admission arrangements.

I agree completely that the appeal was not properly carried out if the panel woudn't listen to your points about the route. However, the big question is whether the route you have (which I presume is an alternative route) meets the LA's requirements. If it does then you have a strong case. However, there remains the possibility that your route doesn't meet Redbridge's requirements in which case a safe route may be longer than the route they have used.

Hope it goes well with the LGO.

darners Fri 22-Jul-11 14:43:28

Hi there

The route I have provided meets the LA requirements as they have confirmed it will be used for the next year of admissions, due to start in September. My issue in addition to those mentioned before is that my child will not benefit from the introduction of the route as she is now behind all of the late applicant siblings on the waiting list!

I had naively thought that come September, the route would be introduced, she would be closer to the top of the list and with the probable movement she would get a place between Sept 11 and Sept 12....it is highly unlikely that it will work out this way with the 6+ siblings given priority in front of her.

It really bewilders me that Redbridge are reliant on parents to bring to their attention suitable / unsuitable routes, then the child suffers because they refuse to accept the error and introduce the route!

Frustrated is a major understatement!

Emmaeek Wed 14-Sep-11 09:57:55

It's always worth the appeal in my opinion. When I got to mine, it turned out the admissions board had got my address completely wrong from the postcode! Had they got it right, my son would have got a place at our prferred school without question. I didn't even have to wait for the decision. I got home from the appeal, to a phone call from the board, apologising for their error and saying that they were withdrawing the whole appeal and offering a place immediately! You've got nothing to lose trying and you never know if they've made a genuine mistake!

drbrown Fri 23-Sep-11 20:04:22

Hi
This is my first post. We have an appeal next week for a place in Y5. We have not moved home but none of the cohort will be going to the local secondary school, so our primary reason is to make transition smoother. We applied at the end of last term and were told that we would have a decision before the start of term. During one of many phone calls to get a decision from the admissions team, I was told that the LA had approved the move but were waiting to hear back from the school. On Sep 1st the school contacted the team and were told that the move had not been allowed. The school are happy to offer a place as they lost a pupil in the year group in July. The LA won't allow the move as the year group is still one over PAN. Numbers are significantly down on previous years both in the mixed Y5/6 class and in the school as a whole. The LA are arguing that the physical space is limited however, the current class is far more cramped. I am finding it difficult to get advice as it seems unusual for the school to side with the parent!

prh47bridge Fri 23-Sep-11 20:34:35

The school is not supposed to support you in the appeal. If the year is already over PAN the LA are correct that there is no vacancy. However, if a pupil has left the year group that allows you to ask questions about how they coped with that many in the year. If you can show evidence that the school have said they are happy to take your son that will be very persuasive. However you should try to come up with better reasons than smoothing the transition to secondary school. Look for things this school can offer which are missing from your son's current school which would be of benefit to him.

drbrown Fri 23-Sep-11 21:10:26

Thanks for such a quick response! I have copies of emails sent from the Head to the LA questioning the decision and supporting the transfer - confirming they have space and resources. The school is closer than the current one but this argument lacks weight as there is a closer but large school where there are spaces available. Would a letter from his Ed Psych confirming the benefit of a smaller school and a need to support transition be helpful in this case? Am I right in thinking it is unhelpful to focus on the negatives associated with other settings- eg the lack of space in his current classroom? I guess this will just come down to the panel on the day?!

prh47bridge Fri 23-Sep-11 22:00:29

The emails would clearly help your case. If the Ed Psych believes there is a genuine need and is willing to say so then that would also be helpful.

Being negative about the current school is generally not a good tactic. Try to turn it round into being positive about the preferred school. For example, instead of talking about lack of space in the current classroom you can talk about the extra space in the preferred school and how that will help your son.

At the end of the day it is up to the panel to decide whether the prejudice to your son through not being admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school through having another pupil. However, the emails you mention sound like they give you a strong case.

drbrown Fri 30-Sep-11 17:28:25

The appeal was today and the email evidence from the school supporting the transfer was not allowed as 'the LA admissions were there representing the views of the school'! We await the decision of the panel with little hope of success.

prh47bridge Fri 30-Sep-11 17:37:01

It is true that the school is not supposed to support your appeal. However, emails stating that they have the space and resources to accommodate your son are germane to whether or not admitting your son would cause prejudice. I obviously haven't seen the emails nor do I know how you got copies so it is difficult to judge, but if you lose the appeal I would be tempted to refer the matter to the LGO and ask if the panel were right to exclude this evidence.

admission Fri 30-Sep-11 20:38:23

In my opinion the panel (or was it the clerk who made the decision) were incorrect. Yes the LA is representing the school at the appeal and therefore it would have been totally inappropriate to table the email as part of the school's case in part 1. However when it came to questions you should have been allowed to ask questions around the reasons why the school is saying that they have the space and resources, which seem at odds to the LA view. The panel would then have to weigh up the respective positions as to whether the school (via the LA) have proved prejudice.
Also when it came to part 2, you should have been allowed to enter it as part of your evidence, you can put in anything you want that you feel helps your case. It is questionable how it does help your case much at part 2, other than trying to reduce the level of prejudice to the school, but it should have been allowed to be entered as part of your case.

