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Infant School Appeal - Unusual Situation

(18 Posts)
Red2929 Wed 08-Jun-11 12:02:28

Hi

I know there are several threads on appeals but the situation I'm enquiring about doesn't seem to be covered. I'm asking on behalf of a very good friend.

In a nutshell they sent off the preference forms stating their preferred choice of school – sibling attends already and they are literally round the corner from the school.

However, they didn’t realise they should have got a acknowledgement receipt of their application from the LEA. So next thing they hear is when all the places have been allocated and their child is not on the list for the preferred school. It turns out the LEA are saying they never received the application.

From reading the other threads I am aware that grounds for appealing are tough. However, could they argue on the basis that the LEA never chased them for the missing application? I know the LEA could answer back by saying they do not have to chase missing applications and it is the parent’s responsibility. But is there a possible case here?

The LEA chased parents who were late in returning their acceptances of places offered and even gave some thing like 10 days lee way – so if the can chase when places have been offered surely they should chase missing applications at the start of the process.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

happystory Wed 08-Jun-11 12:04:40

Have never heard of this but how could they have chase a 'missing' application? They would have no way of knowing the child existed....

Red2929 Wed 08-Jun-11 12:11:31

Hi sorry I thought the LEA sent out the forms but if they get them at school I suppose that is different. Just trying to find anything that will help.

LawrieMarlow Wed 08-Jun-11 12:16:34

How was it submitted and where to? Was it online or a paper copy? I have heard of cases where the paper copy was given to school who then failed to submit it, but not sure what happened.

I don't think rhe lea do chase up missing applications as it could be you were applying to private school and so not applying to rhe state system at all.

prh47bridge Wed 08-Jun-11 12:28:30

No, I'm afraid that doesn't give them a case. As happystory says, the LA has no way of identifying all the children who should be applying for places. It is up to the parents to make sure they apply on time. I don't know of any LA that attempts to chase missing applications.

The situation when offers go out is completely different. The LA knows who has been offered places and therefore knows who to chase. Furthermore they are required to chase acceptances before withdrawing offers.

The appeal is going to come down to the parents saying they sent the application in on time and the LA saying they didn't receive it. The panel will have to decide who to believe. Given that the application could have been lost in the post, I would expect the panel to side with the LA unless there is evidence that the LA makes a habit of losing applications.

Their best chance of getting in is probably through the waiting list. If this school gives sibling priority and/or uses distance as a tie breaker your friend's child should be at or near the head of the list. They should check that and hope a place becomes available.

Red2929 Wed 08-Jun-11 13:51:39

Hi thanks everyone for your help - we are number one on the waiting list at the mo so fingers crossed.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Wed 08-Jun-11 19:20:40

I thought it was your friend? The lea will not consider this as an appeal unless you have proof of submission.

prh47bridge Wed 08-Jun-11 19:23:54

The LA will consider this as an appeal regardless. They don't have any right to reject an appeal without putting it to the independent appeal panel. It is down to the panel to decide whether or not the appeal succeeds. As per my last post that is unlikely.

montmartre Wed 08-Jun-11 19:30:30

The LEA know who to provide forms too because they get the information from the local health authority surely?
I know an LA who check up on non-applicants.
Perhaps this is just a local agreement though?

admission Wed 08-Jun-11 20:15:56

The LA is not allowed the information from the local health authority because of data protection issues, which on the face of it is a stupid decision but has I understand been tested in law. So whilst the LA will have birth levels they have no idea where those children are.
So the LA has to use nurseries as the first line of knowledge of children who are due to go to school, plus parents seeing publicity from the LA on the need to apply. That is why LAs tend to put lots of info into doctors, dentists, clinics, libraries etc to try and make as far as possible that parents do pick up on the appropiate dates for application.
I am afraid in this instance the situation is that the LA say they never received the form, the LA made a statement that all applications will be acknowledged but they did not pick up on this not appearing, so they have no case that will be successful at appeal. The only way that a panel will accept this situation is if there is appropriate proof that the application was received by the LA. I have sat on quite a few panels where such situations have arisen and I can honestly say that I have only seen one successful appeal where it was very clear that the LA had received the application - stamped receipt from the reception desk and then it had been lost internally.

montmartre Wed 08-Jun-11 21:05:15

There must be a local agreement in our authority then.
Our LA posts out the application forms to the homes of all in the rising reception cohort in October of each year, with a deadline of mid-december. I hadn't realised this wasn't the norm.

How on earth do parents find out about applying for schools otherwise if it is their pfb? Not all children attend nursery by any means- there simply aren't enough places for them here. If you have a healthy child, no need of HV service etc, how on earth would you know what the process is?

admission Wed 08-Jun-11 21:21:31

Montmartre, I completely agree with you it is bonkers, its open to all sorts of problems and it is inevitable that pupils will be missed but the law, even one that is so stupid, has to be obeyed.

Wandaaa Wed 08-Jun-11 21:31:55

I have no idea about your friends case, but I live in County Durham and I applied for DD's school place online. A few weeks after the closing date, I received a letter from the LEA to say that they hadn't received an application for DD and that I should now apply, but DD would be alllocated a school after all on time applicants. Luckily I had an email receipt from my online application and after a stressful week it was sorted and they accepted I had applied on time.

PanelMember Wed 08-Jun-11 22:28:38

Our LEA and the neighbouring LEA plaster all libraries, backs of buses, bus stops and the like with posters. One really would have to live like a hermit not to see a poster somewhere. Any LEA which is using NHS records to identify four year olds to send application forms to must (as far as I can see) be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

OP - I see very little prospect of winning this appeal, but there's nothing to be lost by trying.

musey Thu 09-Jun-11 16:14:37

I don't know if this is of any assistence or will just muddy the waters. But as part of my appeal I have been reading & re-reading my LA's Co-ordinated Admission Scheme document and saw your post. In my LA document there is a section No common application received this section details the steps the LA will take to try to encourage parents/carers to apply for a school place. No idea where they get their info of what children exist etc but thought it might help in terms of showing evidence that some councils do something to try to get applications in and therefore so could yours? Like I said not sure if it's of any use but wish you the best of luck whatever happens.

lemonmousse Thu 09-Jun-11 16:32:40

I work in a Primary and we have had two parents contact us about admitting their child to reception in September over the last few weeks. Neither had realised that they were supposed to apply to the LEA.

The way the system works round here is a letter is issued by the LEA saying "Do you have a child, or know someone who has a child, born between blah and blah..." and gives dertails of how to register them for school. We always send copies of this letter out with every pupil and put the LEA poster on our notice board and in local shops, community centres etc. The local state/SureStart nursery and other primaries do the same so it's pretty well covered.

Fortunately for these parents it won't be a problem - small rural school - very rarely full to capacity but if they lived elsewhere?!!

Can't really think of another way for the LEA to go about it - maybe a mailshot from the electoral roll but I doubt they would want to go to that expense?

prh47bridge Thu 09-Jun-11 17:17:25

To be honest, whatever the LA do some people will miss it. I remember in 1978 the BBC had to change the frequencies used by various radio stations. For weeks beforehand there were announcements after every programme on both radio and television, adverts in the newspapers, mailshots through people's doors and all sorts. People were getting sick of it and complaining that the BBC were going over the top, but after the change happened the BBC still got a load of complaints from people who had missed all the announcements.

The question is what would a reasonable LA do. As long as they have done that they are ok.

southofthethames Thu 09-Jun-11 20:54:47

In our area you are not contacted by anybody at all - you are expected to know where and when to apply! No ads, no circulars, no nothing. I only found out the application deadline because I was glancing at brochures in the library.

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