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Failed secondary school appeal.

(7 Posts)
Blingtasticfantastic Tue 28-Jun-11 19:54:42

I wonder if anyone can give me some advice pls.My youngest son has been refused a place at his local secondary school following an appeal.He was initially refused a place at the time of application.The reasoning was very vague but it appears the school are saying they are oversubscribed.I can accept this but at the appeal we stressed that his elder brother attends the school and i don't want them to go to different schools as this would mean a difference of several miles in opposite directions.The problem is my eldest is in temporary foster care under section 20(voluntary)for respite and with help and support he should return home soon.The school stated that they are not considered siblings as they do not share the same address.This is true but i feel it is unfair for them to be treated as if they are not brothers.Can the school prejudice against them like this?

admission Tue 28-Jun-11 21:18:00

Most admission authorities say that siblings should be living at the same address, so I think that at a basic level the admission authority are unfortunately right.
However if the elder sibling is in temporary foster care the question I would ask is how long has that been the temporary address and how long is there an expectation of them staying at this temporary foster care. Presumably that must have been for a considerable number of months already for them to have been considered to be at the other address as most LAs application date was the end of October 2010. Who actually put in the aplication form, you or the foster carer? My understanding of section 20 (voluntary) is this is a voluntary arrangement to look after a child, made between the local authority and the child’s parents and means that the child is accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act. In this case the child becomes looked after without the local authority pursuing a court order and parental responsibility remains with the child’s natural parent(s).

The only recourse you now have is to the Local Government Ombudsman arguing that the school and LA should have been prepared to consider the sibling link given the circumstances and the expected return to your home (before Sepetember? ) To be honest I suspect that they will not be prepared to look at it but it is worth a try.

After that it is about being on the waiting list for the school and as soon as your elder son does return home, then you can appeal again based on the new information, that is, a sibling in the school who has returned home and that you need the younger sibling to go to the same school to help the reintroducation of the elder sibling.

prh47bridge Tue 28-Jun-11 21:36:51

Agree with Admission.

However, I am also concerned at your statement that the reasoning for refusing to admit your son was vague. The written case for refusing admission should have been sent to you prior to the hearing. That must contain a clear statement as to why your son was not admitted. Clearly the school was oversubscribed or they would have admitted him. The written case should have stated in which admission category he was placed and, if other children were admitted from that category, why he missed out, e.g. if distance is used as a tie breaker it should state the distance from your home to the school and the distance for the last child admitted. If the papers you were sent did not contain this information you should inform the LGO of this. I think that could result in the LGO recommending a fresh appeal.

If the LGO does order a fresh appeal you can present a different case and should seriously think about doing so. I'm afraid that the panel cannot consider your desire for your children to go to the same school, even if having them at different schools causes transport problems. You need to either show that a mistake was made and your son should have been admitted, or that your son will be disadvantaged in some way if he doesn't go to this school.

Blingtasticfantastic Tue 28-Jun-11 22:31:54

Thankyou for your advice.In response to admission my son has lived at his present address for around 3 months now.I shall certainly give the LEO a try.I understand that the school is over subscribed,but in light of trying to reintergrate my eldest back into the family unit,i hope the school will reconsider .If not then i can try again when he returns home which should be prior to the new school year.

prh47bridge Tue 28-Jun-11 22:58:00

Just to be clear, the LGO does not act as a second appeal. They will only intervene if the first appeal was not conducted correctly (e.g. the case to refuse admission did not contain all the required information) or there was maladministration in the admissions process. That is why the exact wording of the admission criteria and the contents of the case to refuse admission are important.

serein Tue 13-Sep-11 20:46:19

hi iv just had 2 appeals for my sons for years 7 and years 8,my younger son has medical probs so got his appeal accepted but his brother in year 8 got refused,on the grounds of the school being full,they said i can appeal again in 4 weeks but i prob wont have a chance and the first appeal will still stand, is it realy worth it me even bothering to try again at another appeal, my elder son has been refused last year and this year now for the same school,do you think il have a case now my second son has got in or wont they care and just say we full, and he got in on medical grounds.its just he needs his brother with him im not prepared to send the poorly one with out his older brother on a bus with no support to school and keep the older one at home home educating its just not fare how can they refuse one sibling and accept the i stand any chance at all or should i just give up, my poorly son wont go secondary school with out his brother, so if no one thinks i have any chance tell me now and il just ring the athority up and say forget it im home educating both of em, iv had enough of all the stress with it all i dont even no what else to say in an appeal as both appeals in past got refused anyhow,im so fed up with this stupid education sistem, how can they accept one brother and not the other when i apealed at same time and said his poorly bro needs his morel suport in school and going and coming home from schcool.any addvise would be helfull right now, does it even make any difference having a bro in school at all dont they even care that they are splitting kids up from there bros and sis how can they send one to one school and not the other grrrrrrr so mad.

prh47bridge Tue 13-Sep-11 23:35:22

I am interested in the fact they are saying you can appeal again in 4 weeks. Normally you have to wait until the next academic year following a failed appeal unless circumstances have changed. I wonder if perhaps the appeal for your Y8 son was considered first, in which case the change is that your Y7 son has been admitted. That certainly strengthens your case but it is difficult to know whether that will be enough to win your appeal.

It is certainly worth trying again. A new appeal panel may look at things differently. It also gives you a chance to strengthen your case. You really need independent evidence that your younger son will benefit from the presence of his older brother. Your own desire for your older son to give moral support to his younger brother isn't really enough. You should also look for ways in which your older son will benefit from being at this school. If he is currently attending another school you should look for things this school can offer which his existing school can't and which will be of particular benefit to him. If you are home educating you should look for things this school can offer which you can't.

There are no guarantees but you won't win unless you try. I would go for it.

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