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Admission appeal for Y3 child - advice please!!

(7 Posts)
TheHappyEverAfterFairy Sat 15-Feb-14 09:22:49

I am looking for some advice on how best to frame an appeal for my Y3 child. I will briefly (ish!!) outline my situation.

We are relocating from Kent/Greater London to Essex to be closer to my mother, who was widowed 2 years ago and is in need of some support. I am returning to my home town. however DH and i will continue to work in London. the property we are moving to has only one state primary in walking distance. it is also an excellent school and very oversubscribed.

we have y1 and y3 children (and a pre-schooler). they are settled in our very good local school in kent. we made a mid year appl for school transfer.. as this school is the only one in walking distance it was the only one we named. unsurprisingly, we were not successful but were offered alternatives, which would have meant diff schools for each child, which we turned down.

out of the blue we have just been offered a place for our y1 child. on speaking to the school they told us we could appeal to try to get a y3 place for the other child, but that due to the practical constraints of the school (it isn't on a large plot and is bound in between 2 residential streets) they resist any appeal. they advised I speak to LEA for more info on this.

the lea have said I have nothing to lose by appealing (it doesn't go against us) so I think I will do this, but they can't give any advice on how to frame our appeal. so I am wondering on what grounds can I make the appeal? what information is considered pertinent and compelling in order for an appeal to be successful? I have looked at the school numbers and they have 1 more child than the standard 2 form intake number so at least one appeal has been successful recently.

as this is a major relocation I am keen for our children to make local friends to help them settle in quickly as they are giving up friends they have known since reception. my y3 child is shy and has only really been happy and confident in her small friendship group since y2 and am really keen for this blooming confidence not to be lost. as this is the only school in our immediate area (the nearest next one is a 10 minute drive) it is the only one that will allow her to make local friends. as it is, if our appeal is unsuccessful, we are likely to continue to drive her to her current school (60 miles away) in order to maintain her friendships. clearly I am concerned that this could/will impact on her educational achievement (she is doing very well academically at present and is on the school's G&T list) but in the short term I am prepared to risk this so as not to set back her emotional and social development. I am aware this possibly sounds ridiculous but she has had such difficulties overcoming her shyness and I just don't want to push her backwards.

although I am aware that problems getting children to school isn't an issue they will take into account, we would have real problems getting our children to any other Essex school. primarily as my husband and I will be working in London. we will already be relying on my mother (registered disabled) and a local childminder to get y1 child to school but we couldn't get another child to a school not walking distance away, without relying on cabs to get her either to a childminder in walking distance of the other school or take her directly to school. at a cost of c£100pw (there and back twice a week) which is frankly ridiculous.

any advice anyone can give would be gratefully received. I have no real expectation of success and fully expect to be making the journey back to her existing school for quite some time, but it has to be worth a try?

sorry this is epic, but if I am going to go down this route, with all the associated stress I would like to give myself the best possible (albeit still slight) chance of success.

kilmuir Sat 15-Feb-14 09:46:17

What are your grounds for appeal?

Pooka Sat 15-Feb-14 09:47:12

Bumping because am not an expert!

But some questions you may be asked by those in the know if whether other year groups higher up the school have accommodated a larger cohort. It's not unusual for schools to have larger classes in years 3-6. In our school the classes (2 form entry) have been known to increase to 33 per class in the upper years without negative impact on the school.

Do you know what the maximum number of pupils accommodated in the school has been? Our school is currently under PAN with 428 pupils through the school. I think the PAN is 444.

If you can argue that the addition of one extra child (yours) in year 3 would be practicable in terms of space within the classroom, circulation space round the school and in the hall/lunch room/playground and could refer to year 6 cohorts larger than 32 (or multiples therefof) that have been successfully accommodated in terms of results and space, then that may weaken an argument against your dd joining the year 3 class.

I'm not sure how being bounded by 2 residential streets woud impact on your case - cant be a traffic argument surely since you would be living very locally and also have another child at the school (definitely take up the place for your year 1 so your dd is a sibling).

