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Feeling a bit cross at teachers' reactions to winning our appeal

(20 Posts)
frostymomma Wed 29-Jun-11 10:16:02

So, we found out we had won our primary appeal last week. It's a small-ish village school with a PAN of 22 and we were are so thrilled that DD has now got a place. However, I've had 2 teachers now approach me telling me how difficult it's going to be with additional children in the class, and that they'll have to re-plan for the whole year, and that they will be under more pressure, have to do more reports, etc.

I can understand their point of view, as nobody likes to do more work, but I feel a bit like they're taking their frustrations out on me. AIBU to think that a PAN of 22 means they've probably had it quite easy so far and they just need to man up and just accept that there will be more children to teach, much like the majority of other teachers out there?

I also worry that they'll take it out on my DD. There were a handful of other appeals, all of whom were successful for very legitimate reasons, but I have to admit nobody thought (us included) that we would be offered a place. Most people have just congratulated us, but I still think that DD stands out as 'the extra one' who will cause all the issues.

Anyone else had a similar reaction?

GooseyLoosey Wed 29-Jun-11 10:19:46

They will forget very soon - nobody will see your dd as the "extra child". I know any number of people who have got into our school on appeal and no one has ever held it against them. The teacher might object to the additional numbers, but not to the child herself. Very different things.

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 10:35:04

I'm not at all surprised by the teachers reaction, and have seen that before.
Why shouldn't they be cross?

With a PAN of 22 surely they have composite classes, so they still have approx 30 kids in each class?

State schools aren't usually financially viable with only 22 kids in each class...

aseriouslyblondemoment Wed 29-Jun-11 10:48:04

yes sadly i experienced this too albeit for a secondary school place.ime it made me wonder whether all i'd fought so hard for was actually worth it!
yes granted the school will have to make adjustments but that's for them to sort out and as a parent you shouldn't have to hear about it!
congratulations on winning your appeal btwsmile

Teachermumof3 Wed 29-Jun-11 10:51:28

No-with a PAN of 22 it just means they have the space for that many as the current intake. They probably have very small rooms, or have mixed year classes (ie YR/1 mix with 22 Reception and 8 Y1 or two mixed classes with 11 YR and 19 Y1 each).

When you appeal-you are making them go over the amount they should have. Why wouldn't they be fed up!? The PAN is set at a certain number for each school for a reason.

MrsKwazii Wed 29-Jun-11 10:54:25

Sounds very unprofessional of the teachers to complain to you like that - what was it meant to achieve? Are you supposed to not send your DD now because of the extra work it will cause for them?

If a number of appeals succeeded there were obviously very good reasons for your children being let into the school. Am sure everything will pan out fine once term actually starts smile

Jaspants Wed 29-Jun-11 11:12:04

Whilst they shouldn't single your child out, I do know that in the infant playground there was a lot of disgruntled muttering about the 5 whose children got in on appeal last year - several of them driving past at least 3 other village schools on their (several mile) journey to the school. The reason that everyone knows about the appeal children is because the unprofessional Head made a point of telling us all this in the weekly newsletter.

TBH it does have a negative impact on the school - it doesn't affect me as my DCs are a bit older, but given that the PAN is 20 and there are mixed year groups, taking on an additional 5 children causes massive difficulty. Due to infant class size rules they can only keep a smaller number of Y1s in that class, therefore it bumps the class sizes up in the rest of the school.

So yes,when you say

"they just need to man up and just accept that there will be more children to teach"

what this actually means is that while your DC will be ok as they are in a class limited to 30, older DC in KS2 have to have much bigger classes / split classes over three year groups instead of two etc. At one point their was a plan to have a mixed class of Y2, 3 and 4, which means teaching to 3 different curriculum requirements - madness.

I think that this is something that people don't often think about when they do go to appeal.

veritythebrave Wed 29-Jun-11 11:18:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frostymomma Wed 29-Jun-11 11:21:37

Thanks all. I'm assuming they were just letting off steam, but still think it was unprofessional - as though I am supposed to feel bad about the appeal decision and solve the problem for them! If anything, I would have thought they should contact the appeals department (or whoever it is) and ask them how they are supposed to manage with the additional numbers. The appeals panel obviously weighed this up when they made the decision.

Goosey - reassuring - I certainly hope it's only the numbers they are concerned about.

Indigo - I understand they may be cross, but surely they shouldn't take it out on the parent. I wonder if they would put up with a sub-standard school for their children or choose to appeal for the school they wanted their DCs to attend in the same situation.

ASBM & MrsK - The feeling is mutual - I did wonder (for a small while) why I bothered with the effort, but then reminded myself of all the positive reasons I wanted this school. I can cope with the off-hand comments in the short-term, just hope they'll move on.

thejaffacakesareonme Wed 29-Jun-11 11:21:54

I agree with Jaspants when she says that there can be knock on effects throughout a school. This almost occurred at our local school when the admission of less than half a dozen out of catchment kids who had got places on appeal would have forced composite classes on almost every other year group. In the end, the numbers fell for other reasons and which I am very glad about and the composite classes were avoided.

startail Wed 29-Jun-11 11:35:21

I agree very unprofessional, their problems with class sizes and planning are between them and their management.

frostymomma Wed 29-Jun-11 11:42:55

...hmmm, that was a bit frustrating - just wrote long reply and mumsnet went offline, so here goes again if I can remember...

