Any tips for primary school appeals?

(989 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?

tiggytape Mon 22-Apr-13 11:09:16

Dinich - you have the offer, you have accepted it and they cannot now take it away from you. You are free to move anywhere you like and keep the school place.

The only exception to this rule (and I know it doesn't apply to you) is people who use renting as a way to cheat.
Some people have a family home which they discover is too far from any good schools so they decide to rent another home nearer to a good school and live in this rented home for a few months.
Then, after school offers are made and accepted, they leave this rented home and move back to their real home again. That is not allowed and can result in the place being taken away. That is the only time leaving a home can result in losing a school place.

All a bit complicated but it is something councils have to look out for so they make check you don’t already own another house that you are returning to and they may ask for proof about the new address. Your situation is very straightforward though so you will keep your place no matter where your new home is located.

Dinich Mon 22-Apr-13 13:18:04

tiggytape : Thanks for the answer. We moved from Aberdeen to London due to my husbands work last year September and from that day onward we were on this house. We will try to find something close proximity but it is very hard in the area and what worried us a lot.

tiggytape Mon 22-Apr-13 14:06:08

In that case Dinisch you are absolutely fine. You can buy or rent a house wherever you fancy and keep the school place. Although you might want to stay in walking distnace you don't have to in order to keep the place.

Eileithyia Wed 24-Apr-13 22:08:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

besidesmyself Thu 25-Apr-13 22:21:52

Hi All. Its a bit long, but please read.
I'm in desparate need of some hope... My daughter didnt get her 1st choice, we heard this on the 19th April...and ive cried everyday so far :O(( We are drafting up our appeal letter, but after reading your comments, we also have a ICS issue then! 45 places have been filled with 16 being local sibs, and 29 local children. The farthest one offered a place was 0.398 miles away....and we are 0.325 away, but the lady in addmissions said we were out out the primary care area... GUTTED doesnt even come close to how we feel!!
The thing is...both me and my sister share the childs care of all our children..So at the beginning of the week i work, so my sister has my baby and my daughter, and along with her 2 children (her daughter is the same age as mine and got her place at our 1st choice) they all to the preschool and school run- which is at my 1st choice, and then i do the same at the end of the week whilst my sister goes to work, AND my daughter is very familiar with this school, as shes been doing this school run for 2 years now. My heart is breaking at the thought of telling her shes not going there, where her cousins are going, PLUS all her little buddies from preschool are going. She is such a sensitive shy girl, this school is perfect, its small, and she knows it. Her emotional & social well being is going to be crushed :O(( Would this stand a chance in the appeal?? PLUS, how the hell are both me and my sister going to do the school run,the school offered is in opposite direction, infact its further away then are 1st choice. Her children will be late to school when im doing the school run, and vice versa. There is just no option of leaving work...so they will be late!! Which would effect there educations and disturpt the classes when they arrive late, OMG...im having a panic attack just writing this, let alone trying to appeal it...HELP PLEASE???? WHAT THE HELL CAN WE DO???? At this rate im going to need i doctors note for work, i cant function properly, at the fear of my daughter being besides herself when i tell her shes not going to the school that shes been walking to every day for the last 2 years!! Need some hope. Thanks x

tiggytape Thu 25-Apr-13 22:35:11

besidemyself - sorry to hear you haven't got the school you hoped for.
As you probably know from reading the thread, childcare and travel arrangements are just not things that hold much weight at appeals simply because so many people face identical problems. It is incredibly frustrating I know but so many people rely on family and a limited choice of childminders for childcare that it just isn't possible to take this into account when handing out school places.

And with an intake of 45, it is almost certainly an ICS appeal anyway (you can ask to check this) which would mean that you could only really win if an error has wrongly denied you a place.

