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In-year admissions appeal - Year 1.... Advice please!

(7 Posts)
MrsMcEnroe Mon 21-Jan-13 20:47:40

Hi, I'm hoping that some of the appeals experts could help me please?

We are going to appeal for an in-year admission for DD for Y1, at the school which DS already attends (Y4). She is currently 12th on the waiting list as we are out of catchment but she has priority over non-catchment kids due to having a sibling already at the school.

DD currently attends a private school because she wasn't allocated a place at any nearby primary schools for Reception (we live in Bournemouth and there was a shortfall of 300-400 Reception places for her cohort; it was an absolute nightmare). Our catchment school is currently full, although she is number 1 on the waiting list. We were lucky enough to get DS into his current school towards the end of Year 3 (although we are not in catchment, we only live 0.9 miles away - it is one of our local schools. Same postcode area etc).

The LEA have advised us to appeal for a place at DS' school for DD on a yearly basis. On what grounds can I appeal? Is it enough to say that, since there are no places available at any local school, we want a place at this particular school as DS already goes there and it is Bournemouth LEA's policy to keep families together?


admission Mon 21-Jan-13 21:55:54

The first question that needs to be answered is whether any appeal would be an infant class size appeal. It will be an infant class size appeal if there are 30 in the infant class that your DD would be going to .
The grounds under which you should appeal will rather depend on whether it is an infant class size case or not. If it is not then actually appealing based on the need to have both children in the same school is perfectly sound as a starting point for the appeal. If however it is an infant class size case then you can only win such a case by showing that either a mistake was made or it was a completely unreasonable decision of the LA not to allocate a place to your daughter at a suitable school. From what you have said you cannot prove that the LA made a mistake and my immediate reaction is that any appeal to show that the decisions of the LA were unreasonable should have been made last year when daughter would have been in reception.
I also think that there is a possibility that the easiest option is appeals for the catchment school for both your children as well as the school your son is at. You are allowed one appeal an academic year, unless there has been a material change in circumstances, so you need to plan carefully. For instance any appeal for daughter when the are in year 2 should be at the end of the academic year, so that it is for starting in year 3 in september. That would not be an infant class size appeal because it is now a junior class, but no doubt others will have the same idea, so timing is important.
I appreciate that you might not want to give out too much information on the site, so please feel free to PM me if that will be of help.

MrsMcEnroe Mon 21-Jan-13 22:33:17

Thank you smile. We don't want to appeal too close to the end of DD's year 2 as the school is split into separate infant and junior schools, so you have to apply in October next year for a place in Y3... Gaining a place towards the end of Y2 would therefore not result in a guaranteed place in the juniors for Y3 anyway, as these places are allocated in April of Y2. We were told to apply for Y3, and then appeal if we were turned down, using the "keeping siblings together" policy which the LA apparently has...

The LA did not make a mistake; that is true. (We didn't appeal last year because we hadnt actually applied to this school for our daughter, knowing that we were out of catchment and therefore wouldnt get a place anyway. But now that our son is attending this school, the LA has told us to appeal which makes me wonder if they are hinting that they will allocate a place to our daughter....??). And yes, our appeal would be an infant class size case as there are 30 kids in each class already.

It's further complicated by the fact that our catchment school is really not right for our daughter. I've looked around it, talked to the Head, met some of the teachers, etc and I still hate it. DH is a teacher and he agrees - this isn't just me being hysterical! Our son's school has far better SEN/G&T provision, better literacy provision, teaching that's much better tailored to children's individual needs despite the school being twice the size .... Does ANY of that have any relevance at appeal?

It sounds as though it's not worth appealing at the moment though.... Our daughter is currently no.12 n the waiting list. Out of a year group of 120, there's a reasonable chance that she will be offered a place at some point before the end of Y2. That being the case, I guess we can appeal for a place for the junior school for Y3 if she has already been turned down (late entrants to 2 aren't automatically offered places if they join the school after the cutoff date in January for applying to the junior school). It's such a nightmare!

Bramshott Tue 22-Jan-13 16:09:21

How do they order the waiting list? Are the 11 waiting ahead of you all in catchment and do any have siblings at the school? Sounds like quite a long way down the waiting list to me for a child with a sibling in the school already.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Tue 22-Jan-13 16:13:33

Isn't there such a thing as a 'hard to place' protocol whereby they have to make extra effort where it's difficult to find a place.

Normally applied to placing excluded kids - but in my book waiting 2 years for a place is 'hard to place'!!!

tiggytape Tue 22-Jan-13 17:08:00

Ann - that only applies to children offered no place at all not to children offered no 'local' place. Once the council make an offer, any offer even if it is far away and not what you'd hoped for, then they have met their obligations.
Anything after that is dependent on waiting lists and appeals. Appeals for YR-Y2 are very hard to win because the class sizes are set by law and can only be breached in exceptional circumstances eg where the council made an allocations mistake that cost a place.

MrsMcEnroe Tue 22-Jan-13 18:36:30

Hi, the 11 ahead of DD on the waiting list are in-catchment non-sibling children (which is fair enough!). Because the school is so large, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that DD might be offered a place at some point in the next year or so (2 places have already been offered since September and i would out money on the fact that not everyone on the waiting list would actually accept a place if it was offered to them) but I'm not holding my breath as it took 3 years to get a school place for DS once we'd moved into the area, i.e. 3 years' worth of private school fees .... And yes, DD was offered a school place for Year R, it just wasn't at a local school and we were unable to accept it due to logistics - but that can't be used as grounds for an appeal, I realise that.

Based on what you've all said, it looks as though we don't have any actual grounds for appealing but it might be worth appealing anyway on the off chance that we get a sympathetic appeal panel (I've seen this mentioned on other threads).... according to the LA, at this moment the nearest Y1 place is over 5 miles away. And we will not appeal for both DC to attend our catchment school because DS needs the SEN provision which his current school provides (and which our catchment school woefully lacks), otherwise that would have been a good suggestion, thank you admission smile

If anyone is thinking of moving to Bournemouth with primary school-aged children: do your research first!! It's getting to the point where you might as well use a lottery system to allocate places, as there is such a serious lack of places available. New classes are being built for 2014 apparently but that's no good to us!

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