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Help/advice needed with yr3 school transfer/appeal

(12 Posts)
JackiePaper Wed 01-Jun-11 19:32:24

Hi just wondering if there is anyone else who has been through this process who could offer me some advice?
My ds is in yr2 at our local school and dd has been offered a reception place there for september. Howeveer, we want to move them to the school in the next village because ds is being bullied and the school have failed to sort it out. He is also a very able little boy and the school do nothing to stretch him, he is bored in lessons and frightened in the playground sad
The school we want to move him to is the school where dd (and ds did) go to nursery, it is our next closest school. They have a space for dd for reception but yr2 is currently full. I am going to apply for a place for him and then go to appeal when this is rejected.

The form I have been given by the county council for the transfer also insists that we get permission from the current headteacher and get her to sign the form - I don't really want to do this as it is going to completely destroy any relationship we have left with his current school. I have read on here that they are not allowed to demand this, but can't find any guidance online?

Our case for moving him, would be that he is being bullied at the current school, we have given the school chance to sort it out, but they haven't. The other school is the next nearest school and the only school in the area with a reception place for dd. Anyone have any words of wisdom or have any idea what our chances are?

Thanks very much in advance smile

prh47bridge Wed 01-Jun-11 19:45:58

This is an in year application for the school you prefer. Paragraph 3.23 of the Admissions Code says that such applications must be considered without delay. They cannot make this conditional on consent from the existing school. They would not try to do that if you were moving from another LA. They cannot treat you differently because you are moving within the LA. If they refuse to consider your application without the current school's consent tell them that you will refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

I presume you won't be taking up the place for your older child until September at which point he will be in Y3. That means infant class size regulations will not apply. If you can give evidence of the bullying, show that you have given the school a chance to resolve the issue and show that they have failed to do so I would say you have a reasonable chance of winning at appeal. It does, of course, depend on the strength of the case to refuse admission so there are no guarantees.

Good luck.

admission Wed 01-Jun-11 22:56:20

Have the LA sent you the wrong form I wonder. If the potential receiving school had places available then I could see why this might happen, so that the current school actually does have the opportunity to try and sort things out with you. However it is still a bit naughty
But definitely not allowed when they know you are going to appeal because the school does not have places available. That is putting in place a condition that is not within the admission arrangements of the LA unless they specify that in their in-year admissions process. Even then i would question its legality.

JackiePaper Wed 01-Jun-11 23:26:16

it is worcestershire LEA and it is the right form - it is an application for a place for a child other than at normal time of admission. It states that I MUST discuss with current headteacher and she must sign it, the request will not be accepted without this. For obvious reasons I am reluctant to go to the current school on monday and ask them to sign this form ,when i don't know if I will win the appeal or not. Could you point me towards any official guidance which says the LEA canot request this? also would it prejudice my appeal if I start arguing about this form?
Thanks so much for your help smile

prh47bridge Thu 02-Jun-11 00:00:23

I can't find this form on their website but their admissions policy states, "Applications for all 'In Year' transfers are co-ordinated by the Local Authority. All applications must be forwarded to the Local Authority who will then co-ordinate with any preferred schools. Any offer or refusal of a place will be communicated by the Local Authority. Where the school is a Voluntary Aided or Foundation School any offer or refusal will be made on behalf of the Governors. Parents or carers seeking to transfer to a school that does not involve a house move, or where there is no need for an immediate move, need to be aware that any date set for joining the new school may be after the next term or half term holiday and that parents/carers are responsible for ensuring their child continues to receive appropriate education in the interim."

Nothing there about needing the permission of the current school before you can transfer.

They MUST conform to their admission arrangements. They are clearly putting in place a condition which is not in their admission arrangements. They are not allowed to do that.

As I said earlier, if they refuse to accept your application tell them that you will report the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman as a clear breach of the Admissions Code. And arguing about this will not prejudice your appeal.