However - it seems you are within the last distance offered for the school but have been turned down anyway.
Do you know why that is?
Is there anything in the admissions criteria about needing to live inside the 'primary care area' because, if not, you would have a case for appeal on the basis that you live closer than the last distance offered to a child and yet have been denied a place.
If this is an ICS appeal, your best hope lies with checking the published admissions criteria for the school you want and making sure that they haven't unfairly missed you out (eg if they make no mention of this special primary care area in the written criteria, they can't use it against you now).

tiggytape Thu 25-Apr-13 22:38:36

Also meant to add: make sure you are on the waiting list for the school too. Appeals are separate from waiting lists.

besidesmyself Thu 25-Apr-13 23:34:56

Thanks for getting back so quickly. I'm pretty sure it mentions the primary care area!! And that's not us. So frustrating when we actually live closer. I am in despair. Can I not appeal on the grounds on my daughters well being, and how all the children's will be late at certain points of the week??

prh47bridge Thu 25-Apr-13 23:51:35

You can appeal on any grounds you want but if it is an ICS appeal, which is likely with an admission number of 45, you are only likely to win if you can show that a mistake has been made. If I understand you correctly there is a priority area for admissions, you live outside that area and no-one living outside the priority area was admitted. If that is correct then a successful appeal is unlikely. You can still try as you never know what will emerge during the hearing and whatever happens you will be no worse off. But you need to be realistic about your chances.

Your chances would be much better if there was no priority admissions area as, on the information posted, that would suggest a mistake has been made. If you would like me to check for you please PM me the name of the school and LA involved.

clam Fri 26-Apr-13 00:04:01

Logistics aside, which are going to prove a real problem for you (but carry no weight at appeal, as others have said) I do think you should try not to pre-empt a bad reaction from your daughter. If she is going to have any chance of making a happy transition to school (whichever school that is), it is vital that you sell the idea to her in the best possible way. If you present it as a tragedy, then that's how she'll view it, and it really is important that she looks on her school as a positive place to be.

PatriciaHolm Fri 26-Apr-13 00:05:00

Unfortunately, your childcare arrangements are irrelevant to an appeal. Similarly, many thousands of children move settings when they attend school, this is very rarely an applicable appeal basis (only if there were documented medical or social reasons it was imperative that a child remained in situ)

On the face of the information you have given here, assuming the admission criteria have been adhered to (do check!!), you don't have the basis for a successful ICS appeal. Make sure you are on waiting lists, you never know, there is often movement in the next few months. Try not to panic; your daughter will adjust just fine, and there are strategies around the childcare (childminder, sharing with other parents) if necessary. Don't let your DD be aware of how upset you are - she will take her cue from you, and left to her own devices is likely to settle fine.

besidesmyself Fri 26-Apr-13 05:49:29

Thank you to you all. Yet again another sleepless night :-(( I can't help myself crying. It's like someone is tearing up my heart!! I had to walk in the playground of our 1st choice school, to pick up my nephew, wearing dark glasses to hide my tears, the thought of not taken my daughter there is just heart wrenching. She's seen me upset all week, I just smile and say mummies ok!! I haven't mentioned anything to her yet. But will defo try to be extremely positive when I do, and upbeat. Not one single friend is in our offered place!! There is another school where there will be 4 friends attending. Can I ask her to be put on the waiting list?? Aswell as our 1st choice. Thanks once again. Xxx

besidesmyself Fri 26-Apr-13 05:53:08

Hi there. Thanks so much for your time. It's Barrs court primary school, Bristol. LA-south gloucestershire. Is there any priorities to the waiting list to?? Thanks xxx

besidesmyself Fri 26-Apr-13 05:55:08

Opps. My last message I thought was an private one. Oh well!!

besidesmyself Fri 26-Apr-13 06:15:23

And.... Is it worth paying someone to help represent us?? Xxx

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 26-Apr-13 06:53:43

Besides, you can report that post and MNHQ will delete if you want.

Yes, you can go on more than one waiting list.

jamtoast12 Fri 26-Apr-13 07:13:55

Hi just had a quick look at your criteria besides and it seems they do use priority area. Looking at the last 2 years, 64 children approx have had it as first choice so I expect lots of families are disappointed too. It also mentions that no appeals have been upheld for this school either.

I understand how awful it must feel smile but you do need to be more positive for your child. Relying on an appeal would not be a good idea. 4 of my friends didnt get their siblings in an out of catchment school last year, spent loads on solicitors and all still lost and ics don't even count siblings as a significant reason to win.

Find out were you are on the waiting list (there may be other out of area people who are closer so you need to find out so you know were you are realistically) and in the meantime think about logistics for the new school
Good luck

jamtoast12 Fri 26-Apr-13 07:14:13

Sorry that was meant to be a sad face sad. sad

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 10:24:03

Yes you can go on the waiting list for any school you want, although your LA may limit the number of waiting lists you can be on. The waiting lists are placed in order using the same criteria as admissions, so anyone inside the priority area (Area of Prime Responsibility as they call it) will be ahead of you on the list. I presume you are inn the priority area for another school. If that is not the school you have been allocated you should be close to the head of the waiting list if you apply for that school.

