primary school appeal admissions

(78 Posts)
FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:15:17

Hi we just found out today that DS has got the 4th choice school. Reasons for not wanting this place are that DDs middle school is in the opposite direction so they will be at schools 2 miles apart.
Also all of his friends from preschool will be going to a mix of the other 3 schools.
We are under a mile away from all three but just out judging by the data from last years admissions. The school we have been offered is not good.
I want to appeal but I'm not sure on what grounds sad

Also does this relaxation of the law have any bearing on admissions?

prh47bridge Mon 20-May-13 18:38:08

It is rare for a pre-school to give priority for admission to Reception. It should never offer a guarantee. Looked after children and children with a statement naming the school will always come ahead of everyone else so, even if children from pre-school come next, they may not all get places.

As PatriciaHolm says, with two classes and 60 children in each of Y1 and Y2 this will definitely be an ICS case. It doesn't matter that Reception can take more pupils before hitting the class size limit. The panel is not allowed to assume that some pupils will leave before Y1, so if Reception has more than 60 pupils the infant class size limit will be breached when they move into Y1.

StarvingBookworm Mon 20-May-13 15:38:58

I don't know of any preschools that guarantee a place at infants. There are approx 45 children on the roll at my daughter's preschool (split between morning and afternoon groups of 20-odd each), but attached primary has an intake of 30.

If it says "to" I'd agree with PatriciaHolm re class sizes for Y1 and Y2.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 15:31:40

ahh I'm probably clutching at straws but it does say 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 not and.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 15:30:37

Apparently the pre-school doesn't guarantee us a place at the infants. How do they predict the sibling applications?

Thanks guys.

StarvingBookworm Mon 20-May-13 15:25:10

I may very well be wrong here but:
 
So last year (school year 2012-13) they admitted 80 pupils, and this year (2013-14) they have admitted 60.  Their prospectus states that 2012/13 and 2014/15 they will have 3 reception classes, but not in 2013/14?  In which case it seems to me (and I am by no means an expert) that there are three reception classes in the 2012/13 intake and will be again in 2014 which presumably will be to cope with the likelihood of more sibling applications next year. 

PatriciaHolm Mon 20-May-13 15:23:13

No, because their arrangements are for 30 children per class in Y1 and Y2, which are also covered by ICS. Admitting more in YR would lead to future breach in Y1 and Y2, so still counts as an Infant Class Size appeal, I'm afraid.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 14:57:15

I think I have found something of interest regarding the school.

This year, they offered 60 places. One would assume that that would be 2 reception classes, but on the school prospectus it stats that for the terms 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 they cater for up to 200 children, who are organised into 7 classes, three of which are reception, 2 for y1 and 2 for y2. So am I right in thinking that 60 divided by 3 = 20 so technically there are still 30 spaces?

prh47bridge Mon 20-May-13 12:46:30

With an admission number of 60 it is almost certainly an ICS case.

The admission authority is supposed to tell you in writing why you didn't get a place. However, it sounds like you missed out because you live too far from the school.

I'm afraid I don't see any grounds for a successful ICS appeal on the information you have posted. You should still go ahead with your appeal. Sometimes information emerges in the hearing that shows a mistake has been made. But you need to be realistic about your chances of success. Sorry.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 11:21:45

She started late at pre-school because of a situation with the school/pre-school. We were being asked to pay £40 to secure her space at the pre-school, when as she was 3 and was entitled to the 15 hours free, we basically informed the council that they were doing this illegally, to which the council told them to stop. But then the school decided to say 'she had to start in October rather than September due to no spaces'.
Ahh its such a curffufle!

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 11:17:23

Thank you very much for the reply. I think it is an ICS, on the school website they say they admit 60 pupils (except for last year, they admitted 80 and made an extra class) but this year they say they have offered 60 places.
We didn't receive any thing in writing as to why she didn't get a place, just that it had been unsuccessfully the first time and it had been refused the second time, no reasons why. I am still a bit unsure as to why she didn't get a place to be honest.
When I asked they just said the last person to be offered a place was 0.5miles away from the school and we are 0.7.

prh47bridge Mon 20-May-13 00:24:33

The big question, as always, is whether or not this is an infant class size case. If the school runs classes of 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2 this will be an ICS case, which means you should only win if a mistake has been made. It is not obvious from the information you have given whether or not there has been a mistake. Does the school have an admissions category for medical/social needs? If so you could argue that your daughter should have been placed in that category. However, the panel will have to look at the evidence available to the LA at the time the decision was taken. I'm afraid a letter from your partner's mother may not carry too much weight despite her qualifications as she is too closely connected.

