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Primary appeals help needed

(40 Posts)
GracieC Wed 12-Jun-13 09:58:58

Hi,

I know there are some really well informed people on here and I was hoping someone could help.

The situation is that DD didn't get into our first choice primary and she is the only one on the waiting list. We have appealed but as it's an Infant Class Size appeal we weren't too hopeful. But, the headteacher has told us that he would be prepared to take DD even though it goes over the limit and the school would not be contesting our appeal. He had spoken to the admissions authority and told them this and they had said that we (the parents) probably wouldn't need to attend the hearing as the panel would be very unlikely to go against the wishes of the school.

My question is, can I really start getting my hopes up or will the panel just say that the class is full, there are no mistakes so tough?

Thanks.

PatriciaHolm Wed 12-Jun-13 10:15:33

If it's a regular state school with the LEA as admissions authority, then he is really overstepping his bounds. The school is not allowed to support your appeal. The appeal panel should reject your appeal if no mistake has been made, and the fact the school is fine with it is irrelevant; the school cannot just decide it doesn't want to abide by the law.

Of course, panels sometimes make decisions they shouldn't, but if anyone else were to request a place at the school and found out what had gone on, the panel could be in serious trouble.

GracieC Wed 12-Jun-13 10:20:22

Thanks PH - I really don't want to get my hopes up but the headteacher just sounded so positive. Could we use what the headteacher said in our appeal?

scaevola Wed 12-Jun-13 10:36:24

The head is speaking well beyond their remit. The school cannot by law admit over ICS numbers unless you show a mistake in handling the application, an unlawful criteria, or a legally perverse decision (eg child protection issue).

You might I suppose make some headway if say, she's the only potential pupil is a village left out, as a sympathetic panel might admit even when they shouldn't.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Jun-13 10:41:53

You could try but the panel may not consider it as it amounts to the school supporting your appeal which, as PatriciaHolm says, is not allowed. On the other hand you could argue that the headteacher's comments have given you the expectation of a place. This may lead to a successful appeal if the panel accept that, although I think it is a long shot.

If the LA is the admission authority they will contest your appeal whatever the school thinks. And if the school is its own admission authority they will be in all sorts of trouble if they fail to attend and put up a case.

If the school wants to break the law, as appears to be the case, the panel should go against their wishes. You may be lucky but don't count on it.

GracieC Wed 12-Jun-13 10:50:10

Thanks everyone. I think our best hope is a sympathetic panel but I won't hold my breath.

tiggytape Wed 12-Jun-13 12:21:05

That is a very surprising thing for a school to do. It breaches the admissions rules to offer you support and exceeding the 30 class size limit also breaches the class size laws. I know the Head is probably trying to help you but he has overstepped a line there.

However, as prh says, you could use this very unprofessional surprising behaviour as part of your appeal to say that in your view, you have been effectively made an offer and would like it honoured. The appeal panel may not agree but it is something you can raise.

timmytoes Wed 12-Jun-13 15:31:13

The panel should also take into consideration the implications of 1 more would have for the other 30 children in the class. I think the parents of the 30 may not necessarily all be overjoyed with a larger class.

admission Wed 12-Jun-13 16:21:39

I would love to know what local authority you are in because they doing exactly what they should not be doing legally. The head teacher has clearly gone way beyond what they is supposed to do or say and then the LA admission office appear to be aiding and abetting them in what is illegal.
I would absolutely use it at the appeal saying that you believe that you have been made a verbal offer of the place and cannot understand why the LA have not followed that up by confirming it in writing.
My concern for you is that you have nothing in writing, it is solely what the head teacher has told you what he has said to the LA and what they allegedly have said to him. They have put themselves in a potentially embarrassing situation as they probably cannot deliver on their promise.
The panel will not roll over and admit because legally they cannot. The only two options they have to admit are proving that a mistake was made and you should have been offered a place and the LA making an unreasonable, perverse decision. The panel will be in trouble if they just admit because the head thinks it will be OK, the infant class size regs trump all. If it had been an ordinary appeal situation and the head came and said yes we can take the pupil, they would probably admit, in this instance they should not.
You need to go to appeal and push the issue of what has been said as hard as possible - is there any chance of getting the head to commit to writing what he said?

RenterNomad Wed 12-Jun-13 16:58:29

We've had 2 kids leave our reception class so far this year, and I know one "left" before the year opened. This isn't the only reception class, either.

The DC of a friend in another (very oversubscribed) borough made her way "up" the waiting list before school even started!

Therefore, being the only one on the waiting list isn't that desperate a situation. smile

MANT Thu 13-Jun-13 22:39:57

Good evening. We have been informed that only one of our twins will get a place into reception this September. We have an older child at the school. The class size is a maximum of 30. I however thought that if one twin was admitted the school was obliged to accept the other. However I was informally informed by the school that a class size of 31 would mean employing another teacher but I should accept and hopefully another place would become available late September/October.
It was a late application and the school is heavily oversubcribed so should I simply count myself lucky and just hope the other will get in ( we were told that we are at the top of the list) or attempt an appeal process. I'm confused and don't like the idea of appealing as the school has been wonderful but like less the idea of one of my twins going to another school. Please help me with some of your wisdom.

clam Thu 13-Jun-13 22:42:34

I too thought that twins counted as an excepted place, but there are more knowledgeable bods around on here who can tell you for sure.

