Can an Admissions Appeal Panel deal with this?(8 Posts)
I would really appreciate the advice of the MN admissions specialists on this one. It is a rather complicated case and takes some explaining. DS has a diagnosed autistic spectrum disorder and anxiety disorder. He met the criteria for going into Year 12 of his super selective grammar. At the end of Year 12, having been predicted AAAB grades, he got CCDE. The school let him go into Year 13, although he did not meet the entrance criteria of CCC grades, as they recognised his underperformance was due to his special educational needs - and was not indicative of his ability. (The School had told us all year that he was on target for his predicted grades.) DS began studying A2 Maths ( with E grade AS), Physics (D) and Economics (C) - the first 2 subjects of particular importance because he wants to do an engineering degree.
However, at the very start of term we came under pressure to 'think carefully' whether DS should continue with Maths. This then became a refusal to teach him Maths, and then the School withdrew A2 Maths tuition mid September 2011. They said he could only do AS Maths retakes at the School. We made formal complaints to the Head, then the Governing Body to no avail. It became too late in the term to reinstate tuition, so we asked for DS to be allowed to return to the School this September 2012 to do the A2 Maths, having done his AS retakes. The answer was no. We got the school to hold a Governing Body Appeals Commitee which took place in Feb and they recommended that DS should be allowed to return this Sep. The Head said he wouldn't be bound by their recommendation.
So we made a claim to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) in March claiming disability discrimination because the School didn't take account of the effects of DS's disability when they made the decision to withdraw A2 Maths. When the Head got the claim, his response was to say that DS could return to the School this Sep to do A2 Maths (and asked if we would still proceed with our claim). The Head said it was the School's 'professional opinion' that DS now had 'sufficiently good grades' to be allowed to return in Sep - DS had just got the results of his AS maths retakes - an overall A grade. We did continue with the claim because we were worried the Head would go back on his offer and because we considered that the School was exercising its 'professional judgement' in a discriminatory way.
In July we contacted the School to clarify the arrangements for DS's return. We were eventually told that DS would be an 'external' student and would have to register at reception for each Maths lesson he came too. We were also told he would receive no SEN support. We were not happy with this and reported these statements to the tribunal.
We had the Tribunal hearing last week. (There was a long delay becuase at one stage our case was struck out, but we got it re instated.) At the hearing we learnt that the Tribunal couldn't give the main remedy we were seeking of DS being allowed to study A2 Maths at the School as a full pupil with support, rather than his current 'visitor' status.We were told this was because, technically, DS left the School at the end of his Year 13 and returning for a year 14 would count as an 'admissions issue' and therefore the tribunal had no jurisdiction. The judge told us they we would need to go (or may 'should have gone' due to time limits) to an Independent Appeals Admissions Panel.
I can't find any information on this rather unusual 'admission appeal' situation and whether it is indeed a route open to us. Our view is that in March the Head offered DS a place for a Year 14 to do A2 Maths, on the basis that he achieved an A grade in his AS resit. We did not expect DS only to allowed back as a 'visitor' (being handed a badge to wear each time he goes in). The Tribunal explained that DS does have 'rights', but only to have reasonable adjustments made for him as a 'visitor', and not as a pupil. Our chief concern is that DS as a 'visitor' is only there at the 'invitation' of the School and they could decide not to have him 'visit' any more and we would have no recourse.
Any advice gratefully received. We are still awaiting the outcome of whether there was discrimination against DS, but even if the tribunal find in our favour they can't order the remedy Ds needs.
This is really difficult.
The school has an admission criteria for year 12, which your son met. I do not believe that there is any formal admission criteria for entry into year 13, so I am not sure what the legal basis was for the school to allow your son entry with poor grades. To me there is also a question about why he was not allowed to do A2 maths, having been accepted back, given that I assume other students were doing the course. Were there other issues at school that gave the school cause to believe that they should not allow your son into school.
I do not know what the legal situation is about accepting pupils who are above the normal admission age for years 12 and 13, but I do know that such pupils are admitted, frequently on the basis of having messed up the AS levels and repeating year 12 and then continuing to year 13. So it must be possible to have an over-aged year 13.
The big problem for me is that there is no legal requirement for education in years 12 and 13, it is above the legal age for education. So I am unsure about what the legal difference is between being a pupil of the sixth form and being a visitor
Yes there are definitely admission appeals for year 12 for schools but I have never done one for year 13, but can see no reason why this would not be possible. But given what has happened a why would you even be considering going to the school?
Thanks. The School argue that there were formal admission criteria for entry into Year 13 of 3 C grades in the subjects the student wants to continue to A2. On the day DS got his AS results I was phoned by the Head of Year and told DS would be allowed into Y13 despite his results. We had 3 meetings with senior staff between results day and the start of Y13. We were told that we should consider carefully what subjects DS should continue with, but we were not told the School would impose any restrictions on subject choice. Although DS's lowest grade (E) was in Maths he knew (as we did) that it wasn't a true reflection of his ability and anxiety and panic had caused the low result, so he chose to continue with Maths - and he needed it to ultimately apply for engineering degrees.
