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Reception School Admission - Croydon LA

(24 Posts)
Nits123 Tue 05-Apr-11 23:13:44

We live in Crystal palace, part of Croydon LA & our son currently goes in a good school in Lambeth LA in the nursery. We gave 6 schools in our preference for Reception, but we are denied admission from all 6 schools. Out of 6, 4 schools are less than a mile from our house. Current school is nearest to us & was 1st on our list. We have moved from North England last year & our son don?t have any friends except in the current schools in which he goes from last 10 months? We have been allocated an Ofsted grade 3 schools which is 2 miles away from us. Few questions:-
? Can we appeal?
? What?s the best advice for appeal?
? Are there any letter templates for appeal?
? Is it suggested to take legal advice ?
? I am willing to do anything to ensure my son gets to a good school.
Any advice on above will be hugely appreciated. Thanks

prh47bridge Wed 06-Apr-11 00:47:46

Yes you can appeal. Everyone has the right to appeal.

The first question is whether this will be an infant class size appeal. It is infant class size if the school has classes in Reception, Y1 or Y2 with 30 children in them. If that is the case your appeal should only succeed if you can show that a mistake has been made in the admissions process and your son should have been offered a place. You haven't given enough information to tell whether or not a mistake has been made. It is a little odd that you didn't get into your first choice if that is the nearest school to your home and you applied on time, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a mistake has been made. The most likely mistakes would be that they have placed your son in the wrong admissions category, or they have measured the distance from your home to the school from the wrong house, or, if they use shortest walking route or similar, there is a shorter route than the one they have used.

If it is not infant class size your chances of success will be much better. The appeal will then be about whether the prejudice to your son through not being admitted to this school outweighs the prejudice to the school through being forced to admit an additional pupil. In this case you should focus on features of the school that would be of particular benefit to your son. Don't talk about how bad the allocated school is as that isn't going to win the appeal for you and may actually damage your case.

Once you have decided on the basis for your appeal you need to set that out clearly in writing. You can change it later if necessary and you can add evidence up to a few days before the appeal.

You will get plenty of advice on here from people who know what they are talking about. Personally I would not recommend taking legal advice. Most lawyers don't understand the admissions system and can end up damaging your case at appeal.

margs2 Wed 06-Apr-11 07:02:17

Hi a friend of mine in Crystal Palace is in the same situation and has been offered a reception place in Thornton Heath. The problem is that all the schools are over subscribed and catchments for many are very small this year (less than 0.5 miles). You need to contact the admissions office for each local authority and get more information and advice about your applications. You will be on the waiting lists for your preferred schools and may get offered a place by September. You can also put yourself on the waiting list for schools you did not apply for previously but would now consider.

Nits123 Thu 07-Apr-11 22:39:01

Thanks a lot for your help, are there any success stories which can be shared for this kind of issues with Infant size class? As national stats are 15% success , i hope to beilve there are some tricks for such success.
Also in our case we have not been given any school from our 6 choices.PLease can somebody point me some good letter templates or points which we can include in our appeal, Many thanks.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Apr-11 23:13:40

There really are no tricks with winning infant class size appeals. I managed to do it because the LA were trying to apply infant class size regulations incorrectly - they were relying on a decision which hadn't yet been taken.

A signifcant proportion of the successful appeals in the national statistics will have been in cases where infant class size regulations did not apply. I'm afraid the success rate for infant class size appeals is very low.

The rules for infant class size are straightforward. There are only three ways you can win:

- showing that the admission arrangements were contrary to the law and/or the Admissions code and your son would have been admitted if they'd got it right

- showing that a mistake has been made in administering the admission arrangements and your son would have been admitted if they'd got it right

- showing that the LA has acted unreasonably in refusing admission

The last of those is almost impossible to achieve - you have to show that they have behaved irrationally. So you are really looking at the first two and trying to show that the LA has got it wrong somehow. As I've already said, the most likely mistakes are that they have placed your son in the wrong admissions category or they have got the distance from your house to the school wrong as per my earlier post.

You can still appeal even if you can't find any evidence of a mistake but your chances of success will be low.

I'm not aware of any letter templates or points. Even if I was, I would avoid them. The appeal panel want to hear from you. Your written submission on its own is unlikely to win the appeal for you. Just set out your case clearly. That is all that is needed.

Nits123 Tue 12-Apr-11 07:10:38

Many thanks for your guidance, it's helpful.

NoseyNooNoo Tue 12-Apr-11 22:52:01

Do put your son on the waiting list of all those he didn't get into. Croydon Council is going to have to open 20 new classes in September and most of them are in the north of the borough.

