not happy with the school place given

(74 Posts)
123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 11:49:53

hi im really upset about my daughter not been accepted to the first school that i choose for her and i really don't want send her where she has been accepted (apparentely not good school at all), does anyone know what i can do to change the decision? really worry for my daughter education and im sure sending her to that school will make it worse...

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 01-Mar-13 11:52:26

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

kilmuir Fri 01-Mar-13 11:55:20

I have a Ten year age gap between my oldest and youngest DC. Why jump to assumption of op being a troll

123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 11:55:50

yes i have 2 daughters, and im not a troll, whats the problem?

123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 11:57:06

thanks kimuir, some people like to be miserable

BikeRunSki Fri 01-Mar-13 11:59:25

A bit harsh One, a ten year age gap is not unheard of. There's 13 years between my siblings. My parents were dealing with Uni applications and preschool boosters at the same time!

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 01-Mar-13 12:00:17

Just that you started two controversial topics. You must have seen the replies you had from the vaccination one?

neddle Fri 01-Mar-13 12:00:30

You can lodge an appeal, it should tell you how in your offer letter.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 01-Mar-13 12:00:33

It's not about the 10 year gap. Read the other thread.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 12:00:34

Well you have a few options:

1. Appeal if you have grounds
2. Put her on the waiting list at the schools you do want
3. Work with the school she goes to and help make it a great school

Please don't come out with anything that suggests your child is too good/sensitive/gifted/speshul for this school but that it's fine for Other People's Children. There's less chance of a bunfight then smile

montmartre Fri 01-Mar-13 12:01:22

Eh? 10yr gap not uncommon!
Anyway, your options are- appeal or go private.
Make sure you get on the waiting list for your preferred school, and ensure you stay on there, so your child has a chance if places come up.
These are allocated according to the admissions criteria, so do what you can to get her to the top of the waiting list (short of putting her in care!)

salcz Fri 01-Mar-13 12:01:26

I haven't got any school age DC, but I thought the letters were being received tomorrow and the emails tonight for places??

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 01-Mar-13 12:04:16

I was thinking she was going to start a baiting thread with the "too good/sensitive/gifted/speshul for this school" angle. I read your other thread earlier today. Sorry if I have got you wrong.

Many of us have to send children to schools we don't like. It's either that or go private. Isn't it only 7% or so children are in private education? Many of us can't afford it. There's nothing we could do.

crikeybill Fri 01-Mar-13 12:04:50

Yes you have received your letter early hmm

Oh and I have a 9 year gap grin just to add to the buns !

PootlePosyPerkin Fri 01-Mar-13 12:06:32

I have a 10 year age gap between DS2 & DD too.

With regards to the question (assuming it's genuine), do you have a realistic chance of appeal? Do you live in the catchment area for your 1st choice? Does your DC have SN that would be best served by a place at the 1st choice school?

You can always appeal, although appeals in this LEA are usually unsuccessful unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Alternatively, you can go on the waiting list for a place at your 1st choice - although it would be worth knowing where you are on that list. Top 5, your DC is likely to get a place. 95th, they are not.

Best of luck.

MirandaWest Fri 01-Mar-13 12:06:42

Emails were being sent out in some areas from midnight so not unusual to have found out where your child has been allocated.

pinktabulous Fri 01-Mar-13 12:08:15

We are waiting for our outcome email too - will have to wait until this evening, but other counties sent their emails as from midnight/early am

crikeybill Fri 01-Mar-13 12:15:29

Ok fair enough. I will withdraw my Hmmmm.

123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 12:21:10

even if i started 2 controversial topics i dont think i offended anyone!!! plus im only asking opinions people you dont have to answer if you dont want and thank you to the people who gave me some tips

123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 12:38:37

e problem is i don't live in the catchment area, but i know that the school where she is been chosen for is really bad and i don't know what exuses to use to convince them

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 12:43:11

I've been notified where my dd is going too - as has everyone in our authority who provided an e-mail address!

