Tips for School Appeals please.

(11 Posts)
snowgirl29 Sun 19-Jun-16 16:35:57

Apologies if I'm a little vague but our situation is rather specific and I don't want to out us unintentionally.

Applied for both DCs to have an in year transfer last year for a variety of different reasons and a number of concerns with current school. Got refused and left it there and they were put on the waiting list. DS has since been admitted to the preferred school, and I have since, asked for an Appeal for DD to be allowed a place too. She's Year 5, and the main reason being some horrendous bullying which has led to her needing counselling from within the school services itself, and the fact that her brother is now there too.

I'm rusty when it comes to Appeals etc, but from what I gather, I have to indicate/prove that the prejudice against DD will be bigger than the possible one inflicted on the school if they admit her.

I was looking through their appeal response and they emphasised a lot on, although they can legally go over the PAN, they prefer not to as they think it is prejudicial to the school. There was two tables set our below, one with intended PAN, and then one with actual PAN. One of the older years actually has one more pupil in it than its intended PAN. Would you bring this up at the Appeal ot would this make me sound like an arse upstart?

Also, I can get very nervous in these types of situations and was just wondering if any of you had any hindsight as to what kind of questions I will be asked.

Thankyou in advance x

snowgirl29 Sun 19-Jun-16 16:37:21

*legally go over the PAN after reception year.

Also

*out not our.

Sorry. I really must learn to proofread.blush

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 19-Jun-16 16:43:38

The proving it isn't prejudicial to the school is quite tricky iirc so you need to focus on why the school is right for your dd. We lost the prejudice bit but presented a compelling case for dd to have a place.

snowgirl29 Sun 19-Jun-16 16:53:51

Thankyou Giddy. Can I ask what you said? I wrote in the initial appeal about her sibling link and how her emotional health will benefit from no bullying. (I'm not naive. I expect a bit of teasing but what DD has been through this last year has been relentless). But I've got no other evidence to back it up and obviously it's too late now for any additional evidence. DSs school prides themselves on zero tolerance to bullying etc etc.

Basically, I'm a single parent and I had to move DS out after he had the most disgraceful dismissive treatment to his SNs. It took him to hurt himself AT school and for my family to fork out for a private assessment before anyone'd listen.

My own health is not the best, and I'm currently doing two school runs on my own with no car. DD is quite literally, academically, no trouble and she's a very hard worker and quite sporty too.

prh47bridge Sun 19-Jun-16 22:26:37

If they are over PAN in any year you should definitely bring that up as it suggests the school could handle another pupil.

Bullying is frequently used by parents for in year appeals. If you have any documentary evidence to show what has happened - copies of letters you have written to the school, for example - that will help.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 19-Jun-16 23:51:03

We luckily had documentation which detailed the worries we had and the school's assurances which they had subsequently failed in. My DD was being investigated for ASD that had been totally missed by the SENCO. I had her referral letters. I was able to give specific examples of how her ASD had been mishandled.
I was able to say that our local school was well known locally for leading SEN provision, would foster her independence, that they had provision for G&T children.
You are supposed to make the case for the new school rather than dissing the old school so it has to be what the school can do for your DD. Safeguarding - quote any Ofsted figures and compare the schools. Quote any references to bullying policies on website.
Our preferred school had links to a study that gave me ammunition, particular features that are great for DD and clubs that she would do.

snowgirl29 Mon 20-Jun-16 06:53:24

Thankyou for your replies. Giddy it said on the appeal form that if you bring any new evidence on the day the appeal will be adjourned. I was advised to take her to the Drs re the bullying but a) the current school are doing their best to address it and failing a lot of my kid can do no wrong type attitudes and b) there's a couple of teachers who would have a bloody field day with it if I did. (one once put DD through a safeguarding exam because of an eczema flareup - in spite of the fact they had well documented times this had happened and phoned me to bring her meds round). Back to the more recent aspects of the bullying. They openly bully her in class, and when she told one of the teachers who was witnessing it all, got told to 'suck it up'. She ran out of class in tears that day and the only reason I know any of this is because another parent reading with the children at the time felt the need to tell me.
She's been on the transfer list for a while now for a number of schools, oddly enough I'm surrounded by schools yet none of them have any places confused the one her brother in is currently out of catchment, they pride themselves on having a large influx of OOC pupils, so I will focus on that, the non bullying policy, and the sibling link and the extra kid on the PAN.
If I ring up today, saying I need a bit more time to get evidence am I going to piss them off annoy them?

prh47bridge I don't have any documentation per se. A lot of it has generally been going in and speaking to the HT to sort it out. Who has tried their best to be fair , but there's just no relief.

Re the PAN, say if said overall PAN intended 300. Then where it says actual PAN 298. That's basically what this PAN says so I'm thinking we're vying for those two spaces aren't we?
I also know through ringing and checking that DD is top of the waiting list for DS school and I've been repeatedly told it's just a case of waiting for someone else to move out.

Also, I was told by a friend that there used to be 31 in the class anyway. I think the parents moved away with work. But I can't go on hearsay can I?

prh47bridge Mon 20-Jun-16 08:02:43

That's basically what this PAN says so I'm thinking we're vying for those two spaces aren't we

That is a strange thing for them to say. I presume they mean that capacity is 300 but they currently have 298 pupils. And both figures are odd - I would expect a primary school to have a capacity that divides by 7. That does not mean there are 2 spare spaces as they are presumably not in your daughter's year - if they were she should have been offered a place. However, if my interpretation is correct it means the school can't really argue that they are overcrowded.

If there used to be 31 in the class that helps you. Ask the school. They have to answer your questions.

Regarding bullying, did you send the head any emails? If you did they would be useful as evidence. If you haven't sent an email before, send one now. It is a bit late in the day but it still helps.

snowgirl29 Mon 20-Jun-16 10:52:01

Sorry if I confused you prh47. I said say if to try and demonstrate I was using an example. I was using a random number to illustrate as don't want to be too specific but yes, there are 2 numbers short of their overall PAN.

Stopyourmessingaround Mon 20-Jun-16 12:13:33

We've just had appeals last week, one an in-year appeal. There will be a representative from the school present or an education/admissions officer from the local authority. After the appeals panel have asked their questions you have the right to also ask questions so you need to be asking for exact pupil numbers for the past couple of years to find instances of when they went over PAN and obviously follow that up by asking how they managed those extra pupils eg physical space, resources etc. Also ask about number of leavers in the past couple of years as this could gauge whether if they do go over PAN they might return to normal numbers quite quickly. We were lucky in that the school we applied for regularly goes over PAN with no problems and often has leavers so the panel determined that the local authority's argument about overcrowding etc didn't stand up. Also look at the last ofsted report - it will tell you how many children were on roll at the time. If it is more than current numbers and is a good report, use that as an angle. Good luck, it can be done, and especially as it's year 5, you are not restricted on 30 per class.

snowgirl29 Sat 30-Jul-16 08:05:11

Hi, just wanted to update you all and say thankyou for all your advice. I did change the Appeal date, hired an Education solicitor, got a letter from the school counsellor and wrote a statement out for the panel to see before hand.

I ended up being in hospital on the Appeal date but my Ex went in my place with the Solicitor and we won our Appeal! grin

The panel said that they school had applied all the local criteria correctly and lawfully, however they didn't think admitting a further pupil would be prejudicial to the school (they're currently in the middle of having an extension done) so the Appeal was therefore allowed.

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