primary school appeal admissions

(78 Posts)
FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:15:17

Hi we just found out today that DS has got the 4th choice school. Reasons for not wanting this place are that DDs middle school is in the opposite direction so they will be at schools 2 miles apart.
Also all of his friends from preschool will be going to a mix of the other 3 schools.
We are under a mile away from all three but just out judging by the data from last years admissions. The school we have been offered is not good.
I want to appeal but I'm not sure on what grounds sad

Also does this relaxation of the law have any bearing on admissions?

FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:16:23

I feel its not fair as we live quite far away from any schools...

SquirrelNuts Mon 15-Apr-13 19:23:14

Sorry ive got no advice for you, just sympathy as im in the same position as you sad
The article you found is very interesting, thank you for that!!

LIZS Mon 15-Apr-13 19:25:08

Don't think your logistics would be enough grounds, nor is the allocated school being "not good".

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 19:25:16

It is not a relaxation of the admission law as such - just a change that means if you won an appeal, the school wouldn't have to employ an extra teacher as a result. It doesn't make actually winning appeals (or letting the school otherwise go above numbers) any easier.
It has always been possible to have classes of 31 or more in exceptional circumstances. The only difference now is that it won't trigger an extra teacher being employed if numbers remain too high after a year.

In terms of appeal, the key to reception appeals is whether the school you want has 30 per class and whether any mistake was made in allocating you a place.

If you suspect a mistake (eg if they've got your address wrong and therefore measured wrong) or if the class sizes are smaller than 30, you can win by explaining why your child needs a place at the school. Panels do not give weight to logistic / transport or friendship issues unless the child has a medical need that affects these (mobility problems, anxiety problems etc that were added to the application form).
The Ofsted rating / reputation of any school also does not really enter considerations for appeal since panels must assume all schools are equal.
You can win (with less than 30 per class) if you show your child would benefit from things the school offers, the ethos, pastoral support, having educational or other needs met (so curriculum, clubs and that kind of thing).

Assuming no mistake in the allocations and 30 children per class, unfortunately your chances at appeal would be very slim. There are only 3 ways to win an appeal where the class sizes are 30:
1. A mistake by the LA that directly cost you a place
2. Illegal admission criteria
3. A decision so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand (eg serious concerns about child protection / witness protection issues and other exceptional and serious situations).

FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:26:21

Yes, I hope it might mean they can't just turn people away on class size.

I'm going to try to appeal, but so far I can't evren get to speak to anyone on the phone from my LEA and I've been trying all day.

Are you going to try and appeal Squirrel?

FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:28:08

Oh ok, cross post there.

I see tiggy, thanks for your post

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 19:28:19

Sorry - that was really long.

The key points you need to know before considering appeal is:
Do you suspect a mistake (eg that the council has not taken into account your correct address or faith or sibling criteria and therefore refused you a place that should rightfully be yours)?

Does the school/s you want have 30 children per class or less (or multiples of 30 eg a 45 intake still indicated class sizes of 30 overall)

FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:30:49

Just out of interest, how would I know if they had made a mistake on our application?
Can I ask for the data?

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 19:32:02

Framey - the law on class sizes still stands
An appeal panel has its hands totally tied in that respect and no matter how compelling your reasons, they cannot allow an appeal if it will take the numbers over 30.

The reasosn class sizes over 30 exists (as discussed in the article) is:
- people winning at appeal because the council messed up the allocations and directly cost them a place that was rightfully theirs
- children with statements being admitted outside the usual admission round
- Fair Access Protocol (where children move to an area and every school is full so emergency measures exist to force a local school to take a child who would otherwise have no place at all)

The change about employing teachers will not make it any easier for extra children to be added to a class of 30. It just means the school won't have to pay for an extra teacher when / if any of the above things happen.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 19:32:47

Our LEA website also states that we can't even ask what place our child is on a waiting list because they won't tell us...

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 19:35:56

Re mistakes:
Ask 'which admission category was my application considered under?'
(then look at the published criteria in the LA booklet and see if you agree they put you in the right one eg number 4. distance only or number 3. sibling at the school already)

Then ask 'what was the last distance offered to a person in that category if any from that category got in?'
(then ask if you you live further away than that using the criteria the LA use for distance calculations. Check if that sound right. If not ask for way the distance was calculated and for it to be checked).

SquirrelNuts Mon 15-Apr-13 19:44:52

yes i will try and appeal but wont be getting my hopes up.
I asked for the admission distance and how many people also didnt get in and i was given this information.
Good luck!

