In year admission appeal panel help please...(20 Posts)
I have two children we would like to more to our catchment school rather than the local catholic school. Currently there may be a place for one but not the other from september and so we have to go to an appeal panel reading through all the paperwork I understand we really need to build a case for each child why they should go to the new school.
I'm really looking for help on the key wording I should use to help at the panel process and I guess wording I shouldn't use as well.
The reason for change is a feel the current school isn't working with my child to help him and we have had very mixed messages over the last 3 months, looking at the new school we feel both would feel so much more settled and they would receive any help they needed and the communication between teachers, school and parents is so much more which is important to us.
Has anyone been to one of these panels? What can we expect? Can we build a case to increase the class size to 31 and if so how do we do this?
Thanks in advance.
Style - firstly your chances of appeal depend on which year group you are appealing for. If it is Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 then very little you can say to an appeal panel will help you get a place. They must uphold the law which states 30 children per teacher is the maximum allowed for these year groups.
If it is Year 3 or above then you are right - you need to present a case to explain why your child's needs and interests would be best served by attending the school you are asking for.
As a general rule though, you will not win an appeal simply by explaining what you dislike about the current school. That is not what appeals are for. Always remember you are appealing for one school not against another. In a successful appeal you might barely mention the current school at all. You need to focus instead on the features about the new school that make it so suitable for your child and show how it meets their needs eg the way the curriculum is organised, social needs or medical needs that only this school can meet, clubs and activities that they offer that would benefit your child.
All of that will help in a Year 3 appeal or above but not really in an appeal for a younger child where the class has 30 already. In those cases you can only win by demonstrating the LA made a mistake in refusing you a place which is highly unlikely with in-year admissions unless you have reason to believe they have mismanaged the waiting list.
Thank you for the quick response it's year 3 and year 4 we are wanting so your comments will help me focus on what we need to say all the things you wrote is way we think the new school will be better for them so that's really helpful.
Well we have had a phone call and Y4 is sorted now only need to appeal for Y3 placement - how should we go about this as we will now have a sibling in the school which is part of the admissions policy.
Any help greatly received as i'm about to right the letter for appeal.
You approach the appeal in exactly the same way. You should mention that your older child now has a place at this school but that will not generally win your appeal. It moves you up the waiting list but that isn't what the appeal panel is looking at. They aren't allowed to admit your child just because it makes drop offs and pick ups easier for you, for example.
You need to concentrate on why your child will be disadvantaged if they don't go to this school. What is it about this school that makes it particularly suitable for your child. As Tiggytape says, you should try not to be negative about the current school, although if you have evidence that the current school is letting your child down you can include that.
There is no right or wrong way to phrase an appeal. There is no key wording that will win your appeal. Just explain why this is the right school for your child.
Just to add, I also have children in consecutive years at school and won a secondary appeal for the younger. As well as all the information about the way in which the school met our DD's needs, we included quite a bit about the relationship between our DDs and the need for them to stay together. We also had a letter to support this from our vicar (we were appealing for a C of E school). In addition, we wrote about our desire to work with the school to support our DDs in their education and how it would be much more helpful to work with only one school culture, if you see what I mean. I don't know what actually won the appeal for us but I thought I'd pass this on in case it is helpful.
Good luck with your appeal.
To play devil's advocate here - term time is almost at an end. If you take the yr4 place, your sibling is sure to be high on the waiting list, probably first.
Over the summer, plans change, people move. Chances are your Yr 3 will get a place shortly.
Will an appeal even be heard before the new school year?
Check where you are on the list for the yr3 place, also I think that the sibling advantage only kicks in when the child has actually started, it might be worth checking that with the LEA, and seeing whether the space is available now, so you can move before the holiday and be in prime position over the holiday. Hope it all goes well.
Thanks for all the feedback - the schools finish here on Wednesday so really is the end of term. How do I find out how many children are in the class can I just ring the school?
I have asked Admissions about place on the waiting list but not heard anything back yet.
Anyone about to help? If the square footage is 60 would 31 children too much?
I hope that is square metres rather than square feet! If it is, I think most appeal panels would regard it as adequate for 31 children.
I missed your question on 15th July. The LA is required to answer any reasonable questions you ask to help you prepare for your appeal.
Yes meters not feet - Thank you.
We now have another potential issue but I'll post an new message as it's long
There is no actually minimum size for a classroom, there are recommended levels that come from what is called Building Bulletin 99. The original figure going back a good many years was 48 sq metres for 30 pupils and that is probably the minimum that most classrooms in schools have been built to. In effect an appeal panel has to accept that a classroom originally built for 30 can still take 30 even if the recommendations have changed (though of course the admission authority will argue otherwise).
