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Y3 appeal in 2 weeks -confused about the lack of detail in the Governors case

(15 Posts)
easton Fri 07-Sep-12 12:08:53

I am appealing for a y3 place for my son.

Our appeal is based on that we have moved house in the summer and are now in the catchment for the village school, my other son will be at this school, we could walk to school and I have mentioned school clubs that he is interested that his current school doesnt have.

We received the date and info for the appeal. I was expecting the Governors (who are in charge of admissions at this school) case to be a detailed arguement about exactly why they cannot admit one more child over the PAN.

All it says is "All available places at xxx school were allocated using the schools published admissions criteria and the count council's preference rules. Although parents can express a preference for which school they would liketheir child to attend there is no duty to comply with this if it would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources"

Thats all it says! It sems very vague to me.will they produce a more detailed case at the appeal?

tiggytape Fri 07-Sep-12 12:22:52

You are allowed to ask questions in advance and they must reply to these. You should look for things that weaken their argument that admitting one more will prejudice the resources and education of others.
So you can ask how many appeals were upheld in the last 2 or 3 years then look at their SATS results to prove the school didn't suffer academically as a result. You can ask for the size of the classrooms. You can ask for their net capacity (how many they could physically take) in relation to their PAN and see if there is a big difference (eg if they have more classrooms added in recent years or lots of space, it may be that these figures show they can fir more children in).

They should not be springing any surprises on you on the day of appeal. If they arrive with vast amounts of extra data you haven't seen you would have to ask for the appeal to be adjourned so that you could read it all else you would have no chance to refute it.

As you know - there is no class size limit to worry about for year 3 and your main focus should be on the reasons why only this school is suitable. Do not dwell on transport or childcare arrangements - they carry little weight at appeal. Instead look at clubs, the way the school is structured, extra things the school can offer that particularly suits your child and the need to make local friends after the disruption of a move to a new community. You can definitely chip away at the school's case as well though as this also forms part of winning the balance of prejudice so maybe start by asking for more detail from them about current class size numbers, previous years data etc as above.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Sep-12 13:06:13

Their case should explain how admitting your child will cause prejudice to the school. The paragraph you have quoted does not do that. If that is their entire case it is grossly inadequate. An appeal panel faced with that should conclude that the school has not proved that prejudice will arise if your child was admitted, which means you would win your appeal.

The fact they have come up with something so inadequate suggests that either they plan to blindside you with additional information on the day (which is not allowed - demand an adjournment if they try that) or their appeal panels are not properly independent and can be relied on to produce the "right" answer.

Is this a faith school?

BetsyBoop Fri 07-Sep-12 13:15:51

Agree with everything Tiggy and PRH said.

One other option is that the school are, on the quiet, happy for you to win the appeal and admit your DS, but don't want to actually say that. (and if they are full they can't admit without an appeal)

Then when the parents moan about the extra child (and very often some will...) they can hold their hands up and say "it was not our doing, we said no, it was that nasty appeals panel wot did it..!"

easton Fri 07-Sep-12 13:57:45

thankyou for the quick replies.

Prh - yes it is a Cof E school. The appeal is being held at the Diocesan Church House. Does this make any difference?

Betsy - glad you said that, it had crossed my mind that maybe they don't mind me winning the appeal and aren't really trying to put up a case and are just going through the motions of opposing the application.

I have spoken to this governor (is the chair of admissions at the school) several times and she comes across as a very professional, competent person so I was suprised at the lack of a thorough case.

I have received data on previous class sizes, size of other year groups and classroom sizes so will be going through this and try to use anything i can find.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Sep-12 16:42:27

The fact it is a faith school shouldn't make any difference in theory. Sadly some faith schools use appeal panels that are not properly independent and a few ignore decisions made by the LGO.

As the school's case is so inadequate, be careful you don't make their case for them! I would be careful about introducing subjects they haven't mentioned.

easton Fri 07-Sep-12 17:17:08

thanks. I have just reread the pack and the school has another 2 more days to send through their full case so we may receive more details next week.

I have just seen that another child was admitted in July on appeal bringing the current class to 31.