JackiePaper Thu 02-Jun-11 07:42:10

Unfortunately it is in their admission arrangements - it's in the handbook for parents -

3.13 Admissions to schools during the year outside the normal round of Admissions
Worcestershire County Council Admissions Team will co-ordinate admissions for all Worcestershire residents,
after consultation with other relevant admission authorities including all Academy, Foundation or Voluntary
Aided Schools, and schools in other Local Authorities, with effect from 1st September 2010, in respect of
applying for school places other than the normal time of entry to the school.
The procedure for in-year admissions is as follows;
1) Parent/Carer to obtain an application form (CA1), if a resident in Worcestershire, from any of the
following sources;
• Child’s current school (if in Worcestershire).
• School being applied for (if in Worcestershire).
• Worcestershire Hub Centre (Tel 01905 822700)
• Download form from website (www.worcestershire.gov.uk)
2) Parent/Carer to complete the application form and ensure form is counter-signed by current
headteacher (if already attending a Worcestershire School).
3) The parent should then forward form onto their Home Authority Admissions Team to be processed.
4) The Home Local Authority will co-ordinate with any relevant admission authorities on behalf of the
parent to determine which is the highest ranked offer that can be made.
5) The Home Local Authority will write to parents, on behalf of the relevant admission authority, normally
within 10 school days, of the form being received to notify of the decision. Where it is not possible to
offer a place, parents will be notified of the right of an appeal, on behalf of the relevant admission
authority and in most cases, an alternative school will be offered.
6) If there are insufficient places for all applications received at a time, then priority will be decided in
accordance with the published admissions criteria for the school.
The parents of pupils resident outside Worcestershire, but who wish to apply for a place at any
Worcestershire school, must complete an application form provided by the “home” LA. (The “home” LA is
defined as the Local Authority relevant to the child’s home address). The “home” LA will ensure that the
application details are passed onto Worcestershire LA for consideration in the allocation of school places,
the "home" LA will notify of the decision – see item 4 above).
Please be aware that some schools may well already be full at the time of your application

Looks like I shall have to get the head to sign it then, that will be an interesting conversation.

Do you have any advice on what i should include in my appeal? I have records of letters we sent to the school and a reply from the chair of governers. I could also ask the lady who runs the nursery at the school we want to write a letter saying in her opinion this is the right school for ds. What else should we focus on? Thanks again smile

prh47bridge Thu 02-Jun-11 10:00:01

Ok, didn't see that. It is still highly dubious in my view and I would hope that the LGO would step in if they refused to process your application without the signature of the current head. The issue is that, by insisting on that signature they are effectively allowing the current school to veto any move. They aren't allowed to do that.

For your appeal I would include as much evidence about the bullying and the school's failure to deal with it as possible. I don't think a letter from the lady who runs the nursery at the school you want would carry much weight but it wouldn't do any harm to include it.

admission Thu 02-Jun-11 12:54:13

Just to reiterate what PRH has said I agree with them that this is a highly dubious practice. There is an enormous difference between the head of the potentially receiving school suggesting that the parents talk the issue through with the current school head before making a decision and having to get effective permission from the current head to go forward with a request for another school place.
I personally would be tempted to not have the conversation with the current head yet, as you will be destroying what little may be left of any relationship with the school, when there is no certainty of getting the school place you want at appeal. I would just say that on the application form and send it in and see what happens. If the LA then insist on it being signed I would contact the LGO to see what they say.
What are you doing about your daughter? There is no guarantee that the available place will remain available all the time that you are processing the appeal. You really need to make a decision on whether to grab the palce while it still exists or take your chance on it still being available in say 2 months time, which is how long an appeal may take.

JackiePaper Thu 02-Jun-11 17:55:44

Thanks for all your help.

I don't know what to do, one the one hand I don't want to ask the current head to sign it, one the other I don't want to risk delaying the application if the LA quibble it.

With regards to my daughter, I don't know what to do. There are 5 reception places available for september. The PAN for the school is 15. If i take the place now, what do I do if I lose the appeal, but on the other hand, what do I do if I win the appeal and those places have gone.

Would you tell me honestly what chance you think I have of winning?

*PAN is 15 - 15 in reception then classes of 30 one is yr1/2, one yr 3/4 and one yr 5/6.

*There are currently 16 children in yr 4, making the current yr 3/4 class 31 children

*The net capacity is 105 and there are 105 on roll. However i have found evidence that in 2010 the school had 106 on roll and in 2006 had 110 on roll.

*the current year 2 class (the one I want my son to go into in september) had 17 children in it in recpetion and 16 in yr 1. There are currently 15 in that year group.

I think that these points might give me a good case to argue that the school can cope with one more pupil?

