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In-year transfer appeal, Y3 - do I have much chance of success?

(73 Posts)
Hollyhocks7 Tue 09-Sep-14 13:03:43

Hi, I have been reading previous threads on primary appeals and wondered whether any of the MN appeal experts could tell me whether my case is worth appealing.
We moved from central to outer London 3 months ago and I want to get my DD into our local catholic school (we are catholic and she is currently at a catholic school) as we are now 7 miles away from her current school which represents a journey time of 50-70 mins depending on traffic. However, the main reason for wanting her to attend this school is to make new friends and settle into the area. She is a very sociable child who is desperate to make friends near her new home. It is not possible for her to have play dates with her current school friends midweek now as the traffic is worse the later we leave for the drive home, so we literally jump in the car as soon as we get out of the school gates. The drive home also means she can no longer attend any after school clubs at her current school. Another important reason for wanting to transfer to this school is that DD will be making her first holy communion this year so it is particularly important to me that she remains in a catholic school as some of the preparation for this is done in class. She has started to get to know a few children at our new parish church, and will get to know many more when the Holy Communion preparation classes (at the church) start next month. Most of these children also attend the school I want to appeal to. However, the school seems hostile to the idea of me appealing so I am wondering whether it is worth it. There are also other things that the school would offer my DC (music and other clubs over and above other local schools and indeed her current school). We are already on the waiting list and on those of 2 other catholic schools in the borough. There are 30 in the class. 3 form entry.

mummytime Tue 09-Sep-14 13:23:53

The local LA should offer you a local place. But that doesn't have to be at a Catholic school.
You have some strong grounds to appeal, and in year 3 the Infant Class Size rule doesn't hold. So to win an appeal you have to show: the prejudice to your DD not getting a place is stronger than the prejudice to the other pupils in the class of having an extra pupil.

The school will always say: we can't take another pupil, we are overcrowded, it will affect health and safety. That does not mean they are hostile.
Also teachers do not often understand the appeals procedure, and I have heard some very misleading things on school admissions from them.

Appeal, its worth a chance.

tiggytape Tue 09-Sep-14 14:16:05

Yes for Year 3 all of those things plus the clubs and any other "suitability" or "meeting of needs" reasons are all things a panel will consider.
For Year 3 you are not battling class size laws so there's reason to be positive about your chances.

Many schools aren't keen on appeals - it increases numbers and class sizes and causes more work. It isn't the school that gets to decide though it is an independent panel.

The school's views are taken into account. Mist say that more pupils = more overcrowding and more work for the staff. If the school if choc-full already the panel may well say that the school have a good point. If however it is a normal school with normal class sizes, the panel can give you a place if they think your DD's need for a place outweighs the school's objections.

easton Tue 09-Sep-14 14:28:44

We won an appeal for my son to go into year 3. after moving house we had a similar 7 mile car journey though it took less time as we are not in London. (We also had younger sibling who did have a place).There were 31 in the year 3 class. So I think you do have a chance. I was worried that the head and teacher might be a bit 'off ' with me following a successful appeal but of course they weren't they were friendly and professional

prh47bridge Tue 09-Sep-14 15:53:47

I agree with mummytime and tiggytape. You have a reasonable case so it is worth appealing. At worst you will be in the same situation as you are at the moment. At best you will get a place.

If the LA hasn't offered you a place at any school you should also chase them. Remind them that they are required to find a place for your daughter.

Hollyhocks7 Tue 09-Sep-14 17:03:25

Thanks v much for your replies. I will put together an appeal, then. The only thing is, I feel awkward asking the school for information such as 'do you currently have any classes with more than 31? Or have you had in the past?' I would find it hard to believe that they never go over 30 as at my DD's current school classes often exceed 30 even in KS1. Is there anywhere else - given that it is a VA school - that I can find this information?

Hollyhocks7 Tue 09-Sep-14 17:08:32

Sorry, previous post was meant to say 'more than 30' not 31. They have already told me that all their Y3 classes have 30 currently.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Sep-14 18:29:12

You shouldn't feel awkward about asking them. They are required to answer any questions you ask to help you prepare for your appeal. And they are the only people who can give you the information you need.

Hollyhocks7 Tue 09-Sep-14 20:15:32

I suppose I'll have to ask them then. Do you think I should ask whether any children left in year 3 last year, to give an idea of how long before the PAN might go back to 30?

