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To appeal or not?

(25 Posts)
MaisyMoo123 Mon 29-Apr-13 21:25:42

Hi. I've already started a thread on this but I'm after some more specific views on the appeals system. In a nutshell ds didn't get a place at our first choice of school and I'm unsure whether I have any grounds to appeal. It's an infant school with an intake of 40 and 3 mixed Y1/2 classes so probably wouldn't be an ICS appeal. Dd is currently in Y2 there but is moving up to Jnrs and sibling rule doesn't apply to transfers at the moment. I'm vice-chair of govs and whilst I know this will hold no weight at an appeal it does mean ds is very familiar with the school and staff and is assuming he'll be starting there. It's a voluntary controlled CofE school and we attend the church the school's attached to - the school we have been allocated isn't a church school. Ds is also currently seeing a speech therapist for a very mild stammer. I know nobody can tell me if I'm likely to win or lose but any insight anyone can give to help me make a decision either way would be greatly appreciated!

lalalonglegs Mon 29-Apr-13 22:01:13

When my daughter didn't get into any primary school, everyone told me to appeal to our first choice. I phoned one of the companies that specialise in appeals and ws told,ggIven the circumstances - there had been no mistake by the L.A. or anything, it was simply bad luck - I only had about a 5% chance of success. Funnier enough, being told that by an impartial person made it much easier to accept, i went on waiting lists and eventually got into another school.

I think you need to speak to an expert and listen to his or her advice. The knee jerk reaction is to fight for a place but, if you're unlikely to win, it could just compound your misery. Where is your son on the waiting list?

MaisyMoo123 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:04:06

He has a place at an ok second choice infant school and is on the waiting list for our first choice school.

janeyjampot Mon 29-Apr-13 22:48:18

Slightly different, in that ours was a secondary school appeal, but two points to consider, one negative, one positive:

Appealing completely took over my life! I thought of little else for 3 months. Three years on I'm still reading these threads because I couldn't help becoming totally immersed in it.

If I hadn't appealed, I think I'd always have wondered what would have happened if I had appealed. As it was the only thing I could do, I felt I had to give it a go. This might be more relevant at secondary, however, because my dd was very aware of the situation.

Hope that helps. It's an awful situation and I hope you feel happy with the outcome eventually, whatever happens...

admission Mon 29-Apr-13 22:55:46

The key here is that it is not an ICS regs case, you will have two small classes of 20 in reception year and three classes of 26 /27 for years 1/2.
As such it is totally dependant on how good a case you can make for admission. You might think that you have a poor case but actually you need to make the best of what you have and appeal.
You can talk about your son knowing the school as you currently have a daughter there but unfortunately the sibling does not function at present, only from next year - looking for sympathy by bringing this up. You can talk about your wish for a faith education which the allocated school is not. You can talk about the stammer and how concerned you are that going to an unfamiliar school may put him back. That you would like him to start with his friends who are all going to his school and that he believes he will be going to the school because your daughter is there currently and that you are on the governing body. Plus anything else that you can think off in terms of clubs etc
With two small classes and classes of 26/27 the appeal panel may well feel that the admission of a few pupils will not prejudice the education of the children in the school. How many other parents do you think will be appealing and how many are going to have the points that you can raise. I suspect not that many, so it is worth the effort to appeal.

prh47bridge Mon 29-Apr-13 23:11:33

I agree with Admission. On the information you have given it is not an ICS appeal so you have a decent chance of winning provided you can make a good case. If you don't try you will never know. You won't be any worse off than you are now whatever happens and you may get a place.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 07:33:09

Thanks so much for your replies.

Janey - I'm starting to feel very much as you describe. If we don't appeal then I'll always wonder...

I think I have an argument. I've just had so many people tell me I haven't got a case and only compelling cases get through that I've been put off. I've just started to research it for myself and it's a minefield!

The school are being very supportive but they have suggested that I shouldn't appeal because they seem to think that an unsuccessful appeal will mean they have to cap to their PAN - if not they can choose to up their intake later. I'm not sure if this is right? In any case it would only help us if we were high on waiting list and nobody else appeals so no guarantees.

What involvement does the school have in an appeal. I know they don't attend but do they have to/can they provide any information?