drbrown Fri 30-Sep-11 22:21:22

One email was sent from the Headteacher to the admissions team and copied to me. The other was sent from the Headteacher to me answering questions around arguments the LA had put forward regarding room sizes etc. It was the clerk who made the decision that the emails should not be allowed. I was allowed to question the issue of space but the email was not allowed to support my argument. Thanks again for your advice through this process.

prh47bridge Fri 30-Sep-11 22:44:51

In that case I completely agree with Admission that the clerk was wrong. You should have been allowed to use these emails to challenge the LA's case. I would definitely go to the LGO if you lose the appeal.

drbrown Mon 03-Oct-11 19:13:26

We heard today that the appeal had been unsuccessful. Having considered our options, we feel that as our son is Y5 it would be too disruptive to pursue this. Thanks again for your advice.

prh47bridge Mon 03-Oct-11 20:32:06

Personally I would be tempted to take it up with the LGO anyway to ensure that future parents were not prevented from presenting evidence at appeal. Even if you go to a second appeal and win you still have the option of rejecting the place. But it is your decision and I hope it works out well for you and your son.

drbrown Sat 15-Oct-11 14:18:24

The LA agreed that the school had sufficient space and the email supported me in arguing that case. The move was refused on the grounds that he is dyslexic and at SA and since there were 2 other children at SA in the class n would prejudice the education of the others. His need for an experienced and effective SN teacher was one of our arguments for moving!

prh47bridge Sat 15-Oct-11 20:34:17

This gets worse. Not only is the clerk incorrectly stopping you presenting evidence, the LA is saying that your child has been refused entry because of his dyslexia. If the LA is basically saying they would have admitted your child if he was not dyslexic it sounds to me like a breach of the Admissions Code and probably a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. They may not discriminate against chiildren with special needs. I know you previously said you don't want to pursue this but please refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. If the LA is discriminating against children with special needs they need to be reminded of their responsibilities. The LGO is usually fairly quick with school admissions cases and you don't have to accept any place offered at the end of the process.

drbrown Sun 16-Oct-11 19:01:41

Thanks. Yes, once I had calmed down about it all, I began to think it must be wrong to refuse him on those grounds. I will get in touch with the LGO and see where we go next.

admission Sun 16-Oct-11 20:00:26

I can't really believe that this is what has been said, it is definitely a breach of what is now the Equalities Act and the panel should never ever have been making a decision based solely on the fact that there were other pupils with special needs in the class. Yes the panel can give some consideration to the level of special needs in the class, but 2 others in the class at school action is nothing. Most school teachers would kill to have a class with only two pupils at school action in it.
If as I assume this is in writing I would be sending that to the LGO immediately as they need to be made aware of these kind of decisions which simply show a clerk who hasn't a clue and a panel that is not making decisions independantly knows the code of practice

AnnaB89 Tue 18-Oct-11 11:29:16

Message deleted

voicelikeShirleyBassey Wed 19-Oct-11 22:40:26

Hi my DD is changing primary/prep schools in Y3 and hope I don't have to write an appeal but if it comes to that then I suppose I will. Some of you on here are really experienced on the admissions machinery at some of the private pre-preps in London from reading other posts. I am on my own with her at the moment as a solo parent and hoping to secure her a place at City of London Girls in 2012 or James Allen Prep ( both single sex).

Been to both schools and CLSG seemed to offer more in terms of wraparound care (afterschool club etc) but want you to say if you're a single parent when you register but JAPS did not ask. Do schools sometimes 'rat out', indirectly preferring children from married families? Can this be a ground of appeal if turned down, which we really hope DD is not. What kind of families/pupils don't these two schools like if anyone knows who has applied before or has a DD there? If DD passes selective exams well, will this be enough or will her family setting also matter in the selection process?

Thanks for reading this post. Not looking forward to appealing at all and hope we don't ever have to. A little anxious!

belar Thu 19-Apr-12 17:08:35

Hi everyone,
There is some great advice on here so I'm really hoping you can help me too !
My daughter didnt get into either of my chosen schools. We are out of catchment for both schools, however my daughter has the criteria for Serious medical condition and Exceptional social or domestic needs as she has Leukaemia.
Both schools are smaller schools with classes no bigger than 15. This is the sort of school that my daughter needs to attend to help keep her as safe and healthy as possible, less pupils=less illness=easier to keep my daughter away from it, plus hygiene is easier to control with less pupils in the class and school. The school also has a sort of knowledge of cancer and chemotherapy as a member of staff is currently undergoing treatment. They also have experience of hickman lines (the permanent line she has in for chemo and blood tests) as theyve had a previous pupil with one for a different illness. Both schools are closer to my work and family, if my daughter gets a temperature she needs picking up ASAP and taking to hospital, this is another reason for choosing these schools.
I have the appeal form ready to fill in but want as much info to back my case as poss to give me a greater chance of a positive outcome.

