Secondary school appeal(5 Posts)
We got the results today for DSS and we are gutted.
He applied for an exam entry school and put down 4 other choices.
He didn't get into the exam entry one due to the number of applications (1 in 6 chance so fair enough)
He got his 3rd choice off the other list!
The first choice we put down was for the feeder school from his primary. He doesn't live near there anymore but all of his friends will be going. We assume he didn't get in because of where he lives.
The problem is DSS has extreme social anxiety. Since this application process he has been making himself sick and refusing to eat. He is not dealing with it well at all. We tried to get help but a paediatrician told him to just eat breakfast!
His Mum isn't being listened too and we both suspect ASD.
We are all now terrified of how this is going to affect him.
So what do we do next?
We need to appeal but is there any point if he doesn't live nearby?
Is it worth mentioning his issues even though he hasn't got a diagnosis or will it look like a desperate parent trying to get what they want?
This is all such a minefield.
Firstly do check why he didn't get the feeder school. Is that an error? Was it due to distance as a tie-breaker? Are there lots of schools feeding into one secondary that means it cannot take all feeder school children?
Appeals based on staying with friends aren't very strong but if you can get professional support to explain his need for continuity to combat his anxiety and need for peer support, this can help. Ideally, it would be a medical professional writing a letter that says "I am treating X for an anxiety disorder and it is my opinion that his educational and mental well being would be best served by attending X school where he can continue to receive support from his friends...." A letter from the school SenCo would also be something you could look at. Failing that, you would need to document his anxieties yourself in order to 'prove' them to the panel in terms of how much being with familiar faces is more important for him than other children.
Failing to qualify on distance grounds won't be held against you but if the journey to the school you want was very long, it might undermine your argument that he needs a lot of extra support and would help his anxiety.
We need to appeal but is there any point if he doesn't live nearby
Yes. You don't have to live near a school to win an appeal. You either have to show that a mistake has been made (e.g. he was placed in the wrong category or the distance was measured incorrectly) or that the problems for him in not attending this school outweigh the problems the school would have in coping with an additional pupil. A diagnosis would help but, failing that, one or more letters in support from qualified professionals (which could include his current teachers) stating that he needs to go to this school may be enough to convince the panel.
Thank you both that's really helpful.
We will speak to the school and see if we can get them on board.
This is all such a minefield!
You need to speak to his medical team too.
If you are going to put weight on his medical and social needs, then you need evidence both that they exist and that they mean that appealed for school is the only one that can meet them.
Can you get a letter from one or more HCPs (the more senior the better) explaining why the appealed for school is the only one which meets his needs?
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