Psychological Issues Grounds for Appeal?

(23 Posts)
MrWizard Thu 16-Apr-15 14:53:23

Hello Everybody

Our child was recently refused his first choice of primary school.

Without going into too much detail, he has been through medical hell over the last three years, and his psychologist recently told us that because she believed it to be very important that he goes to this particular school, she would write a letter the the appeals commission should he be refused.

My problem is that although it might be psychologically detrimental for him should he end up in a different primary school, it seems that medical grounds are not grounds for an appeal due to the maximum class size.

Am I right in assuming that even with supporting evidence in favour of his acceptance from the hospital, this appeal will essentially be a waste of time?

Really worried :-/

TheBoov Thu 16-Apr-15 14:55:21

You are meant to apply with the relevant statement in the first place I think.

BarbarianMum Thu 16-Apr-15 15:00:57

If you wanted his psychological issues to be considered in allocating a place, then you should have included the relevant info with the initial application. Did you do this?

If you didn't and the school is now full (30 in a class), it will be an infant class size appeal and pretty much impossible to win unless you can show the admissions authority made a mistake.

steppemum Thu 16-Apr-15 15:02:28

a successful appeal could get him to top of waiting list, which, depending on school, intake and area, may get him a place by September

tiggytape Thu 16-Apr-15 15:02:56

Ideally, if the school has an admissions category for "Medical and Social Need" (not all do) then you attach the Consultant's letter when you apply for schools in January. A board then considers that evidence to decide whether your child's need warrants being placed in the priority admissions category. If they agree you get priority for a school and hopefully a place.

If you were unable to do that, you will be reliant on the appeals process. For Year 3 or above, documented and compelling medical need would often lead to a successful appeal (because the child's need for a place outweighs the disadvantage to the school) For reception class however it is much less certain where the school has class sizes of 30 in YR-Y2.
If it doesn't, if YR-Y2 classes are small, your appeal will be a balancing decision which you could win with good evidence.
If there are 30 per class though, and if the council did nothing wrong (if it did not know about the medical reasons when you applied so could not consider them) then your chances I am afraid are much more slim. It is possible the panel would bend the rules and allow the appeal so it is worth doing but it is also important not to rely on that outcome, to get on waiting lists and to explore other options.

tiggytape Thu 16-Apr-15 15:03:44

a successful appeal could get him to top of waiting list, which, depending on school, intake and area, may get him a place by September
No this is not correct. Either you win an appeal and get a place. Or you lose and stay in the same position on the list. An appeal never changes a waiting list place like that.

MrWizard Thu 16-Apr-15 15:05:41

"If you wanted his psychological issues to be considered in allocating a place, then you should have included the relevant info with the initial application. Did you do this?"

We didn't, no. At the time of making the application, he had not been assigned a psychologist.

"a successful appeal could get him to top of waiting list, which, depending on school, intake and area, may get him a place by September"

This is somewhat reassuring at least, thanks

admission Thu 16-Apr-15 15:40:40

If you can show that the psychologist was not assigned or saw your child before the cutoff date of January 16th then you could try raising the subject at appeal. You would need a strongly worded letter from the psychologist confirming when they first saw your child, what in their opinion is wrong and why the school you prefer is the only one that is suitable.
In a normal appeal situation that would give you a reasonable chance of success but for a primary school that is subject to the infant class size regs then your chances of success are slim. These schools are where the intake into the year group is 15,30, 45, 60 etc and there is a limit on the class zie of 30.
Under those circumstances you can only win the appeal because a mistake was made - seems unlikely or the decision reached is completely unreasonable - but in a legal sense unreasonable is a completely perverse decision. Again that seems unlikely if the admission authority did not even know about the issue.
Having said that you have nothing to loose by appealing and some appeal panels may admit.They will probably have a great deal of sympathy for your situation and I know from experience that in those situations the panel will look very carefully for a reason to admit when they know under a normal admission appeal situation they would admit based on the evidence submitted.
There is another point to the appeal as well and that is that sometimes the admission authority do feel a responsibility towards the pupil and can sometimes engineer a situation for admission. However if you do not appeal and make them aware of the situation then they will never be even considering the point.

kla73 Thu 16-Apr-15 18:10:31

The appeals process and waiting list are separate so an appeal will not move him up the waiting list. However I would have thought that along side an appeal you could ask for the medical evidence to be considered as he may be placed in a higher admissions category (if a category for exceptional need exists at that school) and therefore moving him up the waiting list increasing your chances of a place from the waiting list.

meditrina Thu 16-Apr-15 18:24:42

Yes, the WL and appeals process are separate.