Unless you feel there has been an example of the criteria not being applied, or not being applied fairly, you don't really have any grounds for appeal.
Was the school you've been allocated your 2nd choice? There's a news article in our local paper same article as they regurgitate every year saying that "1 in 4 miss out on their first choice school", but, as you go into it, it explains that a huge number of people here are either very unrealistic in their choices, or, at best "hopeful", and a lot put down the grammar school as their first choice, when they only take about 2% of the population, so, of course a lot of people won't be allocated their first choice, but it is made clear to people before hand, to be careful with their next 5 choices, so you don't end up being allocated a totally unsuitable school.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 12:44:50

Ah - x-posted.
Well, if you put as first choice a school you weren't likely to get in to, then, it surely can't be unexpected, even though I understand your disappointment.

3littlewomen Fri 01-Mar-13 12:45:44

Ponders her large bump and the 16 year age gap between bump and big brother.....

Blu Fri 01-Mar-13 12:46:03

LOADS of people had their offers within seconds of midnight - what is the matter with MN?

OP, sorry to hear you have such a disappointment -
1. You can appeal, although it is hard to appeal successfully for secondary school, unless you can demonstrate that they applied their own admissions criteria incorrectly have strong social and medical grounds, and used those to apply in the first place. You should get a message or letter telling you how to appeal.
2. You can go on the waiting list for all the schools you put above the offered school in your list of preferences.
3. You can also go on waiting lists for any other school you think you would prefer.
4. There is often lots of waiting list movement after people put in their acceptances or not, and all the way through the summer holidays.

Do you know why you did not get a place? Too far away?

I believe that the advice is always to accept the place you have been given while you pursue all the other options, because that does not put you at any disadvantage on waiting lists or appeals, and if you turn it down you could end up with something worse and further away! Maybe more qualified posters could confirm or deny that advice?

PootlePosyPerkin Fri 01-Mar-13 12:48:05

So, was the "really bad" school your second choice? Is that your catchment area school?

Have you had a look round? There is a secondary school here with a negative reputation but, when you break it down, that reputation was made 20 or 30 years ago! If you speak to anyone whose DC go there now (or have been in recent years) they will tell you how good it is. Their results at GCSE & A-Level are excellent.

My point being, don't write off a school as bad until you have checked it out for yourself (which you may have done).

We heard from the website about a place for DS when we looked this morning.
We were pleased he'll be able to go to the same school as his sister.
Am sorry for anyone who's not happy though.
Basically you can try an appeal but not easy - you do hear of some who are successful.

prh47bridge Fri 01-Mar-13 13:11:12

As others have said you can appeal for a place at your preferred school. To win you will either need to show that a mistake has been made or that this is the right school for your daughter. That must be based on things it offers that the allocated school does not. Ofsted ratings, league table position, local reputation and the like will not help you. Appeal panels are not allowed to consider them.

You should also make sure you are on the waiting list for your preferred school and see if there are any other schools with places. I would also recommend visiting the offered school. A school that was awful in the past will often continue to have that reputation locally for some time after it has improved.

I would recommend accepting the place that has been offered. If you reject it the LA is not under any obligation to come up with an alternative. If they do make another offer you may find it is an even worse school. Accepting the offer will not damage your chances at appeal.

Excellent comprehensive advice bridge smile

Quejica Fri 01-Mar-13 13:17:06

I logged in to County Council website at midnight and saw our allocation.
I then received an allocation email at 1:20am.
Then at about 11:00 am the post arrived with an allocation letter dated today!

123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 13:33:17

yes it was my second choice, and i beleve is in the catchment area, but i spoke to all the parents and pupil that they go to that school and everyone told me that the school is rubbish. I will put my daughter in the waiting list, and see what happends

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 13:53:58

confused why did you put it as second choice if you don't want it?

DeWe Fri 01-Mar-13 13:56:11

Why is this a controversial topic? confused

It's a common one and generally people have sympathy, and either express horror that things have been handled so badly, or sympathy that the Op is unlikely to win at appeal.

