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Got appeal date, quick question

(28 Posts)
jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 10:45:16

Ok so we have an appeal date now and we have everything pretty much covered by the looks of it but just want to cover all bases. The statement from LA mentions number of classrooms- can I ask the school to give me information about this?

tiggytape Thu 27-Jun-13 11:35:26

Yes you can. You can ask the school for any information that you feel might help. I assume you are looking to see if they have included any recent additions or building work to the figures they used when calculating capacity?

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 11:41:25

Well just wanting to make sure I am clear really. The LA statement says that 'there are only two classrooms for years 1 and 2 and so admitting another F2 children would have serious implications'. I know the school pretty well and know that there are there is at least one room that at the moment is not used as a classroom (it's used for cooking/art activities etc) so I just want to know that we are prepared and have all the info about the school correct.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 11:42:49

Would I ask the office or the head? Thanks

tiggytape Thu 27-Jun-13 11:46:39

If this is a year 1 or year 2 appeal then actually class space won't come into it - even if they have extra room it won't help you since the limit is set at 30 children per class regardless of resources and space.

If there are already less than 30 per class or this isn't an appeal for Year 1 or Year 2 then there is scope to look at capacity.

You would need to get the details and ask one of the experts like prh because it isn't as simple as saying 'they've got a cooking room free - let them use that'
When capacity is calculated some allowance is made for storage space, specialist teaching rooms etc and I don't know the rules on that.
If you get the figures and post, one of the experts who knows about the calculations will help I am sure.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 11:56:41

Thanks. To be honest it has little to do with what we have based our case on but it's juts that it was mentioned in their statement so I wanted to make sure we had covered every base. It's an F2 place and yes an ics so I know very difficult to win. Our appeal is based on the fact that DC would have a sibling at the school on his start date (which is the wording used in the school's policy) and they counted him as not having a sibling as we had moved out of the area for a short while). It's pretty complicated.
Thanks again, you actually gave me some advice back in April when we were first looking into this so thank you again for that!

tiggytape Thu 27-Jun-13 12:15:38

You're right, it is a good idea to have these things clear in your head before you get to tht appeal. What you want to avoid is accidentally asking a question on the day that strengthens the school's case for them and shows off how cramped the school is for example.

I remember from April I think - you have the LA that wasn't that helpful with replies? It does sound complicated - hopefully if this is an error and your DS should have been counted as a sibling (and assuming all siblings get in) the panel should find in your favour.
It depends whether you do meet their definition of sibling and whether therefore the council was wrong to treat you as a non-sibling application.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 12:27:33

Yes that is right. I did get replies from them although they are pretty slow in replying and have been unhelpful with information about the waiting list. But never mind we have what we need now.
Well from their numbers there are 4 out of zone applicants without a sibling link who have been given a place. After looked after children, sibling links is the next criteria to be given priority and the wording is 'children who already have a sibling attending on the date they are due to start'. So even if we were treated as out of zone as we accept that as we were not living in our property at the time of application, then he did have a sibling link on the date he was due to start (backed up by an email from the head who states that there would be space for her to come back - it is a key stage two class with 2 classes of 18/19).
We have also found other schools in the area which have worded their policies differently to state time of application or allocation, which this school does not.
I know they these cases are rare to win but we need to try. Thanks again.

tiggytape Thu 27-Jun-13 12:56:48

jellysmum - that looks hopeful and I hope the panel agree with the wording and dates issues. It seems all siblings got a place so it comes down to how they define sibling. It looks as if you do meet the criteria as stated for being a sibling. If they only want siblings of those already in attendance then that is what they must say. I suppose the panel will query how definite the place in September is for the other sibling – is that a formal and definite place (one that is being held open) or a new place that isn’t yet confirmed by the council.

I would also query the waiting list if you haven't already. You are now living in zone so you might want to check they've updated your position on the list to reflect this. It doesn't matter you were out of area when you applied, the list has to be updated with the new address.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 13:04:54

The place has now been taken up by my daughter as we moved back into our property earlier than expected. She has been back there since 1 st June now and is loving being back at her old school with her friends. smile

As for the waiting list. I have tried so many times but they will not give me any information. They know that the older sibling is now there and I have posted them proof of our residency but have had nothing to say that this is okay etc. I emailed on Monday to ask them if the proof I sent them was sufficient or if they required anything further. I know it was delivered as I sent it signed for and have a receipt for it. They did originally say that the position would be updated once I had sent the proof but.