If it is not an infant class size case your chances of success are better. In this situation the panel can look at new evidence, so it would be useful to get an opinion from another psychologist if that is similar to the one given by your partner's mother.

PrincessUnicorn Sun 19-May-13 21:52:50

Hi! Sorry to thread crash. This is long sad

My daughter wasn't successfully in our first choice for infant school. We moved to this area just over a year ago, and we started to attend the toddler sessions the school runs (mostly for my youngest but my 4 year old (then 3) came along) we planned on home-schooling but this school changed our out look on schools etc. So we put her name down for the Pre-school that is attached to the school, they are both the same name (but obviously one infants and one pre-school) they both share the same term topics, the pre-school frequently go over to the school to use the hall or library etc, they also receive the weekly newsletter that is sent out to both schools. So we were under the impression that by going to the pre-school she would be able to move up to the infants.
All her social connections are in that area not the other area. We live smack bang in the middle of both schools, 0.7 miles from both. But she hasn't got in sad all her friends that she has ever known are there, nearly everyone in the pre school as got in.
She also has a few social issues when making friends, she shuns other children quite alot and everyday tells us that she doesn't need anyone but her family, it is okay to get her to school but as soon as she sees the other children she starts saying things like 'they are not my best friend' she doesn't really understand that saying things like that can hurt the other children but she gets hurt when it is said to her, if that makes sense? We attached a letter from my partners mother, who is also a psychologist and has diplomas in child development, detailing how it will be detrimental to our daughters social well-being to become unattached to her friendships.

We asked to be reconsidered and got denied but put on the waiting list, to which we are at place 14. We are going to appeal, but I feel that we were not given a place due to class sizes ( the last child allocated a space was 0.5 miles away).

Do we stand any chance? I have been suffering panic attacks since we found this out, its horrid! sad

TwoSonsMummy Wed 08-May-13 21:26:48

This is hugely helpful and has reassured quite a lot about my own ability to put this together in a good enough way.

admission Wed 08-May-13 12:23:34

There is one point that is more important than anything else and that is a legal mistake does not get a free pass to a place at the school in question. Only if there has been a legal mistake and that mistake would have meant you would have got a place if it had been done correctly will you potentially get a place at appeal.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 11:49:37

As prh says - there are no Brownie points at appeal for being the parent that spots a legal mistake.

If there are lots of lawyers appealing for their children then great! They may find a legal mistake or lots of mistakes that help you win your appeal even though you didn't spot it and never even mentioned it.
The panel will bear in mind any mistake that comes to light when considering all the appeals - not just the appeal of the lawyer parents who found it.

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 11:38:03

Lawyers often irritate appeal panels. And it doesn't matter if they find a mistake that you miss. The appeal panel won't decide any individual appeals until they have heard them all. At that point any mistake that affected your application will be considered even if it was identified by another parent. It is by no means uncommon for parent A to identify a mistake but lose their appeal whilst parents B and C get in on the basis of the mistake identified by parent A.

TwoSonsMummy Wed 08-May-13 10:09:23

Interesting to hear about the professionals. I guess I feel terrified as loads of lawyers around this area (not just this school) who I know will be putting their everything in their kids' appeals cases - they are the types who have won ICS appeals by finding a "legal mistake" so I feel insecure about how I can win against them...

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 00:16:00

working9while5 - You should be on the waiting list for any school you applied for and didn't get that was a higher preference than the offered school. If the offered school was not one of your preferences that means you should be on all of them. Worth checking with the LA, though, as some won't put you on the list unless you specifically request it.

TwoSonsMummy - I have responded to your PMs. Just to pick up on a couple of questions you have asked here...

I would ignore claims from "professionals". Some of the appeal panel members who contribute to Mumsnet have come across some of them and were generally not impressed. I know that one panel member told us that one of these "experts" included in their list of appeals they had "won" a case where they had contributed nothing useful. The parent had won it despite the "professional". So, despite the fact that my wife thinks I should charge people for helping with appeals, my recommendation would be to do it yourself.

Researching the school can be a useful way of turning up additional reasons why it is the right school for your child but don't go over the top and write a 500 page report. The panel won't thank you for it as they have to read it all. Keep it punchy and concentrate on your strongest arguments.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 23:21:27

Thanks tiggytape!! A lot to get my head around..!

working, I think you can go on waiting list for all schools you applied to?? certainly on your first choice's.

working9while5 Tue 07-May-13 23:13:53

I think tiggy now you make me think about it, it is actually probably an anomaly because there are a few schools on top of eachother but because we are at the edge of an urban area, children from as far as five miles away have these five schools as their nearest as the crow flies so everyone here has to go to the school on the estate as it is nearer? The .3 ones are literally across the road.

Can you go on the waiting list even though the local school was one of my choices?