Nits123 Thu 14-Apr-11 22:55:03

Reception Admission - Accepting school admission & Appeal

What’s the impact of accepting the given school on Appeal? As we don’t want to put our child for the allocated school & but him to go to the one from 6 schools from the preference & we are planning to appeal for each of the school…
If we accept the school would it have any implication son the decision of Appeal?
Thanks, your help huge appreciated.

prh47bridge Fri 15-Apr-11 09:05:11

Accepting the offered school certainly won't damage your case at appeal. Rejecting it can damage your appeal if the panel think you are trying to pressure them into admitting your son. I would recommend accepting the place offered so that you have a backup if all else fails.

1273 Fri 15-Apr-11 12:52:45

How do you appeal [in year admissions] against getting into a school close to home? In addition cost to get to school, child's health etc

prh47bridge Fri 15-Apr-11 20:38:35

Could you clarify please? Are you saying you want a school further away than the one you've been allocated? Or do you want one nearer to home?

If this is an infant class size appeal it should only succeed if a mistake has been made. That is unlikely for in year admissions.

If it isn't infant class size you stand a better chance but you need to give more information so that we can help you.

Nits123 Sat 16-Apr-11 20:47:25

Thanks a lot, We have applied for 6 schools. 3 of them are within 1 mile of our home.We have applied for 6 based on distance & school Ofsted rating.
We have not been given any of 6 school. Out of this 6 , 4 are in our LA & other 2 are in other LA.

We have been given a school which is 2 miles from our home, all our 6 preferences are withing 2 miles..hence waht been allocated is farthest away from us.

We would be happy if our son can any get any of our first 3 preferences...

Also we r new to London & this is gonna affect our son, as we don't have freinds here & our son had got only few friends in his Nursery school...

I have read people mentioning about LA making mistake, but point is how do you know or can unerstand if a mistake had been made?

Our point is if we haven't being given any of our 6 preferences, what's the point of asking preferences, just give something based on whim.

prh47bridge Sun 17-Apr-11 00:12:36

The most likely mistakes would be placing your son in the wrong admissions category or getting the distance from your home to the school wrong. If they use straight line distance the only way it will be wrong will be if they have measured from the wrong address. However, if they use the shortest walking route or similar it may be that there is a shorter route than the one they have used. Unless they have got the wrong address or the wrong route it is pointless trying to argue that they have got the distance wrong - the systems they use to calculate distances are very accurate.

If your appeals are heard under infant class size rules you should only win if you can prove that a mistake has been made. Infant class size rules apply if the school has classes of 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2. If it is not infant class size you stand a better chance. However, you distance and Ofsted ratings don't make a successful appeal case. You would need to find positive reasons why your son needs to go to the preferred school.

And to answer your last point, the admissions system is designed so that as many parents as possible get one of their preferences. Only a minority of parents find themselves in your situation. Unfortunately schools have limited capacity and popular schools aren't able to accept all the pupils who apply so it isn't possible to guarantee that every parent will get one of their preferences. As you didn't get a place at one of your preferences you will have been allocated a place at the nearest school with places available. No places are ever allocated on a whim.

admission Sun 17-Apr-11 19:49:10

Nits123,
I think the answer to your question may lie in your first post. You chose 6 preferences based on distance and Ofsted report. If you had chosen the 6 nearest schools, one of which would have been catchment, you would have had more chance of being allocated one of the schools. By chosing schools on Ofsted information you chose schools that are probably the most popular and unless one or more is very close to your address, you would have been too far away to get in under the distance criteria.

Nits123 Sat 30-Apr-11 09:54:24

Hello prh47bridge

Thanks a lot for al your responses, please can help me understanding what does "wrong admissions category" means?
Thanks.

Nits123 Sat 30-Apr-11 10:08:19

Hello
Also i am able to find few online sites which is giving me Straightline distance between 2 postcodes but i am unable to find a tool which gives me straightline distance between 2 full address? Please can somebody help me? I have spoken to LA & know the disatnce they have used but just want to veirify this by standard web calculations, if possible...

prh47bridge Sat 30-Apr-11 15:58:02

Hi Nits!

"Wrong admissions category" refers to the admission criteria for the school. A typical set of admission criteria for an LA-controlled school would be:

- looked after children
- special medical or social need
- siblings
- everyone else

If, say, your son had a sibling already at the school and they had placed him in the "everyone else" category that would be a mistake which could lead to a successful appeal. So take a good look at the admissions criteria.

On your other question, even if there is an online tool which will give you the straight line distance between two full addresses you won't be able to use it to challenge the LA's measurement. The LA use special software which costs thousands of pounds and gives very accurate measurements. If they are using straight line distance you will only be able to challenge their measurement successfully if they have measured from the wrong address or to the wrong point on the school.