The classroom size is 64.1 square meters. Isthis a large or small classroom size? The sizes for the y4 5 and 6 are 74.5, 66.2 and 57.0

admission Fri 07-Sep-12 18:33:30

The rules say that the school as the admission authority has to prove why the school cannot take any more pupils in the year group over and above the very general statement that they have made.
However that does assume that the panel are independent and knowledgeable. You should get details of who is on the panel as well, so I suspect that you are going to get more detailed information sent to you.
64.1 square metres is a good sized classroom. New standard minimum for 30 pupils is 53 square metres but infant classes would be built to 63 sq metres.
Obviously the fact that a child was admitted in July is of interest but it is a double edged sword. On the one hand it says that the panel felt that the school's case was not as strong as the parent's case and therefore same could apply to you. On the other side of the coin, there are 31 in the class and you are asking the panel to go to 32 in the class. They are likely to be more resistant to that.
If they do not give any more information, I would simply let the school say what they want to say at the appeal and then say to the panel that as your understanding is that they have to prove the case over and above a general statement and they have not, so please admit.

easton Thu 13-Sep-12 17:23:10

Hi OP here

The appeal is next Thursday and we haven't received any additional info/data since I posted last week.

In the appeal pack I received last week were names of the panel members, FAQ about appeals, room sizes of all classrooms, map of catchment area, Net capacity assessment document, map of the school, admissions policy, history of when other pupils were offered places, numbers in year groups and SEN pupils, teacher/TA numbers and history of communication between me and the school/LA.

So there is a lot of data , but the Governors case doesn't state which of this they are going to use on the day.

I understand that they can't produce new info on the day but it doesn't seem fair to me, that I don't know exactly what they are going to pick out and use from this on the day when I have told them exactly the reasons for our appeal.

prh47bridge Thu 13-Sep-12 23:18:46

The classroom sizes, net capacity, numbers in year groups and teacher/TA numbers are the kind of things around which the school could try to build a case, but they should do so in their submission to the panel not make the case on the day. If your appeal fails I would refer this to the LGO to see what they make of it.

admission Thu 13-Sep-12 23:27:34

When there is an appeal one of the things that the appeal panel have to establish is whether the admission arrangements have been correctly carried out, that is the right people were offered places based on the school's admission arrangements. That is why the information about admissions is there. The level of SEN pupils in the school is also another factor that most admission panels will ask about, hence the data.
What however there should be is some statement that firstly confirms that the school have admitted to the PAN (and above) but also what the effect would be of having to admit a further pupil. That should be the reasons over and above meeting the admission number. One would expect it to include comment on the size of the classrooms / overcrowding, the fact that an extra pupil would mean that the teacher could spend less time with each pupil, etc. The reasons don't have to be earth shattering to be appropriate but they should be there.
At stage 1 the admission authority will make their case not to admit and you then have the opportunity to ask questions of the school's case. You can't just say to the panel I don't believe that they have made the case, give me a place. What you need to do is ask questions of the school, like "so your case is that because it will prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources you should not admit" " you have not specified any reasons for it prejudicing the provision of efficient education, so would you not agree that further pupils can be admitted" and "my understanding is that you have to prove the case not to admit over and above reaching the PAN. As you don't seem to me to have done that, can the panel assume that they can admit a further pupil."

easton Fri 21-Sep-12 10:59:58

We won our appeal!!!!

Thankyou so much to everyone who has given me advice. I would not have not have known where to start without mumsnet.

If we had of lost, we would have put in a complaint to the LGO as the presenting governor's case included stuff that hadnt been in their written statement.

She talked about potential health and safety issues of pupils moving around in the classroom and a few other things. I thought her case was quite weak so I was surprised when we did have to go on to the 2nd balancing stage of the appeal.

We will get a letter next week with further details of the decision, it will be interesting to see what they thought were the key issues.

Thanks again

Frikadellen Fri 21-Sep-12 13:06:53

Congratulations

prh47bridge Fri 21-Sep-12 14:03:09

Well done.

admission Fri 21-Sep-12 16:10:07

excellent news.
potential health and safety issues are always worth throwing in as a last resort but the real question that should be being asked by the panel is whether there have been health and safety incidents that directly relate to overcrowding. In the vast majority of cases the answer is no.

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