Help needed with Secondary Appeal. Anyone about???(19 Posts)
Just had the group session for those appealing for a specific secondary school. The session went on for over two hours, but lots of that was taken up by process issues and the school's case.
I had quite a few questions to ask, but only go the chance to ask one (to give others a turn), before the Clerk declared the session over.
What can I do? I don't feel like we as parents were given a proper chance to question the school's arguments that it is full and can't take any more children. If we weren't able to prove this at the group session then surely our chances at the individual appeals are lower?
Has the Clerk overstepped the mark by stopping the session when there were still questions to be answered?
Ta for any advice. Tearing my hair out here
It is up to the chair to decide when the session is over, not the clerk. When your individual appeal is held say that you were not able to ask all your questions in the group hearing. If the chair says it is too late you have a case to refer the appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman (or EFA if it is an academy) on the grounds that you were not allowed to ask your questions. Even if they allow you to ask your questions there may be a case as you have potentially been disadvantaged by the way the appeal has been conducted.
Thank you prh47bridge, that is really helpful. I know the session was long, but I really feel short-changed atm. Do you know if appeal hearings are recorded at all? How can I prove it was the Clerk who called a halt to proceedings not the Chair?
If I did end up referring the case to the LGO, what would that result in? Another group appeal or a an individual one?
The clerk is supposed to make notes. But at the end of the day who stopped the proceedings is less important than the fact you weren't able to ask all your questions.
A reference to the LGO may result in a recommendation that you be allowed a second appeal with a different panel. They would not do anything about the other appeals unless the parents in those cases also referred the matter to the LGO. If several cases are referred to the LGO it will be up to the LA to decide whether to follow the same process again or have a series of individual hearings.
I was going to start a thread about panel hearings but my query is related to this I hope you don't mind me piggbacking on your thread wooden.
I am due to attend my appeal hearing soon but can't make the group session. I'm pretty sure I can get to my individual timeslot but wonder if its worth it if I haven't heard the school's case at the group session.
I have been provided with a very lengthy document that I haven't read yet, will there be anything added to this on the day? I'm worried that parents who can't get to the group meeting will be disadvantaged.
Thanks again prh47bridge.
If it did go to a second appeal, would that be an all-in-one kind where we get to argue the school isn't full alongside why DS specifically should get a place? Wouldn't we then be disadvantaged because the school may well have taken on more pupils in this current appeal round?
I am pleased it sounds so clear cut that the hearing shouldn't have ended when we still had questions to ask though .
lborolass piggyback away, anything to make this process less stressful in my book. FWIW, I think attending is quite important. You may not be personally disadvantaged by not going, but the case for the school needs to be challenged, and this is the only opportunity to do it. If the other parents going don't make a good enough argument that the school you want can take a few more children, then your chances of getting in are reduced surely? Unless your case for appeal is very clear cut and certain?
Thanks woodenlegs, sadly I don't think I have a strong case but my child really would prefer this school so my view is that I have nothing to lose by an appeal.
The problem is that the group meeting is taking place at the same time as a work meeting that for reasons that are longwinded and not really relevant I can't not attend.
The paperwork I've been sent shows that there are a (I think) huge number of appeals (30+) so I assume that only the really strong cases will have any kind of chance of sucess as there is no way that the school could possibly take them all.
Maybe I'm wrong about this, it would be helpful to know.
Good luck with your appeal, when is your individual hearing?
You will miss out asking any questions that you think undermines the school's case to refuse more pupils but you won't miss out overall by not attending.
If the Group (stage 1) hearing finds that there is room for more pupils in the school or that the school's case to refuse more pupils is weak, each case is judged on its own merits at stage 2 (the bit where you attend individually to make your case) to decide who gets admitted.
So if for example a parent at this group stage 1 meeting held up information that convinced the panel the school could take 4 more pupils (for example) that parent wouldn't get first dibs at one of the 4 places. It just means if 20 are applying the best 4 cases will win and get a place at the school and, if your case is strong, you could be one of those 4.
WoodenLegsDontBend - If there is a second appeal it is entirely up to the LA how to organise it. If it is only you it should be the whole hearing in a single session. If there are a lot of other families involved they may again go for two separate sessions. And yes, I'm afraid you may be disadvantaged if there have been successful appeals in the first round but there isn't really any way round that.
lborolass - I agree with Tiggytape. Missing the group meeting isn't fatal to your chances but you may find you are not allowed to question the LA's case for refusing entry. You therefore need to make as strong a case as possible for your child to be admitted and hope that is enough.
Thanks Tiggy and prh - tbh I'm really at a loss to know what arguements I could come up with (that aren't specific to my child) that wouldn't be put forward by any of the other 30 parents.
In fact the only arguement I can come up with is that there are currently an extra 15 children in the year above so by definition they must be able to take more than the "limit".
