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Primary school appeals-anyone any experience

(16 Posts)
Snips Sat 23-Apr-05 13:53:44

Hi all

We just received a letter from our LEA telling us which school ds will be attending. It's our third choice, and definitely not the one we wanted him to go to (we hoped he'd get into 1 or two and only put 3 down as we needed to add a 3rd). I am going to put him on the waiting lists for our 1st and 2nd choices, but does anyone know if there is any point in appealing if the only reason is that our 3rd choice is not as good a school as 1st and 2nd??

Thanks for any help.

saadia Sat 23-Apr-05 14:43:23

Snips, I know it's too late now but a teacher I know has told me that if there is only one school I am happy with for ds I should put that down for all three choices.

She also said that if a parent really wants their child to go to a particular school but is not accepted, if they insist on it and kick up a fuss, then they usually get in. I have no idea if this info is reliable or applicable in all areas, but I would definitely appeal if you're not happy with the 3rd choice.

Snips Sat 23-Apr-05 15:52:01

Thanks. I think we'll have a go at appealing. I just don't know what reasons to give apart from " the school he's got into is cr*p"!

foxinsocks Sat 23-Apr-05 16:06:16

snips, we have a friend who was turned down by her first choice school (her closest) and offered another in the borough (where she would have to drive her child to school - no public transport to it, come back home, park the car and then get public transport to her work!!). She asked to be put on the waiting list for her first choice school.

First of all she was third in the list and they said she had a good chance of getting in by Sept (this was last year). All of a sudden, she was 7th on the list (apparently, people who moved into the borough who were closer to the school got preference over her - this doesn't happen in every borough but did in hers). Eventually, she stayed on in her nursery and got a place after half term in October/November. The teacher said she integrated straight away and you would never have known she hadn't started with everyone else. It was an emotional rollercoaster and they had to literally phone and visit the person responsible for admissions at the council ALL the time.

So I would say, if you are determined then give it a go. Phone and find out how far down the list you are and ask the school and find out how many got in on appeal/waiting list last year. If you want to do it, be persistent and be ready for a fight!

Snips Sat 23-Apr-05 22:39:43

Thanks for that. I think on Monday morning I will do a lot of phoning around!

ladymuck Sun 24-Apr-05 19:17:50

Talk to the school secretaries at your first 2 schools - they should be able to give you the low down as to how many other parents are in the same boat and how many opt for the waiting lists. In my experience they are very knowledgable. Also see how much info you can get about the number of siblings who got places this year.

As for your reason for appeal - no, this wouldn't help you in most places. You need to provide reasons as to why the authority has applied the selection criteria incorrectly. Class sizes are limited to 30 for infants classes, so you are unlikely to win your appeal unless you can show an error, given this means that the school would have to employ an extra teacher.

Out of interest, which school would you have been most likely to have got into (if you ignored your preference)? Are you closest to the 3rd school? The most common "error" made around here is that parents put 2 oversubscribed schools on their list, with the school that is further away first on the list. As LEAs consider first choices first this often means that your second choice was already full (with other people's first choices).

Lots of parents do seem to get into their preferred schools via the waiting list - there are lots of movements over the next few months, especially where some parents have considered private or church schools (with a separate admissions policy).

But start with the school secs - they know the ropes.

Snips Sun 24-Apr-05 19:38:52

Thanks for the advice.

Our LEA works by catchment area. We did not choose our catchment school as it is so awful. Our 1st choice was another school which is very close by. It's a good school but by no means one of the best. Our 2nd preference is a bit further away. I checked subscriptions for both school last year and neither was oversubscribed so I thought we'd be in with a chance. Our 3rd choice which we got into, is a school that's better than catchment school, but still pretty awful!!

Will let you know how I fare tomorrow. Wish me luck!

galaxy7 Sun 24-Apr-05 20:39:47

I think you did the right thing by choosing 3 different schools even if your son only got into your 3rd choice.

I work in a school and some of the parents that wanted their children to come here did not get in as the school was over subscribed. The parents that had not put any other choices were put to one side while the others had their 2nd and 3rd choices considered and their children were placed at these schools. The others were then used to "fill in the gaps" as it were!

I know at least 1 parent who now has a 5 mile journey to a failing school when her son could have gone to 1 of 3 schools, within 3 miles of her home, all of which are better! Although of course this may not be the same in every area.