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 07:35:17

Also, they don't have regular appeals for the school - 2 in past 5 years or so I think. Both successful. Might be different this year though but I'm not aware of anyone else considering it.

janeyjampot Tue 30-Apr-13 09:52:46

Although ours was a secondary appeal, yours is very similar, particularly because it isn't an ICS appeal. I think the people who say you have no chance are thinking that primary appeals are often harder to win because of the ICS rules. But these don't apply to you.

We have 2 DDs in consecutive school years. Dd1 got a place at a faith school 18 miles from home on faith grounds - it was all on church attendance/commitment. She started school and all was fine, but by the time I applied for DD2 the admission criteria had changed to incorporate distance. DD2 was about 150th on the waiting list, so we knew we had no chance with that. At our appeal we talked about the closeness of our children, the timing of the change in admission criteria (which were actually changed back the following year), the importance of consistent school culture, our wish to treat our DDs equally, and of course the logistical difficulties we would face. Our appeal was upheld, as were eleven others from a total of forty. I am really glad I did it, not only because we won, but because it was the only thing I could do in the face of what appeared to be disaster!

In your position I think I would go for it, as you have nothing to lose (but your sanity grin ) and there is something reassuring in knowing you gave it your best shot. You will get great advice on here if you need it.

fallenempires Tue 30-Apr-13 11:13:10

From what you've posted I would strongly recommend that you do appeal.I've been through the appeals process albeit for a secondary school and our appeal was upheld.
It will be useful for you to contact your SALT and HV who presumably referred your ds to ask them if they would provide you with a letter of support naming your chosen school as being the most suitable for your son's needs.
Have the LEA indicated a closing date for lodging your appeal?
When I attended the appeal for ds1 the school did not send a representative but had their case presented by a member of the LEA.However this school isn't a faith school and iirc from reading the appeals threads at the time alot of schools do send their own representative along.
When you lodge your appeal you should receive information outlining the school's reasons for refusal to admit along with various other documents including map of catchment area and plan of school buildings indicating classroom size etc etc.Don't let this put you off!
As janeyjampot said it is a horribly overwhelming experience and will completely overtake your life for a few months but I really do think that you have nothing to lose by giving it your best shot!
Plenty of us have won appeals and you also have the benefit of the expertise of MNers who sit on these appeal hearings.Please keep posting and someone will always be willing to help.
As a final thought do get in contact with ACE and Parents in Partnership I found their help was invaluable.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:36:26

Thanks. It's such a relief to post on here and to get sensible, helpful replies. I am veering towards going for the appeal, largely because of some of the reassuring things that have been said on here. It still fills mr with fear though and I'm worried about being laughed out of the appeals room because the case just isn't weighty enough.

The LA hasn't issued a deadline for lodging appeals but a nominal date of 20th May has been given. I've been advised to get my form in soon whatever.

Starting to feel a bit panicked now.

admission Tue 30-Apr-13 11:38:00

Maisy, not sure what you mean by capping at PAN. The school legally has to admit in reception year to their admission number. Assuming it is a community school the LA as the admission authority can with the school and the agreement of other local schools admit over PAN. But they can't do that later when the fuss has died down over who got in and who did not. There has to be a waiting list kept till Dec31st and any decision to admit more would have to be in waiting list order. The LA will not let the school admit your child later and to be honest that will cause a lot of local gossip.Its far better to get a place via the appeal process, which nobody can argue against.
As a community school it is the LA who will send a presenting officer to present the case not to admit any further pupils. The school will know there are appeals as they will be asked for the latest info on the school and they will almost certainly know who has appealed.
I do not think you need to be so concerned about what the school think, it is your child and you need to do the best for your child, even though you do have an allegiance to the school.

fallenempires Tue 30-Apr-13 12:01:15

Maisy you won't be laughed out of the appeals room IME the appeals panel were very pleasant and professional,although I have to admit that the LEA rep was extremely patronising towards me.
It's important that you get things moving ASAP.Contact the healthcare professionals to request their support and ask if they will supply you with letters these can then be sent to the LEA along with the basic grounds for your appeal.
These documents will carry alot of weight at the hearing.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 12:16:42

The school haven't suggested that they would up their PAN in order to get my ds in. They are just saying that if he is fairly high on the waiting list it might help us if they are able to increase their PAN at some point. That's my issue with this plan though - it's so hit and miss and relying on a whole heal of things outside our control.

