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Late Grammar School offer: over the moon but stressed/flummoxed

(1000 Posts)
PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 19:35:12

What a 3 days we've had - any insightful comments welcome. In short:

1. Our daughter was offered 3rd choice (her 11+ score was about 30 down on passmark);
2. 3rd school is outstanding but we appealed to 2nd choice school as was our preference;
3. Last Friday took calls from our local Ed admissions authority saying why appealed when have offer from grammar school?
4. Said we hadn't. She made further calls to other relevant admissions authority and came back and told us we definitely have an offer and it would be in post next day (Saturday just gone);
5. It duly arrived, and we posted our acceptance same day (they should have got it today) - verbal acceptance of place given by phone on Friday;
6. On Friday the Authority also withdrew both our place at 3rd choice school and our appeal to 2nd choice school;
7. Today i take a call from a friend whose daughter got substantially higher score than my DD - and she is 188 on waiting list;
8. I call our admissions auth to check they received our acceptance (they said still in posttray but will be dealt with this afternoon);
9. I query whether there could possibly an error and i'm told categorically 'no'. And if there was, we have a written offer, accepted it and they can't take it off our daughter;
10. Finally, my other DS is that grammar school.

I'm perplexed. What could be a possible explanation?

lougle Sun 23-Jun-13 16:57:38

It's a mystery...

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Jun-13 16:55:18

So maladministration is ONLY an argument that you belive can be use for non-selective schools? Exactly the same events, but referring to distance from a non-selective school WOULD be maladministration, but are 'trumped by 11+ scores' for a selective?

Where is your legal basis for this?

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 23-Jun-13 16:53:52

The AP said that there was no maladministration. I am assuming that the appeals denial letter would have detailed the legal justification behind that conclusion.

For whatever reason Perma has not posted that part of the letter. In the absence of that information, isn't it a bit arrogant to automatically assume that the AP are a bunch of incompetent who don't understand the rules and procedures as well as the MN experts?

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Jun-13 16:53:29

So by your argment, Yellowtip, if EXACTLY the same had occured, but in relation to distance for a non-selective school, then there would be no problem in a child in that position keeping the place, using the maladministration criterion?

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 16:37:15

I have acknowledged them nenny, I merely suggest that the overlay of suitability as defined by test score in the case of selectives (and demonstrated in action in the Vesey case) queers that particular pitch.

I do get that Very Important people on this thread have spoken in support of the OP having a cut and dried case but I think they're underestimating the effect of policy.

Bottom line is this child has not earned a place, not by a long way. She had her chance and blew it, pretty convincingly, it has to be said. It would be quite inequitable to give her the place and I'm pretty confident that the EFA will agree.

nennypops Sun 23-Jun-13 16:29:24

But there is very conclusive legal authority that says (1) the rules apply equally to grammar schools unless there is express provision to the contrary and (2) withdrawing an offer after three days is maladministration. You don't help your case by refusing to acknowledge those facts.

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 16:25:07

For goodness sake nenny it appears equally clear to me too.

I think the scrap of the decision that we have suggests that they found no injustice through maladministration and went on to consider prejudice, but unless Perma chooses to share, we don't know.

There is currently no legal authority that says either way, in this specific situation. Which is why one extends the principle to fit the individual circumstances of the case.

nennypops Sun 23-Jun-13 16:05:38

For goodness sake, this is so clear.

There is a very well established and frequently applied LGO decision that says that, if a school has offered a place by mistake but doesn't withdraw it within 3 days, the offer stands.

In this case the offer was withdrawn after 7 days. Therefore the offer stands.

The school admissions Code of Practice sets out expressly those of its rules which do not apply to grammar schools. It does not suggest anywhere that the rules on mistaken offers fall into that category.

Therefore the place should stand.

The appeal panel got that wrong. They are lay people with no specific expertise. As both court and ombudsman decisions demonstrate time after time, appeal panels are not infallible. Specifically, the information we have been given about the decision letter demonstrates that they treated this as a prejudice case when it clearly was not.

Despite pages of vociferous argument, neither Yelloptip nor Habba have managed to put forward any valid reason or legal authority that says anything different. Yellowtip has acknowledged that the rules do apply to grammar schools but say that they should not. That may be the case, but we're living in the real world and dealing with the rules as they are.

fiddlyfoodlebird Sun 23-Jun-13 16:00:44

I meant to say that I can see both sides and watch with intense interest to see which way this will eventually go.

fiddlyfoodlebird Sun 23-Jun-13 15:58:52

Yellowtip - please accept my apologies for the x-post confusion flowers

FWIW - I agree with you. My DS and 2 DD's got into super-selective GS's with very good scores. I accept that many see this as a straightforward appeal case and that scores bear no relevance. I ask myself this, in the same circumstance as OP, in a school where the top 150 scorers got in and my child was say, 300th on the waiting list, would I be totally convinced that they should be there when they're effective ranked 450th? I don't know, I would have to give it a lot of thought.

tiggytape Sun 23-Jun-13 15:58:14

Fiddly - It is because some feel that common sense dictates a child who didn't qualify for a school cannot feel disadvantaged by having a place wrongly given to them but then taken away again

Whereas LGO rulings say they aren't disadvantaged if all is cleared up on the same day but after 3 days it is too late to remove the place. Yellowtip argues surely grammar schools (where test score not distance from school is the deciding factor) should be an exception to this. The MN experts say that grammar schools are still bound by the rules and principles applicable to all other schools and so far have not been made an exception apart from one case where an absolute pass / fail pass mark was in operation of the kind that does not exist in Perrma’s case.

