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Primary School Appeal due to exceeding PAN. Any advice?

(12 Posts)
Rivers10 Thu 08-Jan-15 17:40:40

I'm about to go to appeal for my 2 girls to move schools. They've been refused on the grounds that their admission would take the school over it's published admission number for their year groups. I understand that this circumstance is the least likely appeal to be successful but I wondered if anybody has been successful on these grounds (we have no other special circumstances to play to) and if they had any help or advice to offer? Thanks!

didireallysaythat Thu 08-Jan-15 17:47:04

Are you looking at KS1 or KS2 ? If KS2 has the school gone over PAN in previous years ?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 08-Jan-15 17:47:31

It's the year groups that you are appealing for rather than the fact that the school would go over their PAN that makes the difference. Every appeal is made on the basis that you will take the school over their PAN.

Which year groups are you appealing for. If it reception, year 1 or 2, you don't stand much of a chance unless you can show that the LA have made a mistake and that mistake cost you a place.

meditrina Thu 08-Jan-15 17:50:57

Which year groups are your DDs?

If up to and including Year 2, then this is an appeal under the Infant Class Size (ICS) rules and these can really only be won if you can show an error which deprived your DC of a place they should otherwise have been offered. The chances of winning when it is an in-year admission to an already full (ie uo to PAN) year group are minuscule.

If yr3 and above, ICS no longer applies, and a case could perhaps be made on 'balance of prejudice' (ie the detriment to your DD by not admitting is greater than that to the school if it goes over numbers). What is it about this school that you think makes it the best/only place for them? (this has to be about your DDs' needs and why only this school would fulfil them, not transport or before/after school childcare issues, btw)

prh47bridge Thu 08-Jan-15 18:44:01

As others have said, if this appeal is for Reception, Y1 or Y2 it is likely to be an infant class size case. If it is your chances of success are very low. However, if the school runs classes of less than 30 in all of these years it will be an ordinary appeal and you will have a better chance. Any appeal for Y3 or later is an ordinary appeal. Meditrina has highlighted the issues you need to think about to make your case.

Rivers10 Sat 10-Jan-15 19:55:47

One place is for R and the other for year 2. The school has a total PAN of 30 across R, 1 and 2 (even though R are taught on their own - I don't really understand why the PAN is applied across all 3 year groups when they're taught in 2 separate classes, but that is how it is bizarrely).

admission Sat 10-Jan-15 21:12:05

There is something wrong with what you have said in that the PAN is a figure for each year group, so for instance 30 in reception, 30 in year 1 and 30 in year 2. What you describe is a typical situation where the PAN is actually 15, which gives a year 1 / year 2 class of 30, which is the maximum under the infant class size regs or is a school which has school numbers actually way below its PAN (its is actually 30 per year group). It is also possible that they have a large year 1/ year 2 class which has 2 school teachers in the class but this would seem unlikely.

If the real situation is that it is around the low number of pupils in the infant year groups then the situation is complicated when it comes to appeals and to make any sensible comments would need information about how many are in each class and confirmation of what is the PAN of the school. Given that it is an in-year admission the class size of the year1 / year 2 is critical to know.

Have you received the LA case for not admitting yet?

This must contain all the relevant information. If so if and you PM me I can give you an email address to send it to and I will try and decipher what is being said, to give you a better chance of success at appeal. However as a reception and year 2 appeal, I have to say the chances of success are lower than if they were junior school level appeals.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 10-Jan-15 21:27:56

I'm reading it as though PAN is 10, rather than 15 and the school have taken the unusual step of having 2 classes across R-2, not 1. Which would mean if they are full to PAN in R and yr 2 the OP has rightly been refused a place, but any appeal wouldn't be an ICS one.

The only schools that I know that do that though have a PAN of 45. Can't see how it would be financially viable in a school any smaller.

Rivers10 Sun 11-Jan-15 06:01:26

Thanks admission.
It is a small school and I think this is what is complicating the PAN. The situation is extra complicated because I believe that the head is 'holding' a space for one half of a pair of twins who both need a space in Y1. He won't (or can't?) make the normal best practice move for twins of exceeding his quota to admit them both and so is keeping an empty space until such times as a second space becomes available at which point they'll both join together. This can be held for a 'reasonable' amount of time according to the council, but the council say that they school can define 'reasonable' and the head has told me it is technically indefinite! The council are being incredibly unhelpful on this issue - they won't act on any of the information that I've provided regarding the twin issue and have told me that the only way I can find out definitively if something fishy is going on is to go to appeal when the school would have to admit whether the spare space actually had a child on roll in it or not. It seems crazy that I can't find out this information any other way. This is why I am stuck with going to appeal, just to get the facts, even though I know my chances other than this are slim. The head is clearly being evasive with them and getting away with it. I have spoken to the length at head about the 'spare' space going to my eldest and she won't budge. The twins have an older sibling at the school so are ahead of me on the waiting list anyway. I know the year group numbers. R = 11 (single class) Y1=9; Y2 = 9 (taught as one class). The head tells me that PAN is 30 across the 3 year groups combined; the council described it as 10, 10 and 10.