FrameyMcFrame Mon 15-Apr-13 20:45:59

Good luck Squirrel.

LivingThings Tue 16-Apr-13 14:28:11

Same here. I live on the county line and didnt get in to the two closest schools which i was out of catchment for
. Now faced with a five mile drive to another town. Luckily the school is actually fine - just too far away.

jellysmum77 Tue 16-Apr-13 17:46:08

Hi
I was very interested reading this thread as we have today been offered our second choice school and have been advised by pupil services to appeal and join the waiting list.
Our circumstances are that we lived in the catchment for this school, my daughter attended and we still own our house there. We moved to another authority last year but it hasn't worked out so we will be moving back to the same house in August and the head has already told us that our daughter will have her place back. We were told when we applied that we should apply through the authority we live in now and explain the circumstances i.e. by Sept we will be in zone and my son will have a sibling at the school. Today we have been told that that as we lived in this area when we applied then the other circumstances were not taken into account. The school we want already has 30 in reception.
Do you think we have any basis for appeal?

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 18:00:27

jellysmum - When you apply for a school place it always has to be via your local council. Even if you are applying for a school place miles away.

You have been refused a place because you do not live close enough to the school and because your son doesn't have a sibling at the school.
The fact that both of these things will have changed in September doesn't count.
It is where you are living and where siblings attend school on the closing date for admissions that matters. Future plans cannot be taken into account and an address you aren't living at cannot be used for admission purposes.

The fact you own a house near the school does not count towards admissions now but when you move back into it then it does count. On the date you move back, inform the council and DS's place on the waiting list will be adjusted (i.e. he will move up the waiting list due to being closer to the school).
Then when your daughter starts at this school, tell them again and your son will move up the list again as he will have a sibling and therefore be top priority for any vacancy that comes up.

I don't see that you can win an appeal.
It is an ICS (Infant Class Size) one and your application has not been treated unfairly
You didn't live near enough to the school when applying and your son doesn't have a sibling there (yet) therefore the council has rightly said you do not qualify for a place.

jellysmum77 Tue 16-Apr-13 19:16:01

Thanks for your advice.
We have just read through admissions arrangements again and the school policy for the school we are applying for is that they have a sibling in attendance at the start date. We have also read through appeals document again and basically it also says that we have grounds if the school's policy has not been followed (which clearly states - sibling attending at start date).
Well looks like we will be asking tenants to leave and moving back in the next couple of weeks then to get this process started quicker!

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 19:34:34

If you had it in writing when you applied for your son's place that your daughter will definitely be in attendance from September (and if you told the council this and it was all 100% certain at that time and not just a verbal promise from the Head Teacher), then I agree you'd have a case to say sibling priority was not followed.

However admissions procedures only deal in facts not future intentions that aren't yet definite. If all you had when you applied for your son was a verbal promise from the Head but no confirmed offer for her in writing, then the council was right not to treat her as a sibling who'd be in attendance in September.

The reason the policy is worded the way it is, is to prevent people with children in the current Year 6 getting a sibling place.
Their children won't be in attendance in September and therefore they don't get sibling priority for younger children this year. You can definitely use this to your advantage to argue a mistake but only if, at the time of applying for your son, there was no doubt that your daughter would be attending the school and it was all officially confirmed.

jellysmum77 Tue 16-Apr-13 19:58:14

Well we have emails between us and the head teacher? (dated 22 and 26th November, stating that she would be allocated her place back)
I understand that they can not just act on us saying we will live there etc or everyone would do it, what has made me more annoyed it that we did tell the council this and they told us that we should put it into the additional information and that was all we needed to do. If we had known this was not the case we would have moved back sooner!
Thank you that has been helpful.

jellysmum77 Tue 16-Apr-13 20:00:38

We also spoke to the council about the place for our Daughter but it is not able to officially go through them until May.

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 20:10:33

jellysmum77 - I think in this case you should appeal but I wouldn't be able to guess which way it would go.
Strictly speaking the bad advice you have been given is from the Head Teacher who promised you a place - this is not the council's fault.

No Head has it in their power to promise or to hand out places like that. Even in-year admissions go via the council.
She can say a place exists. But she cannot say you'd definitely get that place - how does she know that another child won't move to the area before you get there in August and ask for a place in your DD's year? The council would give it to them. She couldn't 'reserve' it for you until you arrive back.

Technically speaking, the council have acted 100% correctly with the information they had but the complication is that the Head has gone out on a limb and made a promise for your daughter which in turn has knock on implications for your expectation of your DS getting a place.

jellysmum77 Tue 16-Apr-13 20:14:27

Thank you. In the mean time we will be moving back asap in order to remain high on the waiting list!

