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Appeal for Y4 entry, please help me find intelligent phrases!

(18 Posts)
InFlagranteDelicto Tue 16-Sep-14 22:13:20

Having another go at an appeal for dd1. Ds and dd2 are already at the village school, dd1 couldn't get in due to numbers since she was in Y1. I have just started a new job and my brain is garbled after years of not working, so any help in creating intelligible sentences from the following will gain virtual wine and cake

The current Y4 class has always numbered 32 from reception due to an error when during admissions to do with the pupils from the HI ARP. Last autumn it dropped to 31, an appeal was heard a week before dd1's and a child with a sibling was admitted. At that time dd1 had 2 siblings and a step sibling at the school, but I didn't win, I suspect in part because she was a lot more settled at her current school then. At the beginning of Sept I checked with the school office, and the class has dropped back down to 31.

Dd1 is currently transported to school by a taxi provided by county, which is costly to the county. She desperately wishes to be able to ride her bike to school, and begin to make her way independently as as her older two siblings were at this age. The taxi journeys are affecting her fitness.

She has two siblings in the school, one in Y2, and one in Y6. She has been on the waiting list since Sept 2011.

At her current school her friendship group has reduced due to other children leaving, and the last child in this group is about to leave. This leaves dd1 adrift socially, a situation that is magnified/aided by her inability to have friends home or visit friends due to the logistics and the taxi. She is struggling, losing confidence, and school is no longer such a pleasure. (her confidence is already eroded due to emotional abuse by her father, but my hands are tied there, and all I can do is try to stick her back together)

Dd1 is unable to attend any after school activities, again because of the distance.

Dd1 is desperate to have friends over/ to go to friends' after school

Dd1 is in favour of a move. I do not anticipate excessive problems with the transition, she is an easy child to teach (so says her teacher last year). She is meeting her targets and so would not present an additional drain on resources.

Below are some notes from Ds' appeal which apply:

•Current school is 3.1 miles driving or 2.5 miles as the crow flies. This exceeds the government’s statutory walking distance.
•The current school is too far to cycle or walk, and Ds has to be driven. This will have a long term impact on his fitness and health levels
•Ds experiences difficulties with socialising with local children as he is unable make friends at school. He is unable to invite any of his school friends home, or visit them after school because of the distance.

So pretty please, which points matter, and which don't, and help my addled brain [smile]

prh47bridge Wed 17-Sep-14 00:22:30

The fact that there are currently 31 in the class but there were previously 32 helps you as it suggests they can cope with 32.

The fact that your daughter goes in a taxi paid for by the LA is irrelevant. The effect on her fitness is unlikely to get you anywhere unless you have medical evidence but may be worth mentioning anyway. Her desire to ride to school is worth mentioning but isn't a terribly strong point.

Friendship issues rarely win appeals but in this case I would highlight this as damaging her social development. If you have independent evidence of her father's effect on her confidence that is worth mentioning.

The fact she cannot attend after school activities is potentially relevant. I would check what after school activities the appeal school offers that she would want to attend and highlight this to the appeal panel.

Your daughter being in favour of a move is not a particularly strong point. I wouldn't mention her being easy to teach or say anything about her not presenting an additional drain on resources. That could easily come across the wrong way.

The current school being outside the statutory walking distance is irrelevant. That just means your daughter qualifies for free transport. The other two points you made for your son duplicate points you've mentioned above.

tiggytape Wed 17-Sep-14 08:04:19

Agree with prh - the distance element in itself isn't an issue because it simply qualifies you for free transport which you don't dispute you are getting. And mentioning being easy to teach or targets is not relevent - only grammar school appeals are allowed to take academic ability into consideration.

However you can talk about the impact the location of the school has on DD in terms of her educational and social needs. For example the fact she cannot attend after school clubs, choirs and cannot have normal out-of-school friendships due to the distances involved.
If you wanted to talk about her vulnerability in relation to the problems in her past and her need for peer support, you could also raise this. She is emotionally more in need of being with people she knows and comfortable in her surroundings. You would need to offer evidence to the appeal though so that depends on how you feel about that.