*my son is being bullied I have copies of a leter we sent to school and their reply. This bullying is still not resolved

*it is my next closest school, and the only school in the area with a reception place for dd.

What do you htink my chances are? Would my chances be increased if I took the reception place for dd? It;s just the last thing I want to happen is to take the place for dd, and then lose the appeal for ds. School would be even worse for ds if his litle sister didn't join him in september, it would also be a logistical mightmare.

Sorry for all the questions, I'm really grateful for all your advice smile

prh47bridge Thu 02-Jun-11 18:11:37

The way they are organised means that an appeal for your daughter would be heard under infant class size rules. That means you would only win if you could show a mistake has been made. That is highly unlikely for an application outside the normal admissions round. Any argument that the school can take one more child in Reception will fail. Those are the rules, I'm afraid. If you don't take the place now you may not be able to get your daughter in later. An appeal for your son is much more winnable than one for your daughter.

Taking the reception place for your daughter should not have any effect on your chances of winning an appeal for your son. If you have good evidence of the bullying and the school's failure to resolve the matter I would say you have a reasonable chance of success but it depends on the strength of the case to refuse admission.

I would hope that you would get a very quick response from the LGO if the LA refuse to accept your application due to the lack of a signature from the current head but there are no guarantees.

admission Thu 02-Jun-11 18:38:50

It is very difficult to second guess what will happen at the appeal. If you appeal, it has to be for a September start because any appeal now in year 2 will be an ICS Regs case.
The reality is that there have been and currently are relatively few year groups with more than the 15 in. That might be a function of the ICS Regs stopping any successful appeals in the infant classes and nobody bothering to try and get in as a junior or it could be that there are plenty of appeals but that very few succeed. Maybe the school could tell you how many appeals there have been?
The chance of success would in my opinion not be helped by having your daughter in reception. At the point you have an appeal (presumably later this term) she will officially not be a pupil at the school, that will only happen in September. In fact the panel could see it as you trying to force their hand if you emphasise the problem of being at two schools at once.
My guess would be that the appeal will succeed or fail on the basis of the bullying, so the question really is how bad is it and how much real evidence have you got for the school not being prepared to deal with it.
Being realistic the probability is that 5 pupils are not going to suddenly appear out of the woodwork for the available places in reception, if there was a shortage of spaces they would have been snapped up by now, but it is a risk if you do not take one of them. i would have thought the school would have been quite keen to get another in reception and also an extra one in year 3 but they do not have the final say in the matter.
One question that is bound to come up at appeal is why did you send your children to the nursery at your preferred school but then get places at the other more local school. Did you put them down as first preference and not get in or what?
Another thought is that the current year3/4 has 31 in it. In September the year3/4 class will have 30 in it, so it is very easy to argue that they have 31 now, why can't they have 31 in September.
Sorry I am not answering your question because actually i can't give you an answer, it could go either way in my opinion. We are also assuming that there will be no place for September and that nobody else is applying for a place. You need to apply to be turned down and get the appeal in ASAP to ensure that you are the only appealant.
Whilst i personally would want to apply without the head's approval I think that getting the signature seems to be the quickest way to get the appeal underway and at least you will then know where you stand.

JackiePaper Thu 02-Jun-11 19:44:40

Hi, thanks for the advice, I still don't know what to do about dd.

with regards to how bad the bullying is, well, ds is told everyday by a group of boys that he cannot play, he is excluded from the group and called names. He is reguarly pushed over or kicked on the playground by one particular child. I must have been into the school about 10 times although I don't have evidence of this the school may. I wrote a letter outlining my concerns when it got so bad that ds refused to go to school for 2 days. they wrote back with an action plan, but this plan was mostly focussed on ds and how to support him, not on dealing with the bad behaviour of the other children. Consequently they still exclude him/call him names and shove him over. He has no real friends at all at school, apart from some of the girls who I think are fond of him/take pity on him.
He is 6 and he is scared of going to school incase people say mean things to him sad

The school I am appealing for has a 'good' OFSTED but a grade 1 on OFSTED for social and emotional development and well being of the pupils, and it is well known as a caring school.

It was first choice on our original application for a reception place for ds 3 yrs ago, but we were unsucessful due to being out of catchment. Hence why they went to nursery there.

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