Chocovore Tue 16-Apr-13 20:31:25

Slighty different Tiggy, but I wonder if you can advise please? My son is in Y2 and they have just allowed another child to join, bringing the class size to 31. I am told it is because the family has a military connection. Does that allow an exception to the class size rules then? There is another school just down the road which is undersubscribed in that year so I am unsure why we are having to take another child and go up to 31. Thanks.

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 21:31:41

The answer is yes - children who move frequently because their parents serve in the military are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to school places. As most of us know - the good schools get filled up quickly and generally the schools with leftover places aren't always the best schools in an area and therefore, potential exists for a situation whereby a child would not only move often but also always gets the least popular schools as well.

As such there is special provision for them to have a place allocated in advance of them moving to an area (in a way that other children cannot) and for councils to have to work so that any natural disadvantage to them to be countered.

admission Tue 16-Apr-13 22:12:15

The answer is that under the infant class size regs, the families of service personnel are considered as excepted pupils if it is not at a normal point of entry, in other words in-year. However that does not mean they will automatically get a place, they should still have to appeal and get offered a place.
Could it be that there is a sibling in the school or possibly that they have a statement of special needs?

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 22:13:14

Children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round are also classed as 'excepted' children (i.e. ones who are allowed to take class numbers over 30).

Other examples of 'excepted' children would be those with statements applying in-year, children in care applying in-year and any child who wins an appeal.

Chocovore Tue 16-Apr-13 22:44:38

I see. Thank you r sharing your knowledge.

Myliferocks Tue 16-Apr-13 22:57:02

Tiggytape are those examples of 'excepted' children you have given the only criteria.
The reason I ask is that I've had 5 children go through infants school so that makes a total of 15 yrs and different classes iyswim.
I recently was sorting through cupboards and came across all 15 class photos and only two class photos had 30 children in them. The other 13 ranged from 31-34 children.
DC1 attended infants between sep 2000 and July 2003.
My other 4 children attended between sep 2004 and July 2012 if date makes a difference.

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 23:17:06

When Labour came to power in 1997, lots of reception classes had more than 30 children (about a third). They vowed to tackle this.
By 2000 only 11% had more than 30
By 2002 it was down to 2%
So your DC1 was at school when larger class sizes were more normal.

The expcepted children rule in full is:

2.15 Infant class size
Infant classes (those where the majority of children will reach the age of 5, 6 or 7 during the school year) must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher.

Additional children may be admitted under limited exceptional circumstances.

These children will remain an ‘excepted pupil’ for the time they are in an infant class or until the class numbers fall back to the current infant class size limit.

The excepted children are:
a) children admitted outside the normal admissions round with statements of special educational needs 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

Not all of these applied before this year (eg the twins and triplets exeption is new).

Myliferocks Wed 17-Apr-13 10:19:23

Thank you Tiggytape!

DC1 had 29 in her class in reception and 30 in her class for year 1.
When she was in year 2 her class was over 30 as were my other 4 DC's classes throughout infants.
Infants were still better than junior though as class sizes varied from 31 up to 39 when they reached that stage.
DC5 is in year 3 now in a class that started with 31 in september and is already at 36 now.

MmeThenardier Wed 17-Apr-13 11:15:17

No help I know OP but we also live at the edge of a catchment which means we aren't that close to any of our local schools. Its a problem in the area and has resulted in people being sent to a school in the next town. Sounds like moving closer would be the best solution...

FrameyMcFrame Wed 17-Apr-13 18:53:18

Well we've emailed and requested the info that you have suggested tiggy. Thanks for all the helpful advice.
We are now considering getting some legal help with an appeal.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 17-Apr-13 19:01:36

Also, what are the chances of many places becoming available with waiting lists? I'm not entirely sure how it works. Thanks

tiggytape Wed 17-Apr-13 19:16:07

Your chances on waiting lists can't be known.
You can guess sometimes though if you know the school and the area well:
Do many pupils choose private schools (so will reject their council offer perhaps and creat vacancies in the summer)?
Do you live in an area with a settled or transient population? Some schools have the same pupils from YR-Y3 and nobody ever leaves but other schools (perhaps near London or where forces families are based) have people leaving and joining every term
Is the school you want big or small? (a vacancy is more likely in a reception year of 90 pupils than it is in a year group of only 30)

Your place on the list is determined by the original admission criteria so if you live close to the school you will be near the top but if a family move to the area and buy a house even closer, they will go above you on the list.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 17-Apr-13 21:06:39

Well we want a place at any of the 3 schools that were our 1st 3 choices.
1st choice we are 0.7 miles away and our nearest school but its also the most over subscribed. With only 45 pupils. The other 2 have 90 but are further at 0.9 and 1.2 but they're also in areas where there might be more movement, one has a high proportion of children in private education. There are free spaces in all the years at the moment in that school which suggests that children leave.

