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To appeal or not to???

(12 Posts)
Dalulu Fri 26-Apr-13 00:41:51

Well like thousands all over the country we didnt get into our first choice of school which happens to be a catholic school, we're practising Catholics go to mass weekly, our daughter is baptised since she was 7 weeks the priest has been in our home blessed it etc.

So got the letter last Wednesday to say what school my daughter got into which was a non religious school.... We're irish living here 5 years and all we have from home is our church on a Sunday Religion is very important to us, my daughter don't close her eyes until she says her prayers etc u get what I'm saying so today we received a letter to say the cut off point this year was 0.69 from the school where we live 0.72 just over 50 yards we're out by, BUT my daughter has bad asthma on a nebiliser and the school she got into (which I've no other bother with besides it being non religious ) is being knocked down and build up in stages around the kids and will be complete in 2 years... I spoke to my doctor and she's said this will be bad for my daughter to be around as building dust will effect her chest badly.... So are these grounds to appeal on????
Thanking u all in advance

NynaevesSister Fri 26-Apr-13 04:47:06

It sounds like you will be very near the top of the waiting list. Can you find out more about movement in the school and how likely it will be that you might get a place?

There will be more knowledgeable people along soon, with a lot of very good advice for you. Can you say more about what the admissions policy is for the school - what are the criteria? Is it based on children in care/SEN, then siblings, then church attendance, then proximity for example? Did you meet all the religious requirements?

What does the school say about admissions on medical need?

You would need to get a lot of documentation, including letters from the doctor, to show that this school would adversely affect your daughter. But what you actually need to show is that this school will meet those medical needs. As I understand it, the local authority could offer you another school, where there is no building work.

It is always worth appealing if only so you know that you have done everything you can. But if it is an infant class size (ICS) case then you will only succeed if you can show that a mistake was made that cost your child a place. For example, if the religious attendance wasn't read correctly, so your child didn't get in, but a child from a further distance did get in. It doesn't sound like this was the case for you though?

Another tactic some people are trying, where they are waiting for a space at a school that has a history of movement, is to defer starting. If your child was born after December, you could possibly hold of them starting in reception. It could be that a place comes up while you are waiting.

admission Fri 26-Apr-13 09:08:13

Whilst you can go to appeal and argue that your child's condition will be affected by the building work, the fact that this was not presumably disclosed at the time of the application will count against you. If the admission criteria included a medical category, you could have been considered under that category but having not disclosed it, the admission authority did correctly place you in the admission criteria order based on the information that they had. If there is no medical category then the medical condition is not relevant in admission terms.
I would be tempted to raise the medical issue now and see if this can get you higher priority but it does not give you a right to go to the school you want, the LA could easily say there are places at X,Y and Z school that are equal distance away and has no building work. The key issue for you is not the medical condition it is the wish for a catholic school.

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 10:31:05

To add to Admission's comments, most primary school appeals are infant class size cases. That means you should only succeed if a mistake has been made, for example your child being placed in the wrong category or the distance being incorrect. If it is not infant class size you would stand a better chance. As a rule of thumb, if the admission number is a multiple of 15 it is likely to be an infant class size case.

Dalulu Fri 26-Apr-13 12:08:23

Yes I've been thinking all the above, we meet all the requirements but we were just 52 yards away from the last position given so I'm thinking appeal, just try and speak I've got doctors letter and meeting with our priest today he's going to do a reference letter he too is surprised we didn't get in, our church is tied onto the school... Being only 52 yards away I'm thinking we could be near top of waiting list and my little girl won't be 4 until July so I might actually defer her in the meantime and just wait and pray for some hope....thanks for the advice x

Dalulu Fri 26-Apr-13 12:08:57

It's two classes of 30 pupils....

tiggytape Fri 26-Apr-13 13:01:38

As others have said there are only 3 ways to win a YR appeal for schools with 30 per class:

1. A mistake that directly cost you a place
2. Illegal admission criteria
3. A decision so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand (the standard of proof is high - the decision must be irrational to be challenged eg child protection / witness protection issues and other exceptional and serious situations).

Because of the ICS rules, it isn't down to whether the panel think you would benefit from a place. It is down to proving that the LA's decision to refuse you a place, in the light of your medical evidence, is so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand. If you did not submit medical evidence when applying, the LA cannot be said to have been unreasonable in ignoring it or giving it due consideration.

The extra problem, even in an ordinary appeal, would be that you are only able to demonstrate why one school is unsuitable whereas you would need more focus on the school you are appealing for not against.
However suitability does not feature in ICS appeals unless you are going the 'unreasonable' route to prove the LA wrongly ignored needs they were aware of.

I think it is worth going to appeal as you never know what might turn up but the waiting list is probably your best hope especially as you have the potential to wait on the list long after September if necessary and especially as you must be near the top of it having missed out so narrowly.

Dalulu Fri 26-Apr-13 13:31:55

I'm just new to all this at home in Ireland u send your child to whatever school u want whether it be 1 minutes walk or 1hrs drive tis up to the individual also most schools are on par with their curriculum with them all being faith schools.... The only other option we have is me move back with my daughter whilst my husband continues working here and him flying back monthly hurts to even think it could come to this we just really want her to have a catholic education.... Here's to hoping someone decides they don't want a place and we are up the top... How do u find out where you are on the list is this information they give out?

NynaevesSister Fri 26-Apr-13 13:53:34

It varies. Some local authorities won't give out information on waiting lists till May. Are you in London? In the experience I have had, schools have more movement in London and there is more chance of movement in a two form entry rather than a one form entry.

Do accept the place at the school you have been given. If you decline the local authority has no obligation to find you another place.

Check to see how you get on the waiting lists. From anectodal evidence here some local authorities put you down automatically for the schools you miss out on, but not all do.

tiggytape Fri 26-Apr-13 13:54:06

Dalulu - when everyone who got an offer for that school replies to tell the council whether they want it or not, the council will know how many new vacancies there are.
They should be able to tell you your place on the list if you call them.

The English school system wasn't always quite this crazy. A few years ago most people could get into the schools they wanted if they lived fairly close or met the faith criteria. It is the recent baby boom that's made things so competitive and stessful - too many children and not enough school places and less people going private too.

Dalulu Mon 29-Apr-13 18:04:35

Thanks girls x well we found out the last place given out was .69 and we're .72 so 52 yards we missed out by soul destroying sad we must ring the school Friday morning and they'll let us know where we are on waiting list... Yes we're in London... Here's to hoping we're high up and for some good reason someone wants to go elsewhere....
We were up with our priest he's in shock he's going to write a letter to support appeal as we've been going there since we moved here but as he said going back a few years ago priests had so much say not no more but its still good to have him on side as school is connected onto the church so he'd know who to write to etc..... Again may mean nothing but gotta try everything smile

annh Mon 29-Apr-13 18:13:32

You need to not overvalue a "Catholic" education. Talk about moving back to Ireland with your daughter seems quite a radical option. Surely the benefit to your daughter of living in a family unit with both parents outweighs sending her to a Faith school? Wherever your daughter goes to school in London, the school will be Christian in character and they will have a daily act of worship. Other than that, you can maintain your religion at home with prayers, etc and through Mass and other religious ceremonies in church? This is not Ireland and your daughter will not be doing her First Communion preparation through the school but separately through the church, for example. I am Irish, my children attended a Catholic primary in the UK and there was not a hint of First Communion work at school, it was all done evenings and weekends through church.

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