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Mid-year appeal for primary place

(12 Posts)
crikeybarker Thu 07-Nov-13 13:16:38

I have an appeal in a couple of weeks for places for my children at a different local authority primary school.
Long story short, my son was offered a place at a school from the waiting list, I accepted, then my daughter got a place through the sibling rule, but it turned out they had his birth date wrong, there was no place and both places were withdrawn.
I am appealing and would appreciate any advice, precedents set, test cases, rules about how long the offer needs to be made before withdrawal etc etc or any other helpful info!
Much appreciated!

prh47bridge Thu 07-Nov-13 14:11:41

Assuming it was their mistake the accepted rule is that an offer made in error must be withdrawn within 3 days. The latest Admissions Code changed the wording of the relevant paragraph and some LAs think this may have removed the deadline. Until the LGO has decided a few relevant cases (or one has gone to judicial review) we can't be certain. If it was your mistake (i.e. you put the wrong date of birth on the form) we are in a different situation and they are entitled to withdraw the offer.

Am I right in thinking that the fact they had your son's birthdate wrong meant they were putting him in the wrong year?

If it took them more than 3 days to withdraw the offer I would argue that it was too long and the offer should stand. I would also put forward a case as to why your children need places at this school. This part of your case needs to be about their needs rather than any benefit for you, so transport issues and childcare difficulties don't count.

crikeybarker Thu 07-Nov-13 14:23:51

Thank you so much for your response.
The error was the council's. Apparently they had him down on their system with two different birthdates, and they accept their system is where the error occurred. His birthdate placed him in Reception, their duplicate form with the error placed him in Year 4 I think.
The mistake was realised when I handed the forms in, the call to offer the place was made by the school, and I went in to fill in the forms a day or two later. Does the offer count as the day I had the call? Not sure it was as long as 3 days. May have been only 2.
There is no particular need for my kids to have this school other than that it is a good school and their current one is not, so I don't think I have grounds there.

crikeybarker Thu 07-Nov-13 14:40:34

I just checked back on the messages on my phone. The offer was made on my voicemail from the school on 10th July, and I actually went in to the school on the next day, the 11th to accept and fill in the forms which was when the mistake was realised. Had I left it a few days it wouldn't have been noticed within the 3 days, as it was only when they checked the forms when I returned them that they saw it.
Do you have a link to the changes in the regulations about the time limit so I can gen up on that bit?
Many thanks

prh47bridge Thu 07-Nov-13 17:17:42

The change in regulations isn't directly about time limits. The old Admissions Code said that an offer could be withdrawn "where a place was offered under co-ordination by the local authority, not the admission authority, in error" (2010 Admissions Code paragraph 1.50). The current Admissions Code simply says that an offer can be withdrawn if it has been made in error. Some LAs think this change is enough to mean the previous timescales no longer apply. I disagree.

Given your latest posts I think the difficulty you may have is proving what was said on the phone call (and, indeed, whether that constituted an offer). If this is an infant class size case that will be crucial.

admission Thu 07-Nov-13 17:47:43

I think that my reaction as a panel member would be that this was an honest mistake and it was spotted as soon as you went to accept the place and fill in the forms.
You therefore had nothing in writing offering the place, which would have included the year for admission to and therefore become an obvious mistake. You also had not accepted the place offered and the "three day rule" is obviously from when you accept the place, so overall I think you have a weak case for a panel to find in your favour.
Added to that is the possibility that the appeal is an infant class size regs case as it is for reception year, which will also reduce your ability to put forward a strong case.
Another point is that the school assumed that son was year 4 and therefore the sibling link was there because younger daughter is in year 2 or 3. As soon as the son is actually in reception year, there is no sibling link to a younger child. So your daughter's appeal is even more tenuous that your sons.
I think the only case that you can put forward is that the school did make the offer, which they seem to be admitting to and that then having the offer withdrawn for both children has been a traumatic for them as they were so looking forward to changing schools. Talk about the things that make this school so much more appropriate for your children (being good in Ofsted's eyes is not acceptable, it needs to be about things they can do at the school that they cannot currently do. )

crikeybarker Fri 08-Nov-13 12:05:45

Thanks for your replies, all good stuff to know and think about before the day.
To clarify, the offer was on a voicemail message so I do still have it, and I did accept the places in writing as they only noticed the error when they looked at the forms. But was the next day, so the three day thing wouldn't apply.
Also my daughter is older than my son, so her place was solid as long as his was, his was a Year 1 place for this term (Reception at the time of the offer at the end of last year), hers was for a Year 3 (now Year 4).
I had indeed told them they were moving,and he had told his friends and his teacher which of course has made an already uncomfortable situation at their current school even worse.
There are many factors about why their current school is not meeting their needs, and why the other school would be better, but does this hold any real weight, as it's really just the benefits of a good school versus a not good one?
Many thanks

prh47bridge Fri 08-Nov-13 13:33:01

For your daughter it certainly holds weight if you can show that the current school is not meeting her needs (but without reference to Ofsted ratings or league tables). You can certainly talk about the offer being made in error but I think the appeal panel is likely to agree with Admission. In the absence of a mistake the appeal will be about balance of prejudice, i.e. whether the disadvantage to your daughter of not attending this school outweighs the problems the school will face through having to cope with an additional pupil.

Your son's case is likely to be infant class size which means it is harder to win. You can still talk about the current school not meeting his needs but it won't carry so much weight. You should also talk about the offer being made in error and the effect that has had on him.

lougle Fri 08-Nov-13 14:10:57

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with prh47bridge and admission. You were offered a place in error, but the error was corrected in good time - mistakes happen. How the error was identified is irrelevant.

The fact that your DS's place was offered in error, means that your DD's place offer was also in error because she would not have had sibling priority otherwise.

crikeybarker Fri 08-Nov-13 14:50:52

Thanks again.
I am well aware it is a very flimsy case but it is all I have, I couldn't turn down the chance to give it a go sad

lougle Fri 08-Nov-13 16:10:24

I'm sure you're aware, but the fact that he is in KS1 makes this so very difficult. I was at some training yesterday and the quoted success rate was 0.4%, for our County, for an Infant Class Size Appeal. Considering that most of that 0.4% will be an error not corrected by Admissions, the chances are really quite miniscule.

Having said that, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't appeal. It's your right in law.

Retroformica Sat 09-Nov-13 07:37:24

Worth appealing but if all fails hopefully a place will come up soon anyway

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