I guess we won't have an idea until we get some info from LEA.

the main reason we want one of these 4 is that they're feeding into the 3 tier system that my daughter is already.

The place we've been offered (4th choice) is in the 2 tier system. It also has bad ofstead for YR Y1 and 2.

Also, horribly enough, one of the teachers at that school harassed me and caused me a great deal of upset. Can't say more on here but I had contact with her through my job.

Thanks for all your help.

groovelottie Sun 21-Apr-13 22:22:21

hi all i am new to this and hope i am on the correct thread, if not any advice appreciated.
my son who is 7 attends local school. i applied in Oct 12 for my daughters place at same school ready for sept 13. However to my horror when i logged back in to see if she had got place the status said not submitted. I called LEA they had no record of her details and the office checked my e-mail and could see same status. I am at a loss myself and husband remember doing it and only adding the 1 choice my son's school as its in our catchment and when you have sibling there you stand high chance of getting place. However whether an error on my part or a glitch I am where I am.
I have checked my e-mails and worringly I only have confirmation that I set up an account in October 12 with Admissions.
I have contacted the school and the head was so kind but told me all places were full 2 reception classes (61) they are 1 over as they have a twin.
I would probably go to the top of waiting list as sibling attends school.
I have had to put a late application form in which wont get looked at til 30/4 following their advice i did recluctantly put a 2nd choice school a little village one within walking distance, however my mind is in overdrive and i have now thought what if this is full too.
The logistics of getting 2 children to 2 diff schools at same time is impossible. We have 1 car, my hub works full time. My daughter currently attends preschool for my 1st choice and afterschool club with her brother. Its all a mess I am out of my mind with worry x any advice I would appreciate x thxs

Dobbs13 Sun 21-Apr-13 22:22:28

Hi,

Can I ask for some advise? My daughter hasn't got into our village primary school (she was 16th on the list). I was adopted into this village (35 years ago at 6 weeks old). Can I use this in my appeal as the LA chose to put me in this village - would they have an ongoing care of duty? I was told that this might help the appeal but need more evidence?

Any help here would be greatly appreciated!

prh47bridge Sun 21-Apr-13 22:56:58

I'm afraid that is completely irrelevant. The LA does not have to find your daughter a place in the village primary school just because you were placed there 35 years ago.

If this is an infant class size case (which it could be with a PAN of 15) you should only win an appeal if you can show a mistake was made. If it is not an infant class size case you need to show that your daughter will be disadvantaged if she does not go to this school.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 22-Apr-13 18:49:59

Groovelottie, if you are high on the waiting list there is a good chance you will get in. Is the school normally full?

Fuckwittery Mon 22-Apr-13 18:55:26

Did you get a confirmation email groovelottie? You might be best starting a new thread about this in the primary topic as its a bit of a different topic to the original poster smile

FrameyMcFrame Mon 22-Apr-13 19:11:29

prh74bridge, 'If this is an infant class size case (which it could be with a PAN of 15) you should only win an appeal if you can show a mistake was made. If it is not an infant class size case you need to show that your daughter will be disadvantaged if she does not go to this school.'

I'm still not really understanding this properly. So the only way we can win an appeal is if we prove they've made a mistake?

clam Mon 22-Apr-13 19:34:56

Yes, IF the class is full up and subject to the legal limit imposed by the Government (Infant Class Size). Beyond Key Stage One a class is still regarded as full if there are 30 children in it, but it is slightly easier to win an appeal although you have to prove that the disadvantage to your child by not getting a place is greater than that suffered by the school, were a place granted.

PanelChair Mon 22-Apr-13 19:56:42

Groovelottie - As has been suggested already, a lot is going to depend on whether you have any evidence to substantiate your claim that you did apply on time. With that, the LEA may accept that they have made an error and may give you the place you should have had, if they had processed your application. Or an appeal panel might allow your appeal for the same reason. But without any evidence that you applied on time, you are highly unlikely to win the appeal. It is inconvenient, obviously, to have two children in two schools, but the infant class size rule of 30 children per qualified teacher is strictly enforced.