The strongest point you have in arguing that your DD's need for a place outweighs the problems the school would fact taking her is that they've had 32 before and coped just fine.

InFlagranteDelicto Wed 17-Sep-14 09:05:34

Thank you! It's hard to remove the emotion, and identify the irrelevant stuff. I really appreciate your time and help.

Do I need evidence regarding the class being 32 previously? And what sort of evidence regarding lack of confidence/EA? Sadly she saves all her stress for when she's home, and only a small amount of issues are displayed at school.

prh47bridge Wed 17-Sep-14 09:55:47

You can simply ask whoever is presenting the case at the hearing to confirm that there were 32 in the class previously. If you want written evidence email the school and ask them to confirm. As Tiggytape says, this significantly weakens the case to refuse admission and may mean you don't need a particularly strong case to win.

Evidence regarding lack of confidence and EA could be in the form of a letter from your GP or some other professional who is aware of the issues. It needs to give the professional's opinion, not report your views. You can still raise the issues if you haven't got any evidence but it may be harder to persuade the panel.

InFlagranteDelicto Wed 17-Sep-14 22:45:41

Ok... so am I on safer ground focusing on the numbers?

tiggytape Wed 17-Sep-14 23:04:36

Yes - the numbers will weaken the school's case which is always that admitting more pupils (your DD) is detrimental to the safety and / or education of current pupils. It obviously isn't that detrimental as they coped fine before.

But chipping away at their case is only part of a case. Of course it helps if you can make their objections easier to overcome but you still have to give some reasons that overcome their (weakened) argument. For example the after school clubs and need for peer support. Together they show it is beneficial to your child to have a place and coupled with the argument that it isn't that detrimental for the school to have one more adds up to a case that might win.

All appeals are won on a balance of two things: the admission authority / school say they are full and taking more children will cause more problems. The parent says their child needs / would benefit from a place. The panel decides who would suffer most by losing at appeal and lets them win. So a tiny school with 5 extra children in every class would suffer from having to take one more so much so that virtually any argument a parent put forward might lose. Whereas a school with a newly freed up although still extra place stands less of a chance of winning against a child suffering social / emotional and educational hardships due to not being at a local school

tiggytape Wed 17-Sep-14 23:05:58

(all appeals after Year 2 that should say. In Year 2 and below there is no such balance - the presumption is always that a class of 30 is full to the legal limit and only really exceptional and rare factors overcome that)

prh47bridge Wed 17-Sep-14 23:28:37

Don't just focus on the numbers. That is a very strong point but you may need the other stuff as well to persuade the panel to come down on your side.

InFlagranteDelicto Mon 22-Sep-14 22:26:48

Ok, so thank you so far. Could I possibly trouble you to cast your eyes over and suggest improvements? cake as bribery!

•The Y4 class currently has 31.
•From reception this class has had 32 pupils,
•In September 2013 the class dropped to 31. Another pupil was admitted on appeal shortly after the start of the term bringing the class back to 32.
•The school has coped admirably with the larger class size, and I am sure was already making provision to cope for Y4 and beyond.
•Currently dd1 travels to school by taxi, which is provided by the county. Insurance and space means only dd1 and the boy she shares with may travel.
•dd1 was part of a small friendship group amongst a cliquey year group. Over the past year this group has shrunk to just dd1 and one other. This last child moves out of the area in October half term, leaving dd1 socially isolated.
•The taxi situation is affecting her socially, she is unable to visit friends after school, or have friends over without a lot of advance planning. This is making it harder for her to break into other social groups.
•The friendship situation is affecting dd1’s self-confidence, which is already wobbly due experiencing domestic abuse as a young child, and continued emotional abuse from her father during contact. The diminishing self-confidence is having an effect on her ability to learn effectively.
•By attending the village school dd1 will be able to walk to and from school with friends, and be able to arrange spur of the moment visits. She will be able to attend after school clubs.
•This will help her to re-build her self-confidence, and in turn increase her ability to learn and reach her potential.