Op, I'd stay on the waiting list, and look at other schools nearby that you'd be happy with and either apply or go on the waiting lists of those. But also go and look at the "dreadful" school because sometimes reputations are not correct. It could be the perfect one for your dd when you look at it.

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 14:04:36

Prhbridge has given you excellent advice on how to appeal. Unfortunately, you did not help yourself when applying by putting down as your first choice a school which you were not in catchment for and at which you therefore did not have a realistic chance of getting a place. If you are so unhappy with the school offered and already believed it to be a poor school, why put it as your second choice? It would have been better to choose another school which, while not your preferred, was still more acceptable to you. However, that's all by-the-by now.

There is nothing to stop you from going on the waiting list of your first choice school or any others in which you are interested. There can be a lot of movement on waiting lists so there is nothing to say that you won't end up with the place you want. DO accept the place you have been offered, turning it down will not help your chances at appeal, the LA have fulfilled their obligation to provide you with a place and are under obliged to find you another place whcih you prefer. you cna always turn it down later if you do get another place.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 14:13:34

OP did entirely the right thing by putting her favourite school 1st on the form. Even if you have a one in a million chance of getting in, you should always list your favourite school first. But you should also list an acceptable back up as annh says.

The problem is putting a school you hate as 2nd choice (unless there is no other school which OP has a hope of getting into which is possible). It is too late to worry about that now though. Prh is the appeals expert and has given excellent advice.
OP - you can, in addition to launching an appeal, also ask to go on the waiting lists of other schools you prefer. In the meantime accept the place you've been offered. You can reject it later if you win your appeal or get a waiting list offer but if you reject it now, you may end with no place at all.

Where we are if you put your catchment school anywhere in your list it will be your fall back guaranteed option. We decided to put it third on our list of three.
Some friends put it first as it was their first choice school. You are recommended to include it somewhere in your choices.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 14:50:08

Juggling - that's pretty much the case everywhere. Parents are told to put a school they know they will get into (in terms of meeting the criteria) somewhere on their list as a back-up option because it is better to get an O.K school on your doorstep than a less desirable school randomly allocated by the council.
But some people don't have a catchment school - some areas are so full that not everybody has a definite back-up option. Not all LAs have official catchment areas and some people live further than the 'last distance offered' meaurement for every single school.

anniesw Fri 01-Mar-13 18:13:05

You say 'apparently not good' - go and look, talk to the head and staff rather than listen to what others say. Many schools are making big changes these days - Ofsted is requiring that so information based on even 3 years ago could be out of date

anniesw Fri 01-Mar-13 18:16:13
auntevil Fri 01-Mar-13 21:12:22

prh47 - can I ask you a question? You have listed some aspects that panels are not allowed to consider, are the statistics for expected progress, AV etc allowed ?
I'm asking way in advance as DS1 only Y5! blush
Only 1 school in catchment and we do not think it suitable. Another school 10 min walk from this one is suitable, but we are not in catchment. If you could show that a school has not been able to show acceptable/average progression for a particular sub group, and your DC was in that sub group, but the alternative school showed that adequate progression was made, could that be used?

I would have thought that was just the sort of thing you'd want to show auntevil (though am not 100% sure)

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 21:25:33

auntevil - no that would not help. In appeals you have to remember that you are appealing for one school not against another. And appeal panels have to assume all schools are equally good because of course somebody has to go to the ones that are less popular. They are not there to pass judgement on the school you are offered but to hear your case to explain why the school you want meets your child's needs.

In your example, if your child was in a sub group like g&t or having dyslexia and the school you wanted had a special literacy unit or a special enrichment programme for g&t students then you could use that to show why you wanted a place. What you cannot do however is say that the school you've been allocated has poor results / is rubbish at science / has bad behaviour therefore you don't want your child to go there because they are academic / good at science / quiet and well behaved.
You must just concentrate on what is good about the appeal school and how it meets your child's needs and interests.