tiggytape Thu 27-Jun-13 13:59:21

jellysmum - in that case you should almost certainly be top or near top of the waiting list. You really need to push for an answer on that because if they have admitted anyone from the list since you sent in your proof, this has potentially deprived you of a place that should have been yours.
As you know ICS appeals are tricky even though you have the hope that the panel will find an error was made however waiting lists are a good bet especially if you are number 1 so you want to make sure that you aren't being overlooked unfairly.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:02:15

I'm just not sure what I can do as they point blank refuse to give me an answer. My husband has suggested we can put in a freedom of information request as they are holding information about our son.

tiggytape Thu 27-Jun-13 14:06:35

No they cannot just point blank refuse to give you an answer. Have you complained at the lack of confirmation - it seems ridiculous. I know some councils get twitchy about telling parents list positions too early in case they get false hope and feel disappointed if they move down not up. But we're nearly in July now. I would ring (daily) and insist on speaking to the Head of Admissions and getting reassurance. I would back each call up with an email too to state that yet again you are seeking clarification on this. I suppose a FOI request is an option but probably not fast enough.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:13:36

Thanks. I was beginning to think I was going mad to be honest as they just keep saying no they don't give out that information. At first I accepted that it was probably too early and waited until late applications etc were dealt with. But now they are saying they cant tell me because positions change- a fact I told them I was aware of and only wanted to know his current position but still no! I have also emailed the request and still been told no. I have emailed them regularly, it takes about a week for them to reply if they do, and as I say they have not replied email about lack of confirmation with the proof of residency yet. I think I may ring them now actually.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:24:06

Phoned them. Managed to get confirmation that they have my proof of residency but still nothing on positions on waiting list. I asked why they wouldn't give out the information and she just said she didn't know she was just told to say they couldn't give it out.

jellysmum77 Thu 27-Jun-13 16:04:37

Oh and scrap that about the cooking/art room. As well as that there is also a classroom that is currently not used. It is the one my daughter was in when she was in year 2 but is now empty. I'm going to go in and ask for info in the morning after I have dropped the children off at school/preschool.

admission Thu 27-Jun-13 23:11:21

I think that you are going t have an argument with the local authority about wording. You are taking "children who already have a sibling attending on the date they are due to start" as there is now an elder pupil in the school who will be there in September but my suspicion is that the elder sibling was not there on the date when on time admission applications closed. The LA will argue and probably win that it is obvious that the elder pupil has to be in school at the time of application and the last day of on-time applications and continue in school next September to give sibling priority.

jellysmum77 Fri 28-Jun-13 09:31:04

Yes we guessed it would come down to this but we have to give it a go for my little boy. I know it is our fault that he is so confused as we moved him out of the area for that time so I feel like I have let him down and need to do what I can to put it right.

mrsmortis Fri 28-Jun-13 09:44:43

On the waiting list front if they won't budge I would submit a formal freedom of information request. They will have to respond to that. You can ask for your position on the list before you submitted proof of residency. When they updated your residency information. If anyone was given a place between the time that you submitted it and when they updated it. What your current position on the waiting list is. And anything else that you can think of.

jellysmum77 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:00:33

Thank you Mrsmortis.
We emailed last night with a data protection request as that is quicker than a FOI request. We asked about his position after our proof was received, if anyone has been given a place since then and for his current position. We have had the most stressful twelve months with one thing and another and this is just adding to it.

prh47bridge Fri 28-Jun-13 10:54:19

A DPA request is the right one to go for as you are after personal data. But it shouldn't actually make any difference - if you submit an FoI request for something that should be a DPA request the LA is supposed to treat it as a DPA request (and similarly if you submit a DPA request when it should be an FoI one).

jellysmum77 Fri 28-Jun-13 11:07:25

Thanks, that's good to know.

queenfromars Fri 28-Jun-13 13:32:18

Could I just ask the difference between a data protection request, and a freedom of information act, and how you go about obtaining either?
We had our appeal on the 19th, we didn't win but some information about the waiting list came out which we have been desperately trying to have explained - admissions haven't replied to a single email sent in almost 10 days now. We cant get through when we ring.

mrsmortis Fri 28-Jun-13 13:46:50

The DPR is for info that they are holding that is personal to you. The FOI is for more general info.

I talked about an FOI because that is what I was told to request when I was trying to find out if we had grounds for appeal (I think I was asking a mixture of things actually as I wanted catchment maps and the straight line distance of the last child admitted but also our straight line distance and confirmation of what category they had placed DD in).

jellysmum77 Fri 28-Jun-13 14:06:03

We just sent them an email requesting the information and quoting the relevant parts of the data protection act 1998. Requests must be put in writing.
Hope you can get the information you want.

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