Infant class size appeal

(23 Posts)
jellysmum77 Fri 03-May-13 18:30:52

Just another appeals question...
We are appealing for my sons first preference school. We know infant class size appeals are extremely hard to win but we think we have a case so have to at least try.
My question is, after receiving information about the school we have found out that the year 1 class (next years year 2) there are 25 children (30 in F2 and 30 in the new intake).
I know that it is not as simple as they have 5 spaces etc but does this help us at all?
Thanks

roadkillbunny Fri 03-May-13 21:00:54

I am afraid that doesn't help you at all. The fact that one KS1 class is currently under PAN has no baring on the fact that the PAN of 30 has been reached for the September 2013 class.
There are very few reasons an infant class size appeal can be successful. You say you think you have a case, do you believe there was a mistake in processing applications that directly deprived your child of a space? Do you believe the admission arrangements for the school breach the code? Do you believe the decision to not offer your child a place was so unreasonal it is perverse? This only comes into effect for things like witness pretext ion or child protection, the burdon is very high for this.

There is a great deal of advice on this on the school speaks help thread or if you add a little more information to this post one of the experts I am sure will come and help you understand the process and see if you have a strong or weak case.

roadkillbunny Fri 03-May-13 21:03:18

Sorry I am not well and have made loads of typos!
To correct a couple of the biggest - witness protection and 'advice on school appeals' thread

prh47bridge Fri 03-May-13 21:15:09

Roadkillbunny is correct. The appeal panel cannot take the existence of places in Y1 into account when considering an appeal for Reception.

jellysmum77 Fri 03-May-13 21:21:06

Okay thank you anyway, Just want to know my facts smile

jellysmum77 Fri 03-May-13 21:22:52

Sorry roadkill to answer your question yes we believe a mistake was made and have written records of the school admission code not being followed.

prh47bridge Fri 03-May-13 22:16:59

If you would like to tell us more myself and other experts will be happy to advise whether or not we agree that the Admissions Code was not followed. We may be able to spot some angles you've missed. But entirely up to you, of course.

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 09:53:09

I wonder if any of the experst can help me on my appeal. I have a son who is 6 that is in our local catchment school. My son who is due to start school is currently in the nursery there. In October last year the local authority did not send any information or starting school to me about applying for a school for my son. Therefore I went onto the education website, downloaded the form you needed to apply and posted it off to the local authority. When all children were allocated places I did not receive a letter so contacted the LEA. They said they had not had any form and had never heard of my child. The school my other son attends (our catchment school) is now full and they have allocated our youngest son another school. I have obviously appealed against this as I beleive there was an error with the process as my son would have certainly have got a place.
Their argument is it is my responsibility to apply. My argument is I did apply but they are saying they never got it and also that I should have received a starting pack in october like everyone else. My son was not on any database! My son is a category B1 as it is our catchment school and he has a sibling there. Children outside the catchment area have been offered places. What is my chance at appeal?

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 10:23:25

nicola - I am afraid, from what you say, the council are right.

Unless you have proof that they received the form, then they have not made any error. If you sent it by signed for post and have a receipt to prove it was delivered then that would be different. Then it would be an error because you can prove they had it but just ignored it.
However if you just sent it regular post and it never arrived, the council are not responsible for that.
I know it isn't your fault either but it isn't a council mistake.

The onus is totally on parents to apply on time. Whilst some areas send out booklets and reminders, they don't have to do this.
It is not a legal obligation for them to send you any information in the post so if you didn't receive one, it does not mean the council has made a mistake there either. There is no legal obligation for them to have a database of local 3 and 4 year olds so again this isn't their mistake.

If it is an ICS appeal (30 per class), I do not see that you would have a case to win on this basis.
However if it is not an ICS appeal (small class sizes in the school), you may be able to appeal by explaining why you want that school.
You are probably also high up the waiting list with at least one school due to the sibling link.

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 10:38:05

Is is not 'perverse' though that I have to get 2 children to 2 different schools for the same time. My child will be 30 mins late for school everyday and will have to leave 30 mins early everyday which will lose him about 190 hours education over the year and cost me money through being fine for lateness? On the form that I applied with should it not state I should send it recorded and receive a receipt, otherwise how I am supposed to know?

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 10:42:05

Also is is 'normal' for children on the waiting list to get places because my son is actually first if somebody refuese a place. the admission department is being no help at all.

scaevola Thu 09-May-13 10:42:41

When it is ICS, you can win an appeal if a decision is deemed so unreasonable it should not stand. But the bar is very high (think child protection or witness protection). Convenience of the school run won't, I'm afraid, be taken into account.

nicoa I would imagine, rather than one of your children missing an hour of school every day, you will have to use breakfast clubs and ASC.

But you must be near the top of the waiting list due to sibling link? Have the LA told you what number you are on the waiting list?

