School appeal help

(34 Posts)
Mumofmanychores Sat 09-Jul-16 21:37:29

I've submitted an in year secondary school appeal for yr10 and wandering what information I should be asking for.

I've recieved the statement from the school stating their reasons why they cannot admit another pupil.

- Overcrowding which can lead to stress
- Increase of workload for the teacher in assessments and monitoring work
- amount of time teacher can devote to each pupil will diminish
- access to computers

They have highlighted that the governing body have said class sizes are to large in science, drama and technology

Circulation is a problem at lesson change times and 4 science classrooms can only fit 20 children.

Now the school was knocked down and rebuilt but according to them it was built smaller then what it originally was. They say they are 160 over pan however their figures of what their pan should be is different and lower to what's on their funding agreement.

Other than the statement I have recieved nothing else. I thought maybe they would have broken down how many are in each year etc. They have mentioned that I will recieve a school statement from the La. Will it be Included in this.

prh47bridge Mon 11-Jul-16 09:13:27

That sounds like a fairly standard case to refuse admission to me.

You should ask for the number in each year since they haven't provided that information. If any years are over PAN that will help your case.

Have they said what the actual class sizes are in science, drama and technology? If not you should ask. The answer may show that the governors are being unrealistic.

If they've mentioned safety it would be worth asking if they have had any accidents attributable to overcrowding in the last 3 years. The answer is almost certainly no.

admission Mon 11-Jul-16 21:51:15

There are two issues for you to consider here. The first is that by year 10 your child will have started GCSE courses and swapping schools at this time is fraught with issues about whether you can get the same courses and the same syllabuses for your child. You do need to think carefully about this.
In terms of the appeal, the statement is, as PRH says, absolutely standard and just says enough for the panel to accept there is prejudice to the school. So you need to focus on your personal reasons as to why only this school is appropriate for your child in your appeal.
The issue around the PAN is interesting and different LAs have slightly different takes on this situation. There is no doubt that the PAN is set for each yearly cohort when they enter the school in year 7 and that the PAN stays with the year group as it rises through the school. So it is quite possible for there to be a PAN in year 7 in September 2016 which is lower than the PAN of the year 10 cohort when they entered the school in year 7. In your situation they are saying the school has been rebuilt and is now for a lower number of pupils than for the old building. You can argue this both ways, the PAN stays at the original level until the year group leaves at the end of year 11 or that being realistic given that it is smaller school the school should only be expected to admit to the new lower PAN. My personal view is that if the school, as an Academy, have not been sensible and got the funding agreement changed to the lower PAN then it is perfectly reasonable for you to argue that they are not full in the year group until they reach the original PAN, especially as they appear to have been able to cope with this number throughout the 4 years the higher PAN has been in operation. The funding agreement confirms this.
That will be an interesting one for the panel to decide.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 11-Jul-16 22:09:32

The number of children in technology classes is an advisory number set by DATA, which gives number of pupils by square footage of room size.

It is often lower than other classes, mainly due to dangerous tools and the need for vices and such like.

t4gnut Tue 12-Jul-16 09:03:30

As above concentrate not on trying to unpick the schools position, but on why your child needs to go there as opposed to a n other school with an available space - because if year 10 was under PAN whoever is next on the waiting list would be offered the place.

What is it this school offers that meets the needs of your child that a n other school cannot.

catslife Tue 12-Jul-16 10:16:04

Surely for a Y10 appeal the numbers for Technology and drama are only relevant if the OPs child is taking one of these subjects at GCSE? At most schools these will be optional for this year group.
Just checked with my dd and she has done Science GCSEs in a class size of 25 pupils so am not sure why this school has classrooms that they claim can only take 20 in a new building. Yes there is a minimum area per pupil but I think this is only advisory not compulsory.
I agree that moving at Y10 isn't ideal but sometimes people have to move due to changes in circumstances. Is it the case that all local schools are full for Y10 for example and this is your nearest one? Are they the only school that offer the GCSE subjects your child is taking? Try to focus on the positive aspects that support your appeal.