PLEASE HELP ASAP :-)

SchoolsNightmare Thu 19-Apr-12 17:21:13

belar - do both schools you want list medical and social needs as one of their criteria (not all of them do)? If so you need to ask the LA why they have rejected your application on these grounds. Did you supply medical evidence to back this all up? Did they review this evidence and give it due consideration (you need to ask them this).

Both schools have classes of 15 in total? Or is it 15 reception aged children mixed in with 15 year 1 children? That makes a difference for appeal. If it is 15 children per class and the classes never get mixed (so that they never have 30 per class before Year 3) then you have a much better chance of winning an appeal.
All you would need to do is back up everything you have said with the medical evidence plus a letter from your Consultant explaining the importance of a smaller class for medical reasons and the importance of having someone who can pick up with minimal travel time (again for medical reasons). It is not enough to tell the panel that in your opinion these are necessary - you need a medical professional to say that they are necessary (and even better if they will name the school and say it is medically important your child is offered a place there).

As well as all this appeals stuff though, do check with the LA that they have considered these needs if they form part of the admission criteria for the schools you want. If they haven't, it could be a mistake on their part and you can press for a place on those grounds too.

prh47bridge Thu 19-Apr-12 18:41:36

Assuming the school gives priority to children with medical needs, the question will be whether your daughter's leukaemia means she needs to go to your preferred school. An appeal panel will have to consider whether the evidence available to the LA on your application was strong enough to mean they should have made that decision. Having said that, I can imagine a sympathetic panel giving you a place in this case even if they shouldn't strictly under the rules. As SchoolsNightmare says, you need as much independent medical evidence as you can get. It needs to be about your daughter - general articles about children with leukaemia are better than nothing but nowhere near as good as a medical professional writing something specifically about your daughter. Also it needs to be clear that the professional is offering their opinion, not just reflecting your views.

Good luck.

admission Thu 19-Apr-12 23:37:33

The questions I would ask are firstly whether you know that the LA accepted your wish to be considered under the medical priority and that in the case of both schools this was applied.
Secondly if neither school could offer a place that suggests that the admission criteria for medical is actually quite far down the list , could you confirm what the actual admission criteria order is please.

Emma24H Mon 23-Apr-12 14:20:30

Hi, i have read all of your posts with great interest. my Daughter did not get into to the primary school I applied for. Due to my personal circumstnaces I only put one choice. I am within the catchment area and my two younger siblings, who live at the same address as myself and my daughter, attend that school. I work as a nurse with shifts starting at 7am and ending and 9pm. This means that my mother would be responisble for taking my daughter to and from school and since she takes my siblings to school she cannot take my daughter to a different school at the same time. i understand that this alone is not adequate grounds for appeal, however due to the early starts and late finishes my job entails, coupled with an hours commute each way, school breakfast clubs and childminders are not able to meet my childcare needs, hence the arrangement with my mother. I have been informed that this is grounds for appeal by my LEA. The school i was offered is inappropriate also as my younger siblings previously attended this school is recpetion class and were removed by my mother due to a case of serious negligence. I have found this discussion to be very helpfull in a number of ways but i am left iwth a few questions. Firstly, does anyone know of any sites/information which would be useful in helping me to write my appeal statement, in regards to structure and wording. Secondly, when the appeals code states that evidence of curcumstances must be provided does this simply mean the statement written by the parent or is this something else such as proof of address etc?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Emma

prh47bridge Mon 23-Apr-12 15:37:54

I wouldn't worry too much about the structure and wording of your appeal statement. Appeal panels see all sorts. As long as you make all the points clearly that is all that matters. If you are worried feel free to PM me and I will review your statement for you.

Could you tell me where in the appeal code you are talking about? I can't immediately find anything like that in the current code.

PrincessTamTam Mon 23-Apr-12 16:32:40

Hi all, I frankly feel a bit of a berk. My youngest son has failed to get into my preferred school, nearest by far to me but also very over subscribed. I named only this school on my form as my older 3 all went there and we are in the PAA and very close. With hindsight this was a mistake as this year (of course) councils - in our case, Hounslow - have changed the criteria so that siblings get highest priority, followed by those closest to school. As his nearest sibling has just left the school we were relying on distance only, but as we are so close I didn't feel this would be a problem. Unfortunately there were an enormous number of siblings applying this year and new flats built recently very close to the school. The last distance admitted was 0.407 and we are 0.411.
Anyway, he is 5th on the waiting list and I am thinking of appealing on the grounds of distance measured. I don't think they have used a path which runs diagonally across the green at the end of my road which would certainly cut the distance measured for me (and also anyone living this side of the green). I am waiting for confirmation of this - they are being quite slow giving me the information - but in the meantime does anyone know if this would be grounds for an appeal?
Many thanks for any help, this is a nightmare.

julieh1968 Mon 23-Apr-12 16:44:28

Hi posting on behalf of a friend.
She has been refused a place for her youngest child even though there is a sibling already at the school. Logistically she clearly cannot be in two places at once but she knows that this in itself is not grounds for appeal.
Her elder child was moved to the school following serious bullying at his previous school and had very low attainment because of this, in addition he has severe allergies, Due to these issues she feels it is not an option to move him to yet another school.