Dobbs - As prh47bridge has said, your being adopted has no connection at all with school admissions. There is priority within the admissions code for adopted/looked after children but that does not extend to parents.

FrameyMcFrame - Essentially, in cases where the infant class size rules apply - ie where the admission number is a multiple of 30 and where there are 30 pupils per class in KS1 - you have to demonstrate some sort of mistake. That could be because the admission criteria do not comply with the admissions code, they haven't been properly applied, a mistake has been made which has deprived your child of a place, or the decision is so unreasonable that no reasonable person would have made the same decision and it can't be allowed to stand. Those are the only circumstances in which the panel is supposed to allow an appeal.

Where the ICS rules don't apply - where the admission number is not a multiple of 30, where classes in KS1 are less than 30 or in KS2 and secondary school - the appeal is decided differently, on the basis of the balance of "prejudice" (ie disadvantage) to the pupil in not being admitted and to the school in having to accommodate an additional pupil.

RedHotBagel Mon 22-Apr-13 22:48:11

I'd be grateful for advice. DD has been offered place at local church school, our second choice. Our first choice was our nearest non-church school. We are three miles from the non-church school, but walking distance from the church school. Both are oversubscribed. We said in the application that we wanted a non-denominational school but this has not been taken into account. I suspect that if we were churchgoers wanting to get into the only church school in the area the council would bend over backwards to give us a place there. Do you think this is a reasonable grounds for appeal?

admission Mon 22-Apr-13 22:54:37

Redhotbagel, the short answer is no it is not. The fact that you asked for a non-denominational school has no effect in terms of the admission process, which is governed by the preferences that you made and the admission criteria for each of the schools. You ave presumably failed to get into your first preference because of the distance, which is the same reason why you have been offered a place at your second preference.
Having said that you need to go on the waiting list for your second preference school and you can still appeal for a place based on not wanting a faith school but you have to accept that your chances of success are slim.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 20:19:19

Hi again
we are planning to appeal for our second son who didn't get a place at the school our older one goes to. Would people recommend getting a solicitor or something involved? How does one find out which ones as worth paying for?

Dizzydaisie Tue 07-May-13 20:32:15

I wouldn't advise getting a solicitor, the appeal hearing is formal but not to the level of needing legal representation. Your chances of success depend on the reasons you are appealing and whether it is an infant class size appeal as these are very difficult to win. What year is it you are appealing for? All I can say is that I have very recently been to a class size appeal myself and although I won mine I know it is very hard, the best thing to do is put your case across as strongly as you can.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 20:41:40

It is luckily not infant class size!

Thanks for your advice. I wasn't thinking of getting legal representation for the hearing but help in putting together my case in the strongest possible way. What do you think about that? I haven't got a lot of money but we feel our son's well-being is really at stake, for particular reasons, and it is about years and years of our life that will be impacted so we feel if that helps we would consider it.

prh47bridge Tue 07-May-13 21:39:06

Don't do it. Solicitors generally don't understand admissions and tend to start nit picking, which does not go down well with appeal panels. It is your son's education that is at stake. You will do a far better job than any solicitor - especially if you take advantage of the free help on offer from experts on Mumsnet!

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 21:50:40

I will certainly take advantage of all help available!! Free even better. Thanks!

Confused as different sources give different information... So many places in the web talk about "professionals" who assist in appeals cases and "double their clients' chances" of winning etc. (Ours is not ICS) Also so many sources in the web say to research the school even if you know it well, read Ofsted reports etc and write a long report of why it is the best school for our child - I had only intended to write about what we already know about the school that makes it important for our son to go there...

Also it says that we should know the schools' stats, how many children in each class and year group now and in the past to prove they can deal with an extra one... How do I get such information?

working9while5 Tue 07-May-13 21:59:53

I am really unimpressed with this system. We never had a choice. We have five outstanding schools within a mile but one is .1 of a mile closest to us and has been in special measures. It seems so wrong to me that my child is consigned to this school by virtue of such a small distance. We have no option to move.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Tue 07-May-13 22:07:22

Sorry, Working, I don't quite understand your comment about one school being '0.1 of a mile closest to us'. It doesn't matter who is closest to you (in England). It matters what the effective catchment of the various schools is. We didn't get into our closest school, but did get into another which is actually 0.1 of a mile further away. It just happens to be less popular.

Or did you just mean that you are in such a densely populated area that you wouldn't get into any of the outstanding schools and would get into the failing school because it isn't popular?

