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(14 Posts)
marysgarden Tue 14-Jun-11 19:49:59

Hi, has anyone else had their appeals yet? What was the experience like? Was it as bad as you thought? What was your outcome? Mine is this week and I'm so nervous! I think it's a case of the unknown thats making me a nervous wreck and I just hope I don't fluff this one opportunity to help my child.

mummy22gorgeousboys Tue 14-Jun-11 20:37:07

Our appeal was last week and it was very formal but the panel were friendly at the same time. I thought most of the time I would be talking to the panel, but actually most of the time I was talking to the LEA. I have to say I ended up arguing with her, which I can promise isn't like me at all. I know she was just doing what she needed to but she was very rude and basically said that other children were more desrving of a place at the school than my son - which was like a red rag to a bull!!

I would say take notes of everything you want to discuss and bring up and don't feel imtimidated by what they say. Take your time in there, don't rush and make sure you say everything you want to. The panel were quite friendly and they said they do sympathise etc, they were all parents. Just make sure you don't feel rushed and say everything you want to.

Our appeal was unsuccessful but I'm glad we tried.

Good luck with yours!

swash Tue 14-Jun-11 20:43:03

Mine was quite formal but the chair was very sympathetic and had brought in a couple of cuttings related to my arguments. The lay person just sat there and didn't say a word - not sure he knew what was going on. We lost (as did every single other person appealing in our city that year).

Do say what you want to say - make sure that you make your points clearly and rationally - but don't be negative/rude about the school you have been allocated. Do challenge the local authority person if you have any reason to.

Good luck.

admission Tue 14-Jun-11 21:17:15

Oh dear, the Chair was actually way out of order there. The panel is not allowed to introduce any evidence to the appeal, so brining in a couple of cuttings is totally wrong.
Having said that the panel knows what it knows and so if there is something that they disagree with the LA representative about the way to sort it is to ask appropriate questions.

abeltasman Tue 14-Jun-11 21:37:10

It depends whether the panel is from the LEA, or the Diocese. Ours is a VA school so our appeal was with a Diocese panel. They were vile, but still found in our favour. So long as you have prepared well, you will be fine. It is down to numbers, square footage of space, number of toilets per child (really!), infant class size (if applicable), etc. Plus have plenty of evidence for the second stage, should you have to go that far in the process. The LEA will have floor plans for all maintained schools so you can work out all the information you need (get hold of the Facilities Manager for plans etc).

chopchopquick Tue 14-Jun-11 21:43:24

Ours was pretty much the same, formal but the panel did seem approachable. I was terribly nervous and found it hard to follow my notes and what I wanted to say. I am honestly not sure with all the preparation in the world I would have got over the nerves. I don't know the outcome but I am sure I already know the answer. There are still two more appeals to go so maybe next time I won't be so nervous. I would say make sure you take someone with you.

marysgarden Wed 15-Jun-11 09:15:48

Hi, thanks for the replies. My husband will be coming with me for support and all I have done for the past 2 months is prepare my case. I have got lots of questions for the LEA but I'm sure they will have an answer for everything! I have my personel case to put across which will be much easier as I know what I'm talking aout when it comes to my child! Just need to try and hold it together and don't get to emotional where I break down in floods of tears as that really isn't going to help me try and get all my points across.
I guess at the end of the day we forget that the panel are human beings with feelings, but at the same time they are there to do a job as well. I just hope my panel are not to intimidating and Unapproachable!
Good luck to everyone still waiting for responses or yet to attend their hearings, I truely understand what you are all going through!

EMMJAY Thu 30-Jun-11 00:03:42

My daughter's appeal last week, in a word : TRAUMATIC !! Panel tried to put me at ease but Clerk did most of the talking and kept interrupting me. The School's presenting officer was just reading from a script and refused to answer any of my questions (all relevant questions generated by their own statement against my child's admission). Strangely the first stage of the appeal (with other parents) where the School rep read out the general reasons for refusal was to be delivered in the reception area of the School with lots of staff and students walking up and down. I expressed concerns about this and the Clerk moved us to a proper room. Like other posters I noticed the lay member of the panel did not utter a single word during the appeal apart from when he introduced himself. The Chair appeared to be directed by the Clerk who did not appear to like my presentation and kept telling the panel not to listen to some of my arguments and also advised the School rep not to answer my questions (especially as she did not seem to know anything about the School !). At the end felt dazed and confused and not very hopeful....wish everyone else luck with their appeals !!!

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jun-11 09:44:40

EMMJAY - If you lose your appeal you should definitely refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. The clerk's behaviour was completely out of order. They should not be telling the panel not to listen to your arguments, nor should they be telling the presenting officer not to answer questions. And they shouldn't be interrupting you. During the hearing the clerk's role is to provide advice on procedure and the law on admissions, make sure that both you and the school are able to present relevant facts and record proceedings. This clerk appears to have overstepped the mark hugely, to the point where I would question his/her independence.