Nits123 Sun 01-May-11 09:35:12

Hi Prh47bridge!
Thanks a lot for your responses, it's quite helpful.

Hugely appreciate your help.

Ladymuck Mon 02-May-11 16:56:14

FWIW in Croydon it is perfectly possible to put the 6 closest schools in order on the preference form and still not get one of them. There is no such thing as a catchment school - once the reception class is full on the basis of siblings or looked after children or children with SN it makes no difference whether you live next door to the school or not - you will not get in. We live in the south of the borough, applied for the 6 nearest schools that we were eligible for (didn't bother with RC schools as these are the most oversubscribed and the categories include the specific date of baptism!)and were unsuccessful. It was just a matter on going on the waiting list for every possible school and waiting. Unpleasant and unsettling when everyone else knows where they are going. (And it is only fair to say that we went private to avoid this in the end).

Don't worry about your son having to make new friends - this is an important skill at school, and most children will be in the same boat even if they have siblings at the school. Likewise whilst I would love a school in walking distance, having neighbours at different schools tends to be more of a positive than a negative ime - if things aren't going well at school your son has the chance to have a different friendship experience at home.

LizzieBruce21 Thu 25-Apr-13 21:10:27

Hi. We live on top of Farthing Downs in Coulsdon, just over a mile from most other houses. Not surprisingly we didn't get any of our 6 preferences for schools but instead have been given a school over 5 miles away. Reading the other messages in this thread, with all the Croydon schools so oversubscribed, and people round the corner from a school not getting a place there even if it was their 1st preference, am I right in thinking that there would be no point in us appealing? The problem is the system doesn't allow for people who live out in the sticks, as we just don't have a "local" school - it's a very unusual situation in Croydon. However, with even people who do have "local" schools not getting their children in, I end up thinking we have no better case than anyone else. The whole appeal process seems incredibly stressful, especially if you come out the other end no better off. Any advice welcome.

PanelChair Thu 25-Apr-13 21:26:28

Hello Lizzie. You have revived an ancient thread!

Do all the schools you applied to admit pupils in multiples of 30? If they do (and classes in YR, Y1 and Y2 have 30 pupils) then yours would be an Infant Class Size appeal. That means that you would only win if you could demonstrate some sort of error in the admissions process - admissions criteria that do not comply with the admissions code, an error in applying the admissions criteria (such as placing your child in the wrong category or getting the home-school distance wrong) or a decision that is so unreasonable that no reasonable person in possession of the same facts would have made the same decision and it should be struck down.

If - although I suspect this is unlikely in Croydon - the admission number is not 30/60/90 and classes are smaller than 30, you have wider grounds for appealing. Any appeal would turn on the balance of 'prejudice' (disadvantage) between your child in not being admitted to the school and the school in having to accept another pupil.

You are probably right and don't have a stronger case than anyone else but it is relatively rare in a London borough to be offered a primary school 5 miles away and that is not an ideal situation so it is worth spending a little time to consider whether you do have any basis for appeal.

Do you know where you are on waiting lists?

littlecrystal Thu 25-Apr-13 22:43:54

Very interesting thread. We live in North of Croydon borough (SE25) and last year would have got into 3 nearest secular primaries (2 ofsted good, 1 satisfactory) and 3 nearest faith (1 outstanding, 1 good and 1 satisfactory). I am really surprised to hear that it is so tight in Crystal Palace. I would suggest putting your child onto the waiting list of the top 3 on your list - I am 98% sure that the place will come up.

LizzieBruce21 Fri 26-Apr-13 20:36:01

I've asked that she is put on the waiting list for all the schools on our preferences list. We are right on the edge of Tandridge in Surrey so I'm going to rung Surrey on Monday and see if I can get her on the waiting list for another Surrey school. Croydon don't share their info about waiting lists until the beginning of June - a long time when you want to start planning things for a sibling too. You're right that the admission numbers in Croydon are all multiples of 30 so I don't think we have any chance of appeal. However, my husband does get the house we live in with his job so we have to live here as part of his contract. This is quite an unusual situation, so maybe it is worth an appeal. The thing I find maddening is that there are plans for antoehr 650 houses up at the old Cane Hill mental hospital by coulsdon but noi school!!! I've written to our MP but not convinced it's going to make any difference. there just aren't enough school places in Croydon although there are loads of schools!

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 23:03:50

Lizzie - I suspect you're right. Unless you can pinpoint an error (such as getting the home/school measurement wrong) you have got very little scope for appeal. Your best, but still very remote, shot (I think) might be to argue that as you can't move as you live in a tied house, it is unreasonable to give you a school so far from home. However, this is unlikely to sway the appeal panel and joining waiting lists and looking for other schools in Tandridge are likely to be more productive.

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