admission and appeal help desperately needed

(51 Posts)
DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 18:49:41


We have an appeal on 17th July, infant class size and I am bricking it. My son has SEN and its so important for him to get place at village school, main points for appeal are friendships/peers and we have a multitude of solid reasons backed up by independent private ed psyc, and transport (unchaperoned minibus) health and safety issues with meltdowns and rididity of mind and impulsivity solid evidence again. I have friendships letters, GP letter, 2 private reports, notes from meetings with both heads who are supportive, behaviour diary etc etc - Do we have a chance??? I obv feel like how can we not win when I read our report but need to manage expectations???

Secondly to complicate things...he is number 2 on waiting list and I am privy to information that the council cocked up which will mean my son would be number 1 on list and current number 1 would get place. Basically a family broke up and mum moved away with child given place in first round and sibling who application was based on. They moved before application deadline but were considered in first round and got place. The council were informed by head of school that family had moved away day before places allocated. I am sure they were informed way before this by the mother too.This place was only made available in second round, and ironically a new family moved into village in rental who applied late and got this place. The council made an administration error but are trying to fob me off. The family in rental who got place were surprised to get a place and were planning to move wherever they got a place. Councils info says a place can be removed for admin error which would mean them taking place from rental family and giving to child top of waiting list. Do I force this issue or give the family number 1 on list the info for their appeal? If they win appeal does it mean we are more likely to win ours as the council will have to employ another teacher for the other child? Its so confusing???

I appreciate any help.

Pyrrah Tue 25-Jun-13 19:25:23

Whether there was a mess up or not, the family in the rental are entitled to keep the place unless it is withdrawn within 3 days of the allocation unless their application was fraudulent.

Since their application was merely late, they are entitled to the place.

If the family in position 1 can prove maladministration - then they should win an appeal. This would then mean an extra place would be created.

You would then need to wait for 2 children to leave before your child would be eligible.

I would leave well alone.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 20:05:06

It states in the LA Starting School booklet that places can be withdrawn if there is an administration error so I thought they could withdraw the rental child place and give to number 1 on list - still 30 in class and my son would be first on list?

If they had to employ an extra teacher if the number 1 family won on appeal would it make our appeal more likely to win as they would have employed an extra teacher? Could the school governers then allow my son in as legal limit wouldn't being breached?

Also do you have any idea on our appeal case?


eddiemairswife Tue 25-Jun-13 20:17:29

They don't have to provide an extra teacher if the 31st place is the result of an appeal

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 20:19:57

Really?? eddiemairswife, I thought it was a legal limit of 30 and to go over meant an extra teacher?

I feel like I am about to implode with the months of stress, its almost unbearable sad

Smartiepants79 Tue 25-Jun-13 20:29:53

Does your child have a statement of special needs? Because unless he does I'm not sure you have very strong grounds for appeal. Peer groups and independent reports do not have to be taken into account.
If you haven't been the victim of the maladministration it will make little difenernce to you.
The LA HATE going over infant class sizes. It costs them money and it effects the school for years.
Sorry to be a downer and I hope I'm wrong but I think you ought to try and prepare yourself that you may not win this one.

Frikadellen Tue 25-Jun-13 20:32:32

Am I understanding it as

The family who moved away did so prior to the deadline but for some administrative reason it was not recorded that they had moved away.

So had this been done your child would have been number 30 and would have got in?

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 20:37:59

Sorry Frikadellen its all a bit confusing. No we are 32, the 31 child would have got in if maladministration proven, but the rental child would be off the scene so we would be 31, which if we don't win appeal will help a lot as we are keeping son at pre school while we wait for a place. Horrible decision but better than moving him after a while, also he has no way of getting to given school as its an unchaperoned minibus with no other option, he has violent meltdowns, impulsivity etc, so health and safety worries. We have applied for SA and are going to tribunal as they turned us down. Funding and statements are not linked in this LA so they avoid giving statements.