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 22:24:27

working - a mile is a long way for primary schools. In cities, distance for those who qualify by living close to get an offer is enough is generally measured in metres - especially for popular schools which can fill all their places with siblings and people living on the doorstep.

There isn't a choice as such. Just a chance for parents to tell the council which school they'd prefer if they happen to live very close to several they may qualify for. You only have a choice out of the ones you meet the admissions criteria for.

Are you on the waiting lists for the other schools?
If you move, your child may move up the list of the school you move closer to but moving in itself does not mean automatic entry to the school.
You can also choose to keep your child in nursery / at home until nearer the time of their 5th Birthday if your position on the list gives you hope of an eventual offer.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 22:40:54

I am back, listing some questions... (sorry there are lots). Our appeal is NOT infact class size. Those who are experts or have done this:

- Do I need to research the school's statistics and how many children in each class in past years to prove they can cope with more? How do I get this info?
- What kind of "evidence" did you have to back up your case, by whom, how was is written? (social-medical grounds) What makes a difference?
- Do I write everything I can think of into the form or only what seems most important (most different from others??)?
- Is it worth mentioning two school-logistic problems at all since they don't seem to count?
- Why do some info sites say 'get the school to back you up' - do they back everyone up?

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 22:51:34

- Do I need to research the school's statistics and how many children in each class in past years to prove they can cope with more? How do I get this info?

Yes - anything that proves the school has coped successfully with larger numbers in other year groups helps to chip away at the school's case that admitting more children is harmful to the school. You can ask the LA direct. They must provide answers to questions that help you prepare for appeal.

Winning a non ICS appeal is a balancing act. Whoever tips the scales wins. So if you can chip away a little bit at the school's case that they cannot possibly admit any other child, it tips things a little bit your way - so that when you come to state why your child needs a place, some of the argument is already in your favour since the school's case has been made weaker.

- What kind of "evidence" did you have to back up your case, by whom, how was is written? (social-medical grounds) What makes a difference?

The ideal is a medical professional (or several) writing to say that in their opinion your child either needs to attend this school named or needs to attend an un-named school whose features match those of the school you are appealing for (eg consultant says a journey of more than 10 minutes is unsuitable and the school you want is the only one less than 10 minutes from home)

What won't help is a Dr writing to say "MrsTwoSonsMummy tells me that her son needs to attend XXX school"

- Do I write everything I can think of into the form or only what seems most important (most different from others??)?

Write down everything. Every point that demonstrates this school is the best match for your child or the only one suitable medically. You can do bullet points if you want and expand on them later or in the evidence you supply.

- Is it worth mentioning two school-logistic problems at all since they don't seem to count?

Yes you can mention it but not too much unless it impacts on the medical case you are making.

- Why do some info sites say 'get the school to back you up' - do they back everyone up?

Schools cannot actively support appeals so I have no idea why that would be the advice given.

working9while5 Tue 07-May-13 22:52:10

Yes Amanda, all others oversubscribed. The nearest distances from my home are .1 for the rubbish school, two at .3, two at .4 and the other at .7. Catchment area wise because of oversubscription we ONLY meet the criteria for the rubbish school.

I'm particularly peeved because I live in an ex council house bordering a very affluent area and the catchment seems to have been drawn to deliberately contain all the kids from our estate together and away from the posh kids. The ofsted reports really confirm this. All the other schools have high socioeconomic backgrounds with children having well above average communication, language and literacy on entry while ours has 32 different languages and 70% having free school meals. All fine if they were managing and kids made progress, but that is sadly not the case. I just feel that state schools should be about social cohesion. I don't need everyone at school to be the same as my kid, I value diversity..I just know how sometimes deprivation lowers expectations and how my child's needs may be different to those encountering English for the first time and if he has no peers at school in terms of language he won't get the push he needs to progress. Sigh.

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 23:02:40

working - do the schools have fixed catchment areas set out on a map that stay the same every year?
Or is it just a case that the school 0.7 miles away is unavailable to you because it fills all its places with siblings plus a few children living very close to the school gates so there's no room for people living nearly a mile away?

If it is the latter - it isn't really the school's fault. The birth rate is so high that lots of schools get full up just with people living virtually on top of the school. If the school is in a wealthy area, the chances are only children form a few surrounding streets will get in therfore all of the intake is from those wealthy streets. Distance is one of the main things used in admissions to keep it fair - they can't group people by social status and then mix them up to share them all out fairly.

