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Council made an error re school admissions

(17 Posts)
HitsAndMrs Fri 23-Oct-15 14:28:53

My DD missed out out 1st choice primary school by 0.01 mile.
The last pupil to be allocated a space was 0.471 miles away. We were told we live 0.481 away.
We went through the appeals process and brought this up, they told us it had been checked but only the distance that they calculated to the distance given to us was checked. Appeal was unsuccessful. Dd had been at a school for half a term now and I have just sent evidence to the council that we in fact live 0.44 miles away. I've checked this through the Ordnance survey. Our address is right but the location point was wrong.
Do you think we have a chance now of getting DD in if they admit the error?

GruntledOne Fri 23-Oct-15 16:04:34

I think your main problem is that you are really too late. The first issue would be why you didn't dig out this evidence before the appeal panel hearing. The second and probably more important issue is that the time limit for bringing judicial review proceedings to challenge the findings of an appeal panel is three months from the decision date at most, and in fact the courts normally require you to start challenges against school admission decisions much earlier than that because of the potential for disruption of the school in question. Also, of course, that sort of court challenge is very expensive unless you as parents qualify for legal aid - you can't bring this sort of challenge in the child's name.

I suspect you're better off making sure that you're on the waiting list with the correct address distance registered and hoping that a vacancy comes up.

HitsAndMrs Fri 23-Oct-15 16:31:35

We did bring it up at the appeal, we told them the distances were wrong but the woman from the council said it had been checked. It hadn't been checked. We received the decision on July 15th so we should be just out of the 3 months.
Thank you for your help.

LIZS Fri 23-Oct-15 16:37:44

I thought if LA admitted to an error which denied your DC a place, they had to offer a place as an excepted child.

HitsAndMrs Fri 23-Oct-15 16:41:30

I thought that too Lizs. It does say it in the letter too.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 23-Oct-15 16:44:07

I am no expert, but after being onMN for years I know that the route used to calculate the distance and precise point in the school used for calculation is very important. Have you used these details from the council for your calculation.
They may also use a 'safe route' to school for calculations.

louisejxxx Fri 23-Oct-15 16:45:41

How do they measure the distance? I ask because some councils use "as the cross flies" which is what I assume you have used to calculate your distance; other areas use the quickest walking distance...which would probably, for most people, be longer than as the crow flies. Worth checking what the policy is on this!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 23-Oct-15 16:52:21

Are you sure you've used the exact spot at the school which is used?

HitsAndMrs Fri 23-Oct-15 16:55:31

They used as the crow flies. I've checked it with the system they use and although the address is correct, the location of our house isn't pin pointed right. They have made an error but I just don't know if they will try and dismiss it by saying they have to use the software etc. I thought they had to offer my dd a place if they were wrong but I'm not sure of this. It's an academy school but the council run the admissions.

HitsAndMrs Fri 23-Oct-15 16:58:23

Yes, they use the main entrance to the school and the front door of my house which is what I've used

titchy Fri 23-Oct-15 17:19:50

Are you absolutely sure they use your front door - that would be very unusual. They normally use a 'seed point' of the plot rather than the actual building. Have they put your actual plot at the wrong end of the road or something?

HitsAndMrs Fri 23-Oct-15 17:24:12

They said in the letter they use the front door of our house and the main door of the school which means the calculation they have is wrong. It's a new estate, we are always having problems with it.

RandomMess Fri 23-Oct-15 17:26:15

I would speak to them and ask what happens if there is an error on the software.

Have you only just got access to the software that you could have before?

PatriciaHolm Fri 23-Oct-15 19:14:44

So are you saying that the software itself has the location point of your house wrongly programmed into it? How did you get access to the software - it's far more accurate than anything you can access from home.

It is possible to get seed points moved, but it's a lengthy process, and the LEA is entitled to rely on the software to be correct. In that sense, the LEA haven't made a mistake. If you get no joy from the LEA now, I'd be inclined to refer it to the LGO, as I don't think it's clear what happens in a case like this.

tiggytape Sun 25-Oct-15 17:18:04

If you are correct then you should get a place at the school without needing to appeal again. If an error deprived oyu of a place then they should offer you a place there and then.

However:

1. How are you so certain they are wrong? Your own measurements are not valid for admissions purposes. You need a print out of the pdf that shows your house with the datum point (normally a red dot on the outline of your house) sitting and the distance from that datum point to the school. If the red dot is in the wrong place then you have a case. However, it isn't enough to say you have done your own measurements and they are better. The same council system is used for all addresses.

2. If there is an error due to the estate being new then this error might affect dozens or hundreds of applications. As such, it may mean that although you do in fact live nearer the school than they first stated, other people still live closer so the net effect is that you did not miss out.
If they see your red dot is wrong, they would have to re run the whole programme with corrections for everyone which may still result in you being found not to live near enough.

3. If you get the pdf or print out that shows the red dot is wrong and if the error is only for your house and nobody else's address and if it brings your distance down to less than the last one offered, then you should get a place. However the chances of an error are quite small and the chances of it only affecting you if there is one is also quite small so I would say the first step is to ask to see the print out of the datum point they used for your measurements.

tiggytape Sun 25-Oct-15 17:23:05

I should add the pdf comes from the council's system not from any software you can use at home.

If you already have that printout from the council and the red dot is correct then arguing that distance is wrong won't help. If the red dot is incorrectly placed on the council system then, as long as the error only affects you and nobody else, and as long as it beings you in distance, you should be offered a place

GruntledOne Sun 25-Oct-15 22:29:10

It's understandable that the appeal panel dismissed your appeal if you simply turned up and asserted they had got the measurements wrong without evidence of that fact. Your post indicates that you have only just sent the evidence, which clearly suggests that you didn't bring it to the appeal panel. So the question will arise: if you are able to access the evidence now, why couldn't you access it before the hearing, bearing in mind that you would have had a right to ask for the relevant details from the council?

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