Went DS went back in Sep we thought he was being permitted to do Maths A2. On the very first day of term I had a phone call from the Head of Maths saying that he was 'unhappy' with DS doing A2 Maths. A couple of days later DS was 'offered ' 2 options neither of which included A2 Maths, although the letter was still couched as a 'recommendation' DS didn't study Maths. It became apparent that the 'recommendation' was actually a refusal to teach him Maths. We refused to confirm either option, and the School stopped teaching him A2 Maths. (He stayed in the class but was told he must do AS retakes work).
We have been told by the School that other students whose results were not as low as DS's were not allowed to go into Year 13. The School argued they had allowed DS into Y13 as a 'reasonable adjustment' because of his SEN. However, we argued they should have made a corressponding reasonable adjustment and allowed him to do A2 Maths. (They made this adjustment for Physics and let him continue to A2 with a D grade, rather than the required C). We know of one student who went to an admissions appeal panel having been refused entry to Y13 because of grades less than 3 C's - and he won his case. (Not sure of the grounds - I think because the panel thought the School was not exercising its discretion fairly - apparently DS and 2 others were let into Y13 with less than 3 Cs - don't know if they all had SEN. The student who appealed didn't, but the fact that those with SEN had been admitted seems to have worked in his favour.)
So we feel we were put in a difficult position - Ds was allowed to go into Y13 - but wasn't allowed to study the subjects he wanted. But I don't know if an admissions panel would have been able to deal with that. And now we are in a difficult position once more. The Head has said he will 'admit' him to do A2 Maths in a Y14, but he hasn't put him on the roll. (And gets no funding) I imagine this is because the Head doesn't want a poor result on the school's A2 records (though DS is predicted an A now!) And the crucial point for us about him being a 'visitor' is the School could change their minds and refuse to have him at School anymore. I don't think the Head was aware of it, but havind DS on the roll would also mean that they would have to give DS support to allow him to 'make progress in line with his non-disabled peers' - which is more onerous than their duties to him as a disabled 'visitor'.
I agree that the 'extra year' isn't a problem in itself. As you say, pupils do repeat Y12 and end up with a 3 year sixth form. I am sure the School can obtain funding for this extra year if the pupil is below 19 at the start of the academic year - and they put them on the roll.
As to why we are continuing to ask for Ds to be at the school - because of his severe anxiety that is part of his autistic spectrum conditon he has refused to even consider another sixth form.(We have certainly tried to get him to do this.) He would 'drop out' rather than go elsewhere. He now has a couple of offers to do engineering at uni in 2013 - providing he gets his full Maths A level. And if the School stop teaching him A2 Maths next term he will be missing out on 11 periods of maths tuition a fortnight. We can't afford private maths tuition to replace that. (DS has 1 hour a week presently).
Can I 'have a go' at taking this to an admissions panel do you think? How do I do that? The school is voluntary aided - does that mean I have to ask the School to refer it to a panel - and can they refuse to anyway?! We are concerned that if this is a route to follow, we do so ASAP so DS has a secure place at the School.
Sorry for the essay again!
The route to an admission appeal of a voluntary aided school is to formally apply for the place to the school. They then have to reject you, tell you that you can appeal and then you can appeal.
I suspect that it being a year 13 appeal will complicate the matter, due to it not being a compulsory education age. You are also up against it in terms of time. Any admission appeal has a set time scale but you could easily be looking at a date at the end of January, early February for an appeal. When does he have course work exams and final exams?
DS has exams in Jan and then in June.
We are in a strange position in that the School offered to admit DS for a year 14 to do Maths A2 back in March of this year. We presumed this meant they would put him on the roll. They haven't and he is a 'visitor'. It matters because we have no guarantee that DS will continue to be allowed to 'visit' for maths lessons. It also matters because they can use the fact that he is a 'visitor', not a 'pupil' to limit the SEN support they offer him.
So we didn't formally apply for a Year 14 place and the School haven't rejected us - DS is there as a 'visitor' but not on the roll. And the School certainly aren't offering that we can appeal against their refusal to put him on the roll!
DS is quite despondent at the moment - he justs wants to be treated as a 'proper' student - and knowing the School could withdraw tuition is making him anxious. And he has offers from 3 unis but they all depend on him getting the full Maths A level and he needs the School to teach him this. Difficult situation.
So has he completed A2 on his other 2 subjects?
As far as I know there are a minimum number of hours a pupil has to be there to be classed as 'fulltime' and on the pupil roll
Yes, DS has completed A2 in Physics and Ecnomics and has B and C grades respectively. DS has followed his usual pattern of getting a low grade on first sitting a module and then improving markedly on retake, just as happened with Maths AS. DS only got D grades for the one Physics and one Economics module that he took for the first time in June, so he wants to retake these modules as he has a good chance of improving his overall grades - and he needs to in order to make his first choice uni offer.
In our disability discrimination claim we asked for DS to be allowed to return to the School to do the A2 Maths they withdrew in his Y13 AND to attend physics and economics lessons if he needed to do retakes - which he does. The School refuse to let him 'repeat' any Physics and Economics modules, because that is not their 'policy'. So DS wants to be a full time student, but they won't let him.
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