Ooh interesting tiggytape - it's all quite subtle isn't it ?
And feel like you need a PhD or insider Mumsnet knowledge wink to have a chance of jumping through these hoops.

auntevil Fri 01-Mar-13 21:56:03

So even if the statistics show that the school offered does not meet the educational targets for a specific sub group, the panel have to assume that the school is equally as good as a school thats statistics show that it provides an education where the same sub group make expected progress?
But if I can show that the preferred school runs a programme to help with this sub group that the offered school does not (hence why the results are as they are) that would be accepted as evidence by a panel?

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 22:05:40

Exactly true auntevil - when you are preparing for appeal, if you find you are talking more about the school you want to avoid than the one you are appealing for, then you have not made your case.

In any appeal, the allocated school should barely be mentioned at all. Even where you are making an unfavourable comparison about what is offered, you should state it factually eg 'School B has a literacy unit on site with highly specialised teachers well used to coping with DS's condition and we believe he would benefit from....' You don't even need to say that School A doesn't offer any decent help let alone mention that their results for dyslexic pupils are shockingly bad.

There are schools many parents appeal for and others that many are seeking to avoid and it is often obvious why. But at appeal, you have to resist the urge to tell the panel that the school allocated is awful - that is not what they base any decisions on. You have to explain to them why the other school is the right one and what it offers your child (the implication of course being that the allocated school does not offer this at all and is not a good fit for your child)

PanelChair Fri 01-Mar-13 22:32:52

Auntevil - I can't add much to what tiggytape has said, but things like Ofsted ratings, SATs scores and progression are not the basis for a winnable appeal.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 22:51:29

As a rule, you would need good evidence to show that your child actually needs the specialist input too - in most cases, that would be a Statement of SEN, ie, something which 'states' what 'special educational need' your child has, that any good school could offer. {The panel has to assume all schools are equal, as Tiggy says}. So one school running a particular support group, wouldn't generally be seen as a good reason, as the LA would argue, the other school could run it too.

auntevil Fri 01-Mar-13 23:09:48

So can I very naively ask, for whose benefit these new progression data tables are for? I thought that it was a good indicator of which school was a good fit for your DC

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:14:06

BackforGood - children with statements won't be part of this appeals process. They are dealt with separately, before the other children and generally get the school they want no questions asked. In theory they should have no need to appeal (although I know a lot have to fight to get a suitable school named on their statement in the first place)

Appeals can be won on the grounds of a parent demonstrating that the school they want meets their child's needs. These don't need to be very extreme needs (probably not a good way of putting it but you know what I mean).
If a child is in a choir and plays violin and is quite shy, a parent might say they want them to go the school that has 7 different bands, 3 music clubs and 4 choirs as this would be good for their confidence and enable them to keep up a talent / interest that is important to them. This would carry more weight if for example no other school in the area had much / any music provision.
If a child excels at a sport that only one school offers or wants to take a GCSE in a subject no other school does, these would all be grounds that could be used at appeal.

GCSE results, SATS, Value Added, Ofsted gradings etc though are not.

Whether you win an appeal depends not only on the reasons you give but on the school's case too. Some schools are bursting at the seams and any extra pupils could cause them serious problems. As such, for a parent to win, they'd have to have an overwhelming case.
Other schools are full on paper only and actually built 5 new classrooms 3 years ago but never upped the admission figures and always take more than PAN with no problems whatsoever. Parents appealing to these schools wouldn't need such an impressive case to be able to demonstrate that their wish to attend outweighs the school's valid objections.
It is a balancing act and the panel decides who has more to lose by admitting the child - the child who is denied a school they very much want or need or the school who is forced to go above their stated numbers. If the parents can tip the balance in the child's favour, they can win

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:19:32

So can I very naively ask, for whose benefit these new progression data tables are for? I thought that it was a good indicator of which school was a good fit for your DC

auntevil - it is a bit of an alien concept to me and others in London but some lucky sods people have a genuine choice of High Schools. They have maybe 2 or 3 local schools that they'd qualify for on distance criteria and maybe even a faith or selective option on top of that. They have to weigh up which order to list their preferences in since they are almost certain to get their first or second choice. When they look at data and attend Open Days, they do so with a view to making a choice between 2 or 3 schools.