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 23:02:40

working - do the schools have fixed catchment areas set out on a map that stay the same every year?
Or is it just a case that the school 0.7 miles away is unavailable to you because it fills all its places with siblings plus a few children living very close to the school gates so there's no room for people living nearly a mile away?

If it is the latter - it isn't really the school's fault. The birth rate is so high that lots of schools get full up just with people living virtually on top of the school. If the school is in a wealthy area, the chances are only children form a few surrounding streets will get in therfore all of the intake is from those wealthy streets. Distance is one of the main things used in admissions to keep it fair - they can't group people by social status and then mix them up to share them all out fairly.

Do you know the school well? Have you visited it and talked over your concerns about progress? Some schools have terrible reputations that are out of date but hard to shake off. Where are you on the waiting lists for the other schools? Are there any other schools nearby that you didn't list but that you could now ask to be considered for if they still have a space?

working9while5 Tue 07-May-13 22:52:10

Yes Amanda, all others oversubscribed. The nearest distances from my home are .1 for the rubbish school, two at .3, two at .4 and the other at .7. Catchment area wise because of oversubscription we ONLY meet the criteria for the rubbish school.

I'm particularly peeved because I live in an ex council house bordering a very affluent area and the catchment seems to have been drawn to deliberately contain all the kids from our estate together and away from the posh kids. The ofsted reports really confirm this. All the other schools have high socioeconomic backgrounds with children having well above average communication, language and literacy on entry while ours has 32 different languages and 70% having free school meals. All fine if they were managing and kids made progress, but that is sadly not the case. I just feel that state schools should be about social cohesion. I don't need everyone at school to be the same as my kid, I value diversity..I just know how sometimes deprivation lowers expectations and how my child's needs may be different to those encountering English for the first time and if he has no peers at school in terms of language he won't get the push he needs to progress. Sigh.

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 22:51:34

- Do I need to research the school's statistics and how many children in each class in past years to prove they can cope with more? How do I get this info?

Yes - anything that proves the school has coped successfully with larger numbers in other year groups helps to chip away at the school's case that admitting more children is harmful to the school. You can ask the LA direct. They must provide answers to questions that help you prepare for appeal.

Winning a non ICS appeal is a balancing act. Whoever tips the scales wins. So if you can chip away a little bit at the school's case that they cannot possibly admit any other child, it tips things a little bit your way - so that when you come to state why your child needs a place, some of the argument is already in your favour since the school's case has been made weaker.

- What kind of "evidence" did you have to back up your case, by whom, how was is written? (social-medical grounds) What makes a difference?

The ideal is a medical professional (or several) writing to say that in their opinion your child either needs to attend this school named or needs to attend an un-named school whose features match those of the school you are appealing for (eg consultant says a journey of more than 10 minutes is unsuitable and the school you want is the only one less than 10 minutes from home)

What won't help is a Dr writing to say "MrsTwoSonsMummy tells me that her son needs to attend XXX school"

- Do I write everything I can think of into the form or only what seems most important (most different from others??)?

Write down everything. Every point that demonstrates this school is the best match for your child or the only one suitable medically. You can do bullet points if you want and expand on them later or in the evidence you supply.

- Is it worth mentioning two school-logistic problems at all since they don't seem to count?

Yes you can mention it but not too much unless it impacts on the medical case you are making.

- Why do some info sites say 'get the school to back you up' - do they back everyone up?

Schools cannot actively support appeals so I have no idea why that would be the advice given.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 22:40:54

I am back, listing some questions... (sorry there are lots). Our appeal is NOT infact class size. Those who are experts or have done this:

- Do I need to research the school's statistics and how many children in each class in past years to prove they can cope with more? How do I get this info?
- What kind of "evidence" did you have to back up your case, by whom, how was is written? (social-medical grounds) What makes a difference?
- Do I write everything I can think of into the form or only what seems most important (most different from others??)?
- Is it worth mentioning two school-logistic problems at all since they don't seem to count?
- Why do some info sites say 'get the school to back you up' - do they back everyone up?

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 22:24:27

working - a mile is a long way for primary schools. In cities, distance for those who qualify by living close to get an offer is enough is generally measured in metres - especially for popular schools which can fill all their places with siblings and people living on the doorstep.

There isn't a choice as such. Just a chance for parents to tell the council which school they'd prefer if they happen to live very close to several they may qualify for. You only have a choice out of the ones you meet the admissions criteria for.

Are you on the waiting lists for the other schools?
If you move, your child may move up the list of the school you move closer to but moving in itself does not mean automatic entry to the school.
You can also choose to keep your child in nursery / at home until nearer the time of their 5th Birthday if your position on the list gives you hope of an eventual offer.

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