Mumofmanychores Tue 12-Jul-16 14:19:51

Class sizes or any other information regarding numbers have been given other than the school capacity is 1550. They say they have 1710 on roll. 1097 in years 7-22 and 613 in sixth form. The latest funding agreement I have seen is 2014 for capacity of 1676 for years 7-11 and sixth form 613.
From What I know intake has been always 210 per year in which they divide them into 8 forms. They have said they have 160 pan some things don't add up.

They had a bulge class last Sept for yr 7. They have 215 in the current yr 9 year group so 5 over pan. SEN currently stand at 53 in year 9 with 14 are fully statemented. Class sizes vary but they like to stick between 26 and 28. Although they have said that they cannot fit more than 30 on the class

Mumofmanychores Tue 12-Jul-16 14:32:59

My ds is moving from independent to state school so will be in year 10 in Sept. He has already broken up from school last week and has no school space for Sept. Awaiting for LA to find a school as none available in our borough or local area.

The school we are appealing is our nearest, one of the subjects he likes is only offered at this school although all other subjects are offered everywhere. We moved to the area last year and all the children from the area, including the local sports clubs he attends football, tennis and athletics all attend this school. Ds is very sporty have provided letters from the school and clubs as this school specialises in sports. Along with a doctors letter naming the recommended school for a medical condition being treated for. He also needs to be in a school in our borough in order to be accessed and treated as they only visit those in schools in the borough.

I thought by appealing I have nothing to loose. What's the likeness of being offered this school by the fap. That's the situation we are in.

t4gnut Tue 12-Jul-16 15:52:18

Funding agreements have no real relevance. They are lag funded census data. So for example 2016/17 funding is based on the number on role on x date in 2015. You aren't going to garner any insight from funding.

Personally I think fixating on numbers on role is a red herring - if they were under PAN for that year group he'd have been given a place,.

Focus on making a case why he should be admitted there, and why that school, and only that school, can provide him with what he needs - be it specific subject, interest, extracurricular activity etc.

admission Tue 12-Jul-16 16:59:44

The 6th form is massive in relation to the number in year groups 7 to 11. Based on 210 PAN I would expect the level of 6th formers to be 300 to 420, not 613. Having said that it will make little difference to the appeal as year 12 and 13 do not really figure in the appeal. It is all about what is the real PAN.
Given that in the most optimistic of circumstances of a PAN of 210, they are already 5 over the top, you really do need some very good personal circumstances to aid getting a place.

Lilly948204 Tue 12-Jul-16 19:07:18

To be honest a school will accept as many pupils as they can because they get money per pupil, if they had space for your child I'm sure they would accommodate them.

prh47bridge Tue 12-Jul-16 21:13:31

To be honest a school will accept as many pupils as they can because they get money per pupil

That simply isn't true. If it was there would be far fewer successful appeals. Indeed, I've come across cases where the school has specifically tried to keep numbers artificially low.

Mumofmanychores Tue 12-Jul-16 21:49:14

Thanks for the advice. Would the fact that he is currently out of school and has no school place add any strength to our appeal. As a child missing out on education and gcse could be harmful to his education.

The 6th form is big, according to their admissions criteria they accept 340 students into year 12. The 6th form is not separated from the school so all the facilities are shared.

prh47bridge Tue 12-Jul-16 22:11:35

Would the fact that he is currently out of school and has no school place add any strength to our appeal

I would expect the LA to come up with an offer of a place before the hearing. If they don't that will definitely add strength to your appeal.

Mumofmanychores Wed 13-Jul-16 22:27:46

So I was offered a school today of the record. Not one from my list. Head of year contacted me today asking whether I wanted to accept and I had 2 days to decide so he could let school know and get paperwork sorted.

Head of year recognised ds name from the list which I believe is the fap list. The fair access protocol meeting is next week.

Has the list gone to all schools and do I need to accept considering its an off the record offer. I believe they are offering a place as he attending the school briefly in year 7. I dont really want him to attend and i haven't officially been offered this place by the La.

If I say no to the head of year what will happen at the fap meeting.

t4gnut Thu 14-Jul-16 09:17:07

I think that's the key question - if it is an official offer via the LA then you can't risk turning it down as they will then have discharged their duty in finding you a school place.

