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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?

prh47bridge Wed 25-Jun-14 09:43:10

That sounds like decent evidence on the anti social behaviour and harassment.

An appeal panel will often think that the allocated school will be able to deal with any bullying. Evidence that your family is being targeted should help to show that this is a much bigger problem than normal bullying.

Hope4life Wed 25-Jun-14 20:49:45

I really appreciate ur advise on our appeal which is next week. My son hasn't been allocated any school place ( reception)yet as there is shortage and all schools in our borough are oversubscribed! For the past 6 mth he has been observed by education psychologist / referred by nursery due his violent behaviour to others and struggle to fit in socially and emotionally. After 4 mth, my son has been offered to see specialist for full assessment as he is showing signs of autism. We have tried to get special circumstances placement for him but we have been refused by councils admission based on fact that every school got senco support and can provide for my son!! My son struggled very badly with his first nursery who wasn't able to deal with him and marked him immediately as a badly behaved child, which affected him to such a extremes that Withing 5 weeks of him attending nursery ( 3 days a week-2,5 hr) he stopped eating, talking, become even more aggressive and withdrawal and started day wetting! We have selected the school for him with best senco support and as it's walking distance from our house and only single storey building surrounded by loads of greenery and far away from road as he is very scared of any strong noises and becomes easily upset and disturbed! It is very important for us to have him walking distance as I don't drive and as he is struggling socially, we can have a play dates after school or meet with his school friends at the local park to help him socialising. We are extremely angry that our council thinks he can do well in any school he goes to! His current nursery has been amazing and supported him as much as they could and we just don't wont to go back when we started before !We are having our first assessment with specialist next week same day as our appeal ( appeal am , assessment pm) and hospital can't make it any earlier as apparently they are hard to get. Is there anything I can do?? Very desperate as I am already worried how he will settle as he is missing out already on introductions, and also he needs to be prepared so he is aware of such a big change in his life! Thank u so much !!

pollycat12 Wed 25-Jun-14 21:32:06

You know I've just realised I've hijacked this thread!
Oops mine for year 7 admissions!
phr47bridge could I also appeal as my son has hyper sensitivity issues, such as loud noises and distractions are a major problem for him, he has help with this at school, also he has his own axietys, he worrys a lot school now also know about all these issues, would this come under exceptional circumstances?
I know I need to include these in my appeal but I don't know how?

Hope4life Wed 25-Jun-14 21:59:42

Also one more thing.. My appeal is next week 1st July 2014 , but until now I have not received any paperwork from lea team??? Is that normal??? Thank u

prh47bridge Wed 25-Jun-14 23:30:21

Hope4life - I'm afraid that, unless you have expert evidence to the contrary, your LA is entitled to take the view that any school can cope with your son's problems. Similarly, without expert evidence, your arguments for a school within walking distance are unlikely to persuade an appeal panel. Unless you have expert evidence an appeal panel is also likely to take the view that your son will do equally well in any school. Your only hope on this front is that the specialist gives evidence which persuades the LA to move you up the waiting list.

If yours is an infant class size case your chances of success are limited. If the LA has not yet offered a place at any school I think that is your strongest point. Your son needs a school, the LA hasn't come up with one so can the appeal panel please help.

The current Appeals Code only requires the clerk to circulate the papers "a reasonable time" before the hearing. It doesn't define what that means. I would say they are cutting it fine.

pollycat12 - These issues may help you but only if you can use them to show that your son needs to be at the appeal school. If the allocated school could cope with his hyper sensitivity just as well as the appeal school it won't help you. Without looking at the admission criteria I wouldn't like to say whether or not these factors would class as exceptional circumstances. They sound more like special medical needs if the school has that admission category. But you don't qualify for the category just by having needs. You have to show that only this school can meet your son's needs.

pollycat12 Wed 25-Jun-14 23:52:06

Ok 1 is children looked after buy authority
2 completing medical or exceptional circumstances
3 sibling link
4 catchment area
5 other children.

Is this what you meant phr47bridge?

I wouldn't mind to send you the link but I don't want anyone to know my area publicly.

