Mid Year Transfer - refused a place at catchment school with places available! HELP PLEASE!

(16 Posts)
SaggyBaggyPuss Sat 17-Sep-16 12:42:14

I have posted similar to this elsewhere but am hoping someone with knowledge of how secondary school works can help - PLEASE!

I am having to move my DTS's (Yr 10) due to long running issues with their current school around DTS2 having SEN. I would not have considered moving DTS1 had he not insisted that he also wanted to move too as he has more friends at alternative school, also his levels went down a lot in Yr 9 (he was in Set 1 for everything in Yr 7/8 now Set 2/3 and he got a D in his Computer Science GCSE) and I think he needs a change of scene for motivation. There has also been low level bullying issues with both DTSs.

Anyway, I apply for alternative school, which is also catchment school (academy), beginning of July using the Mid Year Transfer form (had been trying to get someone to discuss the move since June). Catchment school was in SM when DTS's were due to attend which is why I applied for the 'Outstanding' school further away. It is now out of SM and there has been a lot of local publicity on how it has been massively turned around by the amazing Super Head who was brought in. When I applied I put down that I wanted DTS's to start beginning of new school year into Yr 10 and in view of that being start of the GCSE year, I needed to discuss what options were available quite urgently. I was told this would be OK by admission's officer.

School ignored my messages to speak to someone (rang every other day) and emails asking what the hold up was. One last day of term, I got through to the Deputy Head who explained that they were deluged with appications (20!) which was why it was taking longer to process. Process time should have been 14 days. Was reassured they would contact me first day of term. Had to send DTSs back to old school under duress.

Of course they didn't contact me! Emailed Head to complain about the time it was taking for transfer. No response.

SENCO from school contacted me as DTS2 was in EHCP process and said they wanted to see if he was going to get a Plan which we were informed he is getting, last week, after a 3 year fight! SENCO then said I will have to put school down as 'named school' on plan to which I asked why as I have already applied for a place there for him, before the EHCP was agreed. I also asked if this is what has affected DTS1's application and I was not given an answer.

Anyway, yesterday I asked for school to be named in EHCP as it seemed to be the only way to get a response for my application for DTS2. School then rang me about an hour after I had spoken to LEA and said that although they had to accept DTS2 as he has a Plan, they will not be accepting DTS1 as he already has a place at a local school hmm.

They also said the Mid Year Transfer form was only for kids who had MOVED into the area and did not have a school place already and they had been advised by the Admission's Team at the LEA that they could refuse DTS1.

I knew this could not be correct so contacted LEA who said that they would have advised the school of that at all and of course I could move DTS's school within the local area if I wished!

This morning I get a refusal letter stating that DTS1 is not being admitted as it would 'prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources, which means the distribution and difficulty caused to the school and the quality of education it delivers as a result of admitting the additional pupil.'

The school have said many times that there are places available in the year group.

Can anybody help me with understanding why they think admitting DTS1 would cause such difficulty to the school?

I still have had no formal response to DTS2's application either 5 school weeks after the submitted both applications angry.

SaggyBaggyPuss Sat 17-Sep-16 12:46:50

Sorry - LEA said they would NOT have advised the school to refuse DTS1's application as he already had a local school place.

user1471537877 Sat 17-Sep-16 17:10:06

Bumping you for Tiggy PRN and admission, hopefully they'll spot you soon

lougle Sat 17-Sep-16 17:18:36

Immediately appeal on the basis that they have a place. That gets the clock ticking.

admission Sat 17-Sep-16 17:32:22

There is a very simple rule of thumb.
If the number of pupils in a year group is not at or above the Published Admission Number then the school has to admit anybody who applies for a place. There is a slight grey area for in-year applications in that the school can try and say, as they have done, that to admit would prejudice the efficient education etc. If say for example the school had a very high level of SEN pupils in the year group, they could try and argue that admitting more pupils would be prejudicial. In 10 year + of sitting on panels I have never known such an argument be accepted.
If you have received a no response in writing then I would immediately email them and say that you now wish to appeal against this refusal on the basis that the school does have places in the year group and they should no have refused a place at the school. Also copy it to the admission office of the LA.
You might have to go to appeal but hopefully the school will see sense before that and realise that you are going to fight for the 2 places at the school.

PanelChair Sat 17-Sep-16 17:37:18

This is beyond odd.

How do you know they have (or had) vacancies in the year group? Did you have that info from a reliable source? I'm guessing that they might have put your DTs' applications to one side, forgotten about them, and then given the places to the other 19 applicants (or some of them).

The wording you quote is the standard wording to convey that a school is full and a place is being refused.

I think you need to appeal on the basis that (assuming all of the following is corrrect): you applied for places for your DTs at a time when there were vacancies; the places should therefore have been given to your DTs when you asked for them; other applications were made later and so should have been behind you in the queue; this is maladministration and so you are entitled to the places now. A further point is that they ignored the in year application for DT1 (who anyway should now as a sibling be near the top of the waiting list). If appropriate, you could also raise the other issues about the importance to the DTs of bring together and any particular benefits around curriculum/sports/clubs etc at the school.

It will help if you can ask the academy to confirm the key facts such as how many vacancies they had on the date you applied, when the other applications were made and when the vacancies were filled. If they decline to provide the info, you can point that out to the panel, who may draw conclusions from that.

