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Any tips for primary school appeals?

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smallmotherbigheart Mon 04-Apr-11 22:30:26

This is my first time doing this, and I want to do this right. My son didn't get into any of the preferred schools that we listed? Has anyone done an appeal before?

evvkas Fri 28-Jun-13 09:42:44

Hi Titchy
We were offered as priority for some unknown reason but we were top-ish of the waiting list, about 9th. With the new reception class opening, she would have got in from the list anyway.

lisaroo1 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:34:04

hi there everyone im new..........hope you have some advice as i see plenty of others have.

we are moving into a new area approx dec/march (new build so not a deffo date). i applyed for my 3 boys to attend the catchment school for our area in april with a covering letter with the new address and why we feel it is important for the boys to attend, come sept they would be entering y3, y2 and nursery. I then received a letter turning down our application for the older 2, on speaking with the headmaster at the school he then brought to my attention that there would be a place for the y2 and nursery sons but the y3 class had reached its capacity of 30 children!!
so we were placed on the waiting list and by all accounts was told that he was 1st on the may seem a bit odd to some that i would want them to start the new school ahead of our scheduled move but being a crucial age for making friends i believe this is by far better for my childrens welfare and obviously new life as we are moving 14 miles away from the area theyve always known. i might also add that after a ring around this morning there are no schools near to our new house with space in their coming y3 class, so off to appeal we go on the 2nd august!!!! to say im petrified would be putting it mildly but i dont know what else to do apart from fight our corner, i have this morning accepted the places for my other 2 boys as i dont want to be in this situation again if those places are also filled!!!

IF my appeal for my son to join y3 sept fails then ill have no option but to home educate until a place comes available??

i do have certified exchange and completion documents from the solicitor to forward to the legal team on the panel but wondering what are the chances of them accepting 31 in a y3 class????

thanks in advance and sorry its long xx

prh47bridge Wed 03-Jul-13 18:02:57

Most appeal panels will accept 31 in a Y3 class unless the classrooms are small. That doesn't necessarily mean you will win, of course, That depends on the strength of the case you make.

If there are no places available locally the LA will come up with a place for you. You won't have to home educate. The place may not be at your preferred school but there will be a place somewhere.

Arguments about child care and/or transport difficulties rarely win appeals. You need to explain to the panel why this is the right school for your son.

lisaroo1 Thu 04-Jul-13 11:39:29

thankyou ph for replying

i have now accepted places for my y2 son and my nursery son so they will be starting the new school in september.
my y3 (the appeal one lol) son unless we win the appeal be able to attend a different school as i cannot be at 2 schools at the same time so home ed it will have to be unfortunately!

the only grounds i can clearly put forward are that we want to "fit in" to our new village and to do that our children essentially should attend the "catchment" school otherwise what on earth is the point of having catchment to begin with?
also upon checking the school prospectus i have realised that infact the class above my son has 31 pupils in it so will use that in my appeal. also many of the other classes are under populated with some being 24/26 so the school as a whole is not "full" in general fire reg terms.

thanks again for your reply.....

prh47bridge Thu 04-Jul-13 18:04:57

As this is a Y3 appeal the fact that they have had 31 in KS2 classes previously helps as it shows the school can cope. Similarly the school is clearly under capacity which again helps (but don't talk about fire regs - that isn't what the capacity is about).

To strengthen your appeal try to find features of this school that are particularly relevant for your son. If, for example, your son has musical interests and/or talents and this school is particularly strong in that area with lots of extra curricular musical activities available that is worth highlighting.

Kazzakay1 Tue 09-Jul-13 23:22:19

My daughter is meant to be starting school this September but I don't get the school I wanted. It's a catholic school but we are not catholic but do attend church. We moved here a year ago and the school I wanted is literally outside our doorstep but unfortunately we did not get the place. I appealed and I have the hearing in a weeks time and I have no idea how to handle it. I have appealed on the basis of distance really because I cannot complain about the faith background, and the fact that I have an eye condition which hinders me from doing a few things and I am a full time student on my final year so I need to drop my daughter off and make it to class on time every morning and I do not have anyone to help me at all with my daughter. I know the grounds and very weak but please do advise me if you can suggest anything at all.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Jul-13 23:48:52

The first question, as always, is whether this is an infant class size appeal. If it is you should only succeed if you can show a mistake has been made.