Hope4life Thu 26-Jun-14 00:04:30

Thank u. I have provided all paperwork from educational psychologist , my sons nursery and referral to social and communication assessment with appointment already given , but La still refused to put him as a priority at least on waiting list ! ;( we have received letter from them stating that they r sorry but any school can deal with my dons special needs ( he is currently action plan +) and the council still can't offered us any school in our borough ( I asked them if they can offer us anything else so we can visit school and see if it would be suitable for my son so we can start preparing him)

pollycat12 Thu 26-Jun-14 00:16:52

I really feel for you hope4life, it's never easy is it? Always a battle here and there..
I'm dreading my sons appointed school will say the same, that they can deal with I'm hoping the panel in the appeal can see the children going to the same school are the ones who give us anti social grief -_-
Anyway good luck I never thought I'd be up at 00.15 on mumsnet!

prh47bridge Thu 26-Jun-14 10:05:36

pollycat12 - Yes, those are the admission criteria. Feel free to PM me if you want to send me the link. But on this it looks like you could try to argue that your son should have been in category 2 on medical grounds. I suspect that "exceptional circumstances" means things like children of social workers, police or similar needing to avoid being placed at the same school as children of certain other families.

I think the biggest problem both you and Hope4life have is showing that your child's condition means they need to attend the appeal school. You don't get priority just for having a medical condition or special needs (unless those special needs justify a statement). You only get priority if your child's needs can be best met by this school. In the absence of specialist provision at the school that is missing from other schools or expert evidence that this is the only school that can meet your child's needs I'm afraid the panel may well feel this doesn't justify admission.

In your case I think the anti social behaviour and harassment your family is facing is the strongest part of your case. I would include the hypersensitivity issues but major on the bullying.

pollycat12 Thu 26-Jun-14 18:25:19

Ok phr47bridge Ill pm you soon.
Someone was telling today the school I've been allocated is very good at taking sen needs etc into their criteria.
Is there some sort of social issue? Such as my son will not have a single friend there but is also being placed with people who harass us and bully us?
The letter from pcso and neighbourhood team just states we have rang them reported threatening behaviour from locals it doesn't specify it's also the chdren.
Would it be worth asking another professional to write this up for me? Such as doctor?

Hope4life Thu 26-Jun-14 22:56:31

It can't get any worse! I have called admission authority this am as I have still not received any case papers neither didn't know where and when to post my support documents. They were shocked to find out as apparently they should be posted two weeks before appeal! As I have only 2 days to appeal I asked them to email them to me today .can I raise a point at the appeal on Tuesday based on fact that I have only 2 days to prepared stead of 2 weeks!!!??? Thank u! Also la provided us with our current waiting list and as our waiting list change to worse! I have asked them how is it possible and their explanation was due to new people moving to are and special circumstances!! When I asked them to explain me on what grounds they give children ' special circumstances' they have refused to comment. I really don't think it's fair that my child's needs are completely ignored. Shouldn't all special circumstances children been treated equally??

prh47bridge Fri 27-Jun-14 00:27:21

You can raise the fact that you didn't receive the papers when you should have but that won't win your appeal for you. It may get you some sympathy from the panel and if your appeal fails it may justify the LGO/EFA ordering a new hearing but that is all.

It is normal for people to go down the list as well as up. Anyone moving into the area or applying late must be treated equally with those already on the list. If they live closer to the school or are in a higher admissions category they will go ahead of you. If it is due to "special circumstances" that means they have reasons why they need to go to this particular school.

They are treating all special circumstances children equally. They have decided your child does not qualify for this category on the basis that any school should be able to meet his needs. Unless you can show that this school provides for his needs in ways that other schools don't or provide expert evidence that he needs to go to this school the LA is perfectly entitled to take that view.

pollycat12 Fri 27-Jun-14 08:58:49

I had an email saying you sent me a pm but my inbox states empty?

tiggytape Fri 27-Jun-14 09:14:54

their explanation was due to new people moving to are and special circumstances!! When I asked them to explain me on what grounds they give children ' special circumstances' they have refused to comment.

This is normal but still disappointing. People often go down the waiting lists as well as up. Everytime someone moves closer to the school, they go up the list so everyone else goes down.
Also, they cannot tell you why a child has qualified for special circumstances and been placed above you because the reason will be a confidential personal, medical need or additional need that the parents have provided evidence for. This cannot be discussed with other people but it won't have happened without enough evidence beign submitted to place a child in that category.

As prh says, the lack of paperwork won't win an appeal om its own but may give grounds to ask for another appeal if this one is not successful. Make sure you chase them for it if you can today as there probably won't be anyone in the offices over the weekend and it would be better to have it over the weekend at least.

prh47bridge Fri 27-Jun-14 09:41:48

Odd. I can see it in my sent items. I have resent.