Do you know the school well? Have you visited it and talked over your concerns about progress? Some schools have terrible reputations that are out of date but hard to shake off. Where are you on the waiting lists for the other schools? Are there any other schools nearby that you didn't list but that you could now ask to be considered for if they still have a space?

working9while5 Tue 07-May-13 23:13:53

I think tiggy now you make me think about it, it is actually probably an anomaly because there are a few schools on top of eachother but because we are at the edge of an urban area, children from as far as five miles away have these five schools as their nearest as the crow flies so everyone here has to go to the school on the estate as it is nearer? The .3 ones are literally across the road.

Can you go on the waiting list even though the local school was one of my choices?

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 23:21:27

Thanks tiggytape!! A lot to get my head around..!

working, I think you can go on waiting list for all schools you applied to?? certainly on your first choice's.

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 00:16:00

working9while5 - You should be on the waiting list for any school you applied for and didn't get that was a higher preference than the offered school. If the offered school was not one of your preferences that means you should be on all of them. Worth checking with the LA, though, as some won't put you on the list unless you specifically request it.

TwoSonsMummy - I have responded to your PMs. Just to pick up on a couple of questions you have asked here...

I would ignore claims from "professionals". Some of the appeal panel members who contribute to Mumsnet have come across some of them and were generally not impressed. I know that one panel member told us that one of these "experts" included in their list of appeals they had "won" a case where they had contributed nothing useful. The parent had won it despite the "professional". So, despite the fact that my wife thinks I should charge people for helping with appeals, my recommendation would be to do it yourself.

Researching the school can be a useful way of turning up additional reasons why it is the right school for your child but don't go over the top and write a 500 page report. The panel won't thank you for it as they have to read it all. Keep it punchy and concentrate on your strongest arguments.

TwoSonsMummy Wed 08-May-13 10:09:23

Interesting to hear about the professionals. I guess I feel terrified as loads of lawyers around this area (not just this school) who I know will be putting their everything in their kids' appeals cases - they are the types who have won ICS appeals by finding a "legal mistake" so I feel insecure about how I can win against them...

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 11:38:03

Lawyers often irritate appeal panels. And it doesn't matter if they find a mistake that you miss. The appeal panel won't decide any individual appeals until they have heard them all. At that point any mistake that affected your application will be considered even if it was identified by another parent. It is by no means uncommon for parent A to identify a mistake but lose their appeal whilst parents B and C get in on the basis of the mistake identified by parent A.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 11:49:37

As prh says - there are no Brownie points at appeal for being the parent that spots a legal mistake.

If there are lots of lawyers appealing for their children then great! They may find a legal mistake or lots of mistakes that help you win your appeal even though you didn't spot it and never even mentioned it.
The panel will bear in mind any mistake that comes to light when considering all the appeals - not just the appeal of the lawyer parents who found it.

admission Wed 08-May-13 12:23:34

There is one point that is more important than anything else and that is a legal mistake does not get a free pass to a place at the school in question. Only if there has been a legal mistake and that mistake would have meant you would have got a place if it had been done correctly will you potentially get a place at appeal.

TwoSonsMummy Wed 08-May-13 21:26:48

This is hugely helpful and has reassured quite a lot about my own ability to put this together in a good enough way.

PrincessUnicorn Sun 19-May-13 21:52:50

Hi! Sorry to thread crash. This is long sad

My daughter wasn't successfully in our first choice for infant school. We moved to this area just over a year ago, and we started to attend the toddler sessions the school runs (mostly for my youngest but my 4 year old (then 3) came along) we planned on home-schooling but this school changed our out look on schools etc. So we put her name down for the Pre-school that is attached to the school, they are both the same name (but obviously one infants and one pre-school) they both share the same term topics, the pre-school frequently go over to the school to use the hall or library etc, they also receive the weekly newsletter that is sent out to both schools. So we were under the impression that by going to the pre-school she would be able to move up to the infants.
All her social connections are in that area not the other area. We live smack bang in the middle of both schools, 0.7 miles from both. But she hasn't got in sad all her friends that she has ever known are there, nearly everyone in the pre school as got in.
She also has a few social issues when making friends, she shuns other children quite alot and everyday tells us that she doesn't need anyone but her family, it is okay to get her to school but as soon as she sees the other children she starts saying things like 'they are not my best friend' she doesn't really understand that saying things like that can hurt the other children but she gets hurt when it is said to her, if that makes sense? We attached a letter from my partners mother, who is also a psychologist and has diplomas in child development, detailing how it will be detrimental to our daughters social well-being to become unattached to her friendships.