MANT Thu 13-Jun-13 22:47:01

Yes I thought it was an offcial national rule.

prh47bridge Thu 13-Jun-13 23:04:26

Refer them to paragraph 2.15(g) of the Admissions Code. If one sibling from a multiple birth is admitted normally the others count as excepted children and can be admitted without breaching the infant class size limit. That doesn't mean they have to do so but it strongly suggests they should. It means that any appeal would not be infant class size so you would have a reasonable chance of winning.

However, I am concerned that it sounds like you are dealing direct with the school. The offer must come from the LA. They should know the rules better than the school. Talk to them about the situation.

MANT Thu 13-Jun-13 23:19:34

Yes as it was a late application I dealt directly with the school but expected them to offer two places. The school directly offered me one place and no CAF was completed.

So I should speak directly to the LA where the school is based as I actually live in another borough .... yes i know I am lucky .. well for one twin!

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 00:08:52

The school should not even have accepted your application and is not allowed to offer you a place. Any offer must come from your own LA, by which I mean the LA where you live. Even though it was a late application for a school in a different borough you should have applied through your own LA. If you speak to the school's LA they will simply refer you back to your own LA.

Right now you don't even have a valid application for a place at this school. You must apply via your own LA immediately.

The good news is that if they say no you will have good grounds for appeal on the basis that the school offered you a place. Even though they should not have done so an appeal panel should enforce their offer.

MANT Fri 14-Jun-13 08:01:18

Huge thanks for your advice. I will sort this out asap.

tiggytape Fri 14-Jun-13 09:11:09

The school is incorrect about the twins rule - a class of 31 is now the norm when pupils number 30 and 31 are twins.
The school is also incorrect about having to employ and extra teacher (that was a requirement before 2012 but is nolonger the case).
And the school shouldn't be dealing with any of this anyway. They have no power to offer places and it has to go via your local council which may or may not be the same council as the school's.

As prh says though - now that that school have made you an offer (even though they aren't allowed to and it isn't valid), any attempt to take that offer away from you is too late. Keep everything you have in writing just in case but if there are any problems with the council and you go to appeal, you should win on the grounds that an offer was made and the error wasn't your fault. In the meantime make sure you go via your council as quickly as possible.

MANT Fri 14-Jun-13 13:16:49

Thank you so much I feel really stressed with all of this but you are really helping me

Could I speak directly to the school beforehand and inform them that I need both of my twins- they are so nice to me that they may just accept after I advise them of the ruling or should I just go directly to my LA. I don't want to come across as a challenging parent especially as they seem to want to help me.

Must I fill in a CAF now that I have been offered a place ?

Sorry I am confused.. please advise.

PatriciaHolm Fri 14-Jun-13 13:36:32

You need to talk to the LA immediately. It's possible that the lack of communication between school and LA will result in the LA giving what it thinks is a free place to someone else, as it holds the waiting list at this point, not school. School cannot give you a place and will not know if there is someone higher on the waiting list who should have it. Worst case, you could end up having to appeal for both places. You should win, as already explained, but it would be much less stressful to get it sorted now.

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 13:40:34

You must fill in a CAF and send it to your LA. The offer you have is not valid. Whatever the school says you do not have a place at this school until either it is offered by your LA or an appeal panel agrees to admit your child.

Even though it is not valid you should make sure you have a copy of the school's "offer" in writing. If this ends up going to appeal you will need that as evidence of the school's behaviour.

I wouldn't bother speaking to the school. They clearly don't know the rules. Even if they did offer a place to both twins you still wouldn't have a valid offer. You could easily turn up in September only to be told that they can't let your children in because their LA gave the place to someone else.

The school may be nice but they are actually being thoroughly unhelpful. By failing to provide you with the correct information they have increased the chance that you will have no place at all for either of your twins come September and that you will have to go to appeal to sort out the mess they have made.

As I said last night, you must apply via your LA immediately.

MANT Fri 14-Jun-13 15:20:17

I'm reading the LA application process. the school in question is a RC VA school. Could this affect my chances of appeal as there is a suggestion that these schools have their own admisions although it also states i should complete a SIF and CAF.

Wish me luck and a huge huge thanks. This forum is a gift !

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 15:58:38

You will have to complete both forms. The fact it is an RC VA school should not significantly affect your chances at appeal. As the school has incorrectly offered you a place you should win an appeal if you need one.

MANT Fri 14-Jun-13 23:18:00

Hi,

I have just seen the school's ruling on admission of twins as follows:

If twins, triplets or children from multiple births apply and only one place is available, the offer of a place will be decided by lottery which will be carried out by the governors in the presence of an independent witness

Can they actually get away with this ? I suppose this refers to two sets of mutiples from different families applying at the same time.

I will be completing the CAF

prh47bridge Fri 14-Jun-13 23:37:37

No, it refers to multiple births from one family. And yes they can get away with this. But if they only admit one child you would have a decent chance of getting the other one in through an appeal. This school clearly hasn't caught up with the latest Admissions Code yet.

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