Fleebabes Sun 28-Apr-13 14:17:06

Hello!

Reading this thread has helped me out a lot this morning, it seems I'm one of many trying who's been handed a school they didn't ask for!

I'm looking at appealing, I put down 3 schools as requested and have not got into any of them. I live near Wigan and the schools near here are mostly tied to churches. As my husband I are atheists we selected the only 3 schools in our area which are community schools and therefore are not subject to the influence of a church. We weren't successful with any of those and so have been given a place at the local CofE school.

I'm wondering whether the religious grounds are sufficient for an appeal? I'm fairly sure the procedures were followed correctly, but we have a section of an appeal on the basis that the place given in unreasonable given the circumstances of our family.

Any advice would be welcome, as I'm deeply uneasy at the idea of my son being taught in a school with beliefs that I simply cannot follow. I want to be able to join in with the school community and volunteer there once my youngest goes too, but I also don't want to compromise on my own belief system.

Wow, this is long, sorry!

tiggytape Sun 28-Apr-13 15:03:38

Fleebabes - religious convictions (or lack of) aren't grounds to win an Infant Class Size appeal. So if the schools you want have classes of 30 in YR - Y2, then you would not win on these grounds.

You can though opt your child out of religious education and worship if you wish though and this is your right even at a faith school.

It also applies to community schools since, even though they aren't tied to churches, all community schools in England have to have broadly Christian worship everyday so aren't as non-religious as you may assume. In fact some of them make amore of the worship aspects than church schools. Again though, you can ask for yoru child not to take part in this.

The unreasonable section you refer to deals with extreme cases where, although the admissions criteria was correctly applied, the outcome is so unreasonable as to be irrational eg cases involving witness protection and child protection issues where the LAs decision is against all reason and cannot be allowed to stand.

If there are less than 30 per class in any of the schools you want, you may have more grounds to make a case but you cannot appeal against faith schools, you'd have to appeal for the school you want. If you could make a strong case, and if class size was below 30, you could appeal on those grounds.

admission Sun 28-Apr-13 16:34:25

Have to agree with Tiggytape that your grounds fro appeal are unlikely to be successful. Unreasonable to you is not unreasonable in a strict definition of the law, which is a completely perverse decision, which allocation of a faith school rather than a community school is not.
You do not say what you have done but if possible I would accept the school offered, it is the local school. I would then establish exactly what level of faith commitment there is - in some faith schools it is very very low key and as Tiggytape says you can opt out of the daily religious service which by law all schools have to have.

uneedme Sun 28-Apr-13 17:52:38

Sorry to jump on the thread. looking for some advice. My dc didnt get into the faith school I wanted. I met the church criteria but didnt get in on distance. They sent me a letter stating the maximum distance they accepted to and im a few meters above this. However there are a couple of children in his nursery class that live further than this distance. I have spoken about this to them as I am friendly with them. They say they are as confused as I am.

Is this grounds for appeal?

tiggytape Sun 28-Apr-13 18:52:28

It can indicate a mistake.
And a mistake is the only real grounds for a successful YR appeal with 30 per class so yes it does open up that possibility

BUT you need to look at the admissions criteria carefully first.
People living further away can beat you to a place quite fairly if they are in a higher admissions category than you eg they have a sibling at the school, have an adopted child, have a child with a statement or medical need, have attended church longer (this is an admission criteria at some faith schools eg 2 years beats 1 year), if they live inside the parish but you live outside (despite you being closer to the school), if the measurements are taken from the church not the school and they live closer to the church.....

You should be able to find the admission criteria online.
If after looking at these, you are fairly sure that the people given a place aren't in a higher category but got a place when you didn't then you need to ask some questions to see what has happened eg did the school know you meet the faith criteria, have they lost the form your vicar signed and put you in the wrong category by accident.
Once you found out which category you were placed in, you should be able to see if a mistake has been made. If it has, you can win an appeal on those grounds.

uneedme Sun 28-Apr-13 20:13:36

From what I can make out the only grounds I didnt get into was distance. I had all my papers signed by the priest. I know the other children quiet well (we live in a smallish town) they have no siblings or SEN's

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