secondary school appeals

(7 Posts)
mitsbits Thu 28-Mar-13 20:07:28

HI

My daughter did not get into our first choice of school and we are going to appeal against the decision. She has no medical issues but we are looking to use various social issues to help win the appeal

My daughter comes from a broken home and the last few years have been traumatic for her as there have been a series of issues involving her father who subsequently has had a drink problem. This unsettled family life has been very upsetting for my daughter and has affected her behavior at school. She has had issues in the past with chatting during lessons which went on for several years and this has meant that she has missed on on vital learning at school and therefore has missed out on some essential building blocks of the school curriculum. The school that was her fist choice has a reputation for a rigid structure in terms of its discipline education and it has proven results in helping those that are under achieving reach their full potential and beyond.

Her friendship group at her current school have got into the school she didn't get into also and my daughter is upset that she will no longer be with her friends. As an only child she suffers from loneliness and has self confidence issues. The fact that she is going to be separated is making her very anxious.

The school that she has got into is a girls school. My daughter is adamant that she does not want to go to a single sex school and has been very distraught by this.

I am looking for advice on how I can make a good case to the appeals panel and what evidence I would need to support my case and make it strong.

Many thanks

prh47bridge Thu 28-Mar-13 22:54:35

The appeal will be decided on the balance of prejudice. That means you have to prove that the disadvantage your daughter will suffer through not attending this school outweighs the problems the school would face through having to cope with an additional pupil. You therefore need to make as strong a case as possible that this is the right school for your daughter. You also need to attack the case for refusing admission and try to highlight any weaknesses.

To take the case for refusing admission first, it is worth checking if the school has been over PAN in previous years. If they have that will suggest that they can cope with additional pupils.

It is unlikely yours will be the only appeal so attacking the case for refusing admission is unlikely to be enough on its own. You therefore need to show that this is the right school for your daughter. Looking at the reasons you give, the argument about friends isn't terribly strong. The panel may well take the view that children of this age form new friendships fairly quickly. Similarly the fact your daughter wants a single sex school won't count for much. Your first point about the ethos of the school may help. Try to get whatever evidence you can to support that. But you should also look for any other features of your preferred school that are missing from the offered school and that would be of particular benefit to your daughter.

RedHelenB Fri 29-Mar-13 12:19:56

You say she chats but then she needs to be with her friends - a bit contradictory I would imagine!

itsallaboutiandme Fri 29-Mar-13 14:30:32

mitsbits, you may have a case but what you have written makes me believe that the school will say that in order to admit your daughter, there will be a strain on the existing teachers largely because you yourself have said that she talks which can be disruptive to an over-subscribed class.

I am also going through the appeals process and have had to look really hard at building a strong case (I don't know if I have) but at first glance you case at the moment does not appear to be strong enough to convince the panel that the school would benefit by having your dd and that your dd must attend that school. Is there anything that your preferred school has which only that school offers and has a direct impact on your dd e.g. a specialism, academic excellence, is it nearer etc

prh47bridge Fri 29-Mar-13 14:38:47

I would not try to build a case that the school would benefit from having your daughter. That is very unlikely to fly. Academic excellence is not a factor the appeal panel can take into account. Whether or not the appeal school is nearer than the allocated school is also irrelevant unless the child has a disability that means they need a school near to home.

The school's specialism, ethos, extra curricular activities and the like are the things around which you should try to build your case.

StephofArc Fri 29-Mar-13 15:59:31

You're going to struggle with an appeal on the grounds of a broken home I'm afraid- that's something plenty of children have to deal with. An appeal panel is very unlikely to take the point about friends seriously too- she can just make new ones, same for the curriculum point- why should your child have more of a right to that than all the others appealing? Plenty of only children go to secondary school without knowing anyone and get on just fine. Sorry to sound harsh, but that's how the panel will respond.

You might have a case on the single sex front if your daughter's friends are mostly boys- if you can prove she mixes better with boys than girls (Eg letter from school).

tiggytape Fri 29-Mar-13 17:37:31

An appeal case does not have to prove a child will be an asset to a school.
Parents must demonstrate that the prejudice (harm) of the child being denied a place outweighs the prejudice (harm) of the school being forced to take one more child. So they must show that the child needs a place even though the school is correctly saying it is full.
Academic ability or behaviour is of no relevance unless you are not talking about grammar schools or special needs and associated needs.

Some circumstances like a difficult home life or recent upset can be relevant for some children more than others eg if a divorce has upset a child to the point of having counselling or intervention then it could be argued that the child needs greater peer support and to stay with their friends. You would need a medical / professional opinion to back that up.

As prh says what you mainly need to focus on is the school's specialism, ethos, extracurricular activities and the like.

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