The presenting officer's refusal to answer questions was also wrong. They are required to be able to answer detailed questions about the case, the school and the admission arrangements.

The most likely outcome from a referral to the LGO would be a fresh appeal with a different panel and a different clerk.

Appeal panels do a lot of good work. It really annoys me when something like this happens and undermines the whole process.

EMMJAY Thu 30-Jun-11 11:08:25

Thanks prh47bridge for your perspective. I had read both codes before and then after the hearing and what happened on the day took me by surprise.

I could not believe the admissions authority sent someone who could not (or in some cases would not) answer my questions and was even heavily 'advised' by the Clerk that they did not have to answer my questions. I was also disappointed that the Panel did not question the Governor's presenting officer (perhaps they were tired by the number of appeals !!) who only spent about a minute reading from a 'script'. I was also shocked by the comments from the Clerk when I presented some of my evidence, things like "political !" when I quoted Ofsted or DfE data (I thought this data was collected by 'non-political' civil servants) or "not interested".

Have certainly got lots of examples of poor practice that I can bring to the attention of the Ombudsman if necessary. BTW the School is a Foundation/Specialist school and I've heard this kind of behaviour happens more at this kind of school during appeals.....

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jun-11 12:36:02

It can do. Faith schools are also sometimes very poor at running appeals. However, many academies, faith schools, etc. contract out appeals to the LA which should result in it being done properly. Having said that, even LAs get it badly wrong at times.

admission Thu 30-Jun-11 22:35:11

My sympathy that you appear to have been on the wrong end of not only a rogue panel but also a rogue clerk. I would have guessed that as a foundation school they were doing their own appeals. Things that immediately stand out are that 1) they should not be using the school for the appeal 2) the reception area is completely unacceptable for what should be a confidential meeting 3) you need to try and check out exactly who the clerk was - my bet would be that they were something to do with the school, which would be illegal 4) the panel chair should not have allowed the clerk to dominate the procedings, which suggests a lack of suitable training for the panel generally and chair specifically 5) what did the Chair say about who the panel were - did they give any clues that they may have been used frequently by the school.
I could go on but this must go to the LGO there simply are too many issues here that should not have happened.

demsy Sat 02-Jul-11 08:42:43

I had two ICS appeals this week. The panel were fantastic. They were very fair they asked searching question of both myself and the school, they did their best to put me at ease and were very understanding.

Our first appeal we had a good well prepared case. I could show the school didn't follow their own procedures and my child as a result was not offered a place when she should have been. I must say for this school the governor was very rude and was making up things as he went along contrary to the written procedures. I questioned the school about their case and the expert in education very thoroughly questioned the school about all aspects of buildings/ no's on role budget etc. The result we didn't win. The clerk said they deliberated for a long time but because they couldn't allow the appeal as they thought the school applied the admission code correctly (they didn't but lets leave it at that)!.

Our second appeal I nearly withdrew as this was based solely around personal circumstances with regards to my daughters SEN (speech and language developmental delay with associated glue ear). I thought they could not take any of this into consideration but the clerk persuaded me to keep our appeal. It was the same panel obviously different admission authority, this time the governor and head teacher were very kind, polite and extremely understanding. During this appeal I became very emotional talking about my daughter and her difficulties I was allowed to adjourn for a few minutes to compose myself and when I came back in managed to finish my case without tears. I didn't feel the school acted incorrectly at all in this case I just felt it would be unreasonable for my daughter not to have a place as the school she was offered she didn't know anyone where at this school she had a peer group who understood her which helps her speech and obviously moral. The result - WE WON!!! I couldn't believe it as this was our 1st preference school aswell.

To sum up I went it to the first appeal with my head, very focused very factual but didn't really give any personal reasons to the panel why we wanted the school. Second appeal came completely from the heart and I think the panel got much more of an idea about my child which at the end of the day is who it's all about, not how it's going to effect you. As I mentioned before the education expert was worth his weight in gold as he uncovered this school had a nice surplus budget which I think helped our case aswell!

I should mention these were both VA schools (catholic) so we weren't facing the LEA however they were held at our town hall. My advice would be prepare prepare prepare your case but talk from your heart when it comes to your child and how it will effect them not getting a place at the school - the panel have limited grounds but they are human! I would also say don't detract too much from your main reasons of appealing as this may weaken the areas of your case which may very well win it for you and GOOD LUCK!!!

prh47bridge Sat 02-Jul-11 21:43:55

Really pleased for you. Well done.

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