Any tips for primary school appeals?

(985 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?

Puffy12 Wed 12-Mar-14 07:36:43

I'm so glad I've found this thread as I'm worrying myself sick over this whole subject. My child is 3 at the moment and I will need to apply for her reception class place in November. We are currently in the area for my chosen school for her but we are having to move house ( rented) in a few weeks which will put us a fraction of a mile out of the schools usual catchment area. My concerns are , apart from the closest school we will now be near is inadequate in ofsted terms, my daughter is incredibly shy. She copes in an area / building she is familiar with , or if there is a familiar face. She deals with her shyness by completely clamming up and not speaking , or hurting herself. She often bites herself hard or slaps her own face. It's heartbreaking to see and difficult to deal with. The school we are hoping to get her into is at the moment at the end of our road, so she sees it daily and knows it as her 5 year old cousins school. I know she would settle there, but anywhere else would be a real struggle for her. Do you think I would have a case here for appeal , or would it be pointless given it's an infant class ? Thankyou in advance

prh47bridge Wed 12-Mar-14 09:11:55

It is far too early to think about appeals. You can't appeal until you have applied for a place at this school and failed to get in. If your daughter is not going to be 4 until the autumn you have until mid-January 2015 to apply for a place and she will start school in September 2015. Any appeal will be next summer.

If the school has 30 in any classes in Reception, Y1 or Y2 any appeal would be an infant class size case. That means you shouldn't win unless there has been a mistake which has deprived your daughter of a place. Having said that it is always worth appealing. You won't lose anything by doing so and you may get a place. Occasionally a sympathetic panel will award a place even when the rules say they shouldn't. So give it a go but, if it is an infant class size case, be realistic about your chances.

Puffy12 Wed 12-Mar-14 10:23:38

Thankyou for your reply

Hippovic Tue 18-Mar-14 17:29:48

Hi I wonder is anyone can offer me some advice? my daughter did not get into any of my 3 choices of primary school. My preferred school has advised they would have 3 classes of 30 pupils but have only accepted 60 applications with 62 refusals. Obviously we applied on the basis of having a chance of getting a place with the extra class, is this ground to appeal? Any tips on getting the LA to fulfil its initial plans to have the extra class?

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 18:08:35

No, that is not grounds for a successful appeal. The appeal panel cannot force the school to open an additional class. If they do open another class the places will go to the first 30 children on the waiting list.

Having said that, I am a little puzzled. Primary school offers don't come out until 16th April (assuming you are in England). You shouldn't know the outcome of your application yet.

tiggytape Tue 18-Mar-14 18:28:40

Is this a school in England Hippovic? As prh says, offers don't come put until April 16th so you shouldn't know anything about the outcome yet. Also when a school sets admission numbers, it isn't that flexible. They wouldn't normally reduce an intake on a whim (if anything it may add a bulge class some years to take extra pupils)

Hippovic Tue 18-Mar-14 20:23:32

Hi no we are in Wales, are rules different?

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 22:00:56

Yes the rules are different in Wales. But I'm afraid my initial advice still applies. This is an infant class size case. You can only win if your child has been deprived of a place due to admission arrangements breaking the law or being incorrectly implemented, or if the decision to refuse admission was unreasonable. The bar for a decision to be unreasonable is very high so it is almost impossible to win on those grounds. Sorry.

Hippovic Tue 18-Mar-14 22:04:12

Thanks for the information, as is thought no point applying will consider schools with spaces available and see if we can get preferred school to revisit decision not to have the extra class, much appreciated.

cedricdoris1 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:41:17

OK prh47bridge, I have got a lot of information from old FOI requests but the admissions department are being very slow in coming back to me. I have also got two local councillors on board with this as well. I submitted my appeal forms today under category C, with 2 sides of A4 transcribing the history, have also enclosed the two letters from my GP and a letter from the Early Intervention Project proving that I did use their service and not just crying wolf on the domestic abuse front.

However, I was told that it will take 40 days for the appeal to come through, that seems far too long. I'm also concerned that mine will get lost among the Reception starters as their letters are due out in the Easter holidays.

Is there anything I can do to get it pushed forwards, I did decline the 10 days notice. Thanks again for any tips or advice you can give.

prh47bridge Fri 21-Mar-14 14:01:15

The hearing must take place within 30 school days of you lodging submitting the forms. Unfortunately there is no come back if they take longer than that unless the delay has reduced your chances of success.

Your appeal should be heard before they get into the appeals for Reception. We are at least 2 months away from any of those being heard.

As you have waived 10 days notice that may speed things up a little. I'm afraid there isn't anything else you can do to push things along.

cedricdoris1 Fri 21-Mar-14 14:30:23

your knowledge is incredibly helpful prh47bridge, sending you a virtual bottle of wine or similar grin

admission Fri 21-Mar-14 21:17:31

Hippovic,
Admission numbers in Wales are a moving feast from one year to the next. However what they are supposed to do is keep to the agreed PAN for the year. So what you need to do is to establish exactly what the agreed admission number for sept 2014 was. You should do that by looking in the LA admission booklet, which is considered in legal terms as the primary source of information. If it says that the admission number was agreed as 90 then the school should take up to 90 pupils if they apply for the school, not decide to stop at 60. You then have a reasonable chance of success at appeal.
If however the admission book says 60 and it has been the school /LA that is talking it up to 90, then I am afraid that the admission arrangements have been correctly applied and as an infant class size case you will have little or no chance of success.
The only other possibility I can see is if the school has published information saying that they will take 90, then you can try appealing on the basis that you had a reasonable expectation of this being correct given that the information was from the school and was in writing. I think that it is only a slim chance of success but hey better than none if you accept the PAN of 60 was correct.