The appeal panel did not address or seem to recognise the matter of maladministration and treated the appeal as a straightforward non qualification one which Perma lost.
As such, Perma must see if the EFA agree with past LGO rulings about the time scale for withdrawl of offers that the child does not qualify for. If they do agree, Perma will win and should receive a recommendation that her place is reinstated.
However the EFA may agree that 3 days is a very short amount of time to rectify an error and redefine the time limits for withdrawing a place – perhaps extending them to incorporate Perma's time scale so she will lose and a new precedent will be set for all schools.
Or the EFA will somehow conclude that grammar schools should be given an extra layer of protection that they don't currently enjoy so that they regardless of timescale they do not have to accept a non qualifying pupil whose place was offered in error. This would lead to recommendation that the law needs to be changed to recognise such an occurrence.

Hopefully it will be the first option and Perma will win since 3 days is quite long enough when you consider they have 4 months at least to sort everything out before offers day.

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 15:52:51

Cross post! All I meant that it's a red herring generally. The system produces the same result.

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 15:51:26

fiddly that wasn't in any way directed at you.

1. There's a sub decision in a case concerning a grammar called Bishop Vesey where the MN experts are trying to minimise it's relevance, since it's not helpful to the OP. This triggered some discussion about passmark/ other.

2. The child in question fell so far short of any pass mark (real or effective), as her mother knew, that it would beggar belief if this wasn't found to negate any notion of injustice. That produces the right, common sense result.

fiddlyfoodlebird Sun 23-Jun-13 15:49:26

I have no issue with people discussing what they want, but I find it a little confused when an individual asks for clarification on a matter that you've discussed, then gets told it's a "red herring".

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 15:45:40

Quite clearly the AP found the score very relevant, as indeed it is. In the BV case the score was thought to be relevant in that appellants with a low score weren't held to have suffered injustice. In the same way that Perma has not.

And yes, I do think it bears repetition. I don't believe the EFA will find differently, either.

fiddlyfoodlebird Sun 23-Jun-13 15:43:45

Yellowtip"Quite so tiggy, the pass mark/ no pass mark thing is an absolute red herring. These are just different approaches to measuring the same thing."

If this is so, then why do you, Lougle, Habba et al keep on discussing scores, rankings and semantics on the terminology?

Thanks tiggytape - I had no other agenda, rather than wanting clarification on which it was flowers

tiggytape Sun 23-Jun-13 15:41:17

Sorry yes fiddly - it is first past the post. OP clarified this point much earlier. There is no pass mark.

The top 150 or 180 scores get a place regardless of actual score.
A passmark school is different. It may not fill all places available if less than 150 or 180 applicants reach the required score. It is allowed to do this and leave place unfilled.
Perma's school is the kind where score doesn't matter, it is only rank position that determines success in getting a place.

Yellowtip - Quite so, any consideration of 11+ score however arrived at is quite irrelevant in a case that only concerns two episodes on maladministration and the dates each took place but fiddly wanted to know for certain whether or not it was a passmark school.

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 15:32:18

Quite so tiggy, the pass mark/ no pass mark thing is an absolute red herring. These are just different approaches to measuring the same thing.

fiddlyfoodlebird Sun 23-Jun-13 15:32:05

Flogging - it is first past the post. People use the term pass mark meaning "effective" pass mark just like people say "catchment area" for a school where actually it is those living closest who get places but it just so happens nobody further than 400m away ever gets in so it is an "effective" catchment area.

Assume you don't really mean this reply to go to "flogging", tiggytape?
Only asked cos some people on here seem to think it's important that OP's DD's 11+ was a first past the post, as opposed to a pass mark one, like those in Kent and Bucks. So without wishing to put words in OP's mouth, is it a pass-mark school like Kent or a top 150 scorers-type entry? You see I'd like to know because I'm not in the habit of making assumptions that when people say "pass mark" what they really mean is "'effective' pass mark" or cut-off

tiggytape Sun 23-Jun-13 15:28:29

Plus it sounds from the decision letter sumary as if the AP hadn't properly considered the maladministration points or (as prh says) hadn't realised that it doesn't which LA is at fault. It launched into an analysis of scores, overcrowding and all sorts of other things that have no place in a decision based as this one should be purely on two errors and the dates of each.

tiggytape Sun 23-Jun-13 15:25:17

But the LGO has said yes in all other cases where an offer has been withdrawn after 3 days, the LGO has advised that the offer becomes valid at the 3 day mark.

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 15:22:18

No it's not treated as a valid offer tiggy. The AP said no.

tiggytape Sun 23-Jun-13 15:21:23

Flogging - it is first past the post. People use the term pass mark meaning "effective" pass mark just like people say "catchment area" for a school where actually it is those living closest who get places but it just so happens nobody further than 400m away ever gets in so it is an "effective" catchment area.

Yellowtip Sun 23-Jun-13 15:21:03

Oh absolute bollocks to injustice. I suspect the AP found that there was maladministration but it caused no injustice, rather than finding no maladministration, as in the case of those parents in the BV case who weren't put forward for fresh appeals - because of the low score of their sons.

Perma could always fill in the blanks of the decision letter, if she returns.

tiggytape Sun 23-Jun-13 15:16:47

The offer is treated as a valid offer in this instance, not because of her test score but because she held the offer for 3 days which is the time it takes for it to be irretrievable if proper process is followed.

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