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damn school appeals

(8 Posts)
josie2312 Tue 05-Jul-11 00:09:35

we just lost our primary school appeal the panel told us we had put our appeal across perfectly and we had covered all areas yet we still failed....our daugher has an upper limb amputation and got very upset when she started nursery she became shy and withdrawn for months till everyone got used to her she used to come home with questions like why dont they like my little arm why is my little arm scarey, the thought of her having to to through all this again is very upsetting to her and us as parents, but we were basically told by the appeals panel that any upset our daughter will experience she will get over it!! also my husband is disabled he cant walk unaided ie crutches or on bad day wheel chair the school we choose gave us access to the car park and isabel and her dad could walk safely without the need for isabels hand to be held, the school they have given us after several practice runs the closest we can park to the school is a quater of a mile away on a busy main road he will be unable to hold onto isabel to keep her safe and away from the road parents park half on the kerb all the way to the school again appeal panel told us nothing they can do its our resposibility to get her to school, we cant get help with transport as we didnt get into our nearest catchemet school even though the closest one is 2.6 miles i just dont get it...

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 00:23:20

A few questions before I offer any advice.

Was this an infant class size appeal?

Does the school have an admissions category for special medical needs?

Did the appeal panel make the comments about your daughter getting over it and so on in the appeal hearing? Is that what the actually said?

On the transport issue, if the offered school is over 2 miles walking distance away the LA has to provide free transport unless there is a nearer school with places available. If they are saying that they aren't providing transport because you didn't get into your nearest school they are getting it badly wrong.

josie2312 Tue 05-Jul-11 07:58:36

thank you...yes it was a class size appeal, they didnt make the comments at the hearing, we got it in writing informing us we had failed (yet 3 children did get in) and yes this is what they actualy put..."we feel that any initial comments or upset that Isabel may encounter at a new school will be short lived and she will eventually get over it and settle in"...they also said with regard to transport " parents are resposible for getting their child to and from school, we realise how difficult it will be in this instance both on the safty aspect and your husbands disability we can not offer you transport as your given school is not your closest school or your catchment school........we asked for a place at our catchment school and 2 other school close by but were given a different school which is further away even our catchment school is 2.6 miles away...im so confused

josie2312 Tue 05-Jul-11 08:03:26

sorry no they dont have an admissions category for special medical needs, she is at the moment in her nursery school being put through the school action plus as they feel she will need the extra help with classes like PE and also help at lunch time

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 10:06:18

To start with bad news, the problem you had is that you can only win an infant class size appeal if you can show that a mistake has been made by the LA. If there is no category for special medical needs it is not obvious that a mistake has been made. I don't think the decision letter should have included the comment about your daughter getting over it and settling in, but I don't think that on its own justifies referring the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

I am, however, curious that 3 children did get in. That would imply that the panel has concluded that those children were affected by a mistake which did not affect you. You could try referring the matter to the LGO on the basis that the panel may not have followed the correct process in coming to their decisions but it is a long shot. You could also argue that in your circumstances the LA's refusal to admit your child to your preferred school was unreasonable.

If your daughter's problems lead to her getting a statement of SEN you will be able to name the school you want and it will be very difficult for the LA to refuse.

Turning to the transport issue, that is not a matter for the appeal panel and they should not have said anything about it in the decision letter. The comments made show a complete failure to understand the law on free school transport. The LA has allocated this school and it is more than 2 miles walking distance from your home. They therefore have to provide free transport by law. The fact that this is not your catchment school nor is it the closest school to your home is not relevant as neither of those schools have places available. Ring your LA and don't take no for an answer.

josie2312 Tue 05-Jul-11 11:58:50

thank you so much we will contact the LA regarding transport again... i know that 2 of the children got in on medical grounds (twins) because the LA did not include the covering letter their parents sent with their appeal so it was their mistake the 3rd child was a late admission with a sibling in the school, we were just at a loss as to why we were sent to the school that is the furthest away and one we didnt ask for but i guess we really dont have a choice but to send her there, thanks once again for you imput

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 12:44:13

Now I'm even more confused. If the school doesn't have an admissions category for medical needs it shouldn't matter whether or not the LA sent the covering letter. And the child who was a late application with a sibling at the school really doesn't make sense as a successful appeal. That child might get admitted from the waiting list but not on appeal. Are you certain they were admitted on appeal?

Could you identify the school involved? PM me if you aren't comfortable naming it on here. I would like to take a look at their admission criteria to see if I can figure out a rational explanation for the decisions made by the appeal panel.

dixiechick1975 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:33:36

Sorry can only offer sympathy not advice with appeal.

Just wanted to add my DD has a congenital upper limb deficiency (missing her left arm at the elbow)

She is just finishing the reception year and it has gone so, so well.

I had so many worries re her starting a new school but the school and staff have been fantastic. The children have been aswell and it really is a non issue day to day.

Best wishes.

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