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Appeal letter for Reception

(18 Posts)
SuzeGreen Sat 27-Apr-13 18:23:43

I am hoping someone can help me out advice wise, regarding writing an appeal letter for my son to get into his first choice reception class. He was given his second choice due to it being a closer school but i feel my first choice would be a better school for him due to him having autism. I am also in the process of getting him statemented (i hope).
Ive never been very good at form filling etc, i get myself stressed out and in a mess.
Thanks in advance

JakeBullet Sat 27-Apr-13 18:45:35

Hi Suzanne,

I have asked MNHQ to move this post to the Primary Education topic where you'll get more advice.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 27-Apr-13 20:32:49

Thanks JakeBullet

SuzeGreen - we've moved this to our Primary Education talk topic now; hope you get some good advice.

NorthernLurker Sat 27-Apr-13 20:34:12

There will be lots of people along shortly to help I'm sure. Did you mention that your son had autism when you applied?

Cloverer Sat 27-Apr-13 20:36:04

I'm no expert, but I think unless there are fewer than 30 children in the Reception class you want then autism won't make a difference.

tiggytape Sat 27-Apr-13 20:51:39

A couple of questions:
- Does the school you want have classes of 30 in years reception - Year 2?
- Does the school you want have a medical / social needs criteria in its admissions policy?
- If so did you apply asking to be considered under this criteria and supply evidence as to why the school requestd meets the needs of your child (with evidence preferably from the Dr)?

Basically, if the school has 30 per class, you will only have a chance of winning if you can prove an admissions mistake. Suitability or preference doesn't come into it.
However, you may be able to win an appeal if you can show that the LA unreasonably ignored the medical evidence you submitted and therefore did not place your son in the correct admissions category
This would only work though if the school you applied to has a special category for medical needs and if you supplied strong evidence that your DS needed to be placed in this category.

If the classes have less than 30 in them then you have much greater scope to appeal on the basis that the school you wants suits your sons needs and is the best one for him. The reason for this is that 30 is the legal limit so less than 30 per class gives the appeal panel more room for discretion whereas if the class already has 30, their hands are very much tied.

SuzeGreen Sun 28-Apr-13 10:22:31

I have read through Walsall LA criteria for schools and it states
1. Children in public care (looked after children)
2. Children who have older siblings
3. Children for whom a place at the school is essential on medical or social grounds.
4. Distance.
Sorry to sound silly but what does number 1 mean? Does this mean SEN?

Cloverer Sun 28-Apr-13 10:33:14

1. is children in care (fostered)

Did you put essential medical grounds in your application? How many children are there in the Reception class?

SuzeGreen Sun 28-Apr-13 10:35:47

I thought it meant that but wasnt sure.
I did mention my son has autism because the same school has already read his report from the CDC when he was offered a nursery place there.
They have two reception classes of 25-26 children.

Cloverer Sun 28-Apr-13 10:51:42

If their PAN is under 30 then you definitely have grounds to appeal - I think the point you have to make is that your child would be more disadvantaged by not being given a place, than the school would by giving it to him.

NorthernLurker Sun 28-Apr-13 13:25:05

Did you mean that you didn't mention the autism in this application because the school already had the report from nursery applications? I so that will be the issue then - his application has been treated as a distance one and not one on medical grounds.

clam Sun 28-Apr-13 14:46:28

And although the school might know he has Autism, they don't deal with the application, the LEA does.

admission Sun 28-Apr-13 16:47:59

The question that is key is whether on your application form that you sent to the Local Authority you said your child has autism and that you want to be considered under cat 3 of the admission criteria.
If you did then the admission authority should have considered your application and decided whether they were prepared to accept you were in cat 3. They have the opportunity to say no but should have told you before the cut-off date. If they have not done anything then that is certainly grounds for an appeal. A lot will depend on what the LA say as to whether the panel accept you should have been considered under this category.
You say that the school has two reception classes of 25-26, so any appeal will not be an infant class size appeal and you have the opportunity to explain to the panel why going to this school is the only sensible choice. You need to be getting evidence together now and the first priority has to be a letter from a consultant confirming the diagnosis of autism and that this can lead to ......
The letter must not say Mrs X tells me that, it must be from the consultant and factual in saying what is wrong with your son. Some how you need to explain why your preferred school is the right school and getting the consultant to conform this would also be a good step forward.
If you did not mention the autism on the application form then you should still appeal as it is not an infant class size appeal. You need to explain why you did not ask for the medical condition to be considered under cat 3 and then explain all the reasons for wanting that school.

SuzeGreen Sun 28-Apr-13 17:20:46

Thank you all for all your help and advice, its very much appreciated smile xx

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 28-Apr-13 17:31:48

Dont be so sure that an appeals panel will turn down an appeal that takes a class over 30. One school near me have had appeals admissions taking them to over 40 in a class at key stage 2, and in to the 30s for eyfs and key stage 1. I understand a lot of these were out of catchment SEN. A teacher there told me that the appeals panel suggested they use the school hall as a makeshift classroom for the overspill! If your number one school are at capacity, it might be worth trying to find out what they would do if you got in. You might not like the answer, I have heard of unqualified teachers taking sessions as one extra pupil doesnt pay for another teacher. I really hope this doesn't apply to you and that there is a place.

tiggytape Sun 28-Apr-13 19:09:13

BeQuick - KS2 has no class size limits. Only YR-Y2 is limited to 30 pupils per teacher.

It shouldn't happen that YR goes over 30 and from what you say, I suspect the teacher wasn't giving you the full story
Appeal panels have no power to direct how classes should be split or managed so they certainly wouldn't be telling schools to teach pupils in the hall.
And all appeal hearings are confidential - no records are public - so there's no way the teacher would know what the appeal panel said about anything at all.

Unfortunately some schools and councils don't process admissions properly. The correct course of action if a mistake is made is for them immediately accept the pupils affected by the mistake who were wrongly denied a place even if this means more than 30 per class. It shouldn't even need an appeal.

But some councils and schools prefer to pretend they've done nothing wrong because they know parents will be angry if their mistake leads to larger classes. So they push it all the way to appeal and then basically blame the appeal panel for admitting more than 30 in reception when actually it was their fault all along for messing up admissions. They make out that the appeal panel has crazily allowed extra children to join and they are powerless to object when all along it was their fault that extra children had to be admitted.

When you said "a lot of these were out of catchment SEN" it instantly sets alarm bells ringing that these people were potentially unfairly processed in the initial allocations and that's why so many appeal and win.
If the admissions process is done 100% to the letter, there should be very few if any successful appeals for KS1 at all.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 28-Apr-13 19:27:05

tiggy that makes a lot of sense actually... easy to blame the appeals panel.

tiggytape Sun 28-Apr-13 19:37:20

BeQuicks - I did hear of one school who issued a newsletter to explain complain about the larger class sizes and basically blamed the lax appeal panels who just let anyone in.

The two people who had been cheated of their rightful places by an admin mistake (that was in no way their fault and who had been forced to go through months of appeal drama because the council wouldn't do the decent and correct thing of immediately offering their places back) weren't best pleased at basically being labelled moaning parents who'd won some dubious appeal!

And of course 2 of the people unhappy about bigger classes were people whose children, by rights, shouldn't have even got a place at all because the council had given it to them by mistake instead of the poor people forced to appeal to get their rightful places back again!

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