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Primary school admission under medical criteria

(110 Posts)
Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 15:39:49

Hi I need some advise Plz. My daughter has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. She is currently attending a school nursery, which is not the closest to my home. I applied to keep her at the same school( reception) u set the medical criteria or the LA admission criteria( medical is second on the criteria). I supported her application with letter from paediatrician, gp, speech and Lang therapist, health visitors, and family support workers. All supporting my application to keep her at that school for continuity.

They refused her a place, staying that we live too far and it was parental choice to put her tgere, so they won't take medical evidence into consideration.

I asked the admissions to review my application again and gave more information as to why my daughter needs to stay there. They wrote to all the 6 professionals asking if they think it is necessary for her to stay on. They all said it will be detrimental to her development if she is taken out and put into another school. Admission team has again disregard the doctors advise. Now they want proof as to why I put her there in the first pkace( we were looking to relocate at that time.)

I am appealing but I don't understand what the admission team is doing. As They won't take consultant and professional opinion into account but want proof of us trying to buy a house?

I don't know what to do.. As I'm worried we might not win on appeal cod of infant class size.pleasr advise

PeterParkerSays Fri 05-Jun-15 15:49:12

As I understand it, the medical criteria could only be used if the school offered something to your child which another school nearby cannot - at an extreme level, if only one local school has a lift and your child is in a wheelchair. There is no medical reason why your child needs that school apart from the fact she's already there and it would offer continuity, the school isn't offering anything extra to support your DD that your nearest school couldn't offer. Apart from continuity, what else is that school offering which another school could not? That's what you need to focus on.

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 16:01:19

Thank you for your reply... Apart from continuity and familiarity of the school grounds, staff and friends nothing much. Being ASD I would have thought this would be quiet relevant as taking her out would cause a lot of distress. Especially since all the professionals are supporting that she needs this continuity.

tiggytape Fri 05-Jun-15 16:28:04

I would appeal if you have been refused a place on the grounds that the admissions suthority have acted unreasonably in denying a place on medical grounds when mroe than one medical expert has stated that the child's medical needs are best served by being awarded a place.

This assumes that the school has a medical category as part of its admissions criteria (not all of them do) and that the admissions authority was aware of your child's medical needs and the evidence for her needs when you applied (you can't say the authority acted unreasonably in ignoring them if they didn't know about them).

If those two assumptions are correct, you should have a very strong case for appeal. Basically you have presented medical evidence of a need best met by only one school and it is unreasonable for the authority to just counter this with a claim that it is all parental preference. If they want to counter it, it has to be in accordance with their rules on processing medical applications (which should mean a board of experts have looked at your application and deemed it doesn't meet the criteria. With expert letters I doubt this has happened).

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 16:58:13

Tiggytape.. The medical criteria is second hugest in the list and yes the school follows this as its a community school. I submitted 6 letters from different docs/ support workers stating that she needs continuity. And now the doctor, speech thereoist, Heath visitor abs family support workers have written to the admission team again to reconfirmed that she needs the place. However, admissions have ignored all that and are asking to prove that we did initially want to move there when we put her in nursery. I emailed them many times asking if any doctor or autism specialist was present at the decision making process, they still haven't confirmed. Their only reAson for not giving us the place is that it was parental choice to put her there and since we don't live in the catchment area it is unfair to children if they let her have a place!

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 16:58:57

I'm appealing but I'm not sure if if case is strong enough

LL12 Fri 05-Jun-15 17:14:17

Are you in the process of getting a statement (I can't remember the new name for them) for her?
Where I live you really need to have a statement in place before applying for a school place so they can name the school on it.
Have a look on the sn board, there will be many on there that can give advise.

tethersend Fri 05-Jun-15 17:20:26

"however, admissions have ignored all that and are asking to prove that we did initially want to move there when we put her in nursery."

If the med/soc criteria does not specify that the school must be in catchment, then I would argue that a mistake has been made (ie the rules have not been applied correctly); surely this would be grounds for a successful appeal?

