Secondary school appeal

(15 Posts)
Roisin Sat 02-Mar-13 07:46:59

Excellent news

BeckAndCall Sat 02-Mar-13 07:08:04

That's good news! I hope you get some answers on your son's hearing problem soon. Meantime, you can breath a sigh of relief!

miller599 Sat 02-Mar-13 07:03:04

Hi all

I just want to say I was offered my second choice school ravens wood boys in bromley borough. I am very shocked as not in the catchment area but also very happy. Both 1 and 2nd choice are outstanding schools but 2nd choice is a short bus rise away and easier to get too.

I won't be appealing anymore as I'm very happy with my offer. Would like to thank you all for your help and suggestions.

potatoprinter Tue 26-Feb-13 17:44:02

Speaking as someone who sits on the other side of the table sitting on appeals panels, I would emphasise that:

1. You need to get recent documentary evidence about your DS's special needs and how it affects him educationally. Just stating he has hearing difficulties or other special needs will not be enough. If possible the doctor or professional should point out exactly why he should attend a particular school, it is not enough to describe a medical condition or learning difficulty.

2. You need to make the link between the SN and attending a particular school - in general (at least in London where I sit), most schools are able to cope with most special needs (theoretically anyway). You have to say why the school can offer him something that the other school/s cannot.

3. You need to have actual facts about why the school is better - i.e. not just an impression based on hearsay.

4. You need to have a good reason why you didn't mention the special needs when you sent off the applications last October (or if you did why you think the admissions authority is being unreasonable in not accepting it).

In my experience many appellants challenge the school on numbers and I have never seen an appeal won on those grounds. This includes people who have apparently paid a solicitor to generate loads and loads of paper arguing the case with diagrams and measurements etc.

The only appeals that have succeeded at the panels I have been on, are those with a compelling case of why a child has to attend that particular school (or where the admissions authority have made a major error).

Some Heads do write letters in support of pupils and that is not much help - especially when schools send identical letters for all their appellants (even getting the name wrong).

miller599 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:55:41

Thanks everyone. All your comments are very useful.

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 11:19:57

and again - the fact that there was 1 successful appeal last year is only helpful in the sense that it slightly undermines the school's case that they cannot accept more pupils without compromising standards / safety. They have obviously coped with one extra just fine.
However, appeals are won on the strength of the case presented not just on the flaws in the school's case saying they are full and can take no more pupils. You do not know (and cannot know since it is confidential) how the people last year won their appeals - it could be another medical case but equally it could be because the council messed up the admissions process or lost their form or some admin error.

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 11:16:16

miller599 - I do not doubt the severe impact such a condition could have on a child's education and confidence and I am really pleased the school are supporting you and that further tests are being done.

In appeal cases though, the emphasis is not to show that a child has a severe learning or hearing difficulty. The emphasis is on proving to a panel that because of a learning or hearing disability only the schools you are appealing for can meet his needs.

Evidence of learning or medical needs in itself is not enough because an appeal panel will rightly assume that all schools can offer IEPs, all schools can offer additional assistance to a child who needs it, all schools can work to support statementing where appropriate.

Your main focus therefore isn't so much on proving the medical stuff but on proving that the schools you are appealing for can meet your DS's needs in a way that no other school can. And if you can get a Dr or Consultant to write a letter saying the same (that your DS must attend a certain school as small class sizes are essential to a boy with his condition or that he must be allowed to stay with friends because his condition makes him more anxious and in need of peer support than other children his age) then that would be even better.

miller599 Mon 25-Feb-13 10:32:25

Also both schools had 2 appeals last year and both schools had 1 successful appeal

miller599 Mon 25-Feb-13 10:31:16

My son has had hearing problems since the age of 2 so has had many different tests over the years hoping things would get better. Which in this case it is still affecting his learning today. It is very likely he has hearing problems and this can be proved in his notes. Also my son has been on iep every year since he has started school. The school have identified him as having a learning difficulty which is why he gets the extra support but want to push to get him statemented but this can only be done depending on the results if the hearing test as the learning difficulty alone is not enough to get him statemented. I did not mention any of this in the form as I only found this out at parents evening which was after the deadline. I haven't spoken to the head teacher as yet but the class teacher has said she will do whatever she can to help with the appeal based on reports, observations and what other evidence is needed. He has an appointment beginning of April for a hearing test and am also going to get letter from gp regarding the hearing issue. The teacher has also said that the hearing loss gas made an impact on his learning as his speech is delayed for his age dye to the fact he does not always hear all the sounds in words to be able to prenounce them. As I said before he is a very quiet boy and does not talk much, a few of his friends will be going to this school and I think it will be beneficial for him to go to a school where he knows someone.