Rafaella Sun 24-Apr-05 21:51:48

My son is in reception. A new boy just started this term who had been on the waiting list since the beginning of September. His mum sent him to the school he was given (she and he hated it - not one mum spoke to her in all that time), but kept him on the waiting list and rang the school every now and then to confirm she still wanted a place if one came up. She said he seems much happier already and so is she! So even if you don't get the school you want on appeal, don't give up, as long as you are prepared to move your child later on. It's even more worth it if you have younger children too.

Kaz33 Sun 24-Apr-05 22:07:41

We are moving to a new area and all primary school places for reception have been allocated for reception. The school I want him to go to is five minutes walk away from our new house and over subscribed, although we will become first on the waiting list. I am not even trying to find another school for him, he is going to go a nursery 2 or 3 days a week until a place becomes avaliable.

Not sure what we are going to do if no places become avaliable, hold him back a year would be a possibility as he is in an August baby anyway so very young for his year. Hopefully not too mad a thing to do

So yes, your son doesn't have to go to school until he is 5 so if you hate the allocated school so much then you can wait until something else becomes avaliable.

paolosgirl Sun 24-Apr-05 22:18:15

We've been through the appeal processs - unsuccesfully. If the school is not in your catchment, and it is oversubscribed, then I don't think you have grounds for appeal. We have kids travelling about all over the region here - a very high birth rate combined with not enough schools.
Councils are not legally obliged to give you your catchment school if it is oversubscribed - only a school in your area. It sounds like keeping him back may be an option - but what would happen if your chosen school was oversubscribed by cathment children next year?

Snips Mon 25-Apr-05 10:01:11

I called the council this morning and we did not get a place as it was oversubsribed. I don't realistically think we have any grounds for appeal, so we probably won't take that route. I think we'll try and stay on the waiting list and pray he gets a place. If he doesn't we will send him to the school where he does have a place, but try and stay on the waiting list of the other school. The ofsted report for the school he got a place at was not very good when it was done in 2002. However, when I have looked at the 2003 league table results, it came 1st in Value added, and about 7th in aggregate score (based on highest scores in Maths, English and Science) out of about 55 schools (which is better than our first choice!!). But I think it was undersubscribed possible due to the Ofsted. Aldo I don't know how well our son would fit in socially. So confused!!!!!

Tortington Mon 25-Apr-05 10:12:43

i've done it twice and succeeded both times. i think you should persevere - i dont know what grounds you can put.

i argued the first time because my eldest son had already got a place at a school - we moved then they denied the twins? very bizarre - went to a tribunal thing - very scary and the school lost - as in reality i could not take three kids to two different schools over 5 miles apart.

second time was 3 years ago when we moved down south the local catholic primary school had denied the twins a place - but my son had gotten into the catholic senior school. i had supporting letters and phone calls from my priest who was brilliant.


the moral ofthe story is - you cant state that your kid is going to get a better education as a reason! its got to be other reasons - have you got any other reasons? special needs, work close by, family or friends at that school?

good luck

Snips Mon 25-Apr-05 10:20:07

We have thought about it loads and unfortunately can't come up with any grounds we can appeal on. The 1st choice and 3rd choice are fairly close to each other (half a mile), and we have no family or friends at either.

Hopefully if we stay on the waiting list throughout the reception year, we may get a place by Year 1???????

motherofboys Mon 25-Apr-05 10:41:26

I spent 18 months lobbying the local council where I used to live to change their intake criteria to allow siblings to go to the same schools! And yes it was a primary school but it still took 18 months!
At the end of the day LEAs only have so many school places and they legally cannot go over the class sizes. by all means appeal - it will secure your place on the waiting list if nothing else, but if there are no places there they can't give you one
I have just found out that there is a secondary school issue in the area I now live - children are not getting any of their SIX choices in the local area and are being sent to rough schools miles away - should i start another lobbying campaign now as I am only 2 years away from DS1 going up????

amylou Mon 25-Apr-05 13:04:44

Its definately worth appealing what ever the bizzarre reason.. i was fortunate in that my daughter got into the first choice which was last year but I know there was 6 children who didnt get in and went to appeal and all 6 won.. one even got in with the reason grandma lived in the area and it would be her that would be picking her up from school! so we now have 36+ in the two classes! you have nothing to lose
Good luck!

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