Edited for anonymity.

TIA [smile]

prh47bridge Mon 22-Sep-14 22:47:03

I would reword the bit about sharing a taxi. It sounds like you are suggesting that moving your daughter would save the county money. That isn't a factor the appeal panel can look at. And there is the obvious counter-argument that it would be even less cost effective for the county if you win your appeal as they will then be providing the taxi for one pupil.

The other change I would make is to try and expand on the after school clubs point. What specific after school clubs does the village school run that would be of interest to your daughter.

InFlagranteDelicto Wed 24-Sep-14 22:18:20

Ok, so here's the relevant para's updated, info on clubs lifted direct from the letter I got home the other day! It's tough, because I have no problem with her current school- except the social situation, which I may have exaggerated. Pastoral care is excellent, and they know and understand her history. But to be at the same school as the other two, and begin to cultivate the independence- I have to give it my best shot. Especially as it's what she wants. So have I missed anything?

•Currently dd1 travels to school by taxi, which is provided by the county. Insurance and space means only she and the boy she shares with may travel, which prohibits friends coming home with her after school.

•By attending this school dd1 will be able to walk to and from school with friends, and be able to arrange spur of the moment visits. She will be able to attend after school clubs, for example Cookery and Craft clubs.

[edited by MNHQ to protect anonymity]

InFlagranteDelicto Wed 24-Sep-14 22:22:23

Added a sentence stating she has sibs in y6 and y2.

YetAnotherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Sep-14 22:36:22

Hi InFlagrante,
we're just editing your second post for anonymity again, might be something to be aware of next time.

eddiemairswife Wed 24-Sep-14 23:26:27

I can't see any overwhelming reason to win an appeal. The fact is - a taxi is provided so there are no difficulties in getting her to school and she will be high on the waiting list due to siblings attending. I hear many appeals where parents have children at different schools and are solely responsible for getting them there.

prh47bridge Thu 25-Sep-14 00:57:28

That looks good to me.

I disagree with eddiemairswife. There is an overwhelming reason to win an appeal. The school has had 32 in this class for years. It now only has 31. It would therefore seem it can clearly cope with another pupil. If the panel agree that the school can handle another pupil without difficulty your appeal must succeed even if they think the rest of your case is rubbish. But you also have a few other good points.

You don't have to have an overwhelming reason to win an appeal. You simply need to show that the disadvantage to your daughter in not being admitted to this school outweighs the problems the school will face if they have to cope with an additional pupil. Sometimes it is clear the school will have little or no trouble in coping with an additional pupil. In that situation you don't need a particularly strong case to win.

InFlagranteDelicto Thu 25-Sep-14 10:01:52

Thanks Helen, I only realised my mistake after pressing post.

And thank you pr47, I really appreciate your input (again! you helped me win ds' appeal into the village school a couple of years ago smile )

I've sent it to dp to print at work and will get it off. Fingers crossed.

[Cake], brew for pr47, tiggy and anyone else I've missed. Oh, and wine for later!

InFlagranteDelicto Thu 13-Nov-14 22:33:04

thanks thanks thanks pr47 and tiggy

We won! They did the usual not enough space, and half way home I began cursing myself for not asking the obvious- why was the largest class, with the greatest needs (A child in a wheelchair, plus TA in addition to class TA) in the physically smallest classroom? I was convinced I'd lost. But the letter arrived Sat.

I'm still not convinced it's 100% best for her. But she was over the moon when we told her, and it's going to make a massive improvement to her life. She went for a visit for the end of the afternoon, and reality hit her hard when I collected her. She's going to find tomorrow (her last day at her current school) really hard, dp is going to pick her up so she has longer to say goodbye. I got her a book to give to the school for the library, and she wrote the sweetest message- until the end! Dear school, thank you for supporting me, and teaching me, I think you are fantastic. I don't want to go but I know I have to...! She's adamant that's how it stays. Bless her. Lots of hugs this weekend.

You guys are the best. Thank you so much for your help.

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