Any tips for primary school appeals?

(957 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?

Mummyofthreeboys Sat 13-Oct-12 08:44:10

Hello thank you or your quick reply,I have checked the criteria and it is as follows

(i)Children in care to a local authority (looked after children)

(ii) Pupils with a medical or psychological condition that warrants placement at the school
(iii) Pupils with an older sibling who will be attending the school at the time of admission

Would a letter of my gp stating I was unable o walk to the school he has been allocated be sufficient enough or will I need to do or provide anything else? Thank you

Mummyofthreeboys Sat 13-Oct-12 08:46:15

As it says pupils with medical conditions will my back problem still warrant this criteria? or does it hav to be the child's eicl problem?

prh47bridge Sat 13-Oct-12 10:14:17

In terms of getting priority from the waiting list it varies from LA to LA. Some will take your condition into account, others will not. Some will accept a letter from your GP, others insist on a letter from a hospital consultant. I suggest you submit the best evidence you can.

BathJ Mon 14-Jan-13 21:32:50

Hi All, I'm reading this and panicking! It is the deadline for applications tomorrow and I have discounted two horrendous local school in favour of the next nearest which is 1.6 miles away as the crow flies. I've sat down to write up our supporting statement, but, after reading all of these comments I now wonder if it is worth it?

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 12:34:09

Hi there
I have my appeal hearing this Friday
Due to our family relocating,
Daughter in y5, son in y3
Have turned down school offered, there are 2 schools much closer
I have current school roll numbers
Y3 93
Y4 90
Y5 91
Y6 91
LA believes predujice will occur by admitting my children to the school.
Net capacity of school is 360, they are currently on 364
School have detailed crowding problems in their impact statement
Playgrounds bumps & minor accidents
Hot & stuffy & packed assembly hall
Only enough tables & space for 30 children
Corridors are packed during changeover time
Year 3- 4 on school action, 8 on school action plus
Year 5 - 6 on school action, 1 school action plus

My grounds of appeal ....
School holds sports mark- my son g&t in this area
Links for my daughter in y5 with secondary school (short time to establish friends)
School has a large music influence, choir 170 children... My daughter needs to continue with her music activities
School advertises a strong community feel (same as current school)
We are moving 200 miles away from all friends & current school, my son has recently met a few friends from school we are appealing for, he needs to see a familiar face, will help settle etc....

Could you help, is there anything I can add? How can I challenge the LA?

Thank you in advance for any help!

prh47bridge Mon 25-Feb-13 22:55:42

It is a shame you turned down the school offered. If the subject comes up treat it with caution. If the panel feel you are attempting to blackmail them (or the LA) into giving your children places at your preferred school it will not help your case. Should you lose your appeal the LA is not under any obligation to come up with an alternative offer for you. If they do it may be worse than the school you have already rejected.

I would challenge the playground bumps and minor accidents. They happen in all schools. Ask them if they can prove that these accidents were directly attributable to overcrowding. I would be surprised if they can.

Hot, stuffy and packed assembly hall and crowded corridors are fairly standard statements. As they are only 4 over net capacity that shouldn't really be an issue. Again, ask if there have been any incidents directly attributable to overcrowding.

Only enough tables and space for 30 children can't be right. On the numbers you have quoted they must be running some classes with 31 pupils. Challenge that.

Ask the LA tomorrow to provide the calculated capacity for the school urgently - you need to see that before the appeal. That will be a range and the net capacity will be somewhere within that range. If they have set the net capacity right at the top of the calculated range you should ignore it as it doesn't help you. However, if the higher figure for the calculated capacity is 366 or more you can point out that this suggests the school can take your children without serious problems.

If you want to talk about your son's sporting ability and your daughter's musical activities make sure you take evidence to support their ability/current activities.

Note that the panel will consider the two cases separately. You may find that they award a place for one of your children but not the other. In order to reduce the chances of that happening you may want to talk about the need for them to be together to support each other given that you are moving so far.

2ndappeal Tue 26-Feb-13 20:16:17

Hi,
We got our 4th school but we only put 2other schools to keep him out of 2 horrendous schools in the area. 6yrs ago we decided to move and chose a house with good primary schools in the catchment area. For the last 5yrs everyone on our street gained a place at our first choice, we missed out by 0.02of a mile, 2doors on a row of terraced houses!
We took our case to appeal and said that we had chosen the school for the above reason, also that his friends from nursery were going there too. Our son is a sensitive boy and formed a good circle of friends that help build up his confidence, some went to our first choice of school and some went to our 2nd choice none went to the school we were allocated, the pupils in his class 27 went to the school nursery so all well settled. On the first day there were only 3parents with their children and the teacher sang a song that they had learnt in their nursery, so already this unsettled our son. Most of the pupils in the class do not have English as their first language so he found it hard to make friends.
Since he has started some of the other pupils have laughed at him, he has lost his confidence and weight too, which the school nurse has picked up on, they have also said that he has a speech impediment and pronounces words wrong, in nursery he was one of the most advanced talkers, and I have taken him to the doctors and they have asked him questions and haven't picked up on anything.
We have now moved house and well within the catchment area of our 2 preferred schools but they are full.

