2 appeals in 2 counties!(5 Posts)
I've been reading other members' posts with a sinking heart. I know we have a slim chance on our ICS appeal next week but I would be really pleased to hear if anyone has any success stories.
My DD aged 7 was refused a place at our 1st choice junior school as it was full. DS who is 5 still attends the infant school in the same village but as they are 2 separate schools rather than the same primary the sibling criteria does not apply. We are also "out of area" as although we only live in the next village and have no village school, we are over the border in the next county. We appealed the decision on the basis that DS will still be at the infant school in the village in Sept and the school DD has got a place at is 4 miles away from the Infant school in a different direction and different county. School run nightmare - school start times are the same. We were refused on appeal last week even though last year the junior school let in all 5 appeal children above PAN.
Meanwhile to cover all bases we put in an in-year application for DS to go in to Year 1 at DD's new school as it is a 3 - 11 primary. Although we live in the normal area for the school and the sibling criteria does this time apply, we were refused because that school was also full because of ICS regs. We therefore have our second appeal next week. We are really up against it seeing as we have already lost one appeal which wasn't ICS. We haven't had the papers yet to be able to check the class size figures but we have spoken to the Head and have no reason to doubt it is full. The only ground we can see for arguing our case is the "unreasonable" test.
I have rung ACE and an advisor told me to argue there will be safeguarding issues if we leave one child unattended (which we wouldn't!) to get the other to school on time but conversely we could be prosecuted if we are persistently late with the other.
Your experts have advised other members that appeal panels will have no sympathy with school run problems. We will also have different school holidays to contend with and a 8 mile/1 hour round trip and the start and end of every day as we'll need to walk both children in to school. We both work and juggle the school run between us on a weekly basis as it is. My work has already declined my request to reduce my hours to manage the longer school run but this would mean me losing wages anyway. We are being forced in to incurring additional childcare and travel costs & potentially losing wages which would otherwise have been unnecessary.
Feel like giving up and like all we can really do is apply again next year for a Year 1 place and the year after and hope that someone moves away. We've been advised by DD's new school that even when DS reaches Year 3 they can't guarantee he will get in so we will then face yet a further appeal and years of this endless traveling. I know we have nothing to lose by appealing further but this is exhausting and worrying enough already and we haven't even experienced the reality of the school run in September yet! I know there are probably people in worse situations than us and at least we have a car - any advice to persevere or give up and live with it would be helpful!
I see the ACE are getting inventive! But no, I'm afraid that won't wash in an infant class size case. I know it is tough but you are expected to cope. The bar you have to meet for "unreasonable" is very high - you pretty much have to show that the decision was irrational.
Your DD's school can't make any promises for Y3 but an appeal then will be easier to win as infant class size regulations won't apply.
I would advise you to persevere. You never know what will come out in the hearing. You may strike it lucky. But you should also start thinking about what you will do if this appeal fails. Are there any other schools you could consider where you might find it easier to get both children in, for example?
There might be a sibling criteria for infant / junior schools but the key point is that it usually only applies where there is an older sibling not a younger sibling. So the probability is that you could never have won using a sibling arguement.
I'm actually quite shocked that ACE are suggesting you mention school run/logistical issues at an ICS appeal. They must know that there is no scope in the code for allowing ICS appeals on that basis.
Do persevere - you've got nothing to lose - but be realistic about your chances and find a Plan B for if (or, most probably, when) your appeal fails.
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Much as I thought. Like you say, nothing to lose but very doubtful. We'll just have to come up with a travel plan over the summer hols. DD's first full day visit to new school today and she seems ok with it all so that's one less thing to worry about!
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