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Admission appeals hearing on Wednesday - anyone attended one of these?

(11 Posts)
MrsFlittersnoop Mon 06-Jul-09 09:24:41

I have posted on the Secondary Schools topic here about our appeal for DS's admission to year 9 of an oversubscribed school in Bath.

Just wondered if anyone has attended a hearing and has any advice to offer about how to present ourselves and our case, what not to do/say or what unexpected questions we might be asked. I am quite terrified!

DH will be there, but I will be doing most of the talking. I will be presenting a verbal summary of our letter of appeal and wondered how long it should take, i.e. 3 minutes?

Dress code? blush

All suggestions gratefully received!

TEJQ Mon 06-Jul-09 09:38:41

Hi Mrs F

DH and I did one for an infant school admission last week. It was scheduled for 30 minutes, but we were in there an hour.

Have you looked through the DCSF appeals code of practice and made sure your arguments fit in with criteria which the panel can rule on?

I didn't really go over the content of our written submission, or the supporting letters we had, as I knew they had read them, and I knew the impact was maximised.

I went over points of discrepancy in the LA's communications with me, and in their published admissions booklet, to try to raise doubts about the credibility of the decision which had been made not to admit our son to our local primary school.

There's a useful basic guide here
http://www.schoolappeals.org.uk/downloads/digest.pdf
and you can get a more detailed guide by paying the owner of the site £5, but I'm not sure its worth it (I'll private message you about it)

Above all you must be objective, give a reasoned argument, not an emotive, or threatening argument, otherwise you just lose credibity. They will decide the case based on its merits.

HTH and good luck

PS, our appeal was granted last week, (see my post on the Primary board, and infant class appeals are much harder than high school ones because you are battling the infant class size laws, not just the LA's preferences.

TEJQ Mon 06-Jul-09 09:39:59

Ooops I can't message you, I don't have the privileges.

JeffVadar Mon 06-Jul-09 10:01:02

DH and I also did a primary school appeal a few years ago.

It was quite nerve-wracking, but there were only a few people there and it was quite a friendly atmosphere.

We had to read out our arguements/points and then the guy from the LA replied. There was then a sort of Q&A section.

I would run through your 'speech' and couple of times so you are used to reading it. Make sure every point and arguement is written down. Take a notebook and take notes during the discussion.

Dress wise I would say you don't need to dress very smartly, it is important to feel comfortable.

Good luck, I hope you get the result you wantsmile

MrsFlittersnoop Mon 06-Jul-09 10:25:10

Thanks for your replies!

Our hearing has been scheduled to last just 10 minutes!

TEJQ, I have already downloaded the document you mentioned. It had some useful points re. obtaining actual admissions numbers (to demonstrate that the school CAN admit over the stated limit without results being affected) and I'm in the process of getting actual admission figures for this school emailed to me.

The lovely school secretary has just told me (off the record) that they have admitted 168 to year 7 in September instead of the stated limit of 162, so 6 kids have got in on appeal to year 7.

There are currently 164 children registered to start year 9 in September (one child admitted on appeal) so she thinks there is "room for manoeuvre" and not to despair yet!

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 06-Jul-09 12:27:27

I am one of the chairs for admissions appeals for our LEA.

There's lots of good advice here already.

You need to convey all the reasons why your son should be admitted and (if the school are raising this as an issue) why you don't accept that they don't have space for him. If there is anything in your argument about your son having any sort of need which the school would be better than any other at meeting, then provide documentary evidence (if you can) to back that up. Don't denigrate the school that he's currently at (or will be at if the appeal fails) as that isn't the point. Try to stay calm and focussed - the chair of the panel should be keeping things as informal as possible.

There's a lot of info on the DCSF website on the admissions code and on appeals - have a look at that.

Good luck.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 06-Jul-09 12:33:08

Just read your other thread.

Have you now got the numbers of pupils in each year at the school? In your shoes, I would also try to get figures for wastage/turnover/churn (whatever you want to call it) ie the number of pupils who leave within each year, as that might give you some idea of how much the class will shrink over the academic year.

Are you currently on the waiting list for the school?

UnquietDad Mon 06-Jul-09 13:09:26

We did two, for DD's admission to primary school when she was in Rec/Y1. First unsuccessfully, then successfully.

The stuff everyone else on here has said is good. Dress smartly. Don't be afraid to question everything the school and the LEA say. We were awkward and made nuisances of ourselves - our 30-minute hearing ended up lasting over an hour because of this!

I feel bad about saying this, but you may stand a better chance if there is at least one woman on the panel. Our first go was with three men and although the chair did his best to be kind and welcoming, they were very stony-faced. Second time round we had two women and a man and we could just tell that we "had" them halfway through! I did all the facts and DW turned on the tears...

Make sure you know your argument back to front and have all the relevant documentation. Remember you are arguing "Why my child SHOULD go to School X", not "Why my child should NOT go to School Y."

Any specific questions, please ask - I'm around today.

MrsFlittersnoop Mon 06-Jul-09 13:15:15

MadBad, I'm waiting for the school to email me the figures. It should be possible to calculate the churn/wastage figures based on entry numbers for year 7 compared to figures for subsequent years. The school does not maintain a waiting list. There is only one chance to apply (and appeal) per academic year.

elsiepiddock Mon 06-Jul-09 13:23:57

I dont have much to add to the good advice on here already, but I have only just been through this for my son for admission this Sept.

Am amazed at 10 minutes, as our appeal lasted for a full hour. We did dress smartly, it can't hurt. I had planned to use my notes to glance at and speak off the cuff, but it was a bit intimidating and in the end I found it easier to just read everything out.

I went armed with lots of facts regarding the numbers in each year group, pupil teacher ratios, class size comparisons nationally.

I wish you lots of luck (we won ours btw).

cory Mon 06-Jul-09 20:28:10

We went through this last year to get dd into secondary. Ours was split into two halves; the first being a general session for all the parents who had appealed to get into that school (about 45!) where the school had to prove that they really were full; the second the individual one where we had to make our case.

Our case was based on special needs, so I concentrated on showing why the school could meet dd's particular needs and why no other local school could do it (providing medical evidence for every point). I took care to be polite about the other schools, just made it clear that they would not meet dd's particular needs and explaining how she is different from other children.

I felt we were listened to.

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