ClayDavis Tue 25-Jun-13 20:40:42

It used to be that the child admitted was excepted for the rest of the school year, then a new teacher had to be employed the following year if the class hadn't returned to 30. This is no longer the case and the child now remains an excepted child for the remainder of KS1, after which there is no class size limit.

Also, the fact that the family on the list applied late would not affect their position on the waiting list. If I'm reading your posts correctly I think that if the council hadn't made the error the child currently at number 1 would have been offered the place, but the family that have been offered the place would be above you on the waiting list, so you would still be at number 2.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 20:44:24

Yes but the mum told me that they didn't expect to get a place and were going to move nearer whichever school they got into.

Please can anyone give me any hope for our actual appeal?? PLLEEEAAAASSEEEE

He is being seen for multi agency assessment for Atypical autism with PDA traits, he has genuine needs that will be met better at the school we want, plus the transport issue is very real and potentially very dangerous.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 20:46:21

PS the family at 31 do not know this so would be unlikely to have the info for their appeal.

I don't know whether to push the LA to follow through on maladministartion error separate to the appeal so our plan B of waititng for a waiting list place is more advanateous.

tethersend Tue 25-Jun-13 20:52:20

Was there a social/medical criteria when you applied?

If so, did you apply under it?

Blessyou Tue 25-Jun-13 20:53:06

I don't know about your appeal, sorry, but I do know if your son gets a statement then you can have the school named on the statement and they must take him, even if it means the class goes over numbers.

I know this because that's what happened with my son. We kept him in nursery (summer born anyway, ASD, socially immature) until statement was finalised, had a school named in part4 of statement, who we knew were full. They 'officially' had to refuse then be instructed to take him by the LA. A child has now left his class and not been 'replaced' by one on the waiting list to bring the class size back down.

I would say, good luck with the appeal, but keep going with that statement, that it the key - he is going to need the support when he gets into school anyway, from the sounds of it.

Good luck smile

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 20:59:05

Thanks Bless you

No social medical clause thersend

God feel like I'm in a living nightmare, fighting every f***er just so my son has a positive education experience, I could just collapse into a pile of dust

ClayDavis Tue 25-Jun-13 20:59:58

I'm not sure it does advantage you. Whether the mum expected to get a place is irrelevant. The School's Adjudicator has ruled previously that a place cannot be removed after 3 days even in case of maladministration. There is a new Admissions Code, but it is probable that that ruling still stands. If the panel decide there was an administrative error, they will admit the child as a 31st pupil, but you won't get a place from the waiting list until the class size falls below 30.

Does the school have a category for exceptional social or medical need? If so did you submit the evidence at the time you made the application.

I know you don't want to hear this, but I think your best bet is to get a Statement that names the school. I agree with the PP who said that you need to prepare yourself that the chances of you winning the appeal are slim.

mam29 Tue 25-Jun-13 21:02:42

feel bad for you but dont hear many who win appeals.

also how long would you wait?

is he young or old starting?

whats your backup plan?

any other school?

would he benefit from delayed start?

least preschool has smaller ratios

good luck

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 21:10:40

He is Aug so plan B is keeping him in pre school waiting for place, then if year draws to close with no place maybe home school.

Plan C is statement but its very hard to get in our LA. They have turned down Statutory Assessment so we are going to tribunal. We have tons of evidence and reports and multi agency assess is starting.

But they can't send him on unchaperoned minibus as it will be downright dangerous??

AlienAttack Tue 25-Jun-13 21:12:08

Sorry desperatemum if I am wrong, but have you recently posted about your DC in a separate thread under a different name? If not, someone else has certainly posted recently about an appeal which included concerns about their DS unaccompanied on a minibus. If it wasn't you, it may be worth searching for the thread for relevant advice.
I'm afraid from what you've posted here, I think it is unlikely you would win an ICS appeal since I can't see where you identify that a mistake has been made?

