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Another reason to help my appeal? Or not?

(15 Posts)
Poppyella Sat 02-Jul-11 13:59:23

I am going to be submitting my appeal to get dd a 31st place in Year 3 at her brothers school on Monday. I have almost completed it. However...

We got a letter from her current school on Friday saying that they will be losing the current year 5/6 teacher in september due to funding cuts. This year group will instead be taught by the head and a teaching assistant. The school will therefore only have 3 f/t teachers (81 pupils). One for YR & Y1, one for Y2 and one for Y3 & Y4.

To any experts out there, do you think that this is the sort of thing I can include in my appeal? The loss of a valuable teaching resource? And the fact that it will take the head away from, well, head duties for 5 days a week?

Please, any opinions gratefully received.

Poppyella Sat 02-Jul-11 20:57:58

Anyone out there in the know!!

smile

Ishani Sat 02-Jul-11 21:00:43

My only advice is to focus on the new school, the old schools problems are there own and the solutions have obviously been deemed acceptable by those with the decision making powers.

Ingles2 Sat 02-Jul-11 21:07:38

I'm with Ishani Poppyella.... don't criticise the school. I won a secondary appeal last month and was told repeatedly not to criticise.... you can explain factually why something is not suitable, but concentrate on why the school you want is the only one appropriate.

prh47bridge Sat 02-Jul-11 22:24:45

In general criticising the allocated school will not win an appeal. It is not uncommon for the head to be teaching full time in a small school. Concentrate on why the school you want is the right one for your daughter.

Poppyella Sat 02-Jul-11 22:35:43

Thanks guys, I'm more inclined not to now. I see your point about the solution being deemed acceptable. Well, it had better be because if I loose the appeal, she'll be staying there!!!

I am currently going through the preferred schools website and basically because it is a lot bigger than the one she is in now, it offers loads more stuff. Such as a wildlife garden, sensory garden, forest school, outdoor school stage, school choir etc. Do I include this in my appeal, or would that appear to be criticising the other school because they don't have this, purely because it is smaller and therefore does not have the funding.

The word minefield comes to mind!!!

Ishani Sat 02-Jul-11 22:57:07

Focus on why the school should take your child, not the garden, stage etc what it is about that school that is essential that no other school can provide.
If it's being with her brother and making your life easier then that's a good enough reason. Her emotional well being is best served by being with her sibling, you won't get in because she likes singing and they have a choir.

prh47bridge Sun 03-Jul-11 01:30:10

I disagree with Ishani. You could get in because she is good at singing and they have a choir. You won't get in because it makes your life easier. The facilities you list are worth mentioning provided you can show that your daughter would benefit from them because they are relevant to interests and/or talents that she has. You have to show that your daughter will be disadvantaged if she doesn't attend this school.

Ishani Sun 03-Jul-11 20:05:50

My experience is that it doesn't matter what the school has which would suit your child there has to be a cast Iron reason why it is the only school that she can attend and plenty have a choir, to use that as an example if you say she loves singing and gardening they might say great we have three schools with available places that can offer her both of those which one would you like ?
I would focus on how distressing it has been for to not have her sibling around, how close they are etc.
TBH that's all you've got by the sounds of it.

prh47bridge Sun 03-Jul-11 22:26:28

Ishani - You appear to be confusing appeals with what happens during the normal admissions round. I would agree that in the normal admissions round wanting to go to a school because it has a choir would be a very weak argument which would be unlikely to get you anywhere. Appeals are completely different.

An appeal panel is only allowed to consider the appeal school and the allocated school. If the appeal school has a choir and the allocated school does not it is open to the parent to say that the child is a talented singer and will be disadvantaged by not going to a school with a choir, especially if they have evidence of their child's musical talents. The panel is prohibited from considering other schools that may have choirs which the child could attend, even if those schools have places available. If the panel are persuaded that the child will be disadvantaged by going to a school which does not have a choir that would be grounds for a successful appeal.

An appeal panel is far more likely to admit on those grounds than because there is a sibling at the school. For a sibling to be used as justification the panel would need independent medical evidence to show that the child would be particularly badly affected by being separated from their sibling. A parent claiming that their child would be distressed by not having their sibling around is the kind of thing appeal panels hear all the time and is highly unlikely to win an appeal.

Ishani Sun 03-Jul-11 22:30:06

I disagree having been through 2 appeals this year one being sucessful and one not I gave a clear idea as to what will be accepted and not. The OP can only try but in my experience they are not interested in my child loves nature so needs a forest school they want solid tangable evidence that the childs need to attend overrides the schools admission policy and wanting a choir isn't enough.

Ingles2 Sun 03-Jul-11 22:38:26

I totally agree with you prh47bridge, The choir is exactly the kind of thing you should be concentrating on.
The strongest reasons to win an appeal are social / emotional, then school specialism.
With our appeal, we argued that ds1 is extremely shy (well documented) so needed to be at a smaller, single sex school and that as an G&T sportsman he needed a school that offered county level sport,...we won.
Obviously it's slightly different at primary level, but the ethos is the same. Look for things that only this school offers your dd and argue it would be detrimental for her to not have them.

admission Sun 03-Jul-11 23:07:51

Ishami,
that might have been your experience but believe me, PRH is correct and 500 + times sitting as a panel member says that i know that is correct.

Poppyella,
Concentrate on the new school and what they can offer because they are so much bigger but you will need, I think, to also say how small the current school is, just to give the comparison. If the new school is 1form entry then another consideration can be that the school does single age teaching and that your daughter will benefit from having single age teaching where there are far more pupils of her age. You know this because of the experience of your son at the school.
Actually Poppyella there is absolutely no reason why a small school with 80 odd pupils cannot have a choir, wildlife garden, sensory garden or a forest school. Those are as much an attitude of mind than a financial situation.

Ishani Sun 03-Jul-11 23:11:15

We can all only speak as we find, my rejection letter actually stated we understand that the school has xy and z and that your child would benefit from these but that is not justification for increasing the numbers.
Anyway good luck OP you can only do your best, fingers crossed for you.

Poppyella Mon 04-Jul-11 11:55:23

I agree admission and I think it is a real shame that her current school don't do some of the stuff the other one does. It used to have a choir for example, but not enough kids attended so that went, it has a piece of land totally overgrown with weeds which could easily be used at a vegetable patch/sensory garden but isn't - excuse is there are tree stumps in the way. And Forest school has been much talked about but with (now) only 3 teachers, there doesn't appear to be an adult trained to do it. Plus the fact that funding is getting less and less. It is a real pity.

Anyway, I have almost finalised my appeal and will be submitting it later today when a few figures have been clarified for me.

One further thing for me to think about is what admission said about single age teaching. Although I am wary to a certain extent because wouldn't that imply that the children at her current school are disadvantaged by not having this, even though the school does well?

Thanks as well Ishani for your thoughts, it is so difficult knowing what to put because at the end of the day, it does appear that half the time I am slagging off her current school. I don't actually think that having a drama club when she loves drama should help her win, because she doesn't actually NEED it, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes iyswim.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes and whether I win or not!!! Fingers crossed - for dd really who so wants to be with her best friend!! (A massive reason for her obviously, but totally irrelevant to the appeal)!

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