Primary School - Expat - Appeal

(43 Posts)
angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:08:56

Hello all;

I'm after bit of advice and its a long winded story....sorry....

My 5/6 year old boys and I moved to Saudi Arabia from the UK last year to join our/their husband/father and unfortunately the move hasn't worked out...one of the main reasons is that the education is extremely poor. We are returning home to our house at the end of April and I have applied to the council for places - year 1/2 and the school have come back with only an offer for one son who is in year 2. They also gave us an option to move them both to another school which is a drive away if i wanted to keep the boys together. This other school wasn't on my application and the ofsted report isnt as good as the school the boys originally went to.

In my application (which was a transfer application) - i put forward that the boys are moving home and that they would like to move back to the same school as this is the school that they went to for nursery/reception.

Year 1 is full - the classes are at capacity - there are 3 classes with 30 children in each.

I am extremely worried about about my son who has been turned down for a place - he isnt great with new people/change, he will have left his dad in Saudi and they are asking him to either start a new school or leave his brother.

Can anyone advise on appeals and what would be the best way of attacking the appeal.

Thank you

LIZS Sun 17-Apr-16 17:16:51

I think you'll struggle to win an appeal based on where they went to nursery as many children move for
Reception. It could also take a while to be heard and what would you do in the meantime? Class sizes are limited to 30 until y3. Where would your ds2 be on a waiting list for the school ds1 has been offered?

meditrina Sun 17-Apr-16 17:24:20

How far away is 'a drive' away?

Because I think that as they have come up with such places as are currently available from your preference list and in addition to that have found the place nearest your home that can accommodate both, they have done more than they are obliged to.

As both DC are in year groups covered by the Infant Class Size rules, you can only appeal on the grounds that an error has been made in handling your application and that error deprived your DC of a place they would otherwise have been offered (very unlikely, because if the school is full, it's full and even if they had totally mishandled the application you weren't deprived of a place as there isn't one), or that the entrance criteria are in some way unlawful (very unlikely) or the decision is so unreasonable it is perverse (in a legal-ish sense, eg child protection issues).

Your best bet here is to accept whichever of the current offers you dislike least, than get on to the waiting lists for schools you like better.

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:28:15

It doesn't sound like you can appeal this to be honest.

If the school they have offered for Year 1 is more than 2 miles away I think they have to provide your DS with transport.

You need to decide if you want to move them both to a school together, or take the one place offered and put your other child on the waiting list. If he's at the top of the list at a three form entry school then you should have a reasonable chance of getting a place within the year.

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:30:07

Im not concentrating on the fact thats where they both went to nursery - but surely its a contributing factor? - we are within the distance (as the crow flies) he has a sibling in the school - these are what the school decides on when they admit children
At the moment he is number 2 on the waiting list - once his brother starts school - he will be number 1.
We've spoken to the head teacher and she is really upset over it but she has said that there is nothing she can do - her hands are tied.

Im just wondering how to attack an appeal and if others have ever won even if the class is at 30.

riceuten Sun 17-Apr-16 17:34:43

Attendance at nursery rarely has anything to do with priority when it comes to admissions to the same primary school - they are separate entities for admissions purposes, and parents often think that attendance at one guarantees admission to the other. It's certainly not grounds for appeal. The only grounds you effectively have for appeal are the fact that the admissions authority (i.e. the school or the council, depending on which kind of school this is) did not administer the process properly, or were unaware of an issue at the time of admissions. Simply not getting a place are not sufficient grounds for appeal, and you will note 96% of appeals fail for just this reason.

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:35:24

All those factors don't matter if the school is already full unfortunately.

Maybe ask the head teacher how many children typically leave in each year/left last year - might give you an idea of how long you'd have to wait for a place.

Would you keep your younger one at home or send him to the other school while you wait?

riceuten Sun 17-Apr-16 17:35:59

The grounds people have won at 30 have been either

i) the child is a twin of an existing child
ii) the school have incorrectly calculated the published admissions number

riceuten Sun 17-Apr-16 17:40:01

No, nursery attendance not a contributing factor in the slightest, unfortunately. A few academies have added it to their admissions criteria but the vast majority of schools do not. Check the admissions criteria - should be on their website

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:40:29

The 'other' school isnt more than 2 miles away.
I only applied for the one school - i didnt think there would be an issue with available places

I will home school him until a place becomes available - again - I'm not sure how i would do this either.