What a mess.

LimeFizz Sat 17-Sep-16 18:01:21

It sounds very odd. Do you think you've pissed them off by complaining before your DCs even started?

SaggyBaggyPuss Sat 17-Sep-16 18:07:05

Thanks for replies. Panel, i know there are places at the school. Admissions confirmed as did HT's PA yesterday! On the phone, I was told that they 'did not have to admit DS as he has a school place already'. It was only when I got the letter this AM that I saw that they were trying to say that having DS would affect the school negatively with no evidence at all. Honestly all his teachers love him. His history teacher was telling me this week how much he enjoyed his conversations with him hmm.

I will submit an appeal first thing Monday AM. It's just wasting time that the boys are still in old school and not getting on with new school.

I have caused a stir in their current school. DTS2 was n School Action + all the way through Primary. He was not diagnosed with severe LDs and communication disorder until Yr 7 as Primary were not supportive of getting him accessed. Secondary left him in mainstream classes without an IEP or One Plan and I had to fight for SEN provision. His behaviour has been challenging with regards to peer relationships and school have only punished, not supported him with it. HT told me that his SEN should NOT impact his behaviour. They refused to support me with EHCP although his Peadiatrician recommended one and I was refused twice when I applied on my own as school could not show what support he was getting. He was in isolation for a week for a culmination of issues which included ringing the buzzer on the outside gate for too long, forgetting equip for a lesson and being late for tutor group due to hiding in the toilets (anxiety). This started me putting in a complaint and the lack of support all came out resulting in me going to the BofG as HT started threatening Permanent Exclusion due to constant breaches of Behaviour Policy.

My paranoia is making me worry that HTs of current and new school have spoken to each other and I have been slagged off as a 'problem parent'. Does this happen? Boys attendance was 100% from Yrs 7-9.

Could it be that the school is trying to say that they have had so many mid-year applications that they can't process them? Can they do that? Surely they need to get more staff of that's the case! They advertised that they were getting better, they should have prepared for people to want to transfer their DC there surely.

eddiemairswife Sat 17-Sep-16 19:05:21

Also ask about their policy on multiple births. In my LA twins, triplets etc. count as one child,so if one place becomes available and twins are top of the list they are both allocated a place.

CauliflowerSqueeze Sat 17-Sep-16 20:07:42

I doubt the school has contacted the other to say you are a "problem parent". If anything they might be pleased to see the back of you!

SaggyBaggyPuss Sat 17-Sep-16 20:59:29

Thanks Cauli. Current school have informed me that new school have contacted them several times over the past 2 weeks to check the boys are still attending hmm. Also current school rang me on the first day back after summer hols and told me the new school's HT's PA rang them to ask why the boys had not attended as they were expecting them to start on that day. I then immediately (and excitedly as thought new school had cocked up and forgot to send me the offer) rang new school who denied that was said hmm, they simply wanted to know if boys had returned as they could refuse places due to bad attendance. I thought it was very odd as surely if they had not turned up, new school would have rang me to ask where they were. It's all a bit of mindfuck really!

CauliflowerSqueeze Sat 17-Sep-16 22:18:41

Have the new school requested the attendance records and seen fixed term exclusions on the record? Not that that is a reason they can refuse him, but they might be trying to make it hard, thinking he will be a disruptive influence.

eddiemairswife Sat 17-Sep-16 23:17:55

School Admissions Code states that schools must not take account of reports from previous schools about children's past behaviour, attendance, attitude or achievement, or that of any other children in the family.

CodyKing Sat 17-Sep-16 23:56:27

Can you accept the one place - and then appeal - under the sibling rule and catchment rule!?

SaggyBaggyPuss Sun 18-Sep-16 00:19:42

Thanks for further replies.

DTS2 got his first ever fixed term exclusion of 3 days on the 3rd day of this term, so last week, which I am currently making representations to the BofG about (meeting on Monday) as there was an incident off school grounds after school on the 2nd day back where DTS2 was chased and kicked and he retaliated. DTS2 had an injury, the other boy did not. DTS2 was excluded but the other boy involved was not and I think the Head did not want DTS2 back and hoped he would not return afterwards as did I, as I hoped to have heard from the new school.

I applied to the new school long before this happened.

It is DTS1 though who has been officially refused a place. He has excellent attendance (as has DTS2), no SEN and has never had behaviour issues at school -he's just a massive Kevin at home!

I have already quoted the School's Admissions Code to the new school eddie when they first told me that they can choose not to admit them. They're probably not happy I did that!

prh47bridge Sun 18-Sep-16 00:40:30

did not have to admit DS as he has a school place already'

As others have said that is rubbish. If they have a place they have to offer it to anyone who applies. The only real exception to this is if the pupil has been permanently excluded twice within the previous 2 years. They cannot refuse to admit on the basis of fixed term exclusions or any other behavioural issues short of permanent exclusion.

they could refuse places due to bad attendance

Also rubbish. The Admissions Code specifically prohibits schools from taking account of previous attendance into account when deciding admissions.

under the sibling rule and catchment rule

That is not how appeals work. The OP would appeal on the basis that this is the right school for her son and that the school has breached the admissions code by failing to offer a place. To be honest I doubt it will get that far. If the school consults anyone who knows anything about admissions they will be told in no uncertain terms that they've got it wrong and that they have no chance of winning an appeal.

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