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 08:27:31

Katie - In most areas of the country outside Bucks (and I think Kent) Head Teachers do not support appeals - on the basis that if you support one you have to support them all.
And anyway a Head Teacher is not somebody who can give a professional opinion on the needs of a child with acute hearig loss - the panel will want a Dr's evidence for that.

Pushing for a diagnosis though is a good idea.

The fact that appeals have been won in the past pushing numbers slightly above the PAN helps at stage 1 of appeal where the school argues they are full and the parent tries to demonstrate that the school could take one more without harming the education of others. However, appeals never form a precedent so just because someone won an appeal on medical grounds last year doesn't mean that a panel will accept all appeals on medical grounds in the future. It depends how strong the school's case to refuse admission is, how many others appeal and sometimes who has the strongest case out of all those who appeal.

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 08:22:46

Yes you can definitely appeal. In terms of his medical condition, it is best to get a letter from his consultant or Dr saying that, due to hearing loss, it is preferable that he is in a school with smaller than average class sizes. This will carry more weight than just you saying it. Appeal panels do consider medical problems but only where there is a link between the problem itself and the features of the school that the parent is appealing for.

The Sports Specialist status in itself won't help with the appeal but, presuming they do lots of extra things related to this specialism, you can detail these and explain how they would benefit your son eg if they do certain courses or clubs that he would enjoy or benefit from that no other school offers.

In terms of being behind / needing classroom support, it is less likely this will help at appeal. Unless the school you want has a unique support system in place, a panel will assume that all schools cater equally for all children at all abilities (just as a very academic pupil would find it hard to win an appeal on the basis of needing a school with good results in maths)

scaevola is also correct in the sense that if the schools give priority for medical needs (not all do) and if you supplied evidence of these needs when you applied, you can also question whether this was properly taken into account when allocations were made. It doesn't sound though that this is the case since you seem quite certain that you won't get either school allocated.

Katie172 Mon 25-Feb-13 08:15:23

First of all, if you haven't done so already make an appt to see your headteacher next Monday in advance of the results coming out on Friday you can always cancel it if you get your preferred school. Assuming that you don't get your 1st choice you can tell your headteacher which school you want and why and ask if they will support your appeal by writing a letter to confirm why your dc needs a place. It is also good to ask the head if you can also get a letter of support from the class teacher too.

To echo Scaevola, did you look at your 1st choice schools oversubscription criteria before you applied and did you mention his additional needs when you made the application?

Finally, you need proof of your sons difficulties and why only these schools will do so I would get all the letters together from your GP /hospital together with a confirmation of your next appointment if you have one as you will need this as evidence. Reading your post again I realise that the hearing issue is only suspected at the moment. I think it would be a good idea to visit your GP and see if they can push for a more urgent appointment for him to prove that there is a problem with his hearing - most GP's will also write letters to support school appeals if there is a medical and/or social need . You need all the support you can get to help persuade a panel. It is worth ringing the schools to find out how many appeals were heard last year and how many were successful too. Good Luck!

scaevola Mon 25-Feb-13 06:26:32

Did you mention his additional needs when you applied? Do you have written evidence from HCP that only these schools can meet his health requirements?

Do either/both schools have 'exceptional social/medical need' as one of their entrance criteria?

miller599 Mon 25-Feb-13 04:44:55

Also both schools had a successful appeal last year which would mean that had one boy extra as its a boys school. So that shoes that one extra child would not do any harm to the others learning.

miller599 Mon 25-Feb-13 04:30:04

I have applied for 6 secondary schools all within 30 minutes bus ride and all with 2 miles. I have applied fir all 6 choices but only really want the first two. The first one we definatly not going to get in as we are not in the catchment area and same with second choice as catchment area us around 0.9 miles and we live around 1.5 miles away from the school. My main reason for choosing these two schools is because the class sizes are smaller around 23 in a class. My son is below average in mist his subjects in primary school where he gets extrA help by a teaching assistant. He has always had extra support since reception. The fact his quite behind with his learning is due to a suspected hearing problem which he is gona undergo tests which could take a few months for a conclusion. He is very quiet and not the type to ask for help. He sits at the front if the class so that he can hear the teacher and his favourite subjects is sports and science which is what both schools specialise in. Based in this I feel a school with smaller class size will benefit him as in most secondary schools there is not always a teaching assistant in all subjects that is always going to be around to give him support in all subjects and I don't want him to get list in the system. We find out what schools we get into on Friday but am 100% sure the first two will not be one. Can anyone tell me if I have a strong enough case to be able to make an appeal based in the fact that both schools are heavily over subscribed.

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