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Infant Class Size Appeal - Faith school

(3 Posts)
Turniphead1 Sat 25-Jun-11 17:31:29

Hoping "Admissions" or anyone else up to speed on this can help...

As an ex-lawyer am trying to help a close friend whose DD has been refused a place at the RC school her two elder kids attend. She is not a practising christian of any denom - but in previous years school was not oversubscribed - and so they admitted non-Catholic/no faith kids.

I know the chances of an ICS appeal succeeding are very slim. The oversubscription categories are: 1. Catholic looked after; 2. Baptised Catholic (extra priority for evidence of committment to faith) 3. Other looked after. 4.Baptised Christians of other faiths. 5.Children of other faiths you can provide evidence of regular practice of faith. It then states that

"in each of the above categories presence of a sibling will increase priority. Further priority in each category will be given, if necessary [on distance]. The Governors reserve the right to give extra priority within each category/criterion where evidence is provided at the time of application of an exceptional social, medical or pastoral need of child (eg from a doctor/social worker) which can most appropriately met at this school."

As far as we know no error has been made. The only argument I can think of is that the criteria themselves breach the Schools Admissions Code in that they are not sufficiently "clear,objective and easily understandable".
I think the proviso clause I have repeated above is arguably vague - references to "increase priority" "further priority" are not very clear.

I would also argue that the fact that the consideration of social/medical needs is merely discretionary is in breach in the Code and would deter an applicant for raising these issues.

It would then be a case of presenting the case that the impact on the family of taking one primary school aged child 3 miles across inner London for a school start time same as siblings school. Impact on child of not going to the school that he has visited very school day for drop off/pick up since he was born etc.

I am not sure whether it would be possible to phrase the above as a "social need" that only that school could satisfy though. And it is difficult to envisage what sort of evidence one could produce to support that. There is of course the problem that that "social need" was not included as part of the original application.

Any thoughts or advice on this scenario gratefully received. I have read and taken note of Admission's advice about the actual appeal given to someone who is appealing because their child was not put in correct category of RC school application due to them mislaying her supporting docs.

The school has never had an Appeal before. They are feeling their way. They are already breaching the Appeals Code requirement for "neutral venue" - they are holding it in the Priests house hmm.

I am not sure where the Panel comes from - we haven't had the details yet. But presume they use one that the LA uses for community school appeals?

Well aware that no point approaching the day in hostile manner. But they are devastated and really want to this to succeed.

Many thanks

admission Sat 25-Jun-11 22:01:57

As a catholic school they are their own admisison authority and therefore make their own arrangements for the appeal. If they have any sense they use the LA so that they get a completely neutral panel and neutral venure but as they have said they are using the priests house it would appear they are going to do it all themselves.

There will be three panel members (or 5) and they have to have one lay member and one who has experience of education. In all honesty the definitions are quite wide but the key point is that they have no connection to the school or in fact to the local parish church. So for instance the priest being the chair of the panel would be a definite no no but not unheard of.

I would agree that the admission criteria is not the clearest. You will obviously be in cat 5 but then it becomes an issue over what has priority siblings, medical/ social or distance? I would assume that it is actually in that order but that needs to be confirmed. Having said that you should have been near the top of cat 5 as you have siblings. What you need to do is explore where you were on the admission criteria list. If you were top of cat5 and did not get a place because they did not exhaust all the cat4 applicants then there is nothing wrong. the key point is that not only do you have to prove that a mistake was made in an ICS Regs case but that the mistake did result in you not getting a place which would have been the case if the admission arrangements had been properly administered.

To me the social/ medical arguement is a red herring. Schools do not have to have that in their admission criteria. In this instance it just adds to the uncertaintity of how the admission criteria list was drawn up.

As an ICS Regs case you have to prove a mistake, the fact that there will be 3 miles between the two schools should not be relevant in an ICS Regs case, no matter how sympathetic the panel is.

I think that you need to go to the appeal, hoping to find a mistake was made but being realistic enough to say this is unlikely and also hoping that as the school is finding the panel you get a panel that maybe is not as on the ball as maybe it should be. I have no doubt that the school and panel will have sympathy with your situation, maybe they might just get carried away and offer a place.

Turniphead1 Sun 26-Jun-11 19:47:51

Thanks for the excellent advice Admissions. That is really helpful. Fingers crossed they get lucky.

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