The admittance criteria for the school is as follows:
1 Looked after children
2 Children in the priority catchment with a sibling at the school
3 Children in the priority catchment area
4 Children outside priority catchment with a sibling
5 Other applications.

However the school prospectus reads as follows:

If the school is over-subscribed, priority is given first to looked-after children, then to children living in the catchment area who have a sibling already at the school. When places are still available, these are allocated to children who completed the form by 30th November AND
-have siblings at the school
-live closest to the school

Which switches criteria 3 and 4.

Finally, she made an online application and when she input that there was a sibling and their details she was taken to the next section of the form and not given an option to input 2nd or 3rd preferences (not that she had any!). When she has pointed this out to the LEA, they have said that she would have had to click on a button to "ADD" any further preferences, rather than the normal procedure where you just state additional preferences. Crucially they also said that no-one had chosen to "ADD" 2nd and 3rd Preferences this year. Presumably this implies that the online submission is unclear in this regard.

I know that the 3rd point doesn't make any case for entry into her chosen school, but does it mean that she has been prejudiced by the application process in the first instance?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thank you

SchoolsNightmare Mon 23-Apr-12 17:02:57

PrincessTAm - it depends. The admission booklet should give you a definition of safest walking route (if this is what they use in your area - many areas use as the crow flies to work out distances).
Often paths are invalid because they are not lit with street lamps or are on private land. Both of these things mean that the council can say they are not a safe walking option and don't count.
Also if this isn't the case and the path has been wrongly ignored despite being well lit and one of the 'allowed' routes, the council will have to remeasure everyone which might mean other people benefit from this more than you do. If it is a mistake you can bring it to their attention but it doesn't mean they will offer you a place if the path turns out to advantage other people for example more. The best thing to do is ring and ask them (or emailing might get you a quicker answer).

Julieh1968 - Has your friend been told which category she was placed in (category 4?) and what the last distance offered was for her category or if anyone in her category got a place?

I see what you mean about the prospectus - the wording is vague (because it says the criteria in the text but doesn't mention whether this is the order or whether these are merely considerations in no particular order) but in conjunction with the list 1-5 also printed, I think the meaning then becomes clear that all children in priority area get preference over all those outside.

There is nothing to stop your friend arguing that the admission criteria have been potentially wrongly applied because they are not clear. It depends whether a panel agree but crucially this will only help if she would definitely have got a place were 3 and 4 switched. If the school was full just with siblings living in the priority area plus people in category 4 living closer than her then she wouldn't have got a place anyway so this won't help. A mistake can only be used in appeal if it is a mistake that directly cost you a place and if the panel agree it is a mistake.

Again she can say that the online form was unfair in not allowing her to add a 2nd choice and 3rd choice but presumably if she knew she was allowed 3 choices, it would seem odd to raise this now rather than on the day she tried to fill out the form and couldn't add any more options. Again it is up to a panel to decide this sort of thing.

If this is a class size appeal (30 children per class) your friend will only win by satisfying the panel that the LA made a mistake and as a direct result she lost the place that was rightfully hers. Any mentions about sibling needs or schol preference does not add any weight.

If it is not a class size appeal (less than 30 per class), all of her reasons for wanting this school can be put forward and the panel are free to admit her child if they believe the child would be disadvantaged by not getting a place more than the school would be disadvantaged by taking one more child

PrincessTamTam Mon 23-Apr-12 17:17:16

Thanks Schools, food for thought. I have emailed them as they said they couldn't answer my questions over the phone and it may take a few days.
The footpath is used by everyone walking to the school from this side, it is well lit at either end and runs across a public open green, so is completely safe. In fact it is much safer than going along the very busy roads surrounding it. Do you think a canvas of school children using the route would be any use at appeal? I also think that previous appeals have resulted in specific similar paths being named as exceptions do you know how I can get information on these appeals?
Thanks so much for advice.

julieh1968 Mon 23-Apr-12 17:25:35

Thank you for the very prompt response.

Yes she was criteria 4.

There are four families who applied under that criteria and only one got in, they live closer than my friend.

The places would have been filled by those living within priority catchment area, a few with siblings, but most without.