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 21:23:17

Its not on mistake we are appealing its on 'perverse' due to complex special educational needs, no I posted ages ago (months) not recently? I will do a search thanks

Smartiepants79 Tue 25-Jun-13 21:35:01

I think without a statement you will not get a place I'm afraid.
Being only second on the list and prepared to keep him at preschool you may have a good chance of getting a place through the year. Not many parents would be prepared to not send a child to school and will take places elsewhere.
Many schools lose kids throughout the year. And that's even presuming all of them turn up in September which is also unlikely.
This appeal is probably not going to be successful but I wouldn't give up hope that a place won't come available.
Not quite sure where you stand with regards to transport.

prh47bridge Tue 25-Jun-13 22:02:27

Despite what the council say they cannot take a place away that was awarded due to an administrative error unless they do so within 3 days of the offer being made. This is case law rather than a definitive rule so it could change but it has been that way for 13 years. It is in any case irrelevant for your appeal. You wouldn't have got a place if the mistake hadn't been made. The only decision the appeal panel can make is whether or not to award a place to your son. They cannot alter his position on the waiting list or take away anyone else's place.

As this is an ICS case you need to show either that a mistake has been made or that the decision to refuse admission was unreasonable. From what you say I don't think you can show a mistake unless there is a category for special medical needs and you submitted evidence that should have put your son in that category. You may be able to persuade the panel that the decision was unreasonable if you submitted information about your son's problems with your application. Even if you didn't submit information with your application you may get a sympathetic panel that is willing to bend the rules a little to allow your son in.

So my advice would be to ignore the child who got a place in error, concentrate on your son's difficulties and give it the best shot you can but don't get your hopes up too high.

Good luck.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Tue 25-Jun-13 22:21:41

Thanks prh - you have been the first person to give the slightest glimmer of hope, I know there's not much but I will take what I can. We didn't submit the information at time of appeal as we were still waiting to see community paed, that's why we commissioned the private reports which confirmed complex needs. We have since seen paed who has started a multi agency assessment. We have so many very strong points regarding his needs - peers/friends and his needs - transport, all evidenced and compelling (but I suppose I would say that)

Frikadellen Tue 25-Jun-13 22:30:12

If the mistake had not been made then surely Ops ds would have got a space? As I understood it the person who is currently 1st on the waiting list was a late application, so would not have counted in the original 30 offers but counts when it comes to the actual waiting list. Or am I understanding something wrong? (I know this would depend onhow late an application)

ClayDavis Tue 25-Jun-13 22:56:10

I think the person that got the space was a late application. The person that's currently number 1 is the child that would have got the space if the council hadn't made an error. But in that case, the late application would probably now be number 1, leaving the OP still at number 2.

Unless I'm understanding something wrong.

admission Tue 25-Jun-13 23:53:13

Sorry desperatemum but you are missing the main point here. You can have absolutely the best case in the world about needs, peers /friends, transport etc and that may well win you a place at an appeal if it was not an infant class size case.
In an infant class size case there are only two ways of winning an appeal, prove that a mistake was made in your application that would have resulted in you getting a place if it had been done correctly or prove that the LA decision not to admit was unreasonable (perverse). I do not see any evidence of a mistake having been made in your emails and there is nothing unreasonable in the LA deciding not to award you a place. The medical / needs information that you have is all post the application time and therefore the LA did not take it into consideration, there is nothing perverse about their decision.
Having said that PRH is right you have nothing to loose by appealing and hoping that you will get a very sympathetic panel. The honest answer is that panel members hate these kind of cases, because they can see all the reasons why offering a place is the right thing to do BUT if they apply the letter of the law then they cannot admit under the rules surrounding infant class size cases.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Wed 26-Jun-13 09:16:25

I am dropping the error issue then as now understand it will not help us in anyway.

So are you saying that our specific case does not matter whatsoever? It seems so horrifically wrong that you need a statement which is so children with SEN can get the support they need at the right school BUT the LA make it near enough the biggest fight in the world to get one.

It means families like ours are put through ridiculous amounts of stress having to fight the system (admissions appeals, sen tribunals and on).