On the first appeal they offered us a place at both the inadequate schools in the area which we declined, now that we have moved house they have offered us a place at one of the same inadequate schools, so we have declined. They cannot offer us a place at our preferred 2schools as they are full. In the first appeal they advised us that they couldn't place more than 30 in each class, and now that school has 32 in both reception classes. The school that was 2nd on our list is full but not over 30. There was a baby boom in the area in 2007 and this is why there has been so many problems but surely we should get a place now we have moved further away from his current school and nearer to the other 2 schools?
Any advice welcome
Thanks

prh47bridge Tue 26-Feb-13 23:53:54

I am confused. An appeal can only decide whether or not to admit your child to the appeal school. It cannot offer you places at other schools. That is the job of the LA and is completely separate from appeals.

By law there can only be 30 children with a single teacher in a class in Reception, Y1 and Y2. In some circumstances the school can go past this limit. The most common is successful appeals, but they only happen when a mistake has been made and the child should have been offered a place. The fact that a school is over 30 does not mean they can accept further children nor does it make a successful appeal more likely. Indeed, it generally reduces your chances at appeal.

The fact you have moved makes no difference, just as the fact that everyone on your street previously got a place at this school makes no difference. You will not get a place just because you have moved. From what you say any appeal would be heard under infant class size rules. That means there are only three ways you can win:

- a mistake was made and your son should have been offered a place

- the admission arrangements do not comply with the Admissions Code and, if they had, your son would have been offered a place

- the LA has acted unreasonably in refusing to admit your son

From what you say I'm afraid none of these apply. You can appeal if you wish but your chances of success are very low.

DanielleG1980 Wed 27-Feb-13 14:34:53

prh47bridge
Thank you for your response.
I posted it here by accident first, then decided to create my own post and this thread was ages old!

The reason I turned down the school they offered was because you had to take the place within 10 days. My appeal hearing date hadn't even come in by then. I decided in the interest of my children I would keep them here in the school they have always gone to and would reassess after the appeal. I didn't realise I could actually lose that original offer. Hopefully i play dumb and they realise I wasn't trying to blackmail....?

I will get in touch with the LA to find out more details with regards to net capacity etc......

I will make references to the emotional support both of my children can provide eachother by being at the same school, but saying that if I can get one into the school its half the battle!

I will definitely ask the question about 30 desks?

Also I was going to ask if the school action and school action plus pupils are removed from the "over crowded" classroom for periods during the day to conduct different activities, therefore leaving it less packed?

I have letters etc from my childrens school and sons academy so can provide proof in these areas...... But I do know that if I cant convince the appeal panel that admitting my children won't cause prejudice then I have a weak case.... I will do all I can though!

Thank you

agatim Wed 20-Mar-13 22:02:31

hi everyone) can someone help me please,i just moved from Berkshire to Birmingham -my little one was in reception class in there ,now when we moved there is no places in the school i chose for her(she is 3 in waiting list in one of them) if she was already in school (thats is in-year transfer) what i can do to help her get faster to school,i am sending an appeal is well any tips?

prh47bridge Wed 20-Mar-13 22:37:01

I presume you were offered another school. I hope you have accepted that offer. If you have not the LA is under no obligation to come up with another offer so you may have to home educate until a place comes up, which could be a long time.

An appeal is the only way you can get in to your preferred schools quickly. However, if they have 30 children per class in Reception, Y1 or Y2 your chances of success at appeal are limited. You will only win if a mistake has been made and you should have been offered a place. That is very unlikely for an in year application.

Neither the school nor the LA has any discretion over the waiting list. Your position on the waiting list is determined entirely by the school's admission criteria. You might be able to move up the waiting list for a school by moving closer to that school but there is no guarantee that would result in a place and it could mean you move down the waiting lists for other schools.