If the school is the best place for your child, and professionals write to state as much, then why should moving intentions come into it? Or, more to the point, where in the med/soc criteria does it state that the chosen school must be a catchment school?

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 18:01:05

I did ask at her current nursery, they said to wait until she is in full time, so that they can assess her needs better.. So I'll look into this in sept... However, for this current situation, I don't have a statement

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 18:07:41

Tethersend... The docs/ professional have stated that she needes to remain in this school as taking her out would be detrimental to her. I have asked the admissions how is the intention to move relevant they haven't come back, but instead asked to send the relevant documents... I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall... Whilst they are just asking for irrelevant information. I'm worried Can they try to influence the appeals panel? And why ate they being to unfair and knowingly subjecting her to distress... I'm just baffled

tiggytape Fri 05-Jun-15 18:18:23

I'm worried Can they try to influence the appeals panel? And why ate they being to unfair and knowingly subjecting her to distress... I'm just baffled

When it goes to appeal, then yes they will state their case.
If their case is: "We don't care about proven medical needs for this child. We just want to know why the mother used that nursery in the first place. Yes we have seen the 6 documents that prove the child fits the medical criteria and expert opinion that the child will suffer if not given a place but we have chosen to ignore this because all we want to know if the mother is house hunting or not....even though that forms no part of the admissions criteria whereas proven medical need does"..

....then it is safe to assume the panel will view that as a fairly weak (and bizarre) case. They will then look at your evidence and will see that your case is both relevant to the admissions process and rational!

I'd advise you to keep paper trails of everything. It may feel like you are banging your head against a wall but every time they request something that is 100% irrelevant to the admissions process - keep it and use it at appeal.

admission Fri 05-Jun-15 18:25:04

I think the admissions team are getting themselves in a frightful muddle here. I would like to see the actual admission criteria to check exactly what it says (send me a PM with school name and LA).
However assuming that it does says medical conditions that mean that this school is the only option etc, then it does not matter a hoot where you live the admission criteria is about that school not your address, unless there is specific additional conditions laid down. The time when your address becomes significant is when we get further down the admission criteria to distance.
In terms of an appeal, If you have submitted on time 6 documents from appropriate people and the admission team have invented their own rules around the medical criteria and then again ignored the second set of letters again confirming their medical belief then I would expect that to be a very strong case for admission.
BUT it all depends what the admission criteria say in the small print, so please send me a PM.

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 18:45:49

Couldn't pm the screenshot. Here it is the addmisdion criteria, let me know your thoughts xx.

prh47bridge Fri 05-Jun-15 19:07:57

Looking at those admission criteria it seems clear that the LA has got this completely wrong. They have a category for children who suffer from a long term medical condition. You submitted appropriate evidence. They failed to consider that evidence based on entirely irrelevant arguments. It doesn't matter why you chose to send your child to that nursery school. It doesn't matter whether or not you were looking to relocate. Having taken a look at the full admissions booklet I can't see anything in the small print. I would be very surprised if you lose your appeal.

prh47bridge Fri 05-Jun-15 19:09:23

Just for clarity, you are arguing that the admission authority (the LA) has not applied the admission arrangements correctly. That is one of the grounds on which you can win an infant class size appeal.

Faz2015 Fri 05-Jun-15 22:57:12

Thanks... Let's see what happens during the appeal...

Faz2015 Sat 06-Jun-15 11:52:02

Hi just some more info Plz... When LA gave me their
Decision this is what they wrote:

Each medical application that we receive is treated case by case and the decision is made based on the applicants individual case.

As advised in the letter dated the 16 April, The Admissions Committee did not dispute Dds medical/psychological condition; however, they did not feel that her medical condition necessitated a place at the School alone.

It is not possible to consider a pupil's attendance at the nursery school while allocating school places. This is because nursery admissions procedures are normally carried out by the school and are not regulated or co-ordinated by the local authority. If a school were to give priority to children already attending its nursery it would disadvantage parents of children who wish to attend the school but chose to send their children to a private nursery or chose not to send their children to a nursery and who live closer to the school.