Other parents have no real choice at all. In some cities, parents might have literally 1 school that they qualify for on distance and if they don't like it, it is tough as they won't get a place anywhere else. In those cases, open evenings and comparing headline figures is a bit futile because there isn't really any chance to make a real choice. Of course they still list the school they like best as first choice and hope against hope for a low birthrate year and a lot of people to go private but generally, choice is limited to the ones you qualify for not the ones you like the look of.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:25:14

Meant to add BackforGood is right about evidence required. If you are going to rely on violin playing, social circumstances that mean staying with friends is crucial or benfits from a literacy unit - you have to back this up with evidence.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 23:26:28

I know that Tiggy - I was answering the poster whose dc is in Yr5, so they need to get the application right, rather than the appeal of the original OP smile.
A school having more music groups would be a reason for a parent to express a preference for that school in my LA, but wouldn't allow you to leapfrog over others who are further up than you in the published admissions criteria. My point is, that an appeal can only be won if the admission criteria hasn't been followed, not just because a parent is disappointed.

PanelChair Fri 01-Mar-13 23:31:41

My point is, that an appeal can only be won if the admission criteria hasn't been followed

That's not the case, at least not the case beyond KS1 where the infant class size rules apply. An appeal for KS2 or secondary school can be won even if the admission criteria have been followed, if the parent can satisfy the panel that the 'prejudice' to their child in not having a place is greater than the 'prejudice' to the school in admitting an additional pupil.

Mutteroo Fri 01-Mar-13 23:31:46

OP wouldn't it be a good idea to form your own opinion of the school your child has been given? If you haven't looked around, which I would think odd seeing as you put it as a second choice, make an appointment. We chose one of the weakest primary schools & it ended up being the best choice. Results are merely one aspect to take into account. If you visit the school & your instincts are telling you "RUN" then do the appeal.

Bluelightsandsirens Fri 01-Mar-13 23:32:32

I received an email at 7.30am and a confirmation letter waiting for me when I returned home this afternoon.

I also only put the one and only school we wanted so count DD very lucky!

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:35:10

My point is, that an appeal can only be won if the admission criteria hasn't been followed, not just because a parent is disappointed.

No that isnt' the case at all - certainly not after Year 2 when class size laws cease to apply. A parent can definitely win an appeal by demonstrating a need or desire to attend a school for particular reasons and (as you say) leapfrog those on the waiting lists. That is in fact exactly how it works.

Mutteroo's point is valid too though. Visit the school. ask questions about things that worry you. Speak to staff, pupils and other parents. Reputations (good and bad) take years for a school to lose even long after they stop being accurate.

PanelChair Fri 01-Mar-13 23:42:26

Bluelightsandsirens - I'm glad it worked out for you, but putting just one school on the application is a very risky strategy unless you can be absolutely sure of getting a place there. Generally (for the benefit of other readers) I would not recommend it, because if it backfires you will be allocated a place at whichever school still has places, which may be far less acceptable to you than other schools you might have listed.

montmartre Fri 01-Mar-13 23:54:26

I don't understand why you'd apply for a school you are not in catchment for, and then complain when you don't get a place! confused
You need to move in catchment, or accept the other school- if youre not close to the school, you've no chance of a place from the waiting list.

Bluelightsandsirens Fri 01-Mar-13 23:58:59

Oh I know Panel, I have many friends who have had 5 places declined but I may be lucky in the area we live in and have only ever put one for all of my children and been accepted.

I acknowledge it does feel a bigger risk now and not sure how confident i will be when DS3 is due to apply for a placement.