So I'm afraid all you can do if your appeal fails is to wait.

evvkas Sun 14-Apr-13 10:42:02

Hello. I am hoping someone could help me. I am planning to appeal against a primary school place admission. I know it is an infant class appeal and I would appeal on a basis on a wrong admission criteria being applied or an error occurring. It is a catholic school and have previously heard of irregularities in how they allocate their places ( cherry picking etc).
I want to contact the school so that I can find out which criteria banding my daughter was put in and I think they will give me the info without major problems. Where I think I might struggle is to get an actual breakdown of each criteria banding with how many pupils were placed in each of them.My daughter should have been in the banding 2, after the looked after children and there's 3 groups within that banding depending on church attendance- regular, occasional and sporadic. We would have been in the top one as well so the only reason why my daughter would not be offered a place is if there were more than 30 children in the top banding with regular church attendance. The school would have use distance for any tie breaks.
So- does the school have to provide me with information for me to determine if I have a case ( don't want to appeal if I don't have a case)
1) Number of admitted children in banding 2 (the one after looked after children) and banding 3 ( there should be no one admitted from banding 3 really)
2) For children in banding 2- how many children fell into the category of Sunday Mass attendance: Regular, occasional and irregular
3) What was the furthest address that was allocated a place within regular attendance on Sunday Mass?
4) What system was used to determine distance from school for tie breakers?

Will the school voluntary provide me with this info and if not- what can I do so that they would?

Thanks for help.

BetsyBoop Sun 14-Apr-13 12:16:32

Have you had your formal letter about your application yet? This should give you the information you need to see whether you have grounds for appeal. It should say something along the lines of

"You were placed in category 2a) and we measured the distance that you live from the school as xxxx metres. The last child admitted in category 2a) lived xxx metres from the school." (i.e. closer than you which is why you didn't get a place)

Or of course it could also confirm that you were placed in the wrong category or the distance from your home has been measured incorrectly, in which case you should appeal.

If you haven't had this information then you should ask the school (assuming they are the admissions authority, which as a RC school they most probably are - I'm assuming it's a VA school?) for it.

The school have to provide any reasonable information you ask for to help with your appeal, so they could be asked to confirm how many children were admitted in each category and sub category and how far away the last child admitted lived within whichever (sub-)category they became "full" in.

The area admissions booklet (which is normally on the LA's website) usually specifies how distances are calculated. Most schools (but not all) use mapping software (often done by the LA on their behalf for a VA school) to measure the distance, so it is very accurate, but it's not unheard of for them to measure from the wrong house etc. A few LA's/ Admissions Authorities still use "shortest safe walking route" or similar, which can be much more subjective and open to error, so you need to check which system is in use.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 12:24:17

So- does the school have to provide me with information for me to determine if I have a case ( don't want to appeal if I don't have a case)

The short answer is yes they do. They should happily answer all 4 of those questions.
Getting this information should be your first step and you can decide how to proceed from there.

It might be that they’ve put you in the wrong category or the wrong sub category (if so you must find out why eg human error or the priest's form was lost or not signed)

It might be they placed you in the correct category but 30 people in the same category beat you on distance. This can happen in some years where there are lots of applicants and, it only take one or two sets of twins who live closer to the school, or a new housing development measured as being closer, for distances to shrink dramatically.

prh47bridge Sun 14-Apr-13 18:32:41

As BetsyBoop says, the information should have been in the letter telling you that your child didn't get a place. If it was not there they must provide it when you ask as Tiggytape says. If they don't provide it before they will definitely provide it if you appeal. You could withdraw your appeal at that point if you find you don't have a case.

evvkas Sun 14-Apr-13 20:20:29

Hi. I only received a letter from LA stating I have not been offered my first choice and was offered my second choice- the standard letter with acceptance/refusal form and the waiting list form request form. Nothing else. I would have expected to receive explanation as to why my daughter did not get it but so far nothing although the reason might be it's half term. I will give them a ring tomorrow to find out and the have something formal issued if I think something. I have an impression that last year the school did not issue those letters but I will ask.
Thanks for advice, I will keep you posted on what I find out.

evvkas Sun 14-Apr-13 20:27:37

Sorry, forgot to mention- it is VA school. I read that if admission criteria do not specify how they measure distance, then the ordnance survey point has to be used. In my case, they have not specified how they measure it so it would have to be that.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 20:55:22

If you have not received the information, you should certainly ask for it. You should also ask how they measure the distances and which points they use. This should all be outlined in the admissions criteria but in any case, they should be happy to explain. It is not acceptable for parents to have to guess how distance is determined.

prh47bridge Sun 14-Apr-13 23:58:19

Have they really said nothing about how they measure distance? It is not unusual for a VA school to say they will use the same method as the LA (which allows them to subcontract that bit of the job back to the LA). If you are unsure feel free to PM me with the name of the school and LA involved and I will take a look for you.

