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School place denied - any advice for appealing?

(12 Posts)
onetiredmummy Wed 26-Mar-14 14:27:01

I've had a couple of threads in here before about the DC's school & I've done what most of you on the thread said to do & found a new school. I've applied for places, the infants place has been offered but the juniors place has been refused as the class are up to their max numbers. I thought OK & prepared to go on the waiting list but have now found out that I can appeal & if successful the junior place issue can be resolved.

So school have agreed to keep the infants place open pending the appeal.

Any advice on the appeal itself? I have good & valid reasons why I wish to move them & can express these eloquently if needed as there is a lot of paperwork & an appeal hearing to attend.

Anyone been through this process & have any thoughts that could help me please?

tiggytape Wed 26-Mar-14 17:05:53

It is good you've got an Infants place and are appealing for a Junior place. If it were the other way round, your chances would be very slim indeed. As it is, if you can present a case as to why your child would benefit from the school then you can win.

Your post however makes me think your appeal is more about wanting to move away from a current school? That isn't the basis of a strong appeal. Appeals need to be for one school not against another. You may have strong reasons for wanting to leave the current school but that doesn't explain to a panel why only this new school is suitable. To win you need to explain why only this school can meet your child's needs and how much they would benefit from a place there.

prh47bridge Wed 26-Mar-14 17:15:08

The case will be about the balance of prejudice. In other words, you need to show that your child will be disadvantaged by not being admitted to this school and that this outweighs the problems the school will face through having to cope with an additional child. Right now you need to concentrate on making the best case possible as to why your child needs to attend this school. Concentrate on things that affect your older child. Don't talk about childcare issues - you won't win an appeal on that basis. Similarly transport issues are unlikely to win an appeal unless there are medical needs involved. A desire for your children to attend the same school is understandable but again not a good case unless there is evidence to show a stronger need than for typical siblings.

Before the hearing you will receive a copy of the case to refuse entry. You then need to look for weaknesses you can highlight in the hearing.

If you'd like to tell us more about your reasons you will get more detailed advice.

onetiredmummy Wed 26-Mar-14 18:46:48

Thanks for your replies.

I worded my 1st post badly, sorry. the main reason is transport & not that I have an particular issue with current school (although I have a background unease with things) but the main issue is this is the best school for DCs within walking distance. Basically:

Due to a house move & DC2 starting reception last year the only way I can get to school is by bus. The service is unreliable, its late daily & sometimes doesn't turn up at all. There is a choice of 2 buses - the earlier one means we have to leave the house at 7:40 has 3 secondaries on its route & is full of secondary children so my kids have to stand as its full to the rafters, they get bashed on the head by bags & the secondary kids are shouting & swearing & talking about sex & I don't really want them hearing about dildos etc when youngest is in Infants. The bus is crowded & horrible & we are at school by 8:15 so there's another 30 mins of hanging around in the cold before the gates open. The 2nd bus is much quieter, we can sit down but it makes us late as doesn't reach the bus stop until 9:05 & then we have a walk afterwards. I tried catching this bus for a week & we were consistently late. I've been catching the earlier one is honestly its a nightmare!

DC1 is a sensitive child, think shy, G&T in maths & arrives at school unsettled & not in the best mindset for learning. if we are late then he has to walk into assembly in front of the entire school to take his seat with his class, which he detests as the school has a massive focus on attendance & he gets asked by classmates why he's late. He gets upset & I'd go as far to say distressed if he knows we caught the 'late' bus. I also don't want to get a reputation with the school for lateness, particularly as there are rumours around fining parents for lateness.

The new school is more focused on academic results whereas current school is more pastoral, new school has a better Ofsted, NS would stretch DS1 whereas at the moment he is coasting at CS, I really like the way NS is structured, it has sets for subjects whereas CS teaches every subject to the entire class so I think that NS would challenge him. NS is walking distance so the bus problem would just disappear as would the lateness issue. The bus is also bloody expensive & I would welcome the savings.