I wouldn't recommend it but it has worked for us and I wanted to add the point of email and letter received on the same day.

Kenlee Sat 02-Mar-13 01:51:50

Go private...

most of the best schools are private

MerryCouthyMows Sat 02-Mar-13 01:58:54

In my area, you could log onto the County Council website at midnight to find out school allocation - I found out DS1's at 00:01.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Mar-13 08:00:46

Unhelpful comment Kenlee and also not true.

To respond to montmarte about catchment areas, many people will put schools outside their catchment or like DD's (and now DS's !) a faith school with no catchment area on their list. Some children travel up to 100 miles a day by train ! The three schools we had on our list all had different styles of criteria for their admissions. One was simple catchment/ distance (plus other things like special needs provision), one used banding and you had to take a test as part of admissions but just to ensure breadth of ability, and another was faith with a small number of children also admitted via test or music audition.
Many people choose to put other schools above their "catchment" school, but are assured that including the catchment school in their choices will in many areas provide a guaranteed fall-back option (and often a good one too). Unfortunately though this isn't the case everywhere, I think especially in some cities where there are barely enough places in the system for all the children, and the catchment system may not work so well.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Mar-13 08:07:24

Op, you have been given excellent advise here. I would second the suggestion that you look round the school for yourself.

There is a lot of movement on a waiting list between now and September but that may not mean you get offered a place before school starts in September.

In that scenario, your dd would have to attend your second choice school until a place did come up. In this case, it's a really good idea to have a realistic idea of what the school is like to try to abate some of the fears you have based on rumour. It may not be as awful as you have been led to believe.

We get students starting with us throughout years 7 and 8 as places become available.

Also just to say our admissions team make it very clear that just putting one school in your list doesn't make it any more likely that you'll get it than including other choices beneath that one. They go through them in order here (and I'm sure in most other places too)
Having a determined approach and doing everything you can to get into a particular school probably accounts for the success in those cases where people have just put the one.
If you did and you and your DC's got what you wanted then I'm pleased for you - just wouldn't want others to be under any misapprehension.

123mon Sat 02-Mar-13 10:35:46

i accepted an put her in a waiting list for the other school and see whats happend... thank you to all for your help

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 02-Mar-13 16:04:11

All LEAs consider all applications against the published admissions criteria. That is why it is wrong to think that, if you only list one school, you will automatically get a place there. You won't, if you fall outside the admissions criteria.

tiggytape Sat 02-Mar-13 16:11:47

That is correct Maud. If you felt it was 100% certain that your child would get a place at School A (you lived opposite the school gates for example), then you could list it as your only option and get offered it.
This however is nothing to do with not giving the council any other choice. It is because you meet the criteria for school A. It is still not recommended to do this though because it could be the year of the freakishly high sibling numbers that gobble up every available place!

If you fall in love with a school and are borderline in terms of catchment and you list it as your only option, you will only get an offer if the catchment extends as far as your house that year. The council won't make an exception for you just because you list no alternative

If you list a school you have zero chance of getting into and no other options, you will get a council allocated school place. These come from the pool of places left over after everyone who expressed a preference got an offer. So they will be places nobody asked for i.e. probably not great.

The thing to remember is admissions are very much 'computer says yes' or 'computer say no' There is no common sense, no council discretion, no priority for people who only give one option because it is the only one they want.
If you meet the criteria, you're in. If you don't, you won't get an offer even if you've made it clear you won't accept an alternative school.

apatchylass Sat 02-Mar-13 16:19:32

We listed 6 schools in our LEA and DS didn't get into any of them. (Very over subscribed area, and we did only put down the good schools. But not too worried. Waiting lists shift a lot and if we hang in there he's very likely to get a place at 1st choice eventually.

tiggytape Sat 02-Mar-13 16:35:03

apatchylass - the fact that the schools are all in your own LA neither helps nor hinders your chances. LAs have no special loyalty to their 'own' children. Any distance criteria applies from the house to the school in metres - it doesn't matter if you hop over a LA boundary in the process. Many people's closest schools aren't in their own LA and they are not disadvantaged by this because it is only the measurement that counts.