His disability wasn't obvious from birth and he is only 4 in August so we are not far enough along the process for his education not to be affected, coupled with the fact we waited 8 months to be seen by a paediatrician which didn't happen by the time of the application.

It f***ing sucks, I am so angry at the system, they are failing my son and failing us a family. Me and my husband are both skinny as rakes and ill due to the stress of his behaviour let alone trying to get his needs met in education.

prh47bridge Wed 26-Jun-13 11:49:19

Your case does matter. The problem the appeal panel face is that the law limits the grounds on which an ICS appeal can succeed.

If I understand you correctly your son's disability was not diagnosed when you applied. That means the LA has not acted unreasonably in refusing to give him a place at this school. However, as Admission says, appeal panels hate cases like this where it is quite clear that the child needs a place at the appeal school but the law says they can't award one. Some appeal panels will stretch the rules in this situation and admit your son even though the law says they shouldn't. I hope you get a panel willing to do that.

To be honest, this is one of the things I would change about the current situation. Appeal panels should have more freedom to award places in ICS cases.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Wed 26-Jun-13 12:55:51

Thanks prh, I appreciate your honest advice. What happens when he won't be able to access an education (which is his legal right), as the transport issue is a very serious one. We can't afford an extra car and I only have access to it sporadically. It would be a health and safety issue among many other things for him to go on an unchaperoned (or even chaperoned) minibus, and having multiple transitions will affect his anxiety and ability to learn when he gets to school. I understand the legal issue with ics but where do we stand from a legal point generally as surely he will be discriminated against by not going to school. We will keep him at Pre School come September and home school if a place hasn't come up by the end of the year???

AuntieStella Wed 26-Jun-13 13:02:43

If you decide not to take up a state school place, for whatever reason, then the legal responsibility for him to be receiving an education falls to you to provide one other than in a state school. This usually means private school or home educating. From the term after he turns 5, you could be prosecuted if you have not made arrangements for a suitable education.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Wed 26-Jun-13 13:11:56

Thanks for that

lougle Wed 26-Jun-13 13:14:26

As a parent of a child with complex SN, I sympathise.

On the matter of a minibus, my DD has been going to school on a (chaperoned) minibus since the age of 4. She goes to special school and of the 113 children there, probably 95% get to school on minibuses with chaperone.

ICS appeals are incredibly difficult and as Admissions and prh have said, there are only 2 grounds for success. Unfortunately, you don't have any evidence (from your postings) of either grounds.

1. There were no mistakes which cost your DS a place.
2. The evidence was not provided at the time of application so you can't say that their decision not to admit was perverse.

On the mistake, they can't remove the place from the child who got the place in error.

The child who missed out on a place could and should appeal, then they will win. However, that won't help you in any case.

As it stands, you need two people to leave in order for you to get a place. Have you investigated what sort of turnover the school has?

titchy Wed 26-Jun-13 13:26:55

On the assumption that you will not win I think you ought to look into appealing for a specific type of transport - i.e. try and get the LA to provide a chaperone.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Wed 26-Jun-13 13:42:05

I know most of the families in the village and no one is leaving, there are 2 transient families, one of which got the place in 2nd round.

I am thinking of keeping him in pre school, pushing for statement then keeping him down a year so he starts reception Sept 2104 and doesn't miss anything, he is end Aug birthday anyway.

Feel like the system is wrong, it should positively discriminate for vulnerable children but we are left in a no mans land struggling

Not sure the mistake can be proven anyway in terms of the maladministration

tethersend Wed 26-Jun-13 13:48:02

Prh et al- as the admissions authority have no criterion for children with medical/social need, could it be argued that appealing is the only way to present the case?

Obviously, it doesn't change the strict terms of the ICS regulations, but am just interested as to how an admissions authority with no soc/med criterion assesses these types of cases where there is clearly a soc/med reason to attend a particular school?

AuntieStella Wed 26-Jun-13 13:53:55

I think all schools should have an exceptional medical/social need category, and really feel for you that this one doesn't.

