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Urgent question re school appeal

(8 Posts)
Schoolsaga Thu 07-Nov-13 13:54:03

Hi there

About to send off my school appeal but am worried I am about to make a mistake. Any experts out there?

It's for infants so it's tricky. But I have just found out that one of the classes has only 29 children. They aren't taking anyone else in because other classes in the year are 31

My question is should I mention this? Or should I keep quiet until the day of the appeal and bring it up when they try and say its a CSA. Similarly, I could say of they have 31 in other classes why can't they have a class of 30. Or do I keep quiet so they don't know I intend to ask them about this on the day. If I mention it they will be able to prepare their answer. Plus there might be 30 by then and then I have defeated my own argument.

I need to get this off fast but don't want to make a clanger.

Any expert help?

Many thanks!!

tiggytape Thu 07-Nov-13 13:59:13

Hopefully prh or admission is about but I wouldn't mention it at this point.
Class numbers are a stage 1 aspect of an appeal. It is the stage 2 aspects that you need to outline and provide evidence for in particular (i.e. why you are asking for a place).

Also, I suspect that 31 in one class and 29 in the other means this is an Infant Class Size appeal. They are allowed 30 children per qualified teachers under the class size laws and they have 2 teachers and 60 children. It seems a very odd way to arrange things but technically they are full in reception right now.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Nov-13 14:22:35

They are clearly full if there is a class of 29 and one or more classes of 31 but I don't think this is an ICS appeal. You have to look at individual classes. Currently they have a class with only 29 children. Another child could be added to that class without breaching class size regulations. There must be at least one excepted child in each of the classes that currently has 31 children or they would be in breach of class size regulations already. They can't say that it is ok to have 31 in one class because there are only 29 in another (unless, of course, the two classes are always combined to form a single large class). That isn't how it works.

I agree with Tiggytape that you shouldn't mention it at this point. Your case needs to be about why this is the right school for your child. If they argue that this is an ICS case you can challenge that in the hearing on the basis that there is a class with only 29 children.

I am assuming, by the way, that the class of 29 is in the right year for your child. If it is in another year I'm afraid it isn't relevant.

Schoolsaga Thu 07-Nov-13 14:29:13

Thank you so much!!!!! Prh - you're the one who has helped me AMAZINGLY!! I thought that is what you had said but wanted to clarify. Thank you!!!!!

admission Thu 07-Nov-13 18:34:54

This could get very messy at the appeal but there is no doubt that you should not mention the class sizes at present. You need to present a good case for admission based on your part 2 personal reasons on your application form.

If it goes to appeal and the class sizes are still 29 and 31, then the first question that has got to be answered by the admission authority is why is there 31 in one of the classes. One assumes that to meet the ICS Regs that the answer will be that there is one person in the class who is an excepted pupil. That then confirms that the class can legally have 31 in it. The panel cannot change the internal arrangements of the school, only the school can. So they could have moved a pupil from one class to another, making 30 in each and therefore an ICS Regs case. They have chosen not to do so in this case.

The fact that the other class in it only has 29 means that with a PAN of 60 the school still has met that criteria of being up to PAN and with other reasons like small classrooms etc can argue that the school is full and that it would be prejudicial to admit a further pupil. However the assumption here seems to be that 60 = an infant class case, which it is not, the class must have 30 in it, not 29.

There is currently a bit of a discussion going on about what happens if the admission authority states this is an infant class regs case and in reality it is not. The previous perceived wisdom was that if any panel disagreed that it was infant class size regs case then it would precede to judge the appeal on the basis of a normal prejudice case. That is why you then need to have a very strong part 2 personal reasons case, so it can sway the decision in your favour.

However there is now another view,based on what is said in paragraph 4.6 of the school admission appeal regs that if the admission authority argue that it is an infant class size regs case and they fail to convince the appeal panel that it is an infant class size regs case then the appeal can automatically be granted. What it says is that the panel may only uphold the appeal at the first stage where it finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the ICS limit. May in the last sentence is not the same as must. Must means that it is mandatory, whereas may leaves it more open to the panel to make a decision, hence the current discussion.

I would actually try and argue that the case must be decided on the basis of it being ICS or not to start with in part 1 of the appeal. The panel should not find it is ICS based on the 29 in the class. If they do then that should be referred to the Ombudsman as it is a wrong decision. If the panel decides it is not ICS and agrees with you that is the criteria for the decision, you win. However if the panel decides to proceed as a normal prejudice case then your strong part 2 case then comes into play to try and convince the panel to allow the appeal.

Schoolsaga Thu 07-Nov-13 21:41:51

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I really do appreciate your help! It's all new territory for me which makes it difficult when you are trying to do your absolute best. I would hate to make an obvious clanger out of ignorance.

I will take your advice and mention nothing about numbers. My only other question is whether I need to get the school to write me a letter clarifying that one class only has 29 children. At the moment I do not have it in writing. I know there are only 29 after chatting with the year two teacher. And if I do need a letter do I submit it a few days before the hearing as I know you can't take any evidence along with me. If I don't get a letter clarifying the 29 doesn't it just become heresay? Or do I rely on the school to produce these statistics. I'm almost there and feel I can give it my best shot thanks to some wonderful advice on here. Thank you!!

prh47bridge Fri 08-Nov-13 00:57:48

There should be a class arrangement as part of the LA's case which you will receive a few days before the appeal. If it is missing or doesn't agree with what you have been told you should get the school to confirm in writing. I would not expect any problems with taking this evidence along to the hearing as this is something the LA should already know. The worst that will happen is that the chair adjourns the hearing but I would be surprised if they did that for this evidence.

admission Fri 08-Nov-13 10:27:31

It has to be the first question that any panel is asking, exactly what are the class arrangements and how many in each class. The LA must know that when they come to the appeal. I would not provoke any thoughts in their mind by asking for such information prior to receiving the admission authorities case and seeing what it says.

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