How the appeals work?

(21 Posts)
ssaw2012 Fri 03-May-13 22:51:20

We are on the waiting list and are planning to appeal but wonder what the appeal is going to give us if we did not get through in the first instance. In the application form we put older sibling and medical problem. The LA told us on the phone they did not look at medical problem. My husband was on the phone and he did not ask why they did not look at the 2nd reason. They told us to appeal. Now I think of our chances. 5th on the waiting list but the school does not take more than 30. What if there are already 30 from the catchment area? We are not in the area althought very close. And why there are 4 rounds of appeals? Does it mean that the class is still under 30 and some parents still have chance?
Thank you for reading this.

PanelChair Fri 03-May-13 22:57:53

Appeals are separate from the usual admissions arrangements and the waiting list. If you win your appeal, you child immediately gets a place at the school, even if there are already 30 children in the class.

There are not four rounds of appeals - there is one round, although it may be split over several dates. If there are vacant places, they will be filled from the waiting list, not from appeals.

Do you know why you did not get a place? Is this one of those schools where a sibling who lives outside the catchment area is low on the admissions criteria, below children who live in the catchment area? If you tell us more about your situation, we may be able to suggest how you approach your appeal.

ssaw2012 Fri 03-May-13 23:11:29

Thank you PanelChair. Our older DS is in oversubscribed school. We lived in the area but were forced to move out by the landlord. He had to sell the house. For three years we could not move back. The area is just expensive. We were lucky then. Back a few months ago we applied just for one school because all other schools in the area are not good. Also my DS has a medical problem, not significant but it is difficult for him to walk long distance. We included the 2nd reason in the application form but for some reason they did not look at it. Now we have to appeal and include medical evidence. We can do it but our school never takes more than 30. Other schools in our area do take more than 30 but not where my older son is. Being 5th is good but is it not luck? It means people before us have to drop out which I highly doubt it will happen. And if there are already 30 children for the new reception class then I have no chance as they never have more than 30.

ssaw2012 Fri 03-May-13 23:13:32

We do indeed have lower chance of getting a place because of living out of the catchment area even with a sibling.

PanelChair Fri 03-May-13 23:50:01

Does the school you are appealing for have an admissions category for social and medical need? If it does and the local education authority did not look at the medical reasons you had submitted - and they have already admitted this to your husband - then it sounds as if a mistake was made. However, the mistake is in not looking at the reasons, not necessarily in not giving you the place. That depends on whether you provided all the necessary supporting evidence. Usually, to get a place under the social/medical need category (where it exists, not every school has it), there has to be evidence from health care professionals (not just from the parents) that this school is the best one for meeting the child's needs. Did you provide evidence from a health care professional about your son's medical condition?

To be frank, what you have said puzzles me. You say that your child's medical problems are not significant and that he cannot walk far, but from what you say about being out of catchment, the school you are appealing for must be further from your home than the other nearby schools for which you did not apply. It might be (but I am speculating here) that even if the LEA had considered the medical reasons you had submitted, they would have taken the view that although your son has a medical issue, it isn't one that means he needs to attend this particular school.

You therefore need to get more information from the LEA aboit why they did not look at your medical reasons: was it because the school has no admissions category for social/medical need and so they could not give you priority on this basis? was it because you did not provide evidence to back up what you said about medical need? or was it just a mistake?

If there is an admissions category for social/medical need and you provided all the right evidence but the LEA just ignored it, then you might have grounds for saying that the LEA made a mistake which cost your son his place. In that case, you should win your appeal (and in fact the LEA should give you a place without making you go to appeal).

prh47bridge Fri 03-May-13 23:56:21

With an admission number of 30 this is an infant class size case. That means you can only win if the admission arrangements did not comply with the Admissions Code and relevant law, or the admission arrangements were not correctly applied, or the decision to refuse admission was so unreasonable that no sensible authority would have made the same decision.

I am not clear as to whether your older son or your younger son has a medical problem. If it is your older son it is not relevant. If it is your younger son it may be relevant. If the school admission criteria includes a category for special medical needs you can argue that they should have put your son in that category. However, if you did not provide any evidence to support your case (letter from GP or specialist, for example) the panel may take the view that the LA acted reasonably with the information available. Of course, you may get a sympathetic panel who will decide that your child's medical needs are enough reason to award a place.

If the school gives priority to siblings and put your younger child in the wrong category that is an issue which could lead to a successful appeal. But if your child was correctly treated as an out of catchment sibling there was no mistake. The panel cannot admit a child simply because they have a sibling at the school unless a mistake was made.

The appeal panel is independent. If they decide in your favour the school will have to admit your child regardless of the fact that there are already 30 in Reception.

