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Northern Ireland addmission appeals tribunal help /guidance

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aoifetol Tue 07-Jun-11 14:11:10

Hi we are heading for our appeal tribunal in 2 weeks time and need a bit of guidance. Firstly if anybody has been through one of these a brief description of how they are held- how much time we have to speak, what we should expect in terms of people holding it would be much appreciated.

We are in Northern Ireland, my son an eldest child is 4.5 heading into P1. Our own village school was closed down in 2007. Our 2 most local schools are 1.6 miles from our front door to which we applied in Jan and were sent a letter asking us to choose 4 more schools. I phoned around 6 neighbouring schools within a 5 mile distance and all said they were oversubscribed with a waiting list and that there was no chance of getting in as distance played against us. The further away you get the less chance of getting in. Our son is an eldest child and therefore has no siblings attending any school. The two most local schools which we applied do not count our village as in there catchment area (criteria no.3) and we are therefore assessed on criteria 5 ( distance) .We have campaigned about this situation, written and had meetings with the education board involved, individual schools involved, dept of education, lobbied political representatives, front page local newspaper, national radio steven nolan, petition with550 signatures and counting and a Facebook campaign yet we have been met with a brick wall at every turn. We have been offered two schools with a 25mile round trip which are both in areas which I am not comfortable entering because of where I am from. We are trying to build a case based on 1. The Fact the schools surrounding us have not amended their criteria to allow for the closure of our village school and when oversubscribed our son has no chance of getting in as he is an eldest child and is not counted as in the catchment area. 2. The options offered to us by the board are non viable as I would count going into these areas a security risk for my son, myself and my 6month old baby, every day for the next 7 years. 3. We have knowledge of one family that has obviously lied about their address at time of application and have received a place in our first choice school in which we are appealing.

Any help or input on how to put our case forward would be helpful.

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