Even if they were to offer it does not prevent you continuing with your appeal.

admission Thu 14-Jul-16 14:50:49

Any official offer is coming from the Local Authority, as your child has no school place. I would go back and say to the head of year, is this a formal offer because it really needs to come from the LA and see what reaction you get.

Mumofmanychores Thu 14-Jul-16 15:04:42

So I rang the La today and a meeting was held yesterday and a letter is in the post with the outcome although they didn't know what school has been offered apparently.

So I'm guessing it's a formal offer.

What information do they use when making this decision as they know nothing about my son other than his school report which only lists grades. The head of year also mentioned that it wouldn't be in his best interest being somewhere he really doesn't want to be.

So is this the final decision. Can it be changed.

It's now going to make the appeal even more harder to win as they are both single sex and specialises in sport

t4gnut Thu 14-Jul-16 15:34:34

The local authority is obliged to offer a place - and as you're outside the normal admissions rounds anywhere popular will in all likelihood be full, so they'll probably start with proximity. There is no obligation on the local authority to match his aptitudes, preferences or personality to a school. If there is a specific social need or SEN/EHCP requirement then that does dictate the offer.

You can go on multiple waiting lists and appeal for a place at a school you want.

tiggytape Thu 14-Jul-16 17:09:51

When you get a written offer then it is official and may well be your only offer or the only one for the time being (unless waiting lists or appeals throw up new options). As such you are best advised to accept it or, at least, to only decline it if you can Home Ed or pay for private education.

As t4gnut says, they will do their best to meet your preferences if they can but if the schools you want are full and a place exists at another school, that is the one you will be offered. If they have used to Fair Access Protocol, again your preferences are considered but they also have to be mindful of being fair to all schools so it will also be base don which school can more easily cope with an extra pupil and which school's turn it is to take someone extra.

Mumofmanychores Thu 14-Jul-16 17:55:21

Well the school offered was under t e fair access so I guess that is where he will be going unless we win the appeal. Too late for waiting lists now as he is starting year 10 in Sept. Would not be advisable to change schools again after Sept with gcse commencing even if a place came up later in the year which h is very unlikely.

tiggytape Thu 14-Jul-16 18:39:11

It is the best (and probably only) offer they have been able to come up with at the moment Given that it has had to go via FAP (which is an emergency process for children without a school place when all local schools are full), it seems they have had a struggle to even get that and so there isn't likely to be a lot of other choices immediately.

With a formal offer, they have met their obligation to you to find a place for your son and therefore, if you don't accept it, it is very possible there won't be any state school able to take your son for Year 10.

Of course that doesn't mean you won't win an appeal and, depending on the date the appeal is heard, if successful, you may wish to change schools at that point. Once you are well into year 10 though, the potential benefits of moving to another 'better' school are likely to be outweighed by the disruption to his GCSE subjects of a move.

Blu Thu 14-Jul-16 23:31:35

Why is it too late for waiting lists? If any family moves away from the area over the summer then places may come up.
I would accept the place offered, go on the list for schools you like, and appeal your favorite.

Mumofmanychores Fri 15-Jul-16 09:31:09

It's too late because he is in year 10 in Sept. If a place came up in nov/Dec he would have already started working towards his gcse and then you have the whole will he get his same subject choices.

Also he is currently third on the waiting list and they are currently 5 over so 6 children would have to leave to create an available space and providing no one jumps up the waiting list in front of us 8 people would have to leave for him to get in.

What's the likeness of that happening especially in such a short time frame.

The only realistic option in is winning this appeal.

How do you try and motivate a child to go to a school and put the effort in his work when he doesn't want to be there. His been there, tried it, hated it, left and now his going back

Blu Fri 15-Jul-16 09:47:13

It all sounds very stressful, OP,
By waiting lists I mean I would put yourself on the waiting list for every school you would consider a good or good enough option. While still pursuing the appeal, and still accepting the offer made. You can do all 3 without disadvantaging yourself.
Not sure where you are but in London people are highly mobile and many families move over the summer. Also some of those ahead of you on the waiting list will also be on lists at other schools, and might take a place elsewhere.

Fingers crossed for you.

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