I do not think you can count on being able to place him out of his normal age year-group though. Although not illegal for this to happen, it's seriously rare, and even those with statements struggle to make it happen.

Sorry, that's twice I've posted things you probably didn't want to hear.

Keeping him at a pre-school is probably your best short term option. But you need to expect that he would have to go in to year 1 if you wait until September 14, and you would need to reapply for a year 1 place then (places offered for reception cannot be held over into year 1, so you could even lose the unsatisfactory place you've been offered now and find the only spaces for year 1 are even further flung).

Investigating transport options may pay off. The size of minibus, who else is on it, and how the children are dropped off and picked up at the school may all be relevant to whether he can cope - and even if it's too much for him right now, by January (or later, for you can defer his start within reception year to give more time for a place to come up via waiting list) perhaps it will be something you can work towards.

kla73 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:06:36

I haven't read the whole thread so sorry if this has been mentioned. Is there a category for medical/social/exceptional need? If there is and now you have the evidence you need to place him in that category I presume he would be number one on the waiting list (assuming that the others on the waiting list are in a lower admissions category). As getting a place from the waiting list is your best bet I would check this out and make sure he is in the correct position on the waiting list. Good luck.

mam29 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:12:17

Im trying to think of postives.

from what you say op he could benefit from more time as

he will get smaller groups/ratio
more focussed attention in nursery in already familier environement.

gives you longer go get him assesed statement and any other specialist support needed as sending him to school now be like setting him upto fail as travel, starting hi somewhere then maybe moving him.

I would accept place

defer until term after 5

gives you time
can always turn it down later

keep him at nursery

ensure you have learning plan maybe do some simple stuff at home with him.

investigate home education option.

maybe try and get him in local club football, cubs or something help his socialise.

A lot can change in a year he could improve and as hes youngest theres really know hurry.

i guess if statemneted he could hold back a year and repeat reception.

Reception just efys learning through play same as preschool anyway with bit of letters and sounds, pe and few other topics thrown in.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Wed 26-Jun-13 18:17:08

Thanks everyone.

Plan is - appeal - if lose keep at pre school, try for statement, and wait for waiting list place. If neither are looking imminent by Easter re-evaluate and either home school year 1 or place at school given. If place at school taken, then transport would have to be safe and stress free.

Is it worth mentioning in our appeal that lots of councils have s&m category and our council doesn't PLUS they have separated statements and funding and give markedly less statements % wise than the average in the UK.

tiggytape Wed 26-Jun-13 19:21:05

It is good that you have back-up plans in place. I know they are not ideal but the realistic situation with ICS appeals is that they are incredibly hard to win regardless of how compelling a child's case may be.

As you know, if he gets his statement, the school will be allowed to go over 30 and if the statement names that school they will have to give him a place.

The Admissions Code allows admissions authorities to choose whether to have an social/medical category so unfortunately they aren't breaking any rules by not giving this any priority. There is nothing that says priority must be given for social/medical considerations, just they if they choose to award priority for it, they must have a way of judging it fairly. You can still mention it though to illustrate the predicament you are in and the unreasonable apects of your case that you are fighting against

lougle Wed 26-Jun-13 19:30:46

"Is it worth mentioning in our appeal that lots of councils have s&m category and our council doesn't..."

No, because the new admissions code specifically allows Admissions Authorities the choice of having a s/m criteria or not. This isn't terrible in non ICS cases, because actually all a parent has to do is show that admitting the child will cause less problems for the school than denying the place will cause for the child. However, this isn't so in an ICS case.

"PLUS they have separated statements and funding and give markedly less statements % wise than the average in the UK."

SEN funding has been reformed nationally since April 2013. Now, all schools must contribute the first £6000 towards the needs of any child with SEN, from their delegated SEN budget. A 'high needs child' is defined as one who needs over £10000 of funding (£4000 main block funding and £6000 from delegated SEN budget) and then the LA will contribute whatever funds are needed beyond that £10000.

