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Primary appeals to take class size over 30

(18 Posts)
IsItSummerYet Mon 09-Feb-15 21:06:31

I am interested to know about any experiences people have of appealing to admissions to take the class size over 30. I probably haven't worded this very well but hope it makes some sort of sense.

My DD has been refused a place at a new school as there are 30 in the class. She will probably have a sibling at the school come September and we may (or may not) be living in catchment. She is in KS1 and I know it's very unlikely that an appeal will be upheld. Any tips or experiences welcome.

tilder Mon 09-Feb-15 21:14:02

If its reception, I don't think you will have a chance. Others years, its worth a go. But there are a lot of uncertainties aren't there. An application now would be based on current circumstances and not future possibilities.

Having said that, if you do want to challenge it, check their admission criteria,their pan and total number in the school (there will probably be a max number of children the school can hold and if the total school numbers are there then the school is essentially full). Check for any precedence.

You need to demonstrate that going over 30 won't be detrimental to the other children. So great references, good academic record etc.

admission Mon 09-Feb-15 21:17:54

Because you are talking about an infant class, the infant class size regs come into effect. These state that there can not be more than 30 pupils with any one school teacher under normal circumstances. The only way to have more than 30 is if the excepted child rules pertain. One of those excepted circumstances is if you win at an appeal.However the appeal can only be upheld in an infant class size case if a mistake was made and your DD should have been given a place if they had done the application correctly. Given that we are talking about an in-year application from what you say in your post, the chances of a mistake are very very slim. The only other way of winning an appeal is if the decision of the LA not to admit was unreasonable. In this legal situation, unreasonable is not what you might call unreasonable but a decision which completely defies logic and is perverse in how far wrong it is. I do not believe that you will come anywhere near that definition based on your post.
Sorry but as you say it is very unlikely that an appeal will be successful, your bets bet is to keep talking to the school and hope that you find out when and if places become available, when you can apply for the place.

tilder Mon 09-Feb-15 21:51:40

Sorry admission. I knew there was a 30 to the class rule, but I thought it was just reception. We were looking at ks2. For us the clincher was being in catchment.

IsItSummerYet Mon 09-Feb-15 21:57:28

Thank you both for your replies. Interesting to know about good references etc.

titchy Mon 09-Feb-15 22:07:01

Good references won't make any difference if it's reception, year 1 or year 2.

IsItSummerYet Mon 09-Feb-15 22:11:39

Do you know if there anything that would make a difference in KS1 titchy?

tiggytape Mon 09-Feb-15 22:15:03

She is in KS1 and I know it's very unlikely that an appeal will be upheld. Any tips or experiences welcome.

If she is in reception, Year 1 or Year 2, nothing you raise at appeal can realistically get her a place unless you meet one of 3 very spscific critera:

1. A mistake in the admissions process denied her a place that was rightfully hers (eg if they had the wrong postcode so measured the distance incorrectly)

2. The admissions criterai are unlawful in some way (highly unlikely - most schools use siblings, distance or church attendance which are all allowed)

3. The decision to refuse her a place is so unreasonable that no person in full possession of all the facts could possibly uphold that decision (this might apply in very rare and serious cases such as witness protection or such like). Unreasonable is not travel arrangements that are awful or even ones that reduce the hours a parent can work for example.

(have just typed this before I spotted admissions had posted the same above).
Sorry OP. You can appeal by all means as you never know but in all probability you will have to wait until your DC's sibling joins and (if the sibling link goes to older children too which it normally does) hope that someone leaves the class of 30 to create a vacancy at the same time as you're top of the waiting list.

kilmuir Mon 09-Feb-15 22:15:10

what are your grounds for appeal?

meditrina Mon 09-Feb-15 22:17:22

There really isn't much, unless you have a statement naming the school in the offing.

If/when you move into the catchment, that will usually move you up the waiting list (but not until you move there), as will having a sibling in the school (check if it is all siblings then catchment, then others; or catchment siblings, other catchment children, other siblings, other children). Check at all stages of potential move and sibling joining that they have updated the waiting list to reflect your new circumstances.

Do you know where you are in the waiting list at the moment?

IsItSummerYet Mon 09-Feb-15 22:20:51

They don't hold a waiting list which is not helpful. So it just leaves me to ring the school every week to ask if anyone has left!

tiggytape Mon 09-Feb-15 22:21:12

Given that you are an in-year applicant, your chances under point 1 or 2 are very low. A mistake cannot have cost you a place because you applied behind everyone else and no place was left. The admissions criteria also do not apply to you. If they had a space they would give it to you whether you lived in catchment or not (assuming nobody was on the waiting list above you)

So all you are left with is option 3. The chances here are very low. The limit of 30 is set in stone - set by law in fact and the definition of unreasonable is set very high. Some people with a child with additional needs use this category if the school they want is absolutely the only one in a wide radius that can meet their child's needs eg if it is the only one with doors wide enough foe a wheelchair and their child uses a wheelchair so the decision to refuse that school is unreasonable. Even then they'd need a lot of evidence and it isn't clear cut.

Other matters like local friendships, academic ability, transport worries, childcare problems etc would not be considered under this category but people can choose to appeal for any reason they wish and hope against hope a panel will make an exception. They very rarely do at KS1 because of the law though and it isn't unusual for an area to have 0% of appeals upheld for this age group.

titchy Mon 09-Feb-15 22:40:38

They must have a waiting list and it must be held in admission criteria order. Or do you/ they mean there is no one on a waiting list except you? You shouldn't need to phone each week - if someone leaves the place must be offered to the person at the top of the waiting list, not the person who happened to phone first.

prh47bridge Mon 09-Feb-15 23:29:18

Agree with much of the advice you have been given. However, I disagree with tilder about references and academic record. These are not relevant at appeal.

And just a minor correction to titchy - whilst most schools hold a waiting list there is no requirement for them to do so beyond Christmas in Reception. After that the Admissions Code allows them to drop the waiting list, so places would go to whoever applied first once a vacancy was available. I don't think that should be allowed but it is what the Code currently says.

IsItSummerYet Tue 10-Feb-15 09:46:33

Thank you for everyone's input. I was hoping there might be a magic formula to ensure a successful appeal. If only!

I'm just not sure starting my DC2 at the new school in September in the hope that a child higher up the school leaves making a space for DC1 is a sensible idea. As this may never happen - particularly as this is a single form entry school.

UniS Tue 10-Feb-15 09:51:35

DS is at a single form entry rural school and the churn is reasonable. His class have lost and gained 1 or 2 children a year as families move out and in to the area or decide to try a bigger/ smaller school a few miles from home.

tiggytape Tue 10-Feb-15 09:51:55

You can ask the school about how often people tend to leave. Of course it won't guarantee a child will leave just when you need them to but some schools have children coming and going all the time whereas other schools keep the same group of children from reception to Year 6 and people leaving is rare.
It depends on the area and on the local trend for people to go private in Year 3 (this is a bigger thing in some areas than others). The school may be able to give you some pointers to help decide.

Also Year 3 is a cut-off point in another sense. Whilst the chances at appeal for YR-Y2 are tiny, after Year 2, your chance of winning is much, much higher.
This is because the law restricting class sizes to 30 ceases to apply so you only need to prove that your DC would benefit so much from a place at the school that any any problems an extra child would cause are outweighed (it is a balance of whose interests are best served by letting another child join). You don't need to prove any of the other stuff like a terrible error that cost you a place.

IsItSummerYet Tue 10-Feb-15 19:17:07

That's a good point about asking about general trends. I will do that. I guess I need to be prepared to have to wait until year 3.

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