Admissions appeal for primary

(19 Posts)
minionmadness Thu 19-Jun-14 11:37:07

I had a thread a while back relating to my DN's dd not getting a place at the school her ds currently attends. Her dd didn't get a place as niece and her dh have separated and she moved out of catchment. She has been number 6 on the waiting list since then... no movement. She is planning on keeping her dd in pre-school in the hope that she moves up the list.

I didn't share the whole picture in the original thread as we didn't have the full facts.

DN's dd is not 4 until end of August and has significant speech issues in that unless you know her well you wouldn't know what she was saying at all. Niece kept speaking to HV who gave her "the all get there in their own time" line and has basically given her the run around.

She started pre-school in Sept 13 and in December 13 Manager felt that niece's dd needed referring to SALT.

Again DN has been given the run around when chasing pre-school referred in December and was told she was on the waiting list. 3 weeks ago she rang SALT directly only to be told that they hadn't received a referral. She has now self referred but it could be months before she is seen. In the meantime she has had an independent assessment carried out on her dd. As expected she has quite significant speech issues. This SALT therapist also works in the NHS.

So my question (to those of you who got this far) is... Would this evidence carry any weight will the appeal. It's pretty obvious the she will be at a huge disadvantage with a new pier group since all of the children in her pre school will be going to her first choice school and they have spent the school year with her so can at least recognise some of what she says. Also some of the staff work between the two settings too. I appreciate she will get SALT therapy regardless of the school she attends.

The pre-school manager is saying that DN's dd won't cope with a new pier group and they certainly won't understand her.

lougle Thu 19-Jun-14 11:46:31

Unfortunately this is unlikely to help as your DN will be appealing under Infant Class Size regulations. Unless a mistake had been made (e.g. The school had a social/medical category, your sister gave conclusive evidence stating that only thus school would be suitable due to the SALT issues,it was ignored by the admissions authority and I'd it hadn't been she would have got a place) then the appeal panel won't be able to award a place even if they think she should have one.

HPparent Thu 19-Jun-14 11:49:10

I doubt a panel would offer a place on appeal unless they had a letter from a professional such as a speech therapist which names that specific school.
Winning an infant class size appeal is difficult.

As far as the referral goes, get on the phone to the Head of SALT in your area and scream and shout until you get an urgent referral. That is what I did.

Jellyandjam Thu 19-Jun-14 11:51:58

It all depends on whether it is an infant class size appeal?
I was in a similar situation with my son last year so I can appreciate the concerns over the speech.
We did supply a letter from the SALT saying that DS needed to be in a familiar environment around people he knew and quoted parts of the recent ofsted which praised the FS for dealing with speech and communication issues. However we won the appeal because the panel agreed that a mistake had been made in that the LA had not applied the school admission policy correctly in our case, had they done that he round have been offered a place originally. I think the extra information all helped the panel to have sympathy with our case but without the mistake we would have been unlikely to win I think.

Jellyandjam Thu 19-Jun-14 11:53:40

*would not round!

DeWee Thu 19-Jun-14 11:55:01

On the speech issue, you may well find the children understand her before the adults. Happened in dd's year. A child who had serious speech problems, the children seemed to be able to understand very quickly-they would translate for any adults that needed. He didn't have any social issues, in fact the other dc were falling over themselves to help and be his friend.
Ds too, has some pronunciation problems due to glue ear, and once or twice he's been telling me something and I have struggled to understand a word and one of his peers has translated.

You may find that she gets seen quicker if you get school to refer once started. Our area has started something where they see the children in school rather than have them coming out of school. if the SALT is already coming to the school, they'll often just add a further urgent case onto who they're already seeing.
School referring as urgent also has more pull than parent self referring.

AuntieStella Thu 19-Jun-14 12:00:23

If the school has a social/medical criteria, then the panel might find that there is compelling evidence that she should be in it. But if the parent did not present this evidence when applying, no mistake has been made. It might bump her up the waiting list, as everyone should accept that she ought to be in a higher category, but it will not win a place.

Or was the evidence presented at the time of initial application? If so, then the grounds for appeal could be that a mistake was made in not considering it adequately. If the panel found it was not properly considered (procedurally) or that the judgement not to consider it as exceptional grounds was perverse, they she could win.

Jellyandjam Thu 19-Jun-14 12:00:33

I agree with DeWee about children understanding her. DS friends understood him most of the time even when adults didn't. He hasn't had any trouble making friends either.

minionmadness Thu 19-Jun-14 12:30:13

Thanks all.

I guess I knew this was going to be the answer since it's an infant class size appeal.

I suppose I was hoping she might have a fighting chance since the pre-school made the error in the referral which in turn meant the DN had no evidence to supply with the original application.

tiggytape Thu 19-Jun-14 13:05:40

The emphasis is on the parent to mention any special or emotional needs in the application even if not officially diagnosed yet. If your DN needed to be kept with her peer group, this should have been set out in the application. If it wasn't then no error can be found for ignoring something that they didn't know about.

Of course if the speech issues weren't diagnosed, anything written about them on the form might not have carried much weight anyway but. Unfortunately, in ICS cases, even severe needs diagnosed after application should not an appeal unless the needs are so severe that a statement naming the school is granted.

The pre-school manager is saying that DN's dd won't cope with a new pier group and they certainly won't understand her.