At the moment the LEA are not providing much info on what the priority catchment area is and being very vague, just saying it's on postcode and not providing her with specifics. Have told her to go back and ask for further details. I suggested asking what happens if you live in a tower block and all have the same postcode, are you considered nearer on the top floor as that would be where the crow actually flies lol

It is a class size appeal

Thank you

SchoolsNightmare Mon 23-Apr-12 17:55:04

julieh1968 - it is perfectly allowed (it may not seem fair though) for the criteria to give priority to those living within a set area over some siblings BUT that priority area must be clearly defined. It cannot be vague. It might be a parish. It might be named streets. It has to be black and white though so there is no room for error.

Assuming such a priority area exists and assuming the places have been given firstly to those that live inside it, then it would seem that the admission criteria has been applied correctly. Your friend will have to ask the LA to confirm if both of these things are true.

All the time this doubt lingers your friend will obviously be hoping something comes up that will prove the LA has made a mistake and help her at appeal ' get a place.
That is totally understandable but try to encourage her to also focus her efforts a bit wider. If she is not happy with the allocated school for example, she will need to get on waiting lists for any school she prefers as quickly as possible. It sounds like she is 3rd on the list for the school she wants at the moment but get her to check she is formally on that list as well as any others that she wants to join.

PrincessTamTam - yes it has happened that communities have forced schools to include certain paths especially where excluding a certain path causes prejudice to a whole group of people (eg if they exclude the path that many from a council state use as in one case recently here).

This is done (I think) through a formal process though. It might be the Schools' Adjudicator - you would need to ask one of the MN experts on that. All you can do right now is put your request in writing and hope that the LA come back and say it was all a big mistake and yes the path is correct and you live close enough now to have a place. I suspect though they will say that even though lots of people use the path, it doesn't count for school purposes - there can be numerous reasons why it may not count - it may not be a registered road, it may not be paved as they specify - anything. As long as they apply those strict rules to ALL paths in the area then you haven't been disadvantaged.
You could actually find there are loads of paths like this all over the Borough and if they suddenly included them all, more people would actually be counted as living closer to the school than you do. It doesn't always help to get them to look again at a path and redefine their criteria.

Again, until you are happy with this issue, the temptation is to wait and see what they say but don't let that put you off getting onto waiting lists now (including for the schools you want the most and any others you would consider). The path thing may or may not help you but in the meantime you don't want to miss out on a waiting list place.

PrincessTamTam Mon 23-Apr-12 18:22:34

Thanks for your help. I do realise that I may indeed be opening a can of worms which may benefit others more than me! However my road is at the very start of the path so I wd probably be one of the first to benefit and it is actually ludicrous if this path is not used. I will wait and see what they say, and have requested forms to apply to go on another school's list. I feel a fool for not listing it originally, but it never crossed my mind we would not get in by a few meters!

prh47bridge Mon 23-Apr-12 18:24:43

PrincessTamTam - Hounslow measure the distance by the shortest route using public roads and footpaths adopted by the LA. Apart from a couple of specific exceptions they do not use routes across common land, open spaces, public parks, subways or footpaths that haven't been adopted. So the central question is what is the status of this footpath. If it is adopted you have a case. If it is not you can still appeal and try to argue that they should have used it but it will be harder to convince the appeal panel. Note that if other children are affected by the use of this footpath they will have to remeasure the distance for all the children concerned to determine who would have got in if they had got it right.

julieh1968 - It sounds to me like the criteria in the prospectus are a misprint as they don't give priority to children in catchment unless they happen to have a sibling at the school. I don't think you will win an appeal on that basis.

I presume your friend's child was in category 4? If they placed her child in the wrong category that would certainly be the basis of a successful appeal.

Your friend could also appeal for the schools she would have named as second and third choice. From the comment made by the LA it is clear that their online system was unclear. It is simply not believable that every single online applicant only wanted to name one choice. So it is open to her to argue that she has been disadvantaged by this and would have got a place at one of these schools had she been able to apply. If a lot of people appeal on this basis it could cause chaos as the LA would effectively have to rerun the allocation process to sort out who should have been offered places at their 2nd or 3rd choice school. Appeal panels would probably find that the number of potentially successful appeals exceeded anything the schools could handle so they would be left with the thankless task of deciding which appeals should succeed.

doody1412 Mon 23-Apr-12 20:06:46

hi all, im brand new to this, desperately seeking some assistanc what to do next!! My youngest son has just been turned down for the preferred school, its a small school that only takes 10 children, both my other children attended this school although my oldest son will be going high school this year therefore when my youngest is due to start he doesnt officially have any siblings there. My concern is that my child has been with his childminder for 4 years since he was 6 months old, i am a nurse and have to work full time. He has been with her every week since this age and also her 2 children one of which goes to this school and one whom will be starting this year. I dont feel it would benefit my son to find a new childminder after 4 years of having the same one, she has done all the school stuff as i am at work. There is no way my employer will allow me to cut my hours and in fact i couldnt afford the pay cut.
Where do i stand with this?

prh47bridge Mon 23-Apr-12 20:18:53

I'm afraid your childcare concerns are unlikely to make a successful appeal.