The latest recommendations are that a standard classroom should be a minimum of 56 square metres, though for KS1 it now considered appropriate for them to be 63 square metres for any new build.
Assuming we are talking sq metres then 60 would be perfectly sensible for 30 in year 3 and adding an extra pupil would depend on the actual situation in the classroom. So if there were two pupils with limited mobility in wheelchairs and with Teaching Assistants in the classroom as well as the teacher then this would be a different situation from the more likely scenario of 30 pupils with no TA. If you like the first situation is one where the prejudice to the school would be much higher than the level of prejudice in the second situation.
I would not have any concerns over whether the room is big enough, though I have no doubt that the admission authority will say the room is too small as part of their case not to admit.
Thanks admissions - that's very helpful indeed.
Hello I know this thread was last year but did you manage to successfully appeal??? If so any advise
Instead of resurrecting an old thread why not start a new thread of your own and tell us a bit about your case. You will then get some expert advice.
I am a first timer here on Mumsnet! My case is probably one that has appeared on this site before.
I have made an in-year transfer for my son (he has just turned 9 years) to attend our local oversubscribed primary school. I am not hopeful as we have applied every year for the last 3 years and have failed. This year I have decided that if we fail I will appeal. We have two things on our side:
1st our youngest d has just got a place there
2nd it is our nearest school
Since this is an in-year application (my son will be entering year 5 in Sept 2017), I wondered whether a different approach to appealing is warranted? What arguments can I make to an appeal panel? Some specific pointers would be most welcome esp. from prh47bridge.
You don't have to consider class size prejudice as the class is not in KS1. Instead you have to prove that it it more detrimental to your son than the class for him to be admitted. The basis for your argument is:
He has a sibling at the school - some panels are unwilling to split siblings between schools so this is a good thing.
Drop off and pick up is more difficult when you have to be at two sites at once so mention this in your appeal.
Mention any emotional, social or health needs of your children, particularly the one you are appealing for. If there are exceptional needs within the family, including adults, it is also worth adding that in - it builds a picture of difficultly which could be alleviated by both children being at the same school.
Mention that it is the closest school and also your preference.
It may be helpful to mention any reasons why you feel the other school is unsuitable - have you had reason to doubt the provision there?
Those might help with your initial thoughts.
Do not mention why you think the present school is unsuitable! Instead look for things in the other school that the first school does not offer, eg your child is musical, school 2 has a school orchestra, your child is mathematically gifted school 2 runs a maths club in conjunction with a local secondary, your child is interested in drama, school 2 has a well established drama group. You see the sort of thing.....
The panel is also unlikely to be interested in your problems with drop off and pick up at two schools, after all, you have applied for your second child to go to a school which is not the same school as its sibling.
This will be an ordinary prejudice case. To win you need to show that the disadvantage to your son from not being admitted outweighs the problems the school will face through having to cope with an additional pupil. This must be about things that will affect your son, not things that are inconvenient for you. Transport and child care difficulties do not win appeals. You must remember that you are appealing for this school, not against the current school.
I have to disagree with most of Charmatt's post.
Having a sibling at the school is not relevant for appeals. Mention it but only as a fact. It is not an argument for your older son to attend this school.
Drop off and pick up being more difficult is completely irrelevant. That is a problem for you. It is not a problem for your son. Appeal panels are told very clearly that logistics issues such as this are not relevant for appeals. It only becomes relevant if your son's journey is more than 45 minutes each way or if he has mobility problems that make the journey difficult.
Emotional, social and health needs will only be given weight if backed up by a letter from a medical professional stating that, in their view, your child needs to go to the appeal school. Without that evidence the appeal panel is unlikely to give any weight to such arguments. Exceptional needs of others in the family are not relevant at all.
Being the closest school is not relevant. The fact it is your preference is obvious - you wouldn't be appealing otherwise! However, it is not relevant.
Do not mention any reasons why you feel the other school is unsuitable. The only exception to this is if you have proof that your son is being bullied and his current school is failing to take adequate action to deal with it. You don't mention bullying so I presume that is not true. As I said previously, you are appealing for this school, not against the current school. At best the panel will ignore anything you say about the current school. At worst you may antagonise them - whilst none of the panel will be connected with the appeal school, they may be connected with your son's current school.
Concentrate on looking for things that the appeal school offers that are not available at your son's current school and that are particularly relevant to him. So, for example, if your son is musically talented and the appeal school has a lot of extra-curricular musical activities that are not available at his current school, that is worth bringing up.
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