Has anybody won an Infant class size appeal?

(12 Posts)
The3Bears Mon 18-Apr-11 18:08:47

That wasnt an error?

Would just like abit of hope really as everything says its impossible to win one.

admission Mon 18-Apr-11 19:05:47

Yes PRH won an infant appeal and I have been on panels where we have admitted on infant appeal cases but you do need to understand that the panel has only very limited scope to admit. It has to be a mistake by the admission authority in reality.

prh47bridge Mon 18-Apr-11 21:28:43

As Admission says I did win an infant class size appeal, but in my case the local authority was trying to argue infant class size rules in a situation where they did not apply. All a bit complicated so I'm not going to explain it all here.

You will occasionally find a sympathetic appeal panel who will admit children in infant class size cases even though they shouldn't and it is not unknown for the fact that a mistake has been made to emerge during the course of the hearing even though no-one was aware of it beforehand. However, if you don't have any evidence of a mistake you need to be realistic about your chances.

SpawnChorus Mon 18-Apr-11 21:37:12

Is this an appeal to get your child into a school which has reasched the maximum capacity for P1? I really don't understand why people do this. My local school is v popular, and has had dozens of appeals for P1 entry. The result is that the P1 classes are ridiculously huge (30+). I would hate for my kid to be in such a huge class. It seems like the parents are just shooting themselves in the foot.

Hatterbox Tue 19-Apr-11 09:00:22

I used to sit on admission appeals as a lay member and have done for the last three years, but I'm not sitting on any this year as we're moving out of the area in two weeks time.

Looking back on my notes, there are only three criteria on which we could allow an infant class size appeal:

1) The child would have been offered a place if the admission criteria met the mandatory requirements for admission criteria specified in the School Admissions Code.

We've never had an appeal on these grounds, as any school which sets its own admission criteria (i.e. is aided, foundation etc), still has to send its admission policy to the authority to check they meet the code. If they don't, they're asked to change it, and if they refuse then the authority will take the case to the adjudicator. This would all happen long before the admission process starts.

2) The child would have been offered a place if the admission policy had been implemented properly.

Most likely to win on these grounds

3) The decision to refuse admission was not one that a reasonable admission authority would make in the circumstances of the case.

Looking at my notes, I've personally sat on 19 infant class appeals, and of the ones I've sat on only one has been allowed on these grounds. I cannot tell you the exact reason why the panel made the decision to admit over ICS, for obvious reasons, but there were exceptional mitigating circumstances. In reality, unless you exceptional circumstances, it is highly likely your appeal would be unsuccessful. If it's just a case of you prefer this school, then you need to prepare youself for an unsuccessful appeal.

Please note, I'm not saying you definitiely won't be successful, and I'm certainly not saying you shouldn't go through with the appeal. However I do think you need to prepare yourself for the most likely outcome.

Hatterbox Tue 19-Apr-11 09:10:49

Just thought I should clarify, the ultimate reason that appeal was successful, was myself and other two panel members thought that the circumstances surrounding the child meant the authority's decision to refuse admission was not a reasonable one.

There were obviously other ICS appeals I sat on, where there were circumstances that in non-ICS appeals would probably have won the appeal, but they were not strong enough to deem the authority's decision not to admit under ICS as unreasonable.

That may give you an idea of how exceptional the circumstances usually have to be.

Panelmember Tue 19-Apr-11 11:20:14

I can't think how many appeals I've heard, maybe 100. My experience is similar to Hatterbox's.

To win an ICS case, one needs to demonstrate a mistake of some sort - a mistake in drawing up the admissions criteria so that they don't comply with the Code, a mistake in implementing the admissions criteria or a 'mistake' in the sense that the decision is so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand. I have heard it said on MN that some panels will stick their necks out and allow appeals in circumstances where none of these conditions apply, but never witnessed it myself. The threshold for winning an ICS appeal is set very high - because the class size limit has the force of law - so the child's situation has to be exceptional, to stand any chance. That's why so much of the advice handed out on these threads is not what posters want to hear; there's nothing to lose by appealing but in ICS cases people need to go into it with their eyes open.

admission Tue 19-Apr-11 23:14:41

You should never win an appeal for ICS because of getting a "nice" panel. We have a clerk who sits with us who is a qualified solicitor with experience of admission appeals. They are there to make sure that things are done by the book, so no "nice" panels. Having said that I also know that many LAs do not now have a qualified experienced clerk and the clerk is simply there to take notes. So maybe nice panels do exist.
I certainly know of cases when if it was not for the ICS regs we would have admitted, which panels find very difficult.

prh47bridge Wed 20-Apr-11 00:40:44

I have come across ICS cases where panels have admitted with no apparent evidence of a mistake although I've not been involved in such a case myself. And in the cases in which I have been involved, either personally or assisting others, I've come across some of the clerks Admission mentions who don't do any more than take notes. I've also come across clerks who do intervene and, in doing so, reveal their lack of knowledge which is worse in my view. I would rather the clerk gave the panel no advice at all rather than giving incorrect advice. So I'm pretty sure that panels do sometimes admit the child when the rules say they shouldn't. But I agree it shouldn't happen.

And just to pick up on Hatterbox's comments, I agree generally. However, I have seen many examples of admission arrangements that are clearly in breach of the Admissions Code. This applies to both individual schools where the school is its own admission authority, and to admission arrangements drawn up by local authorities. I have come to the conclusion that at least some local authorities are not doing a thorough job of checking the admission arrangements of schools that are their own admission authority, and that the Schools Adjudicator probably doesn't have the resources to thoroughly check the admission arrangements of local authorities. I would therefore hope that any appeal panel in an ICS case would seriously consider the possibility that the admission arrangements may be in breach of the Admissions Code. I have helped a parent win a case on this basis.

Alexis3 Tue 19-May-15 08:51:25

Hi, I am currently unterdaking a class size appeal on an academy school former private school that bought up a council first school to compliment their whole academy 4-18 vision. The class size was previously 30 it is now 25, the accommodation and workstations are the same accommodation yet they advise they are full, we are 9th on the waiting list however I wondered if anyone has any advice that may help me win this appeal

prh47bridge Tue 19-May-15 21:30:11

If the class size is 25 this is NOT an infant class size appeal. This is an ordinary prejudice appeal. You therefore need to show that your child will be disadvantaged if they don't go to this school. Being 9th on the waiting list is irrelevant. Arguments about childcare and transport difficulties are unlikely to win. You need to explain to the appeal panel why this is the best school for your child.

GreenEggsAndNaiceHam Wed 20-May-15 18:29:10

Yes, we won an ICS appeal with lots of help from the Mumsnet experts. Thanks again. We won because
2) the child would have been offered a place if the admssions procedures had been implemented correctly.

Looking back on it, it was quite obvious a mistake had been made which denied our child a place. It was awful at the time , and very emotionally draining and time consuming. That was two years ago and it still upsets me.

Worth it? just. We got places at a variety of other schools whilst waiting for the appeal. Any of them would have been very similar in their teaching, the school we won the appeal for is very close which was important to us.

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