Class sizes

(17 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 21-Aug-14 06:48:43

DS2 has been refused a place at school of parental preference (he has a draft statement) because there are 27 in the class and this is the admissions limit. The school say this means they can't meet need. I don't understand. He is currently in a class of 32.

Can anyone shed any light?

tiggytape Thu 21-Aug-14 11:29:35

There are 2 types of admission numbers: the PAN and a legal class size limit (ICS which stands for Infant Class Size)

The ICS applies just for reception - Year 2. It states that a class cannot have more than 30 children per teacher. It is pretty much set in stone.

After Year 2 there is no legal cap but the class size still has to be pre determined number based mostly on classroom size and resources.

This pre determined cap is called the PAN (published admission number). This is not set in stone though and it is possible to appeal for a place and win in those circumstances. The school does not just exceed the PAN as it fancies but parents can appeal and explain why their child needs to attend this school and get a place that way. The only obstacle may be if PAN is set at 27 because the classrooms are genuinely really tiny and they cannot even squeeze in an extra desk but that's pretty rare. It is definitely worth your while appealing for a place.

mrz Thu 21-Aug-14 13:23:18

It might be worthwhile asking for the school to be names in your child's statement/EHCP

admission Thu 21-Aug-14 16:39:41

With a PAN of 27, there is no reason to not appeal for a place at the school. You just need to have good reasons for going to the school. AS MRZ says if you are the stage of a draft statement for SEN, then probably the quickest way to resolve this is to get the statement to name the school. That in effect will make it extremely difficult for the school not to admit.

Galena Thu 21-Aug-14 18:51:59

My understanding of the OP (and I could be wrong, in which case I apologise) is that they've tried to have the school named in the statement under 'school of parental choice' and have been turned down.

It is possible - the head /governors need to show that either the presence of the child would detriment unreasonably to the education of the others in the class, or that they could not meet the statemented child's need. We were very lucky that the head knew of DD and was happy to take her. If they have turned you down I think you can go to tribunal, but you may not get anywhere...

admission Thu 21-Aug-14 21:48:28

You might be right re-reading the OP. Having said that it makes no real difference. The SEN statement or whatever it will be called from 1st September has to be agreed with the LA and the parents can insist that the school is named.
The school can in theory say no, given that they have reached the PAN, but para 1.6 of the admission code says that all children whose statement of special educational needs names the school must be admitted. That statement is for pupils being admitted at the normal point of entry but in effect the same applies for pupils with a named statement at any other time. Pupils with a statement are also excepted pupils under the infant class size regs so that is also not a barrier to entry (that is there can be 30+ in the class) and in this case with a PAN of 27 is not appropriate any way.
The statement by the school that they cannot meet need is also not appropriate in relation to having reached PAN. The school may believe that they cannot meet the needs of the pupil because of their diagnosed special needs but not simply because they have reached PAN. I know in my LA any school saying that they cannot meet the needs of an SEN pupil will get little sympathy from the LA, they are simply expected to meet their needs.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 22-Aug-14 09:25:18

Thanks for the replies.

A school in the next village was parental preference as it is the same size as his previous school. We moved house over the summer and so has to move schools. This school was chosen also for experienced staff in the class and a few DC with similar problems, ofsted reported rapid progress of DC with sen. Ds2 is also on the 99th percentile for cognitive ability but is under-achieving.

In a meeting the la said the school could meet need but were full for that year and so couldn't meet need. The fact that there is a similar peer group and experienced staff in complex SEN was given as a reason why he could not be admitted. Instead they said they will finalise naming the village school which is 50% bigger, does not have a similar peer group or experienced staff. The la had approached them and they also said no because they were at capacity. But the la said they would force this school but not parental preference to take him. They said we would have to go to tribunal for our preference and in any case ds2 would have to start at their choice in September.

Ironically, if he did not have a statement but was still on SA+ we could appeal refusal to admit to the school of our choice. confused

mrz Fri 22-Aug-14 09:48:03

I think you need to fight to get the school named on his statement as this will strengthen your case and make it very difficult for them to refuse.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 22-Aug-14 12:51:15

Mrz - ignoring their own EP advice they have issued a non-funded statement for 5 hours for a DC requiring a high level of continuous support including breaktimes etc who is visited termly by salt and OT. The schools are saying 'no' for financial reasons. If support were properly resourced the school could say yes because there will always now be a substantial cost to admitting a statemented DC especially with no top up. Ridiculous - DC on SA+ receive more hours support and top up funding if they exceed the 12 or so hours expected. The la are taking the piss. And they will continue to take the piss unless I go to tribunal (again)

mrz Fri 22-Aug-14 13:01:01

Are you in England?

admission Fri 22-Aug-14 13:07:28

So the LA are saying that both schools are capable of meeting the needs of your son and that both are full to PAN. They are saying that they will force the issue and ensure admission at the local school but not one that is further away and not catchment school. To be honest I do not think that is too unreasonable of the LA.