Actually I don't understand this bit as I know that only 9 appeals were allowed last year - where would the additional 6 have come from?
Any thoughts would be very gratefully received, we lost out on the place on the distance criteria and have no SN so as I said above I recognise that my case isn't strong.
lboroloass - the arguments about numbers in the year above and the school being able to cope with more pupils must be raised at stage 1 (the group hearing).
You won't be able to raise these at stage 2 (your individual date) so if you are relying partially on this arguement (most people appealing will be), it is really worth trying to get to stage 1
9 successful appeals but 6 extras beyond that might indicate children joined the school late with a statement that named the school or won appeals in-year or were otherwise admitted due to special reasons.
Arguments for stage 2 would be why you want the school. What is it about the school that meets your child's needs / abilities / interests / talents? You can include clubs and lessons offered, sports and anything that shows attending the school would beenfit your child.
Do not be negative about the school offered - you should mainly be talking about the school you want
Do not rely on child care or travel arguments as these carry little weight unless there is a medical / special reason behind them
woodenlegs, how many parents were at this part 1 meeting? The clerk absolutely should not have been shutting up shop like you describe. I have chaired part 1 appeals that have lasted all day with 30 or so appellants. The school should have made the case not to admit and then the panel and all the parents should have been given the opportunity to ask any questions they have about the school's case. It takes as long as it takes, just as each part 2 does.
Could I also ask did the chair ask the school to sum up there case at the end of the session or did it just grind to a halt?
At the end of your individual part 2 appeal, the Chair should ask you to summarise your case and then ask you whether you have had the opportunity to say everything that you wanted to say. I think I would be tempted to ask that the clerk record that you were not given the opportunity to ask all the questions you wanted to in part 1 and that you do not therefore feel that you have been given a fair hearing. Quite what they will then do I will leave for them to decide.
admission, there are more than 70 parents appealing, and I would say that there were at least 50 sets of parents in the room. It definitely felt the Clerk was shutting up shop and I know why - the first set of appeals were scheduled for the afternoon, so they had to stop the group session so they could start the individual ones .
It didn't grind to a halt exactly - we were told by the Clerk we had time for three more questions, and once those were asked, the Chair thanked everyone and we were ushered out. We were not asked if we were finished, and it must have been clear from my huge pile of paperwork and my agitated state that we had more to say . It didn't feel that we had any choice though.
I think I will have to raise it in our individual hearing, but I'm not sure what impact it will have then, especially as the school won't be there to rebutt anything, so it may just sound like we are picking holes, not making valid points.
I am feeling really frustrated - that I haven't been given the chance to give it our best shot, and that I didn't stand up and say NO! at the time. The process is tough enough without this too.
Do you agree with prh47bridge that we might have grounds for referring to the LGO?
From what you have said and especially if you can get a few others who were appealing to corroborate what was happening, you have a good case to take to the LGO. In fact I would put it in writing to the panel that you do intend to go to the LGO, when you have your part 2 appeal. By putting it in writing and giving it to the clerk there can be no misunderstanding about what was or not said.
70 parents appealing and just a morning for the part 1 case is just ridiculous, that should have been all day at the least to ensure that everybody had the opportunity to ask all the necessary questions.
Thanks for your support on this thread. We decided to wait and see the outcome before we did anything further.
This morning we got our letter, and DS got in. Such a relief. Luckily it came in time before we left for school. DS practically ran all the way there to tell everyone!
Now it is done, I am going to write a letter to the clerk to say that I didn't think the first stage was handled correctly, and would like to hear his views.
Interestingly enough, before our appeal, we submitted some questions that we didn't get to ask at the first session, and the Clerk said he would pass them on, and the panel did say they had read them when we went for our individual appeal - is that some sort of an acknowledgement that they cocked up do you think?
Possibly, but without knowing what happened at the panel discussions on the appeals it is all speculation. But it would be interesting to know how many got a place at appeal.
I think you just celebrate the fact that son has got the place they wanted.
please can anyone help we moved into this area 4 wks ago local wanted sec schl is full in yr 9 my d is 14 the nearest schl it is 5 mins away they have offersd a schl which is a bus ride and half hr walk away she knows no one is totally isolated and depressed. i am dissabled with arthritus and dont drive making it a mission for me to atted parents eves etc. can we appeal is there any hope desperate.
If it's more than a three mile walk the council will provide transport.
You not being able to travel to school is not grounds for appeal at all. The nearer school having specialist clubs and provision that your dd needs, and the allocated school cannot provide would be grounds for appeal.
Coocachoo - I answered on your other thread. I suggested that you could appeal. You didn't mention there but you have just mentioned here that your daughter is depressed. Is she under the care of a psychologist/CAMHS? If they will write a letter saying that in their professional opinion she needs a place at the preferred school because that will help her make local friends and overcome her depression etc, that will carry a lot of weight.
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