Giving less statements than average is not necessarily a bad thing. If the children who may have needed statements previously have had their needs met through School Action Plus instead, despite having extensive needs, then they don't need a Statement to provide for those needs.

The downside is that only a Statement guarantees provision and the Admissions Code also gives an automatic right to a child with a Statement to be allocated a place. Having said that, even without that clause, they would have an automatic right via the SEN Code of Practice.

tiggytape Wed 26-Jun-13 19:30:48

I should add that I also agree with those who say it is wrong that well evidenced social and medical conditions which directly affect schooling are not considered at the allocations stage. Unfortunately however the law does not agree and at the moment it is perfectly allowed for admissions authorities to choose to ignore medical evidence even if in cases diagnosed prior to application deadlines.

tiggytape Wed 26-Jun-13 19:36:52

lougle - see I think even for non ICS appeals, parents have enough on their plate with hospitals and treatment and just getting through each day sometimes without having to appeal even if it is an appeal they feel they can win (i.e. a non ICS appeal on basis of exceptional needs).

I think they should be able to submit their paperwork at application stage, get a decision and hopefully the right school for their child. In the current situation they get an allocation in March or April that is totally unsuitable, a lot of worry, a 2 month wait and nerve wracking appeal to put right what could easily have been corrected much earlier on.

And there is always the vague possibility that the appeals panel will decide they can only admit say 3 more children without exceeding acceptable levels of prejudice to the school but if they're hearing 4 cases involving medical needs, one child could still lose.

lougle Wed 26-Jun-13 19:42:18

I agree with you totally, tiggytape, but as we both know, the current state of affairs is that this is not the case.

I think that any child on Early Years Action + should be treated as Statemented for the purposes of admissions, tbh. But they're not. sad

tiggytape Wed 26-Jun-13 19:44:47

I agree lougle.
And I agree that situations like OP's are worse still because of the lack of consideration at application followed by the slim chances at ICS appeal.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Wed 26-Jun-13 20:30:04

Thanks for your thoughts regarding our situation. The system sucks is my main thought. They have the 'statement' clause to protect children like my son but then you have to fight to get one. It all makes for a very anxious stressed family, at exactly the time when we need, more than most, to feel supported with our sons difficult transition.

Lougle-" The downside is that only a Statement guarantees provision and the Admissions Code also gives an automatic right to a child with a Statement to be allocated a place. Having said that, even without that clause, they would have an automatic right via the SEN Code of Practice" What do you mean they would have automatic right via SEN CoP?

lougle Wed 26-Jun-13 20:53:34

The SEN Code of Practice gives parents whose child is awarded a Statement of Educational Need the right to name a school of their choice. Except for very limited circumstances (school can't meet the needs of the child despite adjustments or school is unsuitable -ie. a learning disability school for a child without learning disability, or educating a child at that school would prevent the efficient education of other children at the school) the LA must name the school the parents choose.

Therefore, they don't usually apply for a school place in the same way as other children. They name the school of choice in response to the proposed statement, then the LA approaches the school to check it can meet needs of the child. If they say 'yes' then the final statement is sent with the school named.

prh47bridge Wed 26-Jun-13 22:17:00

tethersend - That argument isn't really valid but presenting it might help a sympathetic appeal panel to find a way to admit. The weakness here is that the problem wasn't diagnosed when applications had to be submitted so even if such a category had existed the OP's son wouldn't have qualified. Cases like this really show what is wrong with the ICS laws. It sounded good when Tony Blair promised that all infant classes would be limited to 30 but the practise is somewhat different.

tethersend Fri 28-Jun-13 14:20:18

Thanks prh.

I broadly support the ICS regulations, but they really rely on there being enough school places and each school being as 'good' as the next.

I do think a soc/med category ought to be mandatory.

DesperateMumofPDAchild Sun 21-Jul-13 21:11:22

We lost sad

NynaevesSister Mon 22-Jul-13 05:50:32

Oh no so sorry to hear that xx

prh47bridge Mon 22-Jul-13 09:38:49

Really sorry to hear that.

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