Even if it is not infant class size your reasons, which are fundamentally about transport and child care, are very unlikely to win an appeal. You need to look for features of this school that are missing from the offered school which would be of particular benefit to your daughter. For example, if your daughter is musically talented and the appeal school has lots of extra-curricular musical activities that is worth bringing up.

lisaroo1 Thu 11-Jul-13 17:11:09

thanks again prh

i have now got together our exchange and completion certs from solicitor, also a letter from our builder stating the house will be ready in december also i have got the head from the school to also write a letter to inform the panel that my nursery and year 2 children are in fact starting at the school in sept, a couple of local council statements ive printed on "why we should be walking to school!!", plus the school have informed me that my nursery son will automatically be offered a reception place next year due to our catchment/sibling situation. so its just a case of allowing my y3 son a place although i have heard there are a few of us appealing for the same class with one who has recently been tuned down!!
i am hoping with others appealing though that they will not make decisions until all the cases have been heard otherwise it will be impossible, as I'm fighting this on the grounds that as it currently stands as 30 in that class!

would it be a good thing to bring up the fact that a number of classes are actually under 30? plus there actually 2 classes with more than 30 in i found out today.

thanks lisa x

Teamnet Mon 29-Jul-13 21:53:47

Hi please can you offer some advice. SN has not been offered a reception year place at any of our preferences. On the waiting lists for all preferred schools. Instead the LA has sent us a letter to inform they have allocated place at one of the schools 2+miles away which wasn't even on our list. We wish to appeal now. We have heard indirectly that the CofE school we want SN to go to offered a place to someone who we know stay further away from us. But we don't have any proof of the criteria used and we don't want them to lose their place if the LA or school applied incorrect proximity criteria or miscalculated the distance. Is that grounds enough to appeal? The school has 60 spaces and apparently all are full.
Would like to appeal but very stressed and concerned whether we will lose our space on the waiting list or antagonise anyone.
What do you think? Cheers teamnet

prh47bridge Mon 29-Jul-13 23:24:09

You will not lose your place on the waiting list by appealing. If your appeal is successful no-one else will lose their place. Your child would be admitted in addition to those who already have places.

The admission criteria for the CofE school will be published on their website and the LA's website. The fact that someone living further away than you was admitted, even if true, does not necessarily mean that something has gone wrong. It could be that they are in a higher admission category than you, which would mean that they would get in first even though they live further away.

With an admission number of 60 this would be an ICS appeal. That means you need to show that there has been a mistake that has deprived your child of a place in order to win your appeal. If they have calculated the distance to your home incorrectly, for example, that may be enough to win. The school should be able to tell you what distance they used if this wasn't in the letter telling you that you hadn't got a place. If they use shortest walking route or similar (i.e. not straight line distance) they will be able to tell you the route they used as well. Check it to make sure the distance seems correct and, if it isn't straight line distance, that the route is the shortest one available. You should also make sure they've put your child in the correct admission category. Again, they will be able to tell you which category they used. Check against the admission criteria and make sure you are in the right category.

Allbubble Wed 31-Jul-13 00:24:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Teamnet Wed 31-Jul-13 09:13:34


Thank you for the information. The child who got admitted to the CofE school coincidentally goes to the same nursery as our SN so we do know that there is no sibling or special needs category involved. However there seems to be have been an administrative error from either the councils or the schools side in this child's case. ( something about the SIF not reaching school on time) I am not sure whether they won an appeal on these grounds or if he simply was wait listed and got through.

My question is how much of information can we ask the council for. Can we ask them what category the last child was placed in and if it is distance what was the distance? If indeed there was a mistake made in this other child's case can the LA prioritise that child on the waitlist? And if so can we claim that because of their original error our SN is losing out since under distance criteria we are closer to the school?

Thanks again

prh47bridge Wed 31-Jul-13 09:57:00

The LA can and should tell you in detail why you didn't get a place. Indeed the information should have been on the letter telling you that you hadn't got a place at this school. They should tell you the category in which your child was placed and whether you missed out on distance or by being in too low a category. They should also tell you the category and, if relevant, distance for the last child admitted, which may not be the child you are talking about.

An error should only be relevant if it made a difference as to whether or not this child got a place. If the child was deprived of a place by the error they should have been admitted straight away, not moved to the top of the waiting list. Of course, if the error didn't deprive them of a place it could still affect their position on the waiting list if it placed them in a different admission category.

If the error was to do with the SIF it probably means that the family attend church regularly but were not given priority for that. If that is the case they could be in a higher admission category than you if you don't attend church regularly or attend the "wrong" church. If they are in a higher admission category the fact you live closer to the school is irrelevant.

If this child has been admitted incorrectly and you should have been ahead of them under the admission criteria you have a case for appeal. Similarly if you would have a case if there was a mistake processing your application, e.g. your SIF was not sent to the school and you were therefore placed in the wrong admissions category. However, if the child has been admitted correctly and there was no mistake processing your application I'm afraid you do not have a case.

