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Getting DD that 31st place - appeal info neeeded

(17 Posts)
Poppyella Wed 29-Jun-11 10:21:17

I am in the process of preparing my appeal to get dd into year 3 in September at the school where her brother is currently in year 5. Over the last 2 years we have tried twice (when children left her year group) but failed on ICS regulations and distance. Fair enough.

But now I am appealing to increase the class to 31 for her. The head has always been supportive of dd joining, phoning the LEA on our behalf, giving us the heads up that someone is leaving and has been generally pissed off that dd hasn't got in. (Not quite sure why but hey ho).

She has now had her knuckles wrapped by Admissions who have told her she is not allowed to support us at our appeal (which I now know is definitely not allowed) and she has shown favouritism towards us. I had a meeting with her on Monday morning and she was almost in tears about it when she read me the email they had sent her. They did this because I had a chat with admissions on Friday about my appeal and they obviously got wind of stuff she's said to me.

I have told her that part of my appeal will be that she has 'given us an expectation' (quote from prh47!) of dd getting a place in September because she has always (up til now) told us SHE would let dd get in. At that time, she didn't realise it was up to the Admissions and an appeal panel.

But I really don't know how to word this in my appeal. And will this kind of this hold weight? Any experts out there willing to help?

Other things I am going to include are:

- the school is 11 below capacity now and in September will be 13 below capacity so allowing dd in will not have a detrimental effect on school resources.

- as far as I know I am the only person appealing for a place at the school.

- it is usual for a small no of children to leave during the school year, so the increase in nos in admitting my child will likely be temporary.

- ds's assessments - he has made significantly more progress than expected from his KS1 SAT's results at this school and we want the same for dd.

- this school offers 25 after school activities compared to 4 at dd's current school, including cookery, yoga, gardening - stuff which is fab for dd as she is not sporty!

- they do competetive sports day, dd's school do not ( I wholeheartedly believe in competition)

- she has a sibling there - they could attend the same after school clubs, offer each other emotional support, school run easier etc

I don't think the classrooms are huge and when the school has its yearly Asset Management Plan it is said the classrooms are suitable for 30 children. So I was hoping to put in something about m squared, but don't think I will.

The head has also told us of meetings she has had with a family who have a child in dd's year group. They are looking to move out of area in the near future but the council have to rehouse them and they have 6 kids, so it might take a while. But that would add weight to the temporary increase in number argument wouldn't it? Can I use this sort of information in my appeal? Or would this get the head's knuckles wrapped again!

Any thoughts and comments on the above would be really gratefully received as I have to get my appeal sent off soon. I have been wracking my brains to try and think of good, solid reasons but at the end of the day for me personally, it is all about reasons I can't use such as lack of girls in her current class, her best friend goes there, dd is desperate to go, I want my twins to get in next year and having a sibling there would help with that and I just prefer their ethos to learning. Her current school is fine btw, it's not that she's unhappy.

Sorry it's so long!!!!!

LIZS Wed 29-Jun-11 10:27:30

Where is she on the waiting list ? Curious as to why a space hasn't come up already if your dd is high priority. tbh I think only your first 3 are likely to have any influence . She may have a sibling there but presumably only for a year and her being non-sporty but wanting a competitve sports day may even seem contrary !.

DeWe Wed 29-Jun-11 11:11:15

I'd agree with LIZS, except I think the sibling is relevant, even if it's a year. I really would miss out on the sports day and after school stuff because it smacks of "this is a better school so I want it" rather than my child is being disadvantaged by not being at the same school as her sibling.
If the head's had her knuckles rapped over favouritism already I would have thought they are going to potentially be rapped again if you say she has "given us an expectation".

titchy Wed 29-Jun-11 11:31:44

Actuallyas this is no longer ICS, you shoudl put all the reasons why this school is better suited to your child. You have to prove that the benefit to your child outweights the dis-benefit to the other children already there. I've worded that really badly but you certainly need to show how beneficial this school will be - I'm sure the resident admissions experts will offer better advice shortly though (better worded too!).

I don;t think a rumour that a family might be leaving is worth mentioning though - the panel has to decide based on facts as they currently stand - not on what might ot might no happen in the future.

However - don't worry about the Head having her knuckles wrapped - that's not your concern!

prh47bridge Wed 29-Jun-11 11:35:14

Regarding giving you an expectation, simply state that the head indicated that you would get a place in September which gave you an expectation that your daughter would be admitted. You were preparing for her change of school and, in view of the head's comments, were surprised and disappointed when your application for admission was rejected. The head has already had her knuckles rapped over this. I would be surprised if they get rapped again but I would definitely use this regardless as it significantly helps your case.

Looking at the list of things you want to include, it generally looks good. I wouldn't say too much about your son's assessments as the panel won't think that is relevant but go big on the after school activities. That is the kind of thing which helps to win appeals. I wouldn't mention the fact that you think you are the only person appealing. The panel will know how many people are appealing for a place in Y3.

I would be very careful about using information about a family possibly moving out of the area. You certainly don't want to say that the head has told you this as she shouldn't have done so. Any other source of information, however, is not authoritative. I would deal with this by asking in the appeal for some idea of the level of turnover experienced by this school.