Hollyhocks7 Tue 09-Sep-14 20:20:56

Easton - I'm glad you mentioned the behaviour of the Head afterwards because I, too, am concerned that they will dislike me if I will and ignore me on the waiting list if I don't! Hope they are professional about it. The admissions officer seemed very surprised and quite affronted when I said I was considering an appeal.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Sep-14 22:38:14

It isn't a question I would ask for appeal purposes as it isn't something the panel can take into account. I might ask it out of interest to gauge the likelihood of getting a place via the waiting list but that's all.

I have come across a few admissions people who seem to take appeals personally. I don't remember ever coming across a case where the teachers have behaved anything other than professionally.

If they do ignore you on the waiting list you could get them into all kinds of trouble.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Sep-14 22:39:52

But I should say, although I have come across some cases where the waiting list has not been administered correctly, this has always been down to either misunderstanding the rules or a simple mistake. I have yet to come across a case where the waiting list has been manipulated maliciously.

Hollyhocks7 Tue 09-Sep-14 23:01:10

Prh47bridge - yes, I'm not concerned about teachers holding it against me or DD, I don't think they are necessarily aware of or bothered by a child getting in on appeal.
Just one further (cynical) thought about asking questions of VA schools, there is no way of knowing whether they are telling the truth, is there?

prh47bridge Wed 10-Sep-14 00:29:25

No but they would get into huge amounts of trouble with the LGO if they were found to be giving false information.

Hollyhocks7 Wed 10-Sep-14 23:52:52

Should I ask the school whether they have ever had 31 pupils on any classes before, or is that too open-ended? should I say in Y3, and more recently, within the last few years, perhaps?

prh47bridge Thu 11-Sep-14 00:43:16

The school is unlikely to go back through the records of its entire history to answer your question (unless it is fairly new). I would limit it to Y3-Y6 (KS2) and either specify a period or ask them when was the last time they had a class with more than 30 pupils in KS2.

Hollyhocks7 Sun 28-Sep-14 21:44:23

Sorry to return to this but I have recently discovered that there are places available at other schools in the borough (though none nearer and no other catholic ones), does this completely scupper my chances?

prh47bridge Sun 28-Sep-14 22:03:21

No. For a Y3 appeal the question is whether the disadvantage to your daughter from not being admitted outweighs the disadvantage to the school of having to cope with another pupil. Other schools with places only come into it if you argue that your daughter needs this school for its outstanding provision for music but the school can show that other schools with places also have similar musical activities.

Hollyhocks7 Sun 28-Sep-14 22:15:04

And do you think that the fact that I want her to continue to receive a catholic education is valid ? I have been advised that unless the appeal panel contains a catholic member there will be very little sympathy for my argument that she will be prejudiced by being in a non catholic school.

Hollyhocks7 Sun 28-Sep-14 22:29:14

I was advised that if the appeal was organised by the diocese I'd have more chance if winning as the panel would almost certainly contain a catholic member, whereas if it was organised by the LA my chances of winning would be very slim as the panel would be less likely to have a catholic member on it and could well be (privately) hostile to faith schools. My appeal, if I decide to go ahead, will be arranged by the LA.

prh47bridge Sun 28-Sep-14 23:50:48

It isn't a strong point I'm afraid. The appeal isn't really about what you want. It is about what is best for your daughter. You could say she needs a school with a caring ethos but it would be hard, if not impossible, to show that she needs a Catholic school.

admission Mon 29-Sep-14 09:49:28

There should be no difference between a panel organised by the LA and a panel organised by the diocese in that they should all be working to the same code of practice. The issue is whether you have a good case to overcome the prejudice to the school of admitting another pupil not whether you want a catholic education. AS PRH says you can say you need a caring school but saying you need a catholic school should not affect the outcome of any appeal.
Having said that, have I seen decisions being made on the basis of an appellant wanting a catholic education? Yes very occasionally is the answer

Hollyhocks7 Mon 29-Sep-14 21:15:19

Thanks. What sort of thing could I use as evidence to back up my arguments? Do I need loads?

admission Mon 29-Sep-14 22:39:19

Anything you have got that is in writing is always useful but most panels realise that you will not have written evidence and some of it will come from the heart as much as anywhere else. Actual figures for a typical week of getting to and from the current school is always useful as it suggests to the panel that you have gone into this thoroughly but as others have said the journey is not a very compelling reason. Definitely include forming a friendship group and any info on the number of local kids she could develop a friendship with is useful plus a list of clubs she could attend.

Hollyhocks7 Tue 30-Sep-14 21:41:46

So I am trying to show that this school offers my daughter more than her present one as opposed to more than other local schools?

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