SquirrelNuts Mon 15-Apr-13 00:28:57

I wonder if anyone could give me any advice, as im totally confused it all seems so complicated! I dont understand the appealing business.
My DS didnt get into the school i really wanted him to go to the most annoying thing is it was undersubscribed last year He has been given a place with a new ofsted report for special measures so i really dont want him to go there.
Our 1st choice school has PAN of 45? the majority of other schools have 60 or 90 which makes sense because of the limit to infant class size.
We live about 25 min walk away from the school, but he currently goes to the nursery 2 mins from it. So the majority of his friends are going there.
My DS is late july born, he has speech and language difficulties and is currently having speech therapy. He is very shy and after 7 months at nursery is still not comfortable with everyone at nursery.
Im really considering letting him stay at nursery for another term or so as i think hed struggle.
Would my health visitor be able to offer any advice?

annh Mon 15-Apr-13 00:51:36

The PAN of 45 means that the school is a 1.5 form entry and each year will have a full class and a half class which will join with the half class from the year above or below. My dc went to primary with a PAN of 45, in reception the school chose to have two classes of 22 and 23 and in every other year they were either in a straight Year 1 class or a Yr1/2 mixed class, for example. The same limits on infant class size will apply as at any other school.

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 08:21:21

A PAN of 45 means, as annh says, means that they mix classes at some point in YR-Y2 to form a class of 30 children (15 younger ones and 15 older ones). As such this would still be an Infant Class Size appeal. You can check for definite with the school but it is almost certainly the case and makes an appeal very difficult to win.

Your HV will not be able to help with advice on school admissions.
Did you mention his language difficulties on the application form you filled in?
If so, were you able to provide any evidence that only this school met his language needs?
Does the school give higher priority for medical needs?
If the answer to all 3 questions is yes then you could have a case at appeal based on the LA not correctly processing your application i.e. unreasonably ignoring medical evidence that should have put you in a higher admission criteria

If however your concerns are more based on shyness than any special help the school can give him or if you didn't raise medical issues when applying or if it is one of the schools that don't have a medical criteria, then the LA have not been unreasonable to ignore this and process your application normally.

You can accept the place you've been offered, keep him at nursery until next year and hope you get a place from the waiting lists before he has to start at the allocated school. You can only defer him until he is 5 or until the last term in reception so, in your case, the summer term of 2014. If you let him skip the whole of reception he would lose his place totally but you can delay until the last minute with a July baby and hope the waiting lists move.

evvkas Mon 15-Apr-13 14:00:51

Well, got more info. Apparently, I do not live in the parish ( news to me) hence the fact that we were placed in banding 3 ( place 39).
I have moved into the town about 4 years ago now with 2 catholic parishes. The whole town has 2 main areas with different postcodes and 2 names.
Anywho- I move here, go to the church corresponding to town name, meet up with priest who confirms, that indeed- we do live in the parish. This results in my daughter being christened there, us worshipping there and applying for a school place in my local parish school.
You can imagine my surprise when I was told that I do not live in the parish. I rang the Archbishop of Southwark's office to check and yes, in spite of the parish church confirming that my street belongs, it actually doesn't!
To add a twist- My daughter would not get into any of the 2 catholic schools i shortlisted because for both of them we would be in category 3 ( living out/worshipping and living in/worshipping out)
Spoke to a guy from Educational Committee today who advised me to appeal to both schools.

What do you think?

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 15:00:08

The first thing you need to focus on is getting written confirmation of the parish boundaries. It is ridiculous that you get different answers from different people since this matters for admission to the schools in your area. It should be drawn up somewhere and they must tell you how they have defined your address as out of catchment.

This is important because winning an appeal is really hard in reception unless a mistake has been made. If there are 30 children per class there is virtually no other way to win at appeal (no matter how good your reasons relating to faith or travel etc) so it is in your interests to clarify this beyond all doubt.

If they are right and you are outside the parish and in category 3, you can still appeal but it will be hard to win if there are 30 per class so that would be the next thing to find out.

If there are 30 per class, there are only 3 ways to win an appeal:
1. A mistake was made at allocation stage that directly caused you to lose a place that was rightfully yours
2. The admission criteria are illegal or wrong
3. The decision not to admit the child is so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand (this does not refer to parental preference but to serious things like witness protection, child protection and very serious situations where the child must attend one school over another)

If there are less than 30 per class you have more chance of winning as then all you need to argue is that your child's need for a place (faith, friends etc) outweight the school's case that they are too full.

That's a quick outline but the first thing to do is get the parish boundary details clarified in writing and then the next thing to do is find out how many children the Catholic schools have per class.

evvkas Mon 15-Apr-13 15:14:38

The school told me that they are in a possession of a map showing parish boundary and nowhere else can you find what they are. They are not on parish website, they are not on the school's website either. They are not on archbishop's website either apart from the link to both parishes that might led you to believe that I do live in the parish.
I do think the actual parish boundary excludes us regardless of what the parish priest told us.
I know it will be hard as this is an infant size class but I will give it a go because I was lead to believe I do live in the parish and even in the SIF I stated in live in the parish and the priest signed it!
Just soooo annoyed that because of all of that she was not granted any of the 2 catholic schools. I did not cross my ind that I should have contacted the archbishop's office to confirm that what the priest is saying is right.

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