I agree with Jaspants too and can understand the dilemma. The school doesn't struggle for space, although it does choose to split classes in the juniors. It's going for academy status at the mo (a whole other story...), and as part of this, the head is pushing to increase class sizes to 30 and get rid of the split level classes as a result, so hopefully this will give everyone something else to worry about and detract from the handful of extras in this reception intake.

thejaffacakesareonme Wed 29-Jun-11 11:43:39

I do agree though that it was unprofessional, the teacher should not have made you aware she was unhappy about the situation.

rebl Wed 29-Jun-11 13:08:46

I can understand why the teachers are annoyed but they should never be saying anything to any of the parents about it. Its a school matter to be dealt with in the confines of the staffroom and heads office.

Jaspants Wed 29-Jun-11 13:18:22

You are right Rebl, but when parents are complaining that their child is being taught in a class of 37 / mixed year group / portakabin etc then they want to know what the reasons for this are.

Ofted outstanding schools often become a victim of their own success

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 13:23:35

Because she won on appeal, the infant class her DD is in could have 31 kids in it - or more if more kids won on appeal.

Then it won't be 'up the school' that is affected - but her class. Big reception classes are not ideal.

However the OP won her appeal, so there must have been good reason to admit her DD.

prh47bridge Wed 29-Jun-11 14:26:52

An appeal panel has to work with the class arrangement and accommodation that a school has. They should not admit a child if the child can only be accommodated by changing the class arrangement or bringing in a portakabin. The only exception is where a mistake has been made and the child should have been admitted. In such cases the panel is required to admit unless there are a significant number of children involved and admitting them all would cause serious prejudice. Of course, where a mistake has been made no blame should attach to the parents who appeal. It isn't their fault that someone in admissions messed up and I don't think it would be sensible to argue that the parents must just accept the mistake.

If an infant class goes over 30 as a result of a successful appeal it means the appeal panel has concluded that a mistake has been made and the child should have been admitted.

The teachers at the OP's school may be unhappy with having an additional child but they have behaved thoroughly unprofessionally. They shouldn't be making such comments to anyone. And if they are singling you out when there were a number of successful appeals, that is appalling.

veritythebrave Wed 29-Jun-11 14:35:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

roadkillbunny Wed 29-Jun-11 15:57:32

Our school has a PAN of 20 but doesn't split year groups until Y4 and then they have a Y4/5 class and a Y5/6 class just for the mornings and in the afternoons they are taught in their year groups, they only split the classes due to not having enough classrooms for individual classes all day but do have a bit IT room. We are extremely viable as a school financially due to a very good head, governing body and PTA. One of the reasons class sizes are small is the lack of classrooms and the other is the Y1 class room is very small however 2 years ago all classes were composite classes (with a PAN of 18) and they did used to teach 30 children in that space. Anyway, for Sep 2009 intake, my dd's intake there was a very high number of catchment children with siblings and catchment children, 21 in fact so one child didn't get a place and no out of catchment siblings got a place (as has become normal no out of catchment no sibling children got in, they haven't for over 3 years) but when they all went to appeal 5 children got in, the catchment child and the siblings, this was due to a new reception classroom being built so no spilt classes until the Y4 plus arrangement I spoke about. The school didn't contest the appeals, they don't want children to have to travel miles (impossible to walk as well) to another school if they are in catchment and they don't want to split up families if they can help it. The extra numbers did put pressure on the school but they worked with it and we all know how lucky we are to be a state school with so small classes, even a class of 25! As it happens we were down to 24 for the start of year one, then 23 a half term later then a child won an appeal in the basis that we had more in the class before and coped, now at the end of Y1 we have 2 leaving so will be 22 for Y2, even in a very over subscribed school with a normally very static population like ours movement happens and what starts to be a large class will in time get smaller. The current YR were forced by the LA to take an extra 4 due to a shortage in the nearest city of school places but this Septembers intake is back to 20. I am sure the teaching staff would prefer to be teaching classes of 20 but at the end of the day, under 30 is still better them most state sector teachers have to manage and they accept that graciously.
I think taking the frustrations out of you is very poor, if they have an issue they should take it up with the LA not the parents who won appeals. I would hope this won't translate to them taking it out on the children themselves but in your shoes I would probably worry, if they can't be professional enough with you...

prh47bridge Wed 29-Jun-11 16:34:24

veritythebrave - There is a difference between the LA asking the school to provide additional places and an appeal panel doing so. The LA is allowed to ask a school to accept pupils beyond PAN including asking them to accept a portakabin, which is what seems to have happened here. However, an appeal panel could not have admitted those children as, without the portakabins, the school would not have had space.

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