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:40:32

There are a few circumstances in which children can be admitted to an infant class that is full:
a) children admitted outside the normal admissions round with
statements of special educational needs or Education,
Health and Care Plans specifying a school;
b) looked after children and previously looked after children admitted
outside the normal admissions round;
c) children admitted, after initial allocation of places, because of a
procedural error made by the admission authority or local authority in
the original application process;
d) children admitted after an independent appeals panel upholds an
appeal;
e) children who move into the area outside the normal admissions round
for whom there is no other available school within reasonable distance;
f) children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal
admissions round;
g) children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted
otherwise than as an excepted pupil;
h) children with special educational needs who are normally taught in a
special educational needs unit attached to the school, or registered
at a special school, who attend some infant classes within the
mainstream school

meditrina Sun 17-Apr-16 17:41:10

I'm sorry, I know you don't want to hear this, but there are no grounds for an appeal under ICS rules other than the ones in my earlier post.

No, prior attendance at the nursery will not be a relevant argument for an ICS appeal for the refusal of an in-year admission to a year group that is full.

Yes, it does sound very likely that if you had applied in the main round of reception applications you would have been offered a place. But that is I'm afraid wholly irrelevant to the outcome of your in-year application for year 1.

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:43:38

Have you looked at whether any other local schools have two places available?

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:44:31

How would i find out if an admissions mistake has been made?

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:47:36

Is your child in any of the categories listed above, eg has an ECHP, is looked after, child of service personnel?

If your child should have been in one of those categories so should have got a place, then the LA will have made a mistake.

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:48:42

Meditrina - thank you - but if i don't try to appeal - then i feel that i haven't done 'everything' that i could have in the best interests of my son.
They have never ever been split up - as there is 12 months between them - they are like twins....
Moving to Saudi has been a big mistake which unfortunately it sounds like I'm paying for now.

LittleNelle - the school which they offered two places isnt one that i would have ever considered for my children due to its Ofsted report and its reputation.

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:50:27

LittleNelle - No, he isnt in any of those categories

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:52:23

There's no harm in appealing, but be prepared that it won't get you a place at the school. From the information you've given it doesn't sound like your DS is currently entitled to a place as his year group is full, and there aren't any additional circumstances that would make him an 'excepted pupil'.

DesertOrDessert Sun 17-Apr-16 17:52:47

The only hope is your oldest starts at school, and spaces open up over the summer. Sorry. We would have been in exactly the same place as you if we hadn't managed to secure coveted British School places over here well, YR and Y2, but otherwise identical My sons y2 place has gone, as someone was waiting for a y2 place. It really tough. Is Dad coming back with you? There are decent schools in SA. Where are you?

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:53:25

Would the fact that it would impact on his mental health not be a good enough reason?

meditrina Sun 17-Apr-16 17:53:55

You can ask for all information you think will be relevant to your appeal, such as have they placed your child in the correct entrance category and have they measured your home to school distance currently.

But none of that will matter if the error did not cost your DC a place they would otherwise have been offered. As there was no place available, even if they had made the most flagrant errors ever seen it would still not have deprived you of an offer and so will not win you an appeal.

If you can demonstrate that they actually have a vacancy they offered to someone else when your DC was top of the waiting list, then you would have a winnable appeal. So worth asking what year 1 places have been allocated since you applied, on what date and what was your DC's place on the waiting list in those dates.

LittleNelle Sun 17-Apr-16 17:57:04

Unless he has mental health issues that means he has a Education, Health and Care Plan naming a specific school then I don't think it will make a difference.

angelzinflight77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:57:34

We are in Old Jubail in Saudi - the school is a complete farce...no where near the level of the education at home in the UK, hence coming home.

My husband isnt coming back to the UK to live - so ill be living on my own with the boys.

Its going to be very hard for all of us and i was hoping just to go back into our old life including the old school for the boys.

It sounds as though i won't win the appeal based on the above facts - but I've got to at least try.
In the meantime ill keep him on the list and home school him until a place becomes available.

meditrina Sun 17-Apr-16 18:00:05

"Would the fact that it would impact on his mental health not be a good enough reason?"

No, because this is an ICS appeal. So this would fall under point a) the list posted by LittleNelle - ie children admitted outside the normal admissions round with
statements of special educational needs or Education,Health and Care Plans specifying a school. Coming from abroad, you might be able to argue this at appeal on the grounds that your paperwork about his health needs originated in a different country but this is how it maps into the British system. You would also need to show why the appealed for school is the only one who can provide your DC with the support he needs. You won't be able to make a case based on remaining with his brother when you already have an alternative offer which means they two can remain together.

DesertOrDessert Sun 17-Apr-16 18:03:54

Would you consider moving to Khobar, if one of the two British schools could take you? It's (just) commutable, but a pig of a road from Khobar to Jubail.
PM me if you want more details. I think you've decided to get out of the Sand pit, but just putting that out there incase it's an alternative. flowers it's a leap of faith making a move as big as you did. Sorry it hasn't worked out.
Kids are more resilient than you think. We started in UK in September, and then did 6 weeks in an "international school" which sounds similar to yours before landing true UK schooling. Virtual wine to get you through another benifit if moving south, 45 mins to Bahrain

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