We asked to be reconsidered and got denied but put on the waiting list, to which we are at place 14. We are going to appeal, but I feel that we were not given a place due to class sizes ( the last child allocated a space was 0.5 miles away).

Do we stand any chance? I have been suffering panic attacks since we found this out, its horrid! sad

prh47bridge Mon 20-May-13 00:24:33

The big question, as always, is whether or not this is an infant class size case. If the school runs classes of 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2 this will be an ICS case, which means you should only win if a mistake has been made. It is not obvious from the information you have given whether or not there has been a mistake. Does the school have an admissions category for medical/social needs? If so you could argue that your daughter should have been placed in that category. However, the panel will have to look at the evidence available to the LA at the time the decision was taken. I'm afraid a letter from your partner's mother may not carry too much weight despite her qualifications as she is too closely connected.

If it is not an infant class size case your chances of success are better. In this situation the panel can look at new evidence, so it would be useful to get an opinion from another psychologist if that is similar to the one given by your partner's mother.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 11:17:23

Thank you very much for the reply. I think it is an ICS, on the school website they say they admit 60 pupils (except for last year, they admitted 80 and made an extra class) but this year they say they have offered 60 places.
We didn't receive any thing in writing as to why she didn't get a place, just that it had been unsuccessfully the first time and it had been refused the second time, no reasons why. I am still a bit unsure as to why she didn't get a place to be honest.
When I asked they just said the last person to be offered a place was 0.5miles away from the school and we are 0.7.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 11:21:45

She started late at pre-school because of a situation with the school/pre-school. We were being asked to pay £40 to secure her space at the pre-school, when as she was 3 and was entitled to the 15 hours free, we basically informed the council that they were doing this illegally, to which the council told them to stop. But then the school decided to say 'she had to start in October rather than September due to no spaces'.
Ahh its such a curffufle!

prh47bridge Mon 20-May-13 12:46:30

With an admission number of 60 it is almost certainly an ICS case.

The admission authority is supposed to tell you in writing why you didn't get a place. However, it sounds like you missed out because you live too far from the school.

I'm afraid I don't see any grounds for a successful ICS appeal on the information you have posted. You should still go ahead with your appeal. Sometimes information emerges in the hearing that shows a mistake has been made. But you need to be realistic about your chances of success. Sorry.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 14:57:15

I think I have found something of interest regarding the school.

This year, they offered 60 places. One would assume that that would be 2 reception classes, but on the school prospectus it stats that for the terms 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 they cater for up to 200 children, who are organised into 7 classes, three of which are reception, 2 for y1 and 2 for y2. So am I right in thinking that 60 divided by 3 = 20 so technically there are still 30 spaces?

PatriciaHolm Mon 20-May-13 15:23:13

No, because their arrangements are for 30 children per class in Y1 and Y2, which are also covered by ICS. Admitting more in YR would lead to future breach in Y1 and Y2, so still counts as an Infant Class Size appeal, I'm afraid.

StarvingBookworm Mon 20-May-13 15:25:10

I may very well be wrong here but:
 
So last year (school year 2012-13) they admitted 80 pupils, and this year (2013-14) they have admitted 60.  Their prospectus states that 2012/13 and 2014/15 they will have 3 reception classes, but not in 2013/14?  In which case it seems to me (and I am by no means an expert) that there are three reception classes in the 2012/13 intake and will be again in 2014 which presumably will be to cope with the likelihood of more sibling applications next year. 

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 15:30:37

Apparently the pre-school doesn't guarantee us a place at the infants. How do they predict the sibling applications?

Thanks guys.

PrincessUnicorn Mon 20-May-13 15:31:40

ahh I'm probably clutching at straws but it does say 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 not and.

StarvingBookworm Mon 20-May-13 15:38:58

I don't know of any preschools that guarantee a place at infants. There are approx 45 children on the roll at my daughter's preschool (split between morning and afternoon groups of 20-odd each), but attached primary has an intake of 30.

If it says "to" I'd agree with PatriciaHolm re class sizes for Y1 and Y2.

prh47bridge Mon 20-May-13 18:38:08

It is rare for a pre-school to give priority for admission to Reception. It should never offer a guarantee. Looked after children and children with a statement naming the school will always come ahead of everyone else so, even if children from pre-school come next, they may not all get places.

As PatriciaHolm says, with two classes and 60 children in each of Y1 and Y2 this will definitely be an ICS case. It doesn't matter that Reception can take more pupils before hitting the class size limit. The panel is not allowed to assume that some pupils will leave before Y1, so if Reception has more than 60 pupils the infant class size limit will be breached when they move into Y1.

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