Teamnet Wed 31-Jul-13 10:27:32

The reason I feel this is the last child admitted is due to the sequence of events. This child was initially offered a place in the alternative school which we are now wanting to appeal against. Our SN was number 2 on the waiting list and moved to number 1 on the 11th July, from talking to the mother of this child she confirmed they were given a place in the CofE school on the 10th July, and the following week LA mentioned to us of a place coming up in the undesired school. I also know for a fact that they do not attend church regularly.

Which is why I feel I don't want to antagonise anyone, yet if the process has not been followed correctly its not fair for my son to lose out and I don't think there is anything wrong in fighting for that.

The letter we received from LA does not state any reasons except that all the schools we requested are full. We only moved into the area in April and applied under the late admissions procedure. So not sure if its anything to do with that. However in terms of waitlists our SNs number has moved up and down due to other applicants so I don't know/think the time of application has any bearing on your place in the waitlist.

My concern is as to how thoroughly the LA will investigate this and whether its best to speak to them informally first or go down the appeals process.

Thank you so much for your quick responses and invaluable advice.

prh47bridge Wed 31-Jul-13 13:03:23

The time of application is irrelevant to your position on the waiting list. That is determined entirely by the admission criteria.

They should only have got a place on the basis of a mislaid SIF if the SIF contained information that moved them into a higher category. Without knowing which school we are talking about it is impossible to be sure what that would be. As it is a CofE school the most likely reason is church attendance - once a month is enough for many schools - but the admission criteria may include other categories this family may have moved into through information on the SIF.

As you were a late applicant things like the category and distance for the last child admitted were not relevant so the LA's letter is fine. The schools were full so you didn't get a place. The timing suggests that this other child got the place because they were ahead of you on the waiting list. So the only question is whether or not that was correct.

If this family was in a higher admission category than you the school has got it right. You also need to check the method the school uses to measure distance. If, for example, they use straight line distance it is possible this family lives closer to the school than you despite having a longer walk to get there. And some schools use complicated rules which bring in the distance to the nearest alternative school and may mean that the family living closest doesn't get the place.

If you should have been ahead of this child on the waiting list you have a case for appeal.

If you would like to tell me the name of the school and LA involved I may be able to advise further. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post this information publicly.

Teamnet Thu 01-Aug-13 09:10:36


Have sent you a PM with the information. Thank you once again.

Rach445 Sun 29-Dec-13 12:01:34

Hi just wondering if anyone has any advice on my appeal .... I moved to a new area ( same la ) and when I moved I applied for 3 kids to be transferred to the local school opposite my new house , 2 of my children got in and my reception child has not due to the class full 30 children. My dd is no1 on the waiting list but she is getting very distressed and then collection of children is a nightmare as the old school is 10 miles away.... So I have now appealed and am awaiting a hearing date ..... What chance do I have of winning ? And what happens at the hearing please? Thanks

prh47bridge Sun 29-Dec-13 13:04:06

I'm afraid your chances of winning are low. Your case will be heard under infant class size regulations which means there are limited grounds under which you can win. In general you can only win if a mistake has been made which has deprived your child of a place. That is very unlikely for an in-year transfer. Your best chance is to argue that the LA has failed to come up with a place within a reasonable distance of your new home. That may work but it depends on whether any places are available at other schools nearer your new house than the current school and the time it takes to travel to the old school. Up to an hour each way is usually considered reasonable. You may strike it lucky and get a sympathetic panel that is willing to admit your daughter.

As the old school is so far away your daughter is entitled to free transport to and from school unless the LA can come up with a place nearer home.

As for what happens at the hearing, in broad terms:

- you will be introduced to the panel members, clerk and LA rep
- the LA rep will present the case to refuse admission
- you will be able to question the LA's rep
- the panel will question the LA's rep
- you present the case for your daughter to be admitted
- the LA's rep may ask you some questions
- the panel will ask you some questions
- the LA's rep will sum up the case to refuse admission
- you will sum up your case
- you and the LA's rep leave the room

You will get the decision a few days later.

Good luck.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 08-Jan-14 19:44:55

I know this is an old thread; may I use it to ask some advice from the experts? I'll start a new one if this one's too zombified.

We are moving so my DCs will be 'In Year Casual Applicants'. My older son is NT and is doing well academically. My younger son is on SA+ for profound hearing loss in one ear, disorder of balance and speech and language difficulties.