You are right though, lists do move a lot and if you only narrowly missed out on an offer, the chances are you will get an place relatively quickly. It is still worth accepting your allocated school though because it does not alter your chances on any waiting list but it does give peace of mind that you have a definite place for September come what may.

shoppers Sat 02-Mar-13 17:01:27

Can anyone advise me regarding our rather unusual situation? My Year 8 Ds 1 is statemented and at an independent school funded by the LA.

We are currently battling with the LA to get him admitted to a mainstream state secondary who have agreed to take him but the LA need to instruct them to take him which will take that year group over numbers. The LA have dragged their feet for months but we are confident they will have no choice once they see we have a solicitor acting for us.

Meanwhile we applied for DS2 back in October for Secondary on the basis that he would get a place at the school his statemented older brother is at. He has been offered our 4th choice but it is very likely his older brother will have started at the desired school by the time we get to appeal or will be this academic year.

How will an appeals panel view this in that we will be stating the case for the unusual circumstances and that our 2nd son should get in as a sibling.

Sorry if this is confusing and longwinded!

Hope one of you well informed people can help.

PanelChair Sat 02-Mar-13 17:17:36

I assume the appeal is for your younger son, as the situation for your older son ought to be sorted out without going to appeal.

To be frank, I would be much happier at the appeal if either (a) your older son was at the school or (b) the LEA gave an unequivocal statement that he was going to be given a place. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who will argue that they hope child 1 will be moving to the school so child 2 ought to be considered as a sibling, and appeal panels need more clarity and more certainty than that.

Of course, if you arguing at appeal on the strength of the sibling link, you will still need to demonstrate that the 'prejudice' to your younger son in not being given a place is greater than the 'prejudice' to the school in admitting an additional pupil. Being a sibling won't be enough on its own to win the appeal - although it will propel the younger son up the waiting list - and you will still need to identify other features of the school that your son particularly needs (specialist provision for music, a GCSE option that he might want that is not available elsewhere etc etc).

shoppers Sat 02-Mar-13 17:38:01

Thank you PanelChair.

I understand what you are saying. If our older DS is at the school when we get to the appeal for our younger son will they not be sympathetic to the difficulties we have had with the LA meeting their obligations for DS1 and that as a result of the basically unlawful inaction of the LA our younger son's chances have been compromised. i.e. if they had acted months ago to place our statemented child where we requested the appliction for our younger DS would have had a very different outcome.

Obviously we strongly believe that both boys have suffered emotionally by not being educated together for the last 4 years and how important it is for them to have the opportunity to be at the same school now. Whether that would be of any interest to an appeals panel I don't know.

PanelChair Sat 02-Mar-13 23:25:00

The panel will no doubt feel sympathy for you, but the panel cannot base its decision on feelings of sympathy.

Any panel will be interested in whether there has been an error by the LEA which has deprived your son of a place, because that is one of the criteria for allowing an appeal. However, although it is not clear-cut, it doesn't sound as if there has been an error here. As I read it - and as the LEA will no doubt argue it - they haven't done anything wrong in your older son's case but the bureaucratic wheels have turned very slowly. If you can convince the panel that the LEA has been in error, and that the sequence of errors has cost your younger son his place, they might be minded to allow the appeal.

But if you can't demonstrate that there has been an error, you will need (as with most appeals) to argue on the basis of the weight of 'prejudice'. You can point to the benefit to your younger son of being at school with his brother but (as I said before) the sibling link on its own won't win the appeal for you.

I hope you're able to argue your case you both your boys shoppers and they can both get a place together at the school you hope for. But am just thinking at my DC's school they do emphasise that the sibling rule depends on having a sibling at the school at the time of application. So that could have some effect, though I hope it works out for DS2. Good luck !

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