It's interesting that the school will know how many appeals there are and that they will have to share latest data. I know they can take more but presumably they won't admit that to panel as it would open the floodgates!

I'm going to talk to the school (and DH who is quite content to send him to our 2nd choice school which is right next to the Jnr school dd will be starting! Practical man!!) but I am veering towards going for the appeal.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:53:31

The admissions office is confusing mr now. They had said that 20th May was the deadline to Lodge an appeal by but now they're saying there is no deadline and it's a case of the sooner the better. I get that but surely there must be a date after which they won't accept any more appeal forms? Not a key issue really but I would like to know when we ultimately have to make up our minds by rather than just "soon"?

prh47bridge Tue 30-Apr-13 16:18:40

They will have a deadline for administrative purposes as they need to hear all the appeals for the school with the same panel and ideally on the same day. However, you don't lose your right to appeal if you miss the deadline. They will still hear your appeal but it may be later than other appeals and your chances of success may be reduced, particularly if "on time" appeals have been successful.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 17:08:28

Apparently there is no cut off. Appeals run all year. I've just been told that the sooner we get it in the better. Think I just felt a cut off date would've been helpful to my decision making!!

prh47bridge Tue 30-Apr-13 18:10:20

There is no cut off date in the sense that your appeal will not be heard if you miss it. There is, however, a deadline - the Admissions Code requires them to set one. They should have said what that is on the letter informing you of the fact you didn't get in to your preferred school.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 30-Apr-13 21:58:51

The letter says 20th - it was someone in the admission office that confused me when they said in an email that there was no deadline. I'm working to it being 20th anyway.

I'm going to chat to the head tomorrow about us possibly appealing. She has said she doesn't want to persuade either way, but it'll be good to talk it through.

admission Wed 01-May-13 12:37:49

There is no legal deadline but the LA have a massive problem in being able to organise all the appeals necessary in what is a short period of time. Hence they have to say a cut off date. Any appeals received by that cutoff date will definitely then be heard together on a specified date, along with any that come along after the deadline that can be squeezed in given the time frames involved.
Some people think that there is an advantage in not replying by the cutoff date as they will then hopefully be appealing on their own for the school at a later date. That could possibly be an advantage but it can also be a major disadvantage as your potential appeal can demonstrate. Your appeal will be a "normal" appeal not an infant class size regs appeal. One potential outcome is that the appeal panel agree to admit pupils up to the limit for infant class sizes. Those appeals will be decided on the strength of your case. However when the case comes up later in the summer term, the individual appeal may think they are in a good position but actually the appeal is now on the basis of it being an infant class size appeal and therefore effectively need to prove a mistake has been made. They have completely disadvantaged themselves by trying to be clever and work the system. No matter how strong their case the only way to get a place is prove a mistake was made.

MaisyMoo123 Wed 01-May-13 13:52:30

Thanks for your thoughts admission. I'm not looking to play the system by appealing late. I was just after a cut off to help me make a decision - having a deadline when we need to make it by will help a bit! I can see why delaying wouldn't be wise.

Just to clarify - are you saying that an appeal panel can decide to ask the school to up their intake to maximum ICS level on the basis of one individual appeal, therefore opening the floodgates and resulting in them having to take loads more children from the waiting list?? That sounds very extreme?

prh47bridge Wed 01-May-13 15:47:11

No, that isn't what Admission is saying. The panel cannot alter the PAN. They can only decide whether or not to admit the children who are the subject of appeals. However, imagine a school has a PAN of 27. In the initial round of appeals the panel may decide to admit three more, taking the Reception class up to 30. Any subsequent appeals must then be heard under ICS rules. That is what Admission is talking about.

MaisyMoo123 Wed 01-May-13 15:52:28

Thanks for explaining. I understand now. Sorry for being so ignorant and for firing so many questions!!

admission Wed 01-May-13 21:29:26

It is not ignorance on your part, this is not an easy situation for anyone, including those who sit on panels. It is obviously better if those of us with some experience can at least point people in the right direction, though there is never any guarantee of success.

MaisyMoo123 Wed 01-May-13 21:40:21

Thanks admission. I, for one, am really grateful for the insight and information that I'm getting on here. It's a whole new world for me and one that is fraught with difficulties, conflicting opinions and emotion so it's very reassuring to have some genuinely knowledgeably brains to pick!!!

I have printed off the appeals form today....

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