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 11:00:46

My son is 1st on the waiting list. Are the LEA going to pay for the breakfast club? I've looked into this and average costs are £60.00 per week, we cannot afford this.

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 11:03:02

No nicola - perverse in a legal sense means a decision that defies all logic and that no rational person could decide was reasonable. It covers things like where a child would be in danger because of witness protection or child protection concerns.
Two children at two schools is realtively common and the parents are expected to find childcare arranagements, use breakfast clubs or childminders to make this work.

When you post any item you decide how to send it based on how important it is and whether the timing matters.
It isn't up to the council to tell you what to do.
If it is something very important then the onus is on you to make sure you send it by a method that is tracked and signed for. If you don't send it by 'signed for' post then the onus is on you to ring up and check they've received it. Or you can take it to the council offices by hand and ask for a receipt. Whatever you choose, you are responsible for making sure it gets there.
Every year millions of items are lost in the post and never arrive and most people know that's a possibility - that's why trackable services exist.

The waiting list will be held in the same order as the admissions criteria. So siblings in catchment (like your son) should be higher up the list than all of out of catchment children.
If a vacancy comes up and you are number 1 on the list, they must give it to you. At some schools, lots of vacancies come up. At other schools nobody leaves until Year 3. You can probably guess this better than anyone here as you know the school quite well but if you are number 1 on the list. I'd say you have a good chance of getting an offer eventually. Whether that's in two weeks or after Summer or even later though is harder to guess.

NynaevesSister Thu 09-May-13 11:14:20

Is the school a single form entry, or is there more than one reception class? In previous years was there movement?

I would say it would have to be an area with mobility for you not to get a place.

While you wait, do accept the place you have been allocated. Keep checking on your position on the waiting list. If your child's birthday is later in the year see if you can defer his start time. If you rely on a nursery check with them that this is ok.

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 11:46:15

There are 2 reception classes. sixty places and sixty places offered. Admissions inform me they usually get a couple of refusals but I can't rely on this. When I phoned them up this week all acceptances were supposed to be back by May 6th. I asked if there were any outstanding and they said yes they would chase them in the next few weeks. sSrely if the LEA rules are this strict, if they don't reply by 6th May they should lose their offered place?

My son is only just 4 on 10th August and that was another consideration to defer his place. The only problem is i don't want him to have to stay at home and not interact with other children as I believe this is vitally important. But i can also see us having lots of emotional problems with him being sent to another school to his brothers and friends.

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 11:56:10

NynaevesSister he goes to the same schools nursery.

janeyjampot Thu 09-May-13 12:04:10

If it's two form entry you stand a good chance of getting in from the waiting list. Can you talk to nursery and see if they can take him for a bit longer? As he isn't 4 until August you could keep him in nursery for a while if they can accommodate him.

prh47bridge Thu 09-May-13 12:04:36

These are national rules, not rules set by the LA.

They cannot take away the offered place just because someone fails to accept by the deadline. The rules say they must contact the parents again and give them a further opportunity to accept. If they still don't respond they can take the place away.

And I'm afraid your chances of success at appeal are small based on the information you have given. This will be an infant class size appeal which means you need to show that a mistake was made. Unless you have proof that you posted the application form and the LA received it an appeal panel is likely to accept the LA's statement that they did not receive your application. If you could prove that they received your application but mislaid it you would have a good chance. Without that your chances are small.

And just to confirm what Tiggytape said, no matter how perverse it seems to you that your children will end up at different schools it happens a lot and parents have to cope. No appeal panel would consider that decision to be perverse. And no, the LA won't pay for the breakfast club or whatever else you have to do to cope. I'm afraid that is your responsibility.

The good news is that you are first on the waiting list. With an admission number of 60 that means you have a good chance of getting a place. It isn't guaranteed by any means but fingers crossed!

kilmuir Thu 09-May-13 12:09:07

my son was first on waiting list, 90 intake, only just been offered a place for him. We have had to use breakfast club as his Dsis school starts at same time as his.

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 12:23:13

As prh says - the council cannot take away places of people yet to reply. School admissions are not a local issue - they are governed by laws and the law says the council has to make all reasonable efforts to contact parents who have not replied to the offer letter.

It actually doesn't make much difference anyway because if parents are undecided, they can simply say 'yes' now and then say 'no' later on if they change their mind.
The assumption therefore is that most people will initially accept the place even if they know they might be moving house or going private because they don't want to risk having no school to go to if their plans fall through.

That's why you get waiting list movement in late Summer sometimes. By then people know if they are moving town or accepting a private school offer and, when that's all sorted out, they will then give up their state school place.

At first on the waiting list, you are still in a very good position to get a place eventually. It might take a while but with an intake of 60, you should be able to expect some movement expecially as the school normally has some.

nicola1822 Thu 09-May-13 12:40:11

Thanks for all you replies, fingers crossed. I can't bear the thought of him having to go to another schoool.

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