Given that the transport issue may not be enough, is it worth putting the bulk of the argument towards the new school being a better fit & DS1 being distressed with the current journey? Or just that DS1 arrives at school upset & its not conducive to learning. I'm not sure in which direction to go....

tiggytape Wed 26-Mar-14 22:59:27

I am afraid transport issues really don't carry any weight at appeal no matter how difficult they are. Unless you or your child have mobility or other medical needs that limit the ability to travel, a bad journey is not going to make a strong appeal case.

Given that the transport issue may not be enough, is it worth putting the bulk of the argument towards the new school being a better fit

Absolutely. You can certainly mention how the journey affects him but don't make your whole case about it. And do not mention Ofsted or the school being "better" That doesn't explain why your child should have a place there - afterall not every child can go to the best school in the area. Concentrate on how the classes are taught and structured and how that would benefit your child plus anything else the school offers that would make it a good fit for him.

Another angle for a shy child with a long journey is friendship issues. If he is shy and if he lives a bus ride away from school friends this may make friendships harder to maintain when he is older. A local school equals local friends. If that's a consideration you can mention those sort of pastral issues too.

Misfitless Wed 26-Mar-14 23:23:15

It's many years since I had an appeal hearing, and it was for a place at secondary, so slightly different, but I put forward my ideas of what my DC would bring to the school, as well as what everyone else has said.

At the time she was learning an instrument, and was very sporty and good at team sports. I said that she would be looking to play an active role in the orchestra and sports teams of the school. I mentioned her characteristics and qualities, and strengths, and also tried to highlight that having her in their school would not negatively impact on the pupils, staff and/or resources at all.

DOn't know if this is good advice or not, but I thought I'd mention it just incase!

Good luck!

tiggytape Wed 26-Mar-14 23:33:26

Misfitless - it is good advice but works slightly the other way round at appeals really. So a sporty child, rather than bringing something to a school, would actually benefit from being at a school where they played hockey or tennis or whatever she was good at. The argument being it meets her needs and interests.
Ditto musical ability. A child who plays in a band, orchestra and club would benefit from a school with a band, orchestra and clubs. That's the way a panel looks at things not so much what the child can offer the school but how the school can meet the child's needs.

mummytime Thu 27-Mar-14 05:56:23

You need to find out about clubs and other activities ways of teaching that NS offers. Does it have a Maths club? Take part in Maths competitions? Or even a Chess club (if you think he would like to learn)?
Then can you get anyone to back up his shyness/difficulty to make friends? GP, teacher from his old school, nursery staff, out of school club staff?
The issue of having moved into the area and needing local friends is worth mentioning.
So are any other interests that can be met by the new school.

The other factor to mention is if any classes are over 30, or have been in the past. This will show that the school could take more pupils.

onetiredmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 10:52:00

Thank you thank you thank you smile

I've emailed the school this morning to find out how they support G&T children & the clubs that they offer. DS1 is currently teaching DS2 (4) how to play chess grin. He can already beat me at Rummy!

He is the most unsporty child ever, so the sports clubs that the school offers could be a bonus as well, to encourage him to join.

onetiredmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 12:09:45

The school have emailed back saying they want all children to be challenged 100% at all times so they don't have anything special for G&T & have linked to their Ofsted report, which they say supports this approach.

With that in mind is it sensible to go through the Ofsted report & use their good points that they have highlighted & relate those back to how it would benefit my child? x

mummytime Thu 27-Mar-14 12:53:12

I would ask about after school clubs, visits, competitions they may take part in, and other enrichment.
I would also follow up with gathering any evidence you can get for his shyness and anxiety. Is in mentioned in a school report? Has it ever resulted in him misbehaving or withdrawal?

onetiredmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 13:25:28

Thanks mt

I've emailed the school again re clubs & am waiting to hear.

His shyness hasn't been mentioned by a teacher or 3rd party & he gets a green card for behaviour every day. The worst a teacher has ever said about him is that he wrote 'a man with a face like a bum & a bum like a face' in his literacy book, that's it! He doesn't have any close friends & tends to flit between groups but because he is not at all sporty he gets excluded from competative games a lot by his peers.

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