But if an Appeals Panel found the medical evidence persuasive (but still declined to admit immediately because no mistake had actually been made as the information was not available at time of decision) I think would be extremely hard for the Admissions Authority to ignore this ie refuse to place the DC in the category now, this taking them to the top of the WL.

I think that there's also a reasonable chance an Appeals Panel might look sympathetically at this one, depending on exactly what the condition is and what facilites the school has that are unique or are vastly better than the offered school.

admission Thu 16-Apr-15 18:52:32

That might be the case but OP would have to formally ask the LA to consider under the medical category and it could well be a long drawn out saga.

prh47bridge Fri 17-Apr-15 00:08:41

I think would be extremely hard for the Admissions Authority to ignore this

I disagree.

The appeal will have failed. The panel can't tell the LA to move the child up the waiting list. The OP would have used up her one appeal for this school so couldn't appeal again on the basis that someone else has been admitted from the waiting list ahead of her son. In my experience the admission authority is likely to take the view that the panel's views are not binding and that what matters is their own assessment of the medical evidence.

meditrina Fri 17-Apr-15 06:39:21

I didn't mean the Panel can directly instruct the Admissions Authority about the WL.

The medical evidence has not yet been submitted, so the Admissions Authority cannot have assessed it. There's no reason at this stage to assume they would seek to form a different view to that taken by the Panel.

As admission says, the parent would need to go back to the Authority to request this (if indeed these particular circumstances come about, which of course they may not). The Authority can of course make its own assessment at this point. But more straightforward to endorse the Panel view (unless their rep at the appeal felt the Panel's decision anomalous).

tiggytape Fri 17-Apr-15 08:07:38

The appeal panel won't see the medical evidence for weeks or months yet - long after the waiting list has started to move.
Therefore even if the panel's reaction to the evidence was sympathetic, and even if the council decided to take this into account (which is by no means certain), then OP would have lost any advantage anway. By then the initial surge of offers will be long since over so being moved up a waiting list that has ground to a halt isn't necessarily going to help.

As far as admissions are concerned though, lists and appeals are separate. Not just separate in terms of outcome but separate in terms of timescales.

If OP is looking to the waiting list as well as the appeals process for a place then the best thing to do would to be ask the council to review the medical evidence now and move her son into that category (so up the list).
If they refuse (or if the school has no medical priority category to place him in) it is unlikely that they will change their mind on the basis of an appeal panel's decision letter many weeks later. They are much more likely to respond to further medical evidence or a more strongly worded letter from a medical professional insisting this school is the only one suitable.

steppemum Fri 17-Apr-15 14:17:34

I know appeals and waiting list are separate, but if you win an appeal, but the class is full, my understanding was that the school can't give him a place but that he has the right to the first available space (there is a term for this but can't remember it) it is something like they are the next in line for a place but not on the waiting list.

perfectly prepared to be told I am wrong grin

eddiemairswife Fri 17-Apr-15 14:30:56

If you win your appeal you are admitted. If it is an Infant Class Size appeal where the class is full the child is admitted as an 'excepted' child .

tiggytape Fri 17-Apr-15 15:03:27

I know appeals and waiting list are separate, but if you win an appeal, but the class is full, my understanding was that the school can't give him a place
No that isnt the case.
If a parent wins at appeal, the school has to take the child even though it is full (if it wasn't full with a waiting list full of people on top, then there'd be no need to appeal).

Virtually all appeals (except grammar ones) are for schools that are full so virtually everyone who wins an appeal gets admitted to an already full school.

Children who win appeals are called "excepted"
That means they don't count in the official figures.
So if a class has 30 children and 3 families win on appeal, the school must take all 3 children creating a class of 33. But for class size purposes those 3 don't count in the numbers.

steppemum Fri 17-Apr-15 15:28:28

Thanks for that explanation, now I understand

MrWizard Fri 01-May-15 13:14:46

Thanks for everybody's responses.

The appeal and supporting letter from the doctor has been submitted, it will now be just a case of waiting to see.

(Oh, and not that it matters so much, but I noticed a lot of people referring to me as a she; so just for the record, I'm a he not a she)

admission Fri 01-May-15 17:38:54

The clue might have been in your name!

MrWizard Wed 08-Jul-15 10:39:50

Not that anybody likely cares, but we just got the result from the appeal and he's been awarded a place at the school smile thanks to everybody for your advice and support

BarbarianMum Wed 08-Jul-15 10:47:06

smile Glad it worked out.

Tigsley2 Fri 10-Jul-15 00:37:37

My friend did not realise 'her own' medical issues could be included on her child's application form.

She did not gain a place at the school - I believe she appealed, but as the error was hers (not giving the information) the appeal 'failed' .

she was moved to the top of the waiting list, and finally got a place in year 3! (when another child left - tis a popular school)

So whilst it may not impact on a waiting list in some cases it can...

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