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Successful appeals despite ICS rule?

(14 Posts)
dontcryitsonlyajoke Mon 22-Jun-15 10:33:37

Our local village school admits 90. This year 15 children didn't get places in Reception as the village has grown hugely. All got allocated places in neighbouring village/towns - not at all ideal but I'm not aware of anyone left without a place. The appeals have just happened and 4 children won their appeals despite the ICS rule. Several lost, though I don't know if all 15 appealed, so it wasn't an across the board decision.

I thought it was virtually impossible to win an appeal where Reception is full. How on earth have 4 got in? Can the school challenge it at all or can parents? I'm a parent of an incoming reception child and concerned about the impact of class sizes of 31 or 32, and I know others are. I'm presuming that this is legally binding and the school has to manage, but is there anything we can do to pressurise the council to sort out their admissions process as they've clearly messed up if 4 got in on appeal (there's already a lot going on to pressurise them to build a new school as there is new development happening)

bingandflop Mon 22-Jun-15 10:40:02

That sounds really weird. Wouldn't it mean they mis-measured the distance of 4 houses? Or maybe the overlooked some siblings? Strange! Hope someone can advise

dontcryitsonlyajoke Mon 22-Jun-15 10:48:39

It's so strange - if they mismeasured then wouldn't that potentially affect all appellants?

I thought the bar was so high that it was virtually impossible to win, so 4 winning almost suggests the appeals panel didn't set the bar high enough IYSWIM. Unless the council really did fuck up royally which worries me for future years - how can anyone believe the council applies the code properly of 4 appeals were upheld?

stressedtothemax77 Mon 22-Jun-15 11:04:56

It will all depend what the reason for appeal was. It doesn't necessarily mean that the council have messed up the admissions process. There could be medical/social needs that the panel felt would cause more problems for the children concerned than the school will face by admitting them? I myself have won 2 ICS appeals in prev years and have just won a secondary one too!! And the two primary school appeals fell into neither of the above categories. It is purely the panels decision and the education dept/council have no say.

Bilberry Mon 22-Jun-15 11:07:20

I don't think having 31 instead of 30 will have much impact on your dc and with an intake of 90 one or two may leave before the autumn anyway bringing the numbers back down. It may be that the council didn't consider a footpath when measuring distance which bought quite a few houses under the maximum distance. If that was the case it would be considered in future years.

If it were challengable what would you suggest happen? The 4 successful appeallants should have already been offered a place or they wouldn't have won so presumably another 4 kids who have been thinking for months that that will be their school should have their offers withdrawn?

dontcryitsonlyajoke Mon 22-Jun-15 11:16:27

Yes bilberry you're right of course - no child should lose a place and these 4 are deemed to have had the right to a place. I guess it just seems crazy that it is meant to be incredibly hard to win an ICS appeal and yet 4 have. I think it's more unsettling for me that the council have got it so wrong this year.

No footpath issues - it's done on a straight line rather than walking basis here. And I'd be surprised if all 4 were social/medical needs given that's a high barrier in the first place and hardly any children get in on that.

Not sure why I posted really! Just shocked that the ICS rule doesn't seem to count for much really.

Is there anything we can do to pressurise the council into reviewing their admissions policies so this doesn't become the norm? They've clearly messed up if 4 got in on appeal.

It also worries me for junior school transition which has 90 PAN and requires we all apply again - no guaranteed transition. Would the furthest 4 just get dumped so they can get back to 90? Can we do anything to ensure that all of these 94 keep their places in 3 years time?

prh47bridge Mon 22-Jun-15 11:39:26

The only grounds on which an ICS appeal can succeed are:

- the admission arrangements did not comply with the Admissions Code

- admissions were not administered correctly

- the decision to refuse admission was unreasonable (for example, the LA was aware that the child had a clear medical need for the school and had adequate evidence)

The most likely reason for these pupils being admitted is that a mistake was made such as failing to take into account a footpath (if they use the shortest walking route rather than straight line measurement) or measuring from the wrong point on the school. If they did make a mistake which affected a number of pupils the LA would have had to effectively re-run the process to figure out who should have got places to allow the panel to decide which appeals should succeed. If someone still wouldn't have got a place even if there had been no mistake their appeal would fail.

This is not a case of ICS rules not counting for much. This is almost certainly a case of ICS rules being followed correctly.

There is no way for the school or parents to challenge this.

Assuming this was due to a mistake in the admissions process I'm sure the LA will take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again regardless of whether or not parents pressurise them.

Children who leave will not be replaced until they get back below 90 pupils. However, if there are still more than 90 pupils at the time of junior school transition the 90 who come highest on the admission criteria (including external applicants) will get places. As there is no guaranteed transition there is always a risk that pupils in the infants may not get places in juniors due to people moving into the area. Those pupils who miss out can, of course, appeal. Whether or not they succeed will depend on the strength of their case.

prh47bridge Mon 22-Jun-15 11:42:32

Sorry - just seen that you said it is straight line measurement. My guess then would be that they didn't measure from the correct place on the school's premises but there could be another explanation.

It is possible they got a sympathetic appeal panel that bent the rules but that is unusual. With 4 successful appeals I think that is unlikely. So we are almost certainly looking at some kind of mistake in the admissions process that affected multiple pupils.

ReallyTired Mon 22-Jun-15 11:52:26

The kids have won their appeals and the school has to accomodiate the children. I suspect that many of these children should have been admitted in the first place. Rather than blaming the kids the school needs to think how they are going to accomodiate the extra children. There are four children who were orignally admitted who should have gone to other schools. If there is such a crisis for places then the council needs to put in a bulge class.

dontcryitsonlyajoke Mon 22-Jun-15 12:00:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Millymollymama Mon 22-Jun-15 12:38:55

Some junior schools link with their feeder school, in your case the infant school. Do they have such a link that guarantees a place if you are in the infant school? Also they can go above 30 for each class at the junior school so they could take 94 if they wish. It seems odd you could be at the infant school, live in the village, but be denied a place at the junior school. It sounds like these schools need to expand to meet demand. Why don't you lobby to get a priority link established between the schoos? This is a nirmal admission rule where I live. Of course, if you don't get the infant school, your problems exist for 7 years!

prh47bridge Mon 22-Jun-15 12:48:54

No, I'm afraid there is no way of knowing why the appeals succeeded.

As Millymollymama says, the junior school could name the infant school as a feeder. That would mean that those at the infant school would get priority over everyone else. It still wouldn't guarantee a place if there are more than 90 in Y2 but it might help.

It is also true that appeals become easier to win from Y3 onwards so you may be able to get a place that way.

dontcryitsonlyajoke Mon 22-Jun-15 13:09:42

There is a link so "being at the linked infant school" is higher priority than all but SEN and LAC. But they apply a distance tiebreak if over subscribed so could drop 4 children who live furthest.

There is lobbying going on for a new school, which I'm involved in, and council is in early stages of looking at this but that doesn't help with immediate need for places.

I guess we, or whoever the 4 were, would have a good case for appeal at Y3 but I would lose a YR place for DC3 if we don't automatically get a Y3 place so would be appealing for that on the hopes of winning another appeal at the same time.

Sigh.

Right I really need to not worry about this too much given so much can change but I do need to start lobbying the council for the 94 to automatically get places at juniors in 3 years, don't I?

titchy Mon 22-Jun-15 16:33:18

Tbh with a PAN of 90, the junior school probably can accommodate 6 extra kids, so all 4 currently at the infants plus a couple of extras. 32 in a KS2 class is quite common so I wouldn't worry at this stage. And most schools have some sort of churn in three years. It would be very unusual for ALL 94 that start reception to still be there in three years.

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