cedricdoris1 Tue 25-Mar-14 00:04:29

prh47bridge and anyone else - can I get your opinion please on the following please as a bit of key info arrived in my inbox today:
my youngest was top of the waiting list with sibling category from 24/4/13
school vacancy submitted to council on 3/5/13
bank holiday monday 6/5/13
email confirmation from council that my youngest was first on the waiting list on 7/5/13 at 1443 hours
place offered to religious category child 9/5/13
any ideas as to how quickly a mid term transfer form is turned around, i know that the religious category child's form was submitted by the mother on 3/5/13 but that also lists are closed etc for a period of time before offers are made
many thanks once again smile

prh47bridge Tue 25-Mar-14 09:34:09

Dates are very important here.

If the new application came in before the vacancy arose they should get the place. If it came in after the vacancy arose you should get the place. On the dates you have given it is not entirely clear which situation applies. I would raise this in your appeal and see what the panel make of it. If they conclude that you should have been offered the place that will be a very strong case.

meditrina Tue 25-Mar-14 12:02:34

3/5 was a Friday. It is plausible that the notification of the vacancy was only received/opened the next working day - ie 7/5, which is the same day as it is likely that the other child's application arrived. It'll be interesting to see which way a panel goes on something in such a narrow timeframe.

Do you know if the school notified the LEA about the vacancy by post or email?
And if the other child's mother applied by post or email?

cedricdoris1 Tue 25-Mar-14 19:36:34

I have now emailed the Admissions Dept at the council asking when the other child's mid-term transfer form was received and processed as well as the cut off date for that process period. I have now emailed the school to establish how the vacancy was notified to the council and if by email at what time.

meditrina: I had a text from the other child's mother (as we were friends at the time) at 1306 hours on 3/5/13 that she had handed in the forms, so would imagine hard copy especially as Place of Worship form was required also.

prh47bridge: perhaps you can now see why I initially thought due process hadn't been quite followed!

admission Tue 25-Mar-14 22:44:37

If this other person submitted their application on the 3rd then they should have been first on the waiting list from that time. Obviously there is a bit of time lag in the application getting to the admission office. But if the other applicant had submitted the form by hand at 1306 on the 3/5 or even before that time, then I would have expected the application to have been logged in to the system sometime on the afternoon of 3rd or at the very latest on the morning of the 7th, which was the next working day.
Why they believed you were still top of the waiting list at 1443 is a bit of a mystery then.
The next question is when the availability of the school place was communicated to the admission office. You say it was on the 3rd. My suspicion is that this was not logged onto the system till the 7th. As it was not offered till the 9th there appears to be considerable delay in offering the place. If the place was not offered to the 9th then the other applicant was clearly first on the admission waiting list by then.
The key piece of evidence that you need is exactly when the vacant place was submitted to the council. If it was before 1306 then I think you have a reasonable case that at the time that the vacant place was submitted to the admission office you were first on the waiting list and should have been given the place. If the vacant position was submitted after 1306 I do not think you have a case.
The council will argue that the determining factor is the point at which the admission office decided to offer the place and who was top of the admission waiting list then. You need to look in the LA admission booklet and any detail on the admission process to see if they say anything about this. Obviously if it is silent on this matter then the admission office is a stronger position to say this is how we always do it and the timing is just very unfortunate.
The other issue you might want to consider is whether the applicant was tipped off by the school or others that a place was coming up and to get an application in ASAP.

cedricdoris1 Wed 26-Mar-14 19:09:34

thank you admission, very helpful information, still waiting for an answer from the council, school unable to help apparently!!

cedricdoris1 Wed 26-Mar-14 19:58:09

Studying data from council again and there appears to be several working days time lag between vacancy being available and offer being made, i.e. vacancy on 4/3/13 offer made 7/3/13, vacancy 22/4/13 offer 25/4/13, vacancy 20/6/13, offer made 25/6/13 - any thoughts?

admission Wed 26-Mar-14 20:53:36

I am not surprised. In a busy office where they will be dealing with lots of different schools and their admission issues there are bound to be some delays. What is important is that they are consistent in applying the rules that they are following. They are also obviously ancient history and I do not think that you can apply an assumption that what happened a year ago happens now.

cedricdoris1 Tue 08-Apr-14 11:27:01

Hi again, I have received notification of the appeal on Friday 2nd May, but the Admissions department are still not answering my emails with regard to specific information on dates forms received, vacancies processed etc. Any ideas as to how to get the answers please?

prh47bridge Tue 08-Apr-14 12:37:11

Keep pushing. If they fail to come up with the information prior to the hearing tell the panel that you have been unable to prepare properly for the appeal due to the LA's failure to comply with the Appeals Code and answer your questions. Tell the appeal panel what you think happened (i.e. that you were top of the waiting list at the time the vacancy was notified to the LA and you should therefore have been offered the place but, due to their delay, they ended up offering it to someone else) and let them sort it out.

cedricdoris1 Tue 08-Apr-14 15:03:50

thanks again prh47bridge, I've just had an email from the Admissions Officer stating that the FOI Team at the council have issued me with a refusal request.......but what I'm asking Admissions is different from what I was asking FOI for.

cedricdoris1 Tue 08-Apr-14 15:15:16

Have just emailed Admissions again suggesting failure to comply with Appeals Code - let's see what happens next!! If it wasn't for you and this forum I would've given up long ago.

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