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Advice re supporting evidence for primary school appeal

(6 Posts)
pinwick71 Mon 23-May-11 15:02:38

We are waiting for our appeal hearing - this is for a reception class place for DD at the school which DS currently attends. We are just outside catchment but at the top of the waitlist due to sibling link.

It is not an ICS appeal (separate year groups of 20) and school are 100% supportive (but obviously cannot provide us with a letter to that effect).

We are wondering whether we should submit any other supporting evidence for the appeal - advice appreciated please.

We are not claiming any medical grounds - appeal is based on the following:

1. School has space for additional pupils - 6 out of current 7 year groups over PAN, including the 3 infant classes, PAN seems to be set very low
2. Sibling already at school - important for children to be together, existing family relationship with school etc
3. School best suited to DD ito pastoral care, strengths & interests
4. DD attends linked pre-school - friends will be going to this school
3. Logistics - difficulties with two sets of drop offs & collections, no after school care at allocated school on those days when needed etc

We are assuming that the LEA will provide confirmation to the panel that DS attends the school & DD the pre-school? Is there any other evidence we should provide?

admission Mon 23-May-11 15:52:27

I would try and beef up the reasons for the school as much as possible as this is always important.
Given that 6 out of the 7 year groups are over PAN I would ask about the educational attainment of the school. If it is good then you can argue that the school can easily accept more pupils without prejudicing the education of others. That will be good if you are the only applicant but if there are 10 of you then it tends to become a less effective arguement.
You could also ask questions at the appeal about the actual two figures for the PAN, as previous admissions udner appeal would tend to suggest that you are right the PAN is set low or right at the bottom of the allowable figures. Also worth checking whether the school has had any increase in buildings, that are not in the PAN.

PanelMember Mon 23-May-11 18:10:30

Yes to all that Admission suggests. Focus on those arguments. Your later points about drop-offs and after-school care are far less relevant because they are about your needs and convenience - the arguments that tend to win appeals are the ones about the needs of the child.

pinwick71 Wed 01-Jun-11 21:23:53

We have now received confirmation that the number of appeals to
be heard is more than 10. Given the PAN of 20, this would take the class size over 30 if all appeals were granted (which we are assuming will not be possible?).

Would be grateful for advice from the experts as to whether this makes the appeal an ICS one or if it is still a normal prejudice appeal. We are confused as to whether we need to prepare two types of argument now.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

admission Wed 01-Jun-11 22:29:43

The situation that should unfold at the appeal is that the first half of the appeal is whether the school proves it case that to admit all the pupils would be prejudicial to the efficient running of the school. In theory it is each individual pupil that should be considered but the admission appeal code is very clear that the panel has to make a decision as to whether all the appealants can be admitted to the school at the end of part one,as well as satisfying themselves that the admission arrangements were correctly administered.
If this was for less than 10 pupils then it would not be an ICS Regs case but as soon as the number of appealants goes over 10 then in effect the decision is whether we can break the ICS Regs and of course the answer is no, so they cannot admit all the pupils. There is no ability to just admit 10 or 8 or 6 of the pupils, it is all or nothing.
The second part of the appeal will be for each appealant in turn to explain their own personal reasons why their child should be admitted. When the panel has heard all the cases they will make decisions on each case whether the prejudice to the pupil outways the prejudice to the school. They then have to decide whether they can actually admit all these appealants who meet this criteria or not. Again the ICS Regs will come into play here and in effect the maximum number the panel could admit would be 10.
That is why in your case there are two things that become important. By far the most important is the strength of your personal case. It has to be strong enough to outweigh the prejudice to the school. One way to improve the possibilities of meeting this threshold is to reduce the prejudice to the school to the minimum possible. Obviously to some extent the school and LA have already made the PAN of 20 look too low by the fact that there are more than 20 in 6 of the 7 year groups so that is a good start but the other thing to do is to try and undermine the case as much as possible.
So questions about how good the educational achievement is, even with more than 20 in the year groups is a suitable line of attack, plus trying to draw out what is the maximum there has been in a year group ( I suspect this could have been 30) and asking about any additional buildings in the school and other alterations to improve education. The LA will undoubtedly say that increasing pupils will increase the Health and Safety risk, so you should risk asking the question as to whether there have been any reportable accidents that could be related to overcrowding. I have yet to hear a case where the answer was yes but I suppose there can always be a first time.

pinwick71 Thu 02-Jun-11 10:29:09

admission - many thanks for your very helpful reply which has clarified the situation for us!

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