How is this school organised? If it has one class covering Reception, Y1 and Y2 any appeal will be an infant class size case. That means you need to show that a mistake has been made and your son should have been admitted. Was he, for example, placed in the wrong category or did they measure the home to school distance incorrectly?

If it is not infant class size you have a better chance. You would need to show that your son will be disadvantaged by not going to this school.

Emma24H Mon 23-Apr-12 20:34:26

prh47bridge it is stated throughout the feb 2012 appeals code that evidence should be submitted before the appeal in writing. i just didnt want to make any mistakes in regards to the appeal and wanted to double check that by evidence they meant the statement. thanks for your reply

helen1122 Mon 23-Apr-12 21:45:14

Hi, my daughter didn't get any of our preferences or catchment. I am going to appeal and know it will be near on impossible to win as it will come down to infant class size.

I ordered the Ben Rooney book which was delivered today but to be honest I am still a little unclear, how can I prove that the Council have made a mistake? I thought that there would be mpre example letters in the book but there are only a couple, does anyone kjnow where I can read other examples?

I just wondered, my letter just said "refused" next to each choice and on the back page said "if you have been refused a place at a x county council please contact the county council direct on xxxx who will be able to provide you with information on how places we're allocated according to the published admissions criteria.

I wondered if they are allowed to do this, I thought they had to give me a reason on the letter? For info, I live in the city, applied for county schools.

As I say, I am not holding out much hope. We're no 4/17 on the waiting list of our 1st choice school. I have applied for 2 other schools which is my plan B, 1 that had 12 places left & the other had 2 places, that could obviously change as more parents get their results. Plan C is to sell every belonging I have and send her to private school.

The school that she has been offered does not offer after school care which i require, would a lett from my employer stating that i cannot change my working hours help or not?

Many thanks

SchoolsNightmare Mon 23-Apr-12 22:27:37

helen - when we didn't get any of our choices there was no reason given on the letter apart from all schools were full which was a bit obvious really! We had to ask for last distance offered etc. They have to tell you this information and I do think it is should be on the letter but if it isn't that doesn't really help you get a place as such. It just means that you must follow up and get this info to check to see whether a mistake has been made (if a mistake has been made that would help you but the fact the letter may or may not met the standard required will not).

Living in the city and applying for country school doesn't affect your application. Each school you applied to will be told by your council that you want a place there. Then they tell your council whether you meet their criteria this year or not. Your council then sends a letter to you with the outcome and offer you a school place if any of the schools you like say you've meet their criteria. If you don't meet any of their criteria each school will have told the council this and you will instead get an offer of the nearest school with places spare.

Childcare has no bearing on appeals or school applications unfortunately. It is a huge issue for many parents but because so many face these challenges it would be totally impossible to allocate school places that accomodated people's working hours, childminders and journeys. If it isn't an infant class size appeal you can try other arguments to win an appeal but only ones that relate to the benfits of your child going to this school or the disadvantages of her not going (not childcare related - things about your DD and the school itself).

Blanka4 Mon 23-Apr-12 22:57:03

Hi all i'm new to this and i would really appreciate any advice and guidance what to do next. My son has been diagnosed with moderate global verbal and non verbal delay by paediatrician in October last year. The second review took place in the end of February and current diagnosis is possible autistic spectrum disorder, profile of language impairment, social communication difficulties and behavioural issues. I’m awaiting genetic test result and LANDS assessment.
So far he had two sets of Speech& Language Therapy. He's been on IEP at his nursery since last June. Currently i was told to initiate SEN assessment.
My son hasn't been offered a place at any school i applied for.
All applications were based on special medical/social needs.
Schools i've chosen had the best provision for children with learning difficulties. My first choice was Church of England school which is the nearest to my home (0.3 mile), special medical/social needs were 2nd priority according to submission criteria, 3rd sibling, 4th distance. I applied for open space. The second school was community one about 0.5 m away.
He's got allocated place in school, which is 2.5 mile from home.
I've called LA admission team today to find out the reason why my son hasn't been offer a place in preferred schools. The main reason was the distance (apparently we live to far). When I asked about the medical/social needs i was told that they haven't been taken into account. I don't understand that. If LA has already been involved with my son education why did they refuse to consider his needs?
At the time of applying I asked my son's IEP person what kind of medical proof i need to support my application, whatever she could write a formal letter. Also i asked the same my GP. I was told that i don't need such a letter and that scans of paediatrician report from October and SALT report will do. Since the application my son behaviour on the road deteriorated. He's very unaware of danger; he's running away and not stopping before crossing. He needs to use particular route to go to the nursery if not he's throwing tantrums. I didn't consider this as a major issue back then but at the moment I don't think we can easily get to allocated school. After 2 bus changes and 15min walk (probably 30 min with my son) he will be too exhausted and frustrated to do any activity at school.
I'm going to appeal from LA decision but I'm not sure what ground i should based my appeal on. Also i need to find out how to appeal to church school.

prh47bridge Tue 24-Apr-12 00:49:38

Emma24H - If you have any documentary evidence you want to submit to the appeal you need to send that in before the hearing. It doesn't have to go in with your initial case but don't leave it too late. If you introduce significant documentary evidence in the hearing you may find that the appeal is adjourned to a later date to allow the panel and the authority to digest the new information.