Hope4life Sat 28-Jun-14 22:08:44

Ok, so I have managed to get an appointment with pediatrician to which nursery has referred us and he has confirm my son needs to be placed ASAP as he needs to bd prepared and proper transition between nursery and school must be done! Also he agreed he needs local school as otherwise it can have a massive impact on my son. I zm relief on one side that at least somebody thinks sand way as we do but scared it still won't be enough to convince panel??? Also when will I find out the outcome of the appeal?? Btw, we are have further appointments scheduled with social and communication clinic next week .. Thank u

Bilberry Sat 28-Jun-14 23:19:01

Hope4life have you considered applying for a statement? This is a longer-term thing than the appeal so may not get you into the school now but may be necessary to get the support he needs. Don't be put off by people (LEA/school) saying he won't get one. Look on the IPSEA website for advice.

Hope4life Sat 28-Jun-14 23:24:51

Yes, we are going all the way for statement if he needs one as our sons well Being is our priority. We have seen In the past what wrong environment can do for him and we are Not going to put him in the same position ever again!

prh47bridge Sun 29-Jun-14 00:02:00

scared it still won't be enough to convince panel

If it is an infant class size case it probably won't convince them I'm afraid. If it is not infant class size it might but it is impossible to predict. Sometimes a school is so overcrowded that no appeals will succeed however deserving. But you are giving yourself the best chance.

when will I find out the outcome of the appeal

You should find out within five school days of the hearing. The Appeals Code says they must not go beyond this unless there is a good reason. Unfortunately some clerks go beyond this without good reason so it can't be guaranteed but fingers crossed...

we are going all the way for statement if he needs one

In admission terms a statement trumps everything. There are only limited grounds on which the LA can refuse to name the school you choose. And once you've got a statement naming your preferred school they must admit your son even if they are already full.

Note that from September statements are being replaced with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC plans) but these have the same effect for admissions purposes.

tiggytape Sun 29-Jun-14 10:06:01

If you get a statement naming the school, this will allow you to be placed in the "excepted" category which means your son would not be counted in the official numbers and could have a place even if it takes the class size over the legal limit of 30

Or, if the consultant's letter is very strongly worded, there is a chance the panel may be prepared to bend the rules significantly and it may be possible you could win even though technically this should not be allowed.

However, when you are up against an ICS appeal without evidence of an admissions error, the chances of success are very small no matter what other evidence you have because the class size rule is a law and cannot easily be put aside. That's not to say you shouldn't give it your absolute best shot but unfortunately even compelling medical reasons should not allow a panel to offer you a place when there are already 30 in the class.

It is a very difficult aspect of the reception admissions arranagements that there is little room to win appeals even when the parents have an exceptionally strong case because, by the time of appeal, 30 places per class are normally already allocated and therefore the panel's hands are tied and they cannot allow any more to join.

Hope4life Sun 29-Jun-14 10:31:03

We r going to have a letter from our Gp and pediatrician we have just seen naming school we selected as there r only 2 independent schools in our are and as we are mixed religious we don't want our son to go to any religious school . Pediatrician will sent letter to us on Monday as we just seen him on Friday and cause our appeal is on Tuesday we have no time to wait. Based on our past experience we r not prepared to send our son to any other school than the one we have selected as other school although it has amazing ofsted report, we have heard from loads if parents that they r struggling with problems if any and sen support is very bad and they needed to push school to maximum if they wanted something.

prh47bridge Sun 29-Jun-14 13:20:50

we r not prepared to send our son to any other school than the one we have selected

Don't say that in the hearing. It will come across as an attempt to bully the panel. That may make them less inclined to give you the benefit of any doubt.

Hope4life Sun 29-Jun-14 14:28:47

Thank u prh47bridge , I am so emotional about all this situation, that I wish he could stay one more year at his nursery , unfortunately they said its not possible ;(

Discobabe Sun 29-Jun-14 22:57:07

Hi, just wondering if anyone can help me? I'm appealing for a space for my ds in a school. His younger sister has just been allocated a space starting after oct half term but he has been refused as his year group (currently yr 3 soon to be yr 4) are already over subscribed by 1. They have 3 classes of mixed yr3 and 4. Does the fact they already have one extra in one of the classes mean we have more chance of getting my son a space? We are also in the process of buying a house in that area but i assume this won't hold any weight until we exchange contracts?

FishWithABicycle Sun 29-Jun-14 23:17:48

Discobabe buying a house in the area won't hold any weight until you have physically moved and are paying bills/have proof of address of the new house being your main residence. Exchange of contracts doesn't count as it's perfectly possible for someone to own a house that is not their main residence and it is only residence that counts.

Being already oversubscribed won't help, no. But after age 7 the class size is allowed to go up to 35 IF the school haven't made moves to prevent this due to classrooms being too small to physically take another chair, so you may find that once you have moved you might get a place.

There is absolutely no point in appealing unless they have made a mistake. "but we wanted this school not that one" is not an acceptable grounds for appeal.

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