PanelChair Sat 04-May-13 00:11:51

That's far more succinct than I was, prh47bridge!

SavoyCabbage Sat 04-May-13 00:21:06

How will being at this school help your son with his walking difficulties?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 01:06:10

Have you been allocated an alternative school and have you accepted?

Is your DS1 in the junior school in September? If so, does sibling link still apply?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 01:07:18

With the walking, was it to dI with eg giving both DSes a lift?

PatriciaHolm Sun 05-May-13 06:53:08

Are you sure that they didn't actually look at the problem, rather than looked at it but didn't consider it relevant? Medical issues need to apply to why your son needs that particular school, and if you live further from this school than others, the LEA may have decided it wasn't relevant . Have you got a school place somewhere, and is it nearer than the one you want?

ssaw2012 Sun 05-May-13 13:54:01

On the phone they said they did not look at the 2n point. I might call them to find out the reason. I could not attach medical evidence from GP because it was an online form. I could only tick another reason and add details.
We use a buggy to be on time to my DS' school and the pre-school. The younger just cannot handle a long walk due to pain in his feet. When he starts reception I cannot use the buggy so we would have to leave earlier to get ontime to two places but the schools start at 9am. That is why one school would be most suitable so we will try to appeal. I have seen number of children throughout the years and it is either 30 or lower than that but never 31.

ssaw2012 Sun 05-May-13 13:56:17

Other schools are ok but I really want my kids to attend the same school. I just could not understand why they did not loom at the med reason. Will call on Tuesday.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 15:07:25

It might be because the reason doesn't specifically relate to your younger child and that school - if you didn't have DS1 to consider, a closer school would actually be better. If it's just the logistics of getting two children to the same school, the priority for that is already covered by any sibling priority.

Would you consider moving DS1 to DS2's school, if there is space?

ssaw2012 Wed 08-May-13 11:01:10

I talked to the admissions and I think we do not get a chance in winning an appeal. All places have been taken by kids from the catchment area. That is the priority. We will have to re-apply for another school. I could not believe there would be 30 kids in one small area.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 11:40:17

Appeals are different to waiting on the list. Appeals can succeed (even if there are already 30 catchment children in the class) if you can prove a mistake was made when processing your application that denied you a place.
If you can prove that, you can win at appeal and the school will be forced to have 31 in the class.
If the school has a medical criteria above catchment and your child should have been placed in the medical criteria but wasn't, you can appeal on those grounds.
It means you would need to prove that the LA was aware of the medical issues, that the medical issues are such that your child qualifies for the priority criteria and that the LA for some reason left him out of that category.

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 11:42:23

Agree with Tiggytape. Don't give up. If you have a good case you may still succeed.

ssaw2012 Wed 08-May-13 12:57:36

Thank hou for encouragement smile These are the priorities for this school:
a. special needs, e.g. adopted.
b. children from the catchment area with siblings.
c. children from catchment area
d. children with siblings from non-catchment area.

They told me that a, b and c was more important than d. We will try but chances are slim. May be we will move up on the waiting list. I think I will call them back next week to check where we are. in the meantime we have to apply for another school.The cap for the school is 30. Other schools take 31 or even 32 but not this ones. Also I think it would be unfair for someone to loose their place because of us. Is it possible that the LEA does not actually disclose how many places have been taken? If the school has maxim children then what is the point of the appeals? They cannot change the decision in favour of someone else down the list. They had time to look at it from January.Unless they still have a few places available I highly doubt anyone will win an appeal.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 13:43:56

If the school has maximum children then what is the point of the appeals?

But that is the whole point of an appeal.
The definition of an appeal is basically asking for a place at a school that is already full up.

When people win appeals it isn't because the school suddenly have a vacancy for them.
When people win appeals, the school is still full up but is forced to take another pupil even though it will then exceed maximum numbers.

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 22:06:54

As Tiggytape says, if the school had a space there would be no need for an appeal. An appeal only happens if the school is full up and someone is asking the appeal panel to make the school admit their child anyway.

The fact that the school doesn't have a category for medical needs makes your appeal harder to win but it isn't necessarily impossible. It depends on the severity of your son's medical problems and the amount of evidence you provided with your application. If he has severe problems that mean he really needs this school and you gave evidence of that you will argue that the LA has been unreasonable in refusing to admit your son. Even if you didn't give evidence with your application it is still worth a shot as you may get a sympathetic appeal panel that is willing to bend the rules for you.

ssaw2012 Wed 08-May-13 22:59:21

Thank you. His med problem is not severe but going to one school would be ideal. Also it is the best school in the area. I really did not think there would be so many applicants from the catchment area. You never see those 30 children and then suddenly all 30 places have been taken.

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