Blanka4 - The problem you face is that, unless a school has a specific autism unit or similar, your son's needs will not give you priority for that school. The theory is that any school can cope with autism and will make proper provision.

You say you were told to initiate SEN assessment. If that results in your son getting a statement of SEN you will be able to choose the school you want him to attend. The LA will have limited grounds to refuse your choice so you will almost certainly get what you want.

If you appeal your chances of success will depend on whether it is infant class size. If it is ICS you will have to show that a mistake has been made. You could argue that the LA was unreasonable in refusing to give priority to your son but it is a long shot. If it is not an ICS case you will stand a much better chance. In that case I would talk about your son's condition and the recent deterioration, especially if you can provide independent expert evidence to back it up.

Blanka4 Tue 24-Apr-12 13:47:20

Thank you prh47bridge that's very helpful. I will try to get letters form paediatrician and SALT therapist. I’m meeting my son’s IEP person today so maybe she will help too. Also will you be able to tell me where i can find specific information about school eg autism unit or what is percentage of pupils from certain ethnic background at the school. I’ve been through Ofsted reports and schools websites but there’s not much information.

PanelChair Tue 24-Apr-12 14:29:50

helen1122 - You need to press the LEA for confirmation of why you missed out on a place at your preferred school. Clearly, it's good practice to put this in the initial letter rather than make you ask for it, but the key thing is that they must not obstruct you in preparing your appeal. You need that basic information, as (obviously) without it you can't check for any mistakes - did they measure the distance to school correctly, did they place you in the right admissions category etc etc? The LEA (and schools) also have to give you any other information you need to prepare your appeal. If they don't give you the information you need, you can mention that to the panel, who may then be more inclined to give you the benefit of any doubt.

A letter from your employer will make no difference because parents' employment status is not a part of any school's admissions criteria and you have to base your appeal on what your child needs, not what you as a parent would prefer. I imagine the Ben Rooney book talks about infant class size appeals. If yours is an ICS appeal, the grounds for winning are very narrow and you need to pitch your appeal accordingly.

PanelChair Tue 24-Apr-12 14:32:27

Blanka4 - I'm not sure why you think the percentage of pupils from any particular background has anything to do with an appeal? You have to frame your appeal in terms of the school's admissions criteria.

prh47bridge Tue 24-Apr-12 15:47:11

Agree with PanelChair that the ethnic backgrounds of children at the school is irrelevant to appeals. Regarding autism units and other specialist SE provision you can ask the school.

Blanka4 Tue 24-Apr-12 22:01:58

My son has severe speech delays. Also he’s bilingual. He uses a lot of jargon and mixes two languages. His speech is unclear and difficult to understand by other people. I was thinking if I could make a point that it would be beneficial for his speech and language development to be around children from the same ethnic background. I could back it up with a letter from SALT. Please tell me if this could be another argument;

prh47bridge Tue 24-Apr-12 23:07:46

I would be very nervous about making that argument. It could easily come across as racist. However, if you have a letter from a specialist saying "I have examined Blanka4's son and in my opinion..." or similar it may be worth trying. But be very sensitive in how you present it if you choose to go down this route.

PanelChair Tue 24-Apr-12 23:18:01

Exactly. I appreciate that there are issues here about your son's speech but arguments about wanting to be with people of the same ethnicity/cultural background/speaking the same language need to be handled with extreme care. The panel will decide the appeal on its merits - not on how much they like you - but, if the arguments are finely balanced, you want them to give you the benefit of any remaining doubt. Giving the impression that you are prejudiced or a racist will not help.

Blanka4 Wed 25-Apr-12 10:39:32

Thank you prh47bridge and PanelChair for your honest opinion. That was just an idea to have more arguments while appealing. I’m aware of all sensitive issues and I’ll think this through again.
Another thing if you could help with, I would like to ask, if anyone knows a good but yet affordable education lawyer or firm. I don’t think I can handle all appeal process by myself. It’s so many things to do and no time (I’ve had got a new baby recently), so many right questions to ask LA. English is my second language and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to put my all arguments together in appropriate way to give me a better chance to win an appeal.

prh47bridge Wed 25-Apr-12 23:02:36

Even though English is your second language I would not use a lawyer for this. Many education lawyers seem to know very little about admissions. I have known cases where the parents have engaged a lawyer who has thoroughly put the panel's backs up. You don't want that.

You will get plenty of help here to prepare for your appeal and you can take a friend to support you. Appeal panels are used to parents who are nervous and most will have come across parents for whom English is a second language. That should not damage your appeal.

