Help, my brother has messed up his dd secondary school application.

(10 Posts)
sattsumaa Fri 08-Mar-13 22:50:19

Bit of long story, please bear with me...

My DB has two children aged one year apart. His DS started secondary school in September 2012. His DD is due to start secondary school September 2013. He made the application for his DD on time and his first preferred school was the school where his DS already attends.

His DD was not offered a place at the same school as her brother. The admissions criteria for the school was firstly, looked after children, secondly children with medical needs, thirdly sibling already attending school and fourthly distance from school. Since the school has a 240 pupil in-take per year I found it hard to understand why my niece hadn't been offered a place. I told him to contact admissions or the school for reasons of non offer.

The reason for not offering a place for his DD was that between my nephew starting at the school and my niece's application being made my brother moved house and included the new address on the application form but forgot to inform the school of the new address. He has been told that siblings have to live at same address, which they do!

He has been told to appeal, but no guarantee of offer being made.

What I want to know is surely the admissions should have queried the two addresses with my brother? I know someone who applied through same LEA for siblings to attend same school, due to a house move admissions had two addresses but mother was phoned by admissions who queried the addresses and rectified it.

My brother has been a plonker by not informing school (im not even sure what school the primary or secondary) of the change of address but I would have thought since admissions are so hot on confirming addresses they would have picked up on this?

I hope the above makes sense, any advice greatly appreciated.

23balloons Fri 08-Mar-13 23:25:46

Hi I am no expert but did it clearly state in the admissions criteria for the school that siblings must live at the same address? I have never read this in a policy but I have applied to faith schools that make their own admissions.

Does the school have their admissions policy on the website? If so I would read it and if sibling priority is stated but there is no mention of address then I think an appeal would be based on the fact that they haven't applied the stated criteria. If it is clearly stated then you could appeal but not sure the case would be as strong.

I am just basing this on my own opinion so may not be correct?

Blu Fri 08-Mar-13 23:42:43

Most admissions policies do have a couple of paras about what siblings mean and who has to live where.

Surely the point is that the admissions people say siblings have to live at the same address - and these siblings DO and always have lived at the same address, so the admissions policy has not been implemented correctly.

It's hardly the admissions authority's fault that it hadn't been told where sibling 1 now lives, but the criteria have been fulfilled.

I would appeal - having taken some advice from the admissions experts on here - prh47bridge, Admissions and PanelChair, and also go on the waiting list.

Your neice is a sibling, living at the same address as a sibling in the school, so should now shoot straight to the top of the waiting list, ahead of all the people waiting on distance. I would bet it will be OK.

Your brother needs to update the records at the school and go on the waiting list pronto.

Bet he's kicking himself!

annh Sat 09-Mar-13 00:00:41

Blu, the admissions policy has been implemented entirely correctly based on the information which was available to them at the time of allocation. They had two siblings but apparently living at different addresses, not usual but not entirely unknown either! But yes, I would definitely appeal. However, it may well be that now the address has been amended on school records, the dd may be far enough up the waiting list that she is allocated a place anyway before appeal. Get your db to enquire how much movement there usually is on the list.

prh47bridge Sat 09-Mar-13 00:07:03

Definitely worth appealing. I would argue that the admission arrangements have not been applied correctly.

There was a case that went to the LGO where a family lost out on a place for allegedly failing to provide proof of address. The family said they had supplied the required proof and that they had not received the reminder the LA said they had sent. The LGO came down in favour of the family and said the LA should have picked up the phone and called them.

Whilst the situation is slightly different I would argue that the same consideration applies here. It wouldn't have taken much for the LA or the school to pick up the phone and check the address. Indeed, if the LA is the admission authority for this school, they have the Council Tax records available so could check with those, which would presumably have shown the move.

So I would recommend appealing and, if the appeal fails, I would refer the matter to the LGO. Point to LGO case 04/A/1909 in the appeal and again if your brother needs to go to the LGO.

prh47bridge Sat 09-Mar-13 00:13:49

Cross posted with annh. But I have to say, based on the LGO decision I mention, I disagree that the admission arrangements have been applied correctly.

The LA (or the school) was faced with someone claiming sibling priority but where the addresses didn't match. They decided to simply refuse sibling priority immediately without doing anything to check whether or not the applicant was actually entitled to priority. Because they didn't bother conducting any further checks they are now faced with having to deal with a complaint and an appeal. It would have been far more cost effective to check and get it right. It would also have been good customer care.

sattsumaa Sat 09-Mar-13 09:29:56

Many thanks for all your replies and advice. I will pass on the information to him to help him prepare for appeal. Hopefully she will be offered a place before appeal even takes place if she's near top of waiting list.

Will update you with outcome.

Thanks again.

tiggytape Sat 09-Mar-13 09:34:47

I agree about the appeal but in the meantime (appeals won't be heard for months yet), DB should take proof of address for both siblings to the admissions team and ensure his younger child is then top of the waiting list.
This is really important because the waiting lists will start moving soon and, if his proof isn't submitted, the LA will be handing out places without his child being correctly positioned at the top of the list and they could miss out again.

Technically your DB should have a case at appeal to say that the LA, when faced with contradictory information, should have checked which was true not just decided against them automatically.
However, since appeals are ages away, and since even the strongest case doesn't guarantee a win, I would definitely be pinning most hopes on getting the address verified so the younger child is number 1 on the list and gets the first offer given out in the second round.

tiggytape Sat 09-Mar-13 09:39:48

As an aside, it is good to hear some LAs are this hot on checking addresses and sibling criteria to crack down on cheating. It is better for everyone who applies if people who cheat get caught very early and don't get allocated the school they are trying to cheat for (much better than taking away places at a later date).

Of course though, as in your DB's case, some people aren't cheating at all and have just made a mistake. In those cases the LA is wrong to assume the worst. If they spot a discrepancy (eg suspect siblings don't live together or suspect address used is false) they should give the parents a chance to prove they are genuine before the form is processed.

sattsumaa Fri 14-Jun-13 22:57:33

Quick update, DN has been offered a place at her brothers school after going to top of waiting list.

Thanks for all the advice ladies flowers

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