This is hugely unhelpful and not fair at all. What does the manager expect DN's parents to do with that information exactly? DN has been at preschool for 18 months and they have come to understand her. The same will be true at her new school. It may not be ideal but it is a very common problem for lots of reception children and all schools are well used to dealing with it.

An appeal is alway worth a try but unless a very sympathetic panel bends the rules, there is quite a low chance of success unfortunately.

HPparent Thu 19-Jun-14 16:22:13

minionmadness, I just wanted to add that I have been in the exact position your DN is in.

As already stated, I made sure I spoke to the Head of SALT in the area and stayed on the phone until I got what I wanted. At the time they provided therapy in blocks of six weeks only. I also contacted my MP but didn't have to use her services in the end. We are in London and found a charity, Christopher Place, that was able to help us as well by providing some sessions at a reduced rate.

At that age they do make massive leaps and the child still has plenty of time to catch up.

Has your DN looked at other nurseries or schools? Quite a few around us have SALTs coming to the premises as this sort of problem is quite common.

Dendycat Thu 19-Jun-14 18:10:42

My ds is an August baby with a similar speech issue. We are lucky that we got our first choice school, however we were told that his speech therapy would have no bearing on his school application as speech issues are not uncommon. I think (may be wrong) that unless it is severe enough for a SEN then it wouldn't be considered and SENs are now very difficult to get.

HPparent Thu 19-Jun-14 20:21:17

My recent experience is that infant class size appeals are most commonly won when the admissions authority have messed up big time.

Occasionally you get a combination of circumstances which make a compelling case to admit the child but they are rare and might be more to do with the whole picture than a need of the child.

The SEN ones almost always fail because the parents dont make a strong enough connection between the need and the school. Most schools can deal with common ailments. Sadly, sibling based appeals tend to fail as well.

tiggytape Thu 19-Jun-14 21:19:34

There are only 3 ways to win an ICS appeal:

1. An Admissions Error:
This must be a mistake the parentd didn't cause AND one that meant they were deprived of a place. A mistake on its own isn't enough unless it cost a place. Examples include the council ignoring having a sibling link or getting the measured distances totally wrong

2. Unlawful Admissions Criteria:
This is very rare. But just supposing a school had criteria that they would admit people in alphabetical order or something else totally not allowed under the admissions code then you could appeal and win on this basis. It is rare because most schools follow the standard siblings and distance and because all parents can challenge unlawful criteria long before the admissions process.

3. Unreasonable Decision:
This is the one people pin their hopes on usually but it means more than most people think. It means a decision so unreasonable that no other person presented with the facts could possibly arrive at the same decision. So an example would be a family in witness protection with lives in danger.
Some parents think it is 'unreasonable' to have 2 children at different schools or 'unreasonable to have to travel 3.2 miles for a school when they live closer to 5 others etc but none of those things are unreasonable in the legal sense.

So SEN or a combination of circumstances are unlikely to fall into these categories. Even a child with severe additional needs should not win at appeal unless a mistake made them miss out (eg not placed in medical category).

HPparent Thu 19-Jun-14 21:39:21

I have been on ICS panels recently that allowed ones under 2 & 3. Both were very very unusual cases.

minionmadness Sat 19-Jul-14 13:45:59

Update...

As expected my niece lost her appeal for her dd yesterday.

There was much discussion after we pointed out that dn's ds had exactly the same speech issues at the same age so felt that this particular school was indeed more equipped to deal with her needs since they had been supporting him for 3 years.

When the guy from Democratic Services rang with the decision he suggested it might be worth a shot submitting the application again with the new supporting evidence since for various reasons due to delays on referral from pre school. Obviously he wasn't saying this would bring a different result.

It won't cost us anything (other than my time) so we have nothing to lose. Does anyone know if we do this via a in year admission ?

minionmadness Sun 20-Jul-14 11:52:09

BUMP...

Anyone more knowledgeable know if we can submit another application including evidence of SEN that wasn't included in the original application. If so how do we do this.

admission Sun 20-Jul-14 22:24:28

Officially it is not an in-year admission as it is for reception starting in September however it is the only obvious way of re-applying and submitting new evidence.
Having said that I am not sure that the admission authority will accept the application as an in-year application until after 1st September. There is also the question of whilst you can apply for a place as many times as you want, you only get one admission appeal per academic year and you have in reality had that for the reception year.
You do need to look at the admission criteria very carefully. Unless the admission criteria has a medical /social needs criteria, there is no way that SEN will be taken into consideration unless the child has a statement of educational need. If there is a medical / social needs category then you can reapply using that but the case will still be an infant class size case and unless the admission authority is prepared to admit the child under one of the excepted pupil reasons, you will not get a place at the school. The SEN information will also be of no weight in the decision if a second appeal is granted as the panel will be forced to come to the same conclusion because of the restricting rules around ICS reg cases.

minionmadness Mon 21-Jul-14 12:38:54

Thanks for that... definitely confirms what I feared.

Development this morning is that she has now gone from being 3 on the list back down to 7. The only positive from this is that dn has been forced to decide enough is enough and is going to send her dd to the school she has a place at with a view to moving her ds there too.

I actually think this is the right choice or she would have spent the next 6 months until the waiting list closes in turmoil. If a place comes up then great, if not she will move her ds there. It is an equally good school to the one he is at now.

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