KVR1970 Fri 27-Apr-12 10:35:56

Hello
Can anyone offer help to us please for a reception class appeal (school has intake of 60).
We are going to try to appeal on social needs grounds as our child currently attends the school nursery and has had difficulty settling - tears and trouble parting with us on a regular basis, though I don't think the teacher would necessarily back us up as she always says that as soon as we have left the tears stop. We believe that to have to start over at a new school in September will be detrimental to our child's well-being and brought this up with the school educational psychologist earlier in the year. 2 appeals were successful for places at the school last year though I am not sure of the grounds. 1 may have been on medical.
The nursery class is really integrated into the school so our child imagines that everyone just continues on together into reception class and it's going to be a tough one to have to start out elsewhere in September.
Any advice appreciated, thank you.

prh47bridge Fri 27-Apr-12 12:07:27

If the school has an intake of 60 an appeal will be heard under infant class size rules. That means you should only win if you can show that a mistake has been made or the admission authority has acted unreasonably. Did they, for example, put your child in the correct admission category? Did they measure the home to school distance correctly?

You can still appeal even if there is no evidence of a mistake. You never know what will come out during the hearing. But you should be realistic about your chances of success.

dad75 Fri 27-Apr-12 15:09:08

Hi,
We have just have the dreaded rejection letter for our youngest son. We live in the walsall borough but our eldest son already attends a junior school in the wolverhampton borough. We had applied for son2 to go to the same school as son1. We have been looking to move near to the school in wolverhampton but this is taking longer than expected. At the moment i pick up son2 from school and bring him back to my work until wife is back with son1. Work are accomodating this on the understanding it is until the end of the school year.
Son1 has asbergers, he has a statement. Wife picks him up because there are many occasions where issues have arisen and need sorting out with the school. We were advised recently by teacher of son2 to refer him to gp because of handwriting problems, gp also noticed hyper activity, something he thought should be looked into. Ultimately son2 will suffer, he does feel left out, it seems son1 is taking up moms time.
Does anyone know the best way to appeal on this basis?

prh47bridge Fri 27-Apr-12 17:56:58

If this will be an infant class size appeal I'm afraid it is unlikely you will win based on these arguments. You would need to show that a mistake had been made and your son should have been admitted.

If it is not infant class size you stand a better chance. If you want to appeal based on your younger son's problems you will need to show that his problems mean he needs to go to the appeal school. Hyperactivity on its own will not an appeal unless there is a letter from an independent medical professional saying that your son's hyperactivity means he needs to go to the appeal school. Even then there are no guarantees.

KVR1970 Fri 27-Apr-12 20:08:49

Thanks prh47bridge. No mistakes have been made so, as it will be infant class size, I guess we are appealing on the grounds that the decision not to include our child was "unreasonable" given that we have already stated our concerns about starting at a new school in our original application. I am sure it is very rare to win on these grounds but we know that they have granted appeals in the past and gone over the 30 child limit. The council told me that any child admitted over and above the 30 are called exceptional children, so if anyone can offer advice for this nature of appeal, we would be grateful.

prh47bridge Fri 27-Apr-12 21:07:16

The standard for showing that a decision is unreasonable is very high. In essence you have to show that no rational person would have made the same decision as the LA. On the information you have posted I think you will struggle to show that. However, you may get a sympathetic panel or something may emerge during the hearing to show that a mistake was made. So you should go ahead with your appeal but don't get your hopes too high.

You simply need to set out as strong a case as you can as to why your son needs to be at this school. Explain the problems you have set out in your first post, tell the panel that you informed the LA of this and you consider their decision to refuse entry to be unreasonable. You should also look for features this school has that the allocated school does not and which will be of particular benefit to your son. Highlight those.

Your case will be stronger if you can get independent expert evidence to back you up.

I wouldn't get your hopes up but I would give it a try.

Oh, and by the way, if your son is admitted he will be an "excepted" child, not an "exceptional" one (although I'm sure he is that as well). It means he doesn't count towards the class size limit.

KVR1970 Fri 27-Apr-12 21:48:57

Brilliant, that is really helpful prh47bridge.
Many thanks!

Cazinga Mon 30-Apr-12 02:50:20

Hi, I've recently found out my youngest didn't get into my preferred primary school. I only added this school to the admissions form as both of her older siblings attend and she herself is in the part time foundation year there. We live 1.8 miles from the school and are out of catchment. Unfortunately there are also 8 other siblings that didn't gain a place and we're 7th down the waiting list (as it goes on distance).
This year their dad split, we lost our family home and were homeless for 6 months. I'm worried about the stability of my kids if I don't gain a place at appeal. As a single mum I can't physically get to two different schools and can't afford childcare or before/after school clubs. It sounds far-fetched but my 2nd child is only happy at school. She screams and cries and loses control frequently at home. She's finding it extremely hard to deal with her dad leaving and our current living conditions. So I don't feel taking her out of the school would be an option. What will happen if I lose the appeal??