Every La mainstream school can meet the needs of a child with additional medical or educational needs without a statement of special educational needs or an Education Health and Care Plan. The Admissions Committee do not dispute the benefits that dd would receive by having continuity into full time school from nursery. However, the Panel cannot prioritise when it was parental choice that places a pupil at a school that was unlikely to offer her a full time place.

When a child is offered a nursery school placement they are advised of the risk that is taken as there is no guarantee that children attending the nursery will be offered a place in the reception class. When you accepted the place in the nursery at the School you signed to state that you understood that acceptance of a Nursery place did not automatically entitle your child to a full time school place.

The Infant School is a very popular school and our publications show that the school is oversubscribed and rarely offers to children living outside of area. Although the Admissions Committee understand that you had planned to move the Primary School Admissions brochure does state that you must apply under the address where parent and child are living at the closing date for applications, however it may be possible to use your new address to process your application if you exchange contracts or have a signed tenancy agreement by 12 February 2015.

After this email, la contacted the doctors again ( I have been ccd into the reply back to LA so I know that the doc, salt, Hv have all reconfirmed my daughters need to stay on) and then they said that they stand by the original decision however, I should submit evidence of a house purchase that fell through.

Apart from this I have no info from them. Should I ask for more clarification from them prior to appeal or question them during the appeal as to why medical evidence provided wasn't sufficient?

Any other tips that might help me win this appeal?

Many thanks!

titchy Sat 06-Jun-15 13:18:41

Well I'm not an expert but I think they've shot themselves in the foot with that explanation which is entirely about admissions under the third, distance category, not the second medical category which they admit supports her need for that school.

tethersend Sat 06-Jun-15 13:44:02

Indeed.

"Every La mainstream school can meet the needs of a child with additional medical or educational needs without a statement of special educational needs or an Education Health and Care Plan."

This paragraph is odd- why on earth do they have a med/soc criterion at all if they believe this to be the case? By that logic, no med/soc application can be successful.

Very strange to be talking about how oversubscribed the school is- had the admissions arrangements been applied correctly, the school would not have been oversubscribed at the point that your DD was admitted (ie after statemented children and LAC/former LAC), so any discussion of it would seem premature at best.

Faz2015 Sat 06-Jun-15 13:51:16

can la actually make such a big mistake???

Faz2015 Sat 06-Jun-15 13:52:03

So I might have a chance of winning this appeal!!!

tethersend Sat 06-Jun-15 14:06:35

I'm not an expert, but to my eyes you do have a good chance of winning this appeal- however, please take what prh, admission and tiggytape say over my advice.

Please do let us know the outcome of the appeal, though...

Faz2015 Sat 06-Jun-15 14:49:06

Thank you tethersend.. Lets see what others have to say.. And yes of course I'll let you all know of the outcome

prh47bridge Sat 06-Jun-15 19:24:05

In my view the LA's admissions committee has considered matters that are irrelevant. You have medical evidence that your daughter needs this school. They appear to be viewing it as a devious way of getting a place at a school for which your daughter would not normally qualify. Even if that were true (and I don't think it is) it is entirely irrelevant. The admission criteria are clear that priority is given to children who have a medical or psychological condition that makes it necessary to attend the school. It doesn't give any basis for them to make an exception on the grounds given. I think you should win your appeal.

If they had stopped after saying, "they did not feel that her medical condition necessitated a place at the School alone." that would be a decent case, although it would be difficult to sustain if you have six medical professionals saying she does need to attend this school. But, in my view, the rest of the decision leaves them with no case at all. I believe this is a clear case of maladministration.

Faz2015 Sat 06-Jun-15 21:04:38

I had also had the feeling thst they were trying to imply that I'm trying to decieve them. But nhs paediatrician, SALT, hv, gp aren't going to support the application if it's not true.I'm don't know much about the appeals panel members but I hope they don't get unfairly influenced by the LA. As long as case is consudered fairly, I don't mind the outcome. After reading all the comments above I'm actually thinking about making a complaint.

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