You could try and force the issue and get your preference named on the statement but it appears that the LA is saying that they will not accept this under any circumstances. They are saying that you will need to go to appeal at the first tier tribunal and win the case there to achieve that. That is based on the SEN needs of your son.

However there is nothing to stop you also appealing for the preferred school simply based on wanting admission to the school. You could go to appeal and argue that it is your preferred school for your son based on your knowledge of the school and the belief that they are better equipped to deal with the special needs of your son. I am not sure it is a particularly strong case. The other issue is around the PAN of 27. If the school has classrooms that are of average size then a panel may well believe that there is no reason not to admit as the classroom is big enough for 30. If however the classroom or other classrooms in the school are small and cannot take more than 27 then the panel will probably be minded not to admit because the LA will argue, as they are now, that the local school is more than capable of admitting your child and meeting the needs of the child. Much will depend on the panel's view of the strength of your argument about the school being better able to cope with your son's SEN.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 22-Aug-14 14:16:26

I am in England.

I have been to tribunal with ds1 - he is now at OOC Indi ss.

Ds2 needs a school place now. The la have not yet finalised. The hearing would be at least five months away. Ds1's tribunal cost about £13K. Not to mention the non-financial cost. I am not paying that for a m/s a mile away.

Parental preference is a joke. I will be forced to say 'name that tune' knowing this is the last chance for m/s to work.

A good school can do a lot with a crap statement. otoh a 'bad' school will ignore a good statement that took tribunal to achieve.

mrz Fri 22-Aug-14 14:23:14

Are you aware of the changes to SEN from September?

I would suggest contacting IPSEA for support

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 22-Aug-14 15:29:23

I am aware of the changes and I have spoken to IPSEA. Even though the actions are unlawful and unjustifiable, I can do sweet FA apart from appeal to tribunal. This would mean keeping ds2 home until placement as he would not be able to handle 2 transitions in one year. If he could, then panel would probably decide it was better to leave him where he was.

Sunflower123456 Mon 25-Aug-14 10:01:44

It's certainly worth the appeal. We were also rejected by the LA for a (mid-term) Y1 school place, because the class size was limited to 25, and we live 3 miles away. We went to the school, met the head teacher, and got some facts and figures for the appeal. You need to gather as many supporting arguments as possible, however trivial, for your appeal. We did that and won. You can contact me privately if you need more details.

prh47bridge Mon 25-Aug-14 18:54:16

You need to gather as many supporting arguments as possible, however trivial, for your appeal

No you don't. You need one or two good arguments. Loads of weak or irrelevant arguments will not sway the panel and may obscure your better arguments.

It has been pointed out previously to Sunflower123456 that most of the arguments she put forward at her appeal were irrelevant. Indeed, I would strongly advise anyone to avoid some of the arguments she put forward as they could alienate the appeal panel, making them less likely to give you the benefit of any doubt.

She thinks having lots of arguments helped to tip the balance in her favour. It simply doesn't work like that. From the information she has posted she actually won because the school was about to expand. This information would have substantially weakened the case to refuse admission, possibly to the point where any appeal, however weak, was bound to succeed.

hiccupgirl Mon 25-Aug-14 22:03:23

I would wonder if the reason the LA won't push the first school is because the school already has taken other children with complex needs and while on the face of it this would make it look like a good choice because they have experience, it may well be just too much for the school to take another child with complex needs. Even with funding from a statement/EHCP schools it costs schools more to take children with complex needs and they may be refusing because they feel it would have too much of an impact on the other children already there.

There may also be reasons around the relationship between the school and the LA - on paper the first school may look more welcoming but actually maybe the second are actually more accommodating and better at working with the LA?

I'm not saying any of these are reasons why your DS shouldn't go to the school you want but just that there may be reasons behind the scenes rather than the LA just being awkward. Can you get some answers for either school when they start next week?

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