tiggytape Sun 11-Jan-15 10:31:07

Yes the total number of a mixed class will be set at 30 to comply with the law about infant class sizes.
It doesn't actually matter how the split is made because the law is about the number of YR-Y2 children per qualified teacher - and that is capped at 30.
If you are saying however Yr, Y1 and Y2 are taught in 2 classes by 2 qualified teachers and that they will not be mixed to form a single class of 30 whilst still under the age of 8 (before Year 3), then the class size rules may not apply here. It may be simply PAN which is easier to overcome.

The twin situation is very odd. The Head plans to hold one space free indefinitely until somebody leaves the mixed class and allows both Year 1 twins to join together? It is possible nobody will ever leave let alone soon. Technically if you push it, the parents may let one twin join and appeal for the other to be admitted but I don't see that they are justified in holding a place for months or years until both can start together.

Unfortunately unless the twins parents get fed up of waiting, they are legitimately ahead of you on the list so an appeal would be your only real hope at this stage. But unless the "mixed class" that you believe is actually taught as 2 classes permanently has 2 teachers, you are likely to be appealing against infant class size laws which are pretty much set in stone.

admission Sun 11-Jan-15 17:25:48

I agree that the best course of action is to appeal to get this sorted out.
The PAN is obviously 10 but I find the idea of separate classes of 11 and 18 some what unbelievable. It is simply not financially viable in the current funding regime - the average cost of a teacher is usually about 23 to 25 pupils in the class. Tiggytape makes a good point over whether the head teacher is running two classes but actually there is only one qualified teacher across both the classes. I would hope that the head would not be doing that, but the set up and the intransigence of the head teacher could be explained by this answer. He simply does not want to admit he is running with one less qualified teacher than he should have with two separate classes.

Assuming that this is not the answer (you will only establish this at appeal) and somehow the school is affording two qualified two teachers in two separate classes then I would make the following comments.The reception year has 11 in it and so the school can say that they are formally full as they have exceeded the PAN. However unless the reception class is combined with nursery kids, the stand-alone class of 11 means that it is not an infant class size case (as there are less than 30 in the class and the year 1/2 class also has less than 30, so there can be no possible future prejudice).

Given that the reception class only has 11 in it, it is difficult to see how they could possibly argue at appeal that it is full or present a good case not to admit one further pupil unless the classroom was incredibly small.

When it comes to the year 2 situation, the school and LA are not allowed to keep open a place for an extended period of time - the most they could push it to is half a term in my opinion. The head is completely wrong to say it is in-definite. The current 2012 code on admissions is very wishy-washy on the way that places are allocated to in-year applications but in the absence of other information the normal process is to fall back to previous practice. The previous 2010 code on admissions is more explicit and in paragraph 3.23 says "applications made outside the normal admission round must be considered without delay and a formal decision either to offer or refuse a place must be made." Must has the force of law and cannot just be ignored, so they have to do something if there is an available place and somebody is asking for the place.

In theoretical terms the head teacher is correct that he can refuse to admit over the PAN of 10 but he seems to be fixated on not being able to go above that number. That used to be the situation but it changed with the current admission code and schools can go above the PAN where it is appropriate. The head teacher could admit these two twins now if he wished, so that there were 11 in the year group and 20 in the class.

Admitting twins as excepted pupils in an infant class size case is only allowed at reception year. This stand-alone year 1/ 2 class only has 18 in it, so it is not infant size regs and I would put a large bet that if it went to appeal any admission appeal panel would admit a second twin to a class with only 18 in it. I would also have to say that it is difficult to see how the school could mount a strong case to not admit the second twin and also admit your child as the class would still only have 21 in it

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 11-Jan-15 18:46:13

How did the current reception class end up with 11? Did someone win an appeal or was the 11th child admitted because year 1 and 2 were undersubscribed and the HT is working on the basis of a PAN of 30 over R-2 so he perceived there was a space?

It might be worth appealing just to figure out what is going on.

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