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(9 Posts)
Vonnymc Sun 12-May-13 14:10:32

Hoping i can get some advice here. I have an infant class size appeal for my son, applied to a CofE school (i'm catholic) but we applied under Cat 2 - exceptional circumstances which in the school policy guidance it states medical reasons and also sensitive family circumstances. The reason we applied under Cat 2 was because we also have a 7 yr old who is very severely disabled and as this is my closest school (next school is double the distance), this would mean i could push my disabled child in his wheelchair and my 4 yr old on his scooter and get to school in time and still get back in time for my disabled boy to go to his school on special transport. The school i've been offered means my 4 yr old would get to school late and my disabled boy would be extremely late for school.
We can't get up earlier or dept the house before 8.20am as my disabled son has to have his feed by gastrostomy (directly into tummy) and lots of meds for severe epilepsy. We can't drive or walk when he has this due to excessive vomiting and refluxing.
Any advice welcomed. I have to drop in the appeal form this Wednesday and then i'll submit my report with evidence later.

tiggytape Sun 12-May-13 14:34:40

Vonnymc - some schools only take into consideration the medical / social needs of the child applying but it seems this school has a wider definition so that's good.

You say you applied under category 2 - were the admissions authority therefore aware of your reasons but turned you down anyway?
If so you can appeal on the grounds that this is unreasonable - the unreasonable part is that they knew your circumstances but did not given them due consideration.
For an appeal to win on those grounds you need to show that the authority had the evidence and full details from you but unreasonably disregarded them. If you did not provide any information about this when you applied then it is unlikely the admissions authority will be deemed unreasonable (it can only take things into account if it knows about them)

And finally, the location of the school may have some bearing. If this is the only school accessible to a child who has a sibling who uses a wheelchair then there is a strong link between medical considerations and the school being allocated. But if there are schools within similar distances to the one you are appealing for or that only require a few minutes extra by car, it may weaken the case that this is the only suitable one.

Evidence that might help would be to show journey times for all of the schools including the allocated ones and a letter from DS's Dr explaining the restrictive issues of feeding and meds (and the time limits / travel limits these impose).

Vonnymc Sun 12-May-13 20:35:05

Tiggytape, thank you so much for replying.
When i applied, i enclosed a copy of my older son's statement, plus a letter from his paediatrician and a letter from his GP basically stating it would make our lives easier for our younger son to attend our closest school as we would have to walk as we can't put our disabled child in a vehicle after his meds and food.
The school we want is 10 mins walk each way, the next school which the LEA offered us is 23 min walk each way.
I am sending a letter with some bullet points of appeal, plus the appeal forms. I have also asked them for a date they need my evidence, which i am busy trying to type up a 10 page report on all the point which i've listed as: Background, Decision Unreasonable, Childcare & Logistics, Distance, School Ethos, Faith, Supporting Evidence, Conclusion.
The other day i did the walk to both school and have typed up a mock journey, logging times that i reached each road to cross, basically getting to the allocated school late, which in turn means my disabled child is extremely late for his school transport by the time we get home. We can't leave the house until 8.25am as his feed (gastro fed) only finishes then. My husband leaves home at 7.30am so by the time i get both boys ready and fed, i can't go earlier.
Desperate for this school to make my life a little less stressful.
What annoys me is that they doubled their intake from 30 to 60 for his year. They basicallly refused us by saving that our young son could attend any school locally, i wrote back saying i'm well aware of that but that is not the reason we applied and i quoted their note under Cat 2 but still got the same reply again, like they have completely ignored it.

admission Sun 12-May-13 21:34:54

It is obvious from what you have said in your two posts that whilst the school as the admission authority has a medical circumstances admission category that you have not been considered under that category at all when the places were allocated.
The first thing to do is go back and read very carefully what it says under the medical category. Does it say medical condition of the pupil or does it not specify? Obviously if it says the former then the admission authority have been correct in not allowing you to be in cat 2.
If however it is not specific to the pupil then by default it can be any medical condition of any of your family that means there is a specific reason for needing a place at the school. I would say that what you have described would seem to fit that descriptor.
What concerns me is that you clearly have applied for being considered under cat 2 and that they do not appear to have given that due consideration prior to the date for places being allocated and told you the answer.
I would definitely appeal. With an intake of 30 or 60 it will be an infant class size regs case and you therefore have to argue that firstly that there has been a mistake made in that due consideration was not given under cat 2 - they need to prove to the panel that due consideration was given to your medical condition, which I suspect they cannot. Secondly that if due consideration was given to you application under cat 2 then the decision reached was unreasonable given the evidence submitted.

Vonnymc Mon 13-May-13 17:29:13

Hi Admission
What it states in their Notes of the guidance is:
"Cat 2 - Exeptional Circumstances: a child who has a serious medical, physical or psychological condition OR if there are sensitive family circumstances which make it essential that the child attends this school rather than any other".
When they wrote to say 'not accepted', they stated :'i regret to inform you that it is not considered that the evidence you submitted for your child fulfils the necessary criteria for a priority place at this school. The supporting documents submitted do not demonstrate that it is essential for your child to attend this school over any other".
On the report i'm typing to submit before the hearing, i have a heading of unreasonable, do you think that under this heading i also state firstly that due consideration wasn't given to our application as it is my older son that has the medical condition?
I'm so stressed in my every day life but this has added a whole other meaning to stress. Thank you for your help.

2468Motorway Mon 13-May-13 19:38:00

Good luck Von I hope the panel find in your favour. It looks like there is wiggle room for the panel. If the school you got allocated is good you could point out in front of the panel that you are not trying to avoid school x, its just logistically impossible.

admission Mon 13-May-13 20:03:49

Unless there are any other notes around what they accept as sensitive family circumstances then they should have been prepared to consider it under that category. From the reply they seem not to have recognised that and I am not sure from the reply what they have considered. The statement does say it needs to be about a medical consition around the pupil not another member of the family. So whilst it is a medical problem you need to be saying they should have considered it under the sensitive family circumstances criteria.

The appeal is going to end up being around whether the panel consider the school's decision unreasonable not to accept that this meant that it was essential that you go to the school. I would ask in the appeal document who they consulted to establish the medical validity of refusing the request given that you submitted clear information from your consultant on the reason why this was a necessary imperative to go to this school rather than one further away.

ProudAS Tue 14-May-13 13:31:45

You may be able to appeal successfully if you were wrongly turned down but the appeals panel can only consider information available to the school or LA at the time of your application in determining whether this happened.

Whether a child can be placed under cat 2 is a grey area but if the letter from dr simply stated that it would be easier for 4yo to attend closest school this may not carry as much weight as one stating that attending alternative would cause a major hardship and be incompatible with 7yo's needs.

Vonnymc Thu 16-May-13 14:15:37

When we submitted our original application, i sent a letter from his GP and a letter from his Paed which stated we needed the school for transport and distance reasons to make it possible to take our disabled son too. The LEA were the ones that told me what supporting letters to get. So now i'm getting letters of support from just about anyone i can think of and since they are waiting for me to submit more evidence, i should damn well hope they consider it, otherwise they should tell me not to bother.
This whole system is not black and white and alot of parents have issues that come under a gray area. I feel its worth 30 mins of my time at the hearing to fight my case for my child, then even if we don't win (which i'll be gutted with), at least i know i tried my hardest.

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