secondary school appeal

(13 Posts)
masonlee Tue 05-Mar-13 14:25:47

Ok so it the time of year once again for me to send my son to secondary school, we didnt get any on our list of preference and is awaiting an appeal date, can anyone else suggest what i may need to take with me, The school we wanted has the resources to help my son with his education they offer a key stage 3 mentoring programme and the school he has been offered does not, even the ofsted report suggests they improve on this. He has other issues too, his teacher has kindly written me a letter to take with me and i have printed off what i can to support my concerns...fingers crossed we get in, its not a happy house at the moment sad

Blu Tue 05-Mar-13 14:53:47

Not sure what the issues he has are, but did you apply under social and medical criteria?

Could your GP or any other healthcare professional write about what his needs are, and why that specific school will suit him? Usually for social / medical criteria you need the endoresement of a healthcare professional.

You need to be very clear about what exactly it is that your preferred school offers, why that will help him, and why he will be at a disadvantage if he does not get that support.

You can go on the waiting list as well as appealing.

tiggytape Tue 05-Mar-13 14:58:55

It depends. What is the montoring programme for and do you have reasons to show that your DS needs or would benefit from this programme?
If so (and if you can back it up with evidence) this is exactly the kind of thing you should raise at appeal.

masonlee Tue 05-Mar-13 15:48:16

My DS went through a traumatic ordeal, we are awaiting a court date from the cps. his school work has been badly affected due to this and the preferred school can offer him these resources, i have a written letter from his school teacher today backing up my concerns, i also have reports from the police that prove everything he has been through, to be taken away from his friends is not an option, but i can also back up my concerns with information.
The mentoring programme they offer is one to one help with his maths and english, this can be with him from years 7,8 and 9, the school that has been chosen for him does not have this in place.
his confidence has took a downward spiral for the last 2 years and has no self estemm, his school work has been affected and the thought of having to appeal is scary

titchy Tue 05-Mar-13 15:59:49

I think you need to get down to your GP pronto and get some medical evidence of how this trauma has affected him. Showing that there has been a traumatic incident would not be enough I'd have thought.

Does the offered school really not have resources to help kids who are very far behind? Thought that would be standard tbh.

tiggytape Tue 05-Mar-13 16:00:21

masonlee - from a pastoral point of view I think you have a strong case to say that he needs 'peer support' i.e he needs to be with his friends. Lots of 11 year olds would prefer to saty with friends but appeal panels don't really accept that as an actual need unless something has happened in the child's life that makes the support from their friendship group essential. I definitely think you should focus on that. A letter from a Dr or professional to back this up would help.

Any other reference to strong pastoral care at the school can also be mentioned.

The maths and English mentoring too is something you can demonstrate he will benefit from. Again you should try to get supporting evidence eg the letter from his current school explaining that he will need this extra help and benefit from being able to go to the school you are appealing for.

Your aim in writing the appeal should be to show what the school offers, why your DS needs this more than another child his age or would benefit from it and then prove your points with letters that back up what you are saying where possible. It sounds like you have had an awful time and I really hope it goes well for you.

masonlee Tue 05-Mar-13 16:15:06

titchy..no the offered school does not, it states on the ofsted report done on the 11th january that they need to improve on this... is states...WHAT DOES THE SCHOOL NEED TO IMPROVE FURTHER? Accelerate student progress further in english and maths, particularly white british boys and those supported at action school plus, so they make EXPECTED PROGRESS, i want more than expected progress.

tiggytape Tue 05-Mar-13 16:20:30

masonlee - definitely do not say that at the appeal though. Appeal panels do not consider points about GCSE grades or Ofsted ratings or Value Added or anything like that.

At appeal, you are appealing for one school not against another. So you need instead to focus on the real benefits your DS would gain from a menoring programme and why he, more than most children, needs this in particular. You will not help your case at all, and will potnetially get the panel's backs up, if you start quoting Ofsted about the failings of the other school and saying expected progress is not enough.

masonlee Tue 05-Mar-13 16:22:00

tiggytape....Thank you, I have a letter waiting for me from his current teacher, also a doctors letter explaining that he has been on medication and was seeing a counsellor, a change of school is bad enough without the added stress of being put in a school where none of your friends are attending, his 2 best friends have been with him throughout everything, and whilst my DS understands he would probably never be in any of the classes, but feels confident enough to know he would see them at break and lunch time also he can travel to and from school with them. Just so nervous of the whole procedure and having to discuss your childs future with someone who has no idea what he has been through. There is no other option other than to de register him from school, but then he misses out on the social side of it, but to be fair, he is being put into a school where no one he knows is going, so it really doesnt matter, I know everyone feels this way about there child but he has been through so much he must come first

masonlee Tue 05-Mar-13 16:27:02

Tiggytape, i do not intend to disrespect the other school, just merely pointing out what the preferred school can offer my ds and what the chosen school cannot smile

auntevil Tue 05-Mar-13 19:01:56

masonlee it might be worth checking what forms of medical evidence are acceptable for your LEA.
Although I used this at application stage and not appeal stage, our LEA did not accept reports from certain medical professionals (OT, Physio, GP, Health Visitor, SALT) and would only accept reports from paediatrician and EP.

Blu Tue 05-Mar-13 20:05:14

Masonlee, sorry you and your DS have all this to deal with.

Tiggytape is right, and it isn't about disrespecting the other school but as s/he says, the panel's only job is to decide whether your child needs something their school can offer, and that only their school can offer,and why your child, more than any other children of his age, needs that specific school. And they don't take the school's overall academic performance into consideration.

It sounds as if you have strong grounds on which to build an appeal.

IMO you need to be very detailed and specific on each issue.
- that your DS needs to stay with his friends, who understand what he has been through, and who have known him since forever. And all the reasons why he needs to stay with these friends
- That the journey to school will be a point of vulnerability for him and he will be more confident travelling with known and trusted friends
-Needs to stay close to home on an area he knows (if it is close, of course!)
-Any anxiety he demonstrates in being in new places, getting to know and trust new people
- the pastoral support in the school
- the mentoring system that will support him
- anything else relevant.

It is excellent to have all the evidence that you have about his ordeal, but as well as them saying what happened and what the effect on him has been it would be good if they could specifically say 'and we believe that going to * school with his close friends who have supported him is an important part of his recovery' and 'if he is not able to make the secondary transition with trusted friends his confidence / self esteem / trauma could suffer very badly' and 'I believe that * school, with it's strong pastoral supoprt and mentoring programme will be the best school to support XXX and give him the help he needs'. i.e they have to actually specify that he needs to go to your preferred school.

I may be worng but I think I read in the schools Admissions Code that evidence from a child's school is not admissable? But then surely a statement about the impact of the ordeal on his academic progress can only come from his primary school. Maybe one of the MN Appeals experts can clarify that?

Good luck, masonlee, I hope things work out well for you.

LegoIsMyFriend Tue 05-Mar-13 20:54:39

Masonlee, I sympathaise with what sounds like a very difficult situation. I think others have given very good advice. I'm just wondering on what basis you didn't get the school you wanted? The reason I ask is because of your comment that your DS knows he would never be in any of the classes with his friends. Was it distance criteria and your DS is simply of a different ability of his friends or is the school one that selects on ability or bands of ability etc?

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