I think it may be a case of making the arguments for the proposed school rather than against others that you have declined. So look at your daughter and frame your argument with why the school would be ideal for her - if she is shy, then presence of a sibling would help (can you get any evidence of that - wold your current school write in support). She's academically bright - the school could foster that. Any clubs run by the school that would tie in with existing interests etc?

Good luck. Definitely find out from the lea/school statistics for previous ks2 cohorts and maybe ask for a plan of the classroom to support an argument tht there is physical space etc.

PanelChair Sat 15-Feb-14 10:05:33

Pooka's suggestions are all good.

You need to look for evidence that the school has managed before with more than 30 (assuming that's the usual class size) in a KS2 class and emphasise the point about your child quickly needing a place in a local school to make local friends and help with settling after the relocation.

Your other points about family circumstances are unlikely to carry much weight at appeal but you won't lose anything if you do choose to mention them.

I have to ask, though. How on earth do you propose to drive your child 60 miles to school while working, I guess full time, in London?

TheHappyEverAfterFairy Sat 15-Feb-14 10:19:45

thanks for all responses so far.

I don't know why the fact the school is constrained between 2 residential streets, but the lady in the school office told me that it is why they actively oppose any appeal submission. I assume that they are already full and have no room to expand?

I don't know the answers to many of the questions you pose either. would the LEA be able to provide this detail?

I understand that the 'emotional' argument about family circs won't hold any sway, but they are the reason we are in this position. we are happy where we are, but my ageing mother is lonely and needs a family member close by and I am the only one of my siblings willing or able to do this. thanks for saying it won't hurt to mention it, as I do tend to get a bit carried away and regret it later!

It won't be easy to take her to school when we relocate. we are in zone 4 se London. it's a 90 min drive (provided no delays). we would leave at 6ish. take her and most likely the pre-schooler) to our current childminder and then catch the train in to central London. the childminder will continue to do drop off and pick up and I will collect them at 6pm as I do currently and drive home. it isn't ideal, but I am only too aware of how much shyness can hold you back and the headway she has made in the last year is too important to risk a set back. I wouldn't want to do it long term though. I think we'd get her through y3 and then review things.

tiggytape Sat 15-Feb-14 11:19:47

out of the blue we have just been offered a place for our y1 child
The good news - you have a place for your Year 1 child. Year 1 appeals (without an error) are practically impossible to win but with a Year 3 appeal, there is a chance.

they resist any appeal
This is standard and not at all personal. You can however find out if they have gone above numbers before and argue that this shows they can cope with that.

so I am wondering on what grounds can I make the appeal? what information is considered pertinent and compelling in order for an appeal to be successful?
Your point about the importance of siblings staying together and making local friends after such a big move is a good one.
As is anything that relates to your child's welfare
Academic achievement is not relevant. This is not a selective school and no extra credit is given at appeal to a bright child for a non selective school.
Childcare and transport logistics won't be considered unless they relate directly to the child eg if the child had a disability, journey would be a consideration. The location of your childcare / work / transport options won't make a difference.
Other things to highlight are how this school best meets your child's needs and interests - do any aspects of the curriculum, any clubs they offer or any facilities they have meet any needs or interests of your child?

admission Sat 15-Feb-14 17:38:32

Tiggytape is correct in saying that an offer of a place in year 1 is definitely positive news and would take the place. You should check out the admission criteria for the school because having a sibling in the school may give you priority for your year 3 child. It could be that there is no sibling criteria or it could only apply to younger sibling not older sibling but worth checking because a year 1 place becoming available says that other places in year3 may become available in the not to distant time.

You need to use everything you can as points as to why they should have a school place. So include the decision to stay with current school (make sure you include the time it takes) because of shyness also ageing mom. These contribute but only a little, the key reasons need to be about the school - so why is it an excellent school? Does it have after school clubs that child will flourish at, it will definitely aid integration into local area but what else does that school do that you can use as reasons why that school is the only school for daughter to go to.

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