Chocolatebrowniesandicecream Wed 29-Jun-11 18:58:00

From a teacher's point of view, I don't know how they could fit a 31st child into a classroom. The furniture is planned for 30, 5 groups of 6 is very convenient and it would set a bad precedent to allow a 31st child. In our borough we have full schools and immigrants occasionally wait at home a couple of months without a school place. 31 children is never an option so I wouldn't waste too much time and energy on your appeal as I feel you have no chance whatsoever until a child leaves.

Chocolatebrowniesandicecream Wed 29-Jun-11 19:12:23

PS. Be kind to your headteacher. In our borough schools were in charge of filling empty spaces until some months ago, now the local authority has taken over. So she can no longer help you as she thought she could at the beginning, (though she officially should have stuck to the waiting list, but some schools did not stick strictly to them if there was a choice of a nice child or a nightmare one). But if you're going to have links with the school in the future, try to cover her back, after all, she did try to help you. You'll get in some time I hope. The sibling argument is the strongest one.

Poppyella Thu 30-Jun-11 10:20:11

Thanks for all your comments.

Chocolate - of course I will be kind to the head. She has been fantastic in all of this and knows completely what I am going to do and I have her full support. She really was genuinely surprised that it was not up to her to say who gets in or not, I'm not cross or anything, I was just a bit confused to start with because I had conflicting information. I'm doing nothing she doesn't know about.

And also, I don't feel as if I am wasting time and energy doing this at all. I have tried twice in the last 2 years to get dd into this school. We will never get in if a place becomes available and there are 2 pupils wanting it because we live in the middle of a field, miles away from any school so will fail on distance. And as I've said before, that is fair enough. But legally, classes do not have to remain at 30 from Year 3 so I will do the best I can for my daughter and personally I don't feel I have 'no chance whatsoever' when I know of other schools where classes have gone above 30 and others, who seem to know a lot about these things, think I have at least a reasonable case. If she doesn't get in, it won't be the end of the world, but I am definitely going to try.

LIZ - there is no waiting list. There is never one (here anyway) after reception. We just have to apply whenever a place becomes available and then all the usual rules apply. She might not be sporty, but competitiveness is still important, she also needs to learn to be a good looser iyswim.

And thank you prh47 - helpful advice as always. I will remove the stuff about the other family moving, I thought this wouldn't really be a good one anyway because it is not fact. I will however talk at the appeal about numbers moving in/out of the school.

I am just about to write my appeal up and send it off so thanks for all the info.

mummytime Thu 30-Jun-11 10:46:11

My kids classrooms often change arrangement, and have up to 33 kids in a class. So I think maybe Chocolatebrownies needs to think out of the box. Don't you ever move into rows? Or a horse shoe shape? Do you have SEN kids who need special desks? You borough also seems to be failing in their duty, to find school places for children ASAP, maybe its because the immigrants don't have the best information on their legal rights?

pooka Thu 30-Jun-11 12:26:15

The schools in my borough that are limited to 30 per class above ks1 are the exception rather than the rule.

Dd is in a class of 32. The parallel class has 31. It is not a problem in the slightest in terms of tables and groups. Makes not a jot of difference. Shows a certain lack of imagination to rigidly adhere to certain table layouts and to be unable to compute one additional child at ks2.

Poppyella Thu 30-Jun-11 12:32:26

Thank you mummytime and pooka - makes me feel a whole lot better!

smile

ragged Thu 30-Jun-11 12:52:54

I don't see why your DD being sporty or competitive would be relevant to your appeal; not that I am involved with appeals, but it would get my back up if I had some influence & read that in your appeal. Ditto re better academic opportunities (how well your DS has done), Having a sibling at same school is the strongest factor you have, I'd play ever aspect of that to the hilt.

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jun-11 14:52:42

ragged - I can tell that you aren't involved with appeals!

Having a sibling at the school may give priority for admission in the normal admissions round but it is generally not relevant for appeals. Far from being the strongest factor the OP has, it is actually one of the weakest. What matters is whether the child will be disadvantaged by not attending the school. The strongest factor on the OP's list is the after school activities.

Poppyella Thu 30-Jun-11 16:16:25

prh47 - is there any way I can get you to see a copy of my appeal before I send it off? I plan to post it so it gets to admissions on Monday so I have some time.

I am still not sure whether some of the more personal reasons should just be said anyway, or whether by doing so they will hinder my case and 'put the panels' backs up'. Obviously they are relevant to me, but not sure if relevant to them iyswim.

If this is not Ok then that's fine, you have been more than enough help already so thank you.

ragged Thu 30-Jun-11 16:18:27

You're right, I'll bow out in embarrassing total ignorance.
This is like peering thru a window into a parallel universe.
Because everyone is potentially disadvantaged by attending a school with much fewer exC opportunities; how can you argue not? So I'm amazed that anyone can appeal successfully on that basis; I thought state schools should be about providing a basic minimum standard of academic skills, not cheap and convenient during/after school clubs, winner-takes-all sports days, yoga and gardening. confused

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jun-11 17:32:38

If you PM me I'll give you my email address.

admission Thu 30-Jun-11 22:15:26

You absolutely have to use the fact that the head gave you an understanding that you would get a place. The wording suggested by PRH is fine. At the end of the day the reality is that the head should have known what the admission code says and that from last September that the rules were that only the LA admission office can admit pupils.
Chocolatebrowniesandicecream is also not aware of the rules. Immigrants waiting two months for a school place is illegal under the admissions code and 31 is perfectly legal and your LA and schools are again wrong in apparently trying to suggest that there cannot be any more than 30 in a junior class. There can also be 31 in infant classes in some limited situations.

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