There are two local schools. The first and nearest has had a dire Ofsted which cited fundamental shortcomings in the provision for and attainment of children with SEN. Their recent inspection shows there has been some progress but because of the severe shortcomings in its treatment of children with SEN it's not an option for my DC2. I'd rather home ed him than send him somewhere where, up until Ofsted cracked the whip, the SENCO didn't even attend pupil progress meetings and wasn't part of SLT. sad

The other local school has good provision for children with SEN and is full. It is an academy and sets its class sizes at 26. We have been advised by the head there to apply, be rejected and then appeal. DC1's class is at 26. However, DC2's class is at 33 so I think our chances of getting in there are slim!

I spoke to the admissions secretary today and asked what sort of appeal we would be going through - class size or another type. She told me that I should treat it as a class size appeal AND a personal one and to include the info about the nearest school in my address to the panel.

I am so stressed. I have no idea where to begin preparing for the appeal.

We have a couple of paeds appointments in the next few weeks and I realise the write ups from these could be instrumental in the success of our appeal but I don't know what to ask the doctors to look for/request…

TIA thanks

lougle Wed 08-Jan-14 19:53:12

What year group is your DC1 and DC2 in, MissBetseyTrotwood?

DC1 is an appeal for a class size of 26, so it doesn't matter what year he is in, because it won't be an infant class size appeal. Therefore, it will be judged on the basis of prejudice - you will have to show that there is more prejudice to your DS in being denied a place, than to the school in having to accomodate him. depends somewhat on his year group and the size of the room and school in general.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 08-Jan-14 20:09:08

Thanks for getting back lougle .

DS1 is in Year 2.
DS2 is in Year 1.

The added thing with DS2 is that the school has said if we are successful at appeal for him they would consider putting him into Reception. We asked on our tour if this would be a possibility as a.) that class is not full and b.) while he does not appear to have any educational difficulty, his development has been slow as a result of his hearing impairment. So he's at Reception levels for most things at the moment.

Sorry, I should have added that to the OP.

So would an example of prejudice against DS1 be that he would not be able to be educated anywhere else in the area because there are no other schools with Y2 places - everywhere else, with the exception of the school above that I have ruled out, is up to 30 already.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 08-Jan-14 20:10:57

And I wonder if I should mention the head's consideration of keeping DS2 back a year in the appeal.

lougle Wed 08-Jan-14 20:23:00


Starting with DS1 - you need to appeal for the school you want (the academy) not against the schools you don't want. So the school has marvellous facilities that you really want your DS to access (preferably some that the other schools don't have), they are full to PAN but not up to the Infant Class Size limit, so you need to ideally show that the school could accomodate another Y2 child without major problems - look at the room size of the Y2 class, the overall school site - how are the communal spaces, such as the hall, etc.

Have you been offered an alternative school for your DS1? How far away is it?

Your DS 2 is going to be far more difficult. The appeals panel can only consider the appeal for the year group he has applied for. That year group is not only 7 over PAN, but 3 over the Infant Class Size Regulations (incidentally, do you have details of why those 3 were admitted?). That means that for another child to be admitted within the Regulations, but without a Statement, 4 children need to leave that class/year group.

You are very unlikely to win at appeal, unless a mistake has been made.

The medical information can't override the ICS rules. The only way of circumnavigating them would be for the LA to issue a Statement and name the academy. Have you thought of applying for a Statement - does your DS currently get significant help in school?

The appeals panel can't consider an appeal for your DS to join the Reception year. Presumably, also, the school doesn't actually have a Reception place, because otherwise they could admit him as an out-of-year pupil in collaboration with the Local Authority? Reception year also has the Infant Class Size regulations, so that won't help you.

Sorry not to be more positive. I've been told that for our County, the success rate of ICS appeals is something like 0.4%.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 08-Jan-14 20:31:41

Ah, that's interesting about DS1, I understand better now. Thanks so much. I might well be in with a chance there.

Don't worry about the bad news for DS2. I didn't think it was a goer. The head didn't mention anything about admitting him as an out of year pupil with the LA - maybe that's something I need to raise with her before I take it to appeal.

Would the school be able to give me details of those three?

Unfortunately, I think we might have to pursue private ed for DS2 at this rate. Which is just affordable but taking him out of state education was never something I wanted to do as I just don't feel confident about the range of expertise for him out of the state sector. And dropping both boys off at two different schools pretty much puts pay to my plans to return to work myself!

Thanks again lougle .

lougle Wed 08-Jan-14 20:35:27

Have you considered applying for a Statement of SEN, MissBetseyTrotwood? I have to say that unless it's a private special school, the private sector don't tend to welcome children with SEN, because they don't have access to Local Authority SEN services in the private sector. That means that any extra support for his SEN would be billed tor you by the school as an extra 'service'.

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