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Appeal advice

(18 Posts)
DocMcPuffins Thu 25-Jun-15 10:19:29

Hi - I would your advice on our situation. We're in the process of appealing for a place in our local school. However I've just found out that there was an appeal for the same local school which was heard last week which has been upheld. It doesn't seem fair to me that an appeal for the same school, was heard on different days. Do councils have to follow a procedure or can they hear appeals in whatever timescale they wish?

Thanks.

tiggytape Thu 25-Jun-15 13:06:46

Did you submit your appeal after any deadline given?
Generally the aim is to hear all appeals at the same time but most councils have a deadline and if you appeal after that, they will still hear the appeal but cannot guarantee it will be in the same round as those that appealed on time.

DocMcPuffins Thu 25-Jun-15 13:37:54

Hi - I've handed my appeal in on time and confirmed with the council that this is the case. I've just found something on the Corum website which states that all appeals must be heard at the same time so the council has gone against this procedure. It's so frustrating and puts us at a massive disadvantage.

BetsyBoop Thu 25-Jun-15 17:40:32

If you submitted by the deadline they are not allowed to do that, See Appeals code:

2.18 Multiple appeals are when a number of appeals have been received in relation to the same school. Admission authorities must take all reasonable steps to ensure that multiple appeals for a school are heard by one panel with the same members. Where more than one panel has to consider appeals for the same school, each panel must make its own decision independently. A panel hearing multiple appeals must not make decisions on any of those
appeals until all the appeals have been heard.

DocMcPuffins Thu 25-Jun-15 18:10:46

Thanks - I've seen the same thing. I spoke to the council today and they have said that the people applied first (before the 15th Jan) should have their appeal heard first and then the people who applied late (we applied late, in April and therefore after the 15th Jan deadline) can be heard at a later date.

I've explained that it is not communicated in that way in the Schools Appeal code and this was not communicated to me in any correspondence I have received from them. Since I informed them I was appealing on the 25th May (their deadline) why not hear all the appeals at the same time and then make a decision after.

I'm trying to work out whether the process they have followed is legal and it's just that the schools appeals code hasn't given adequate guidance on this point. Or whether the process they have followed is incorrect. Any advice on this would be gratefully received. Thank you.

prh47bridge Thu 25-Jun-15 18:25:15

Your appeal was lodged by the deadline. Paragraph 2.18 therefore applies. They must ensure that all appeals are heard by the same panel where possible and none of the appeals can be decided until all have been heard. There is absolutely nothing in the Appeals Code to suggest that they can treat appeals from late applicants differently to on time applicants.

If your appeal fails you should refer this to the LGO. You should also consider referring this to the Schools Adjudicator who may order the council to change their process in future.

Galena Thu 25-Jun-15 18:48:46

Could there have been 2 deadlines for appeal though? One for first round of admissions appeals and one for late application appeals?

BetsyBoop Thu 25-Jun-15 19:31:51

PRH beat me to it, I was going to say LGO if your appeal fails.

I agree there is nothing in the appeals code to suggest late applications differently and this section states that the same deadline applies to late applications:

2.3 Admission authorities must ensure that appeals lodged by the appropriate deadlines are heard within the following timescales:
a) for applications made in the normal admissions round, appeals must be heard within 40 school days of the deadline for lodging appeals;
b) for late applications, appeals should be heard within 40 school days from the deadline for lodging appeals where possible, or within 30 school days of the appeal being lodged;
c) etc

galena - there is only one appeals deadline - the admissions authority must publish this by 28th Feb (I think that's the right date without checking - for primary schools it is normally some time in May)

BetsyBoop Thu 25-Jun-15 19:34:55

that doesn't make sense..., I'll try that bit again...

I agree there is nothing in the appeals code to suggest late applications should be treated differently and this section implies that the same appeals deadline also applies to late applications where possible .

tiggytape Thu 25-Jun-15 19:37:48

No Galena - after March allocations day, all disadvantages of being a late original applicant disappear.
People who applied late for a school for example aren't placed at the bottom of waiting lists, they go strright to the position they should be by meeting the admissions criteria (so if they live close they can leap frog loads of people who originally applied on time but live further away).

The same applies with appeals. Those who appeal on time get heard together even if their original school application was late. As OP appealed on time, she has been hugely disadvantaged by them not hearing her appeal with the others because one person (at least) has won making future appeals that much harder to win (the school can argue it is even fuller now than before).

Doc - I would do as prh suggests and take this to to LGO if you lose at appeal. I would also check your waiting list position. You should have been placed according to how well you meet the criteria but if they've got the appeals wrong, it is possible they've got the rules about list order wrong too and you don't want to end up incorrectly placed lower down the list due to having applied late.

meditrina Thu 25-Jun-15 19:43:55

I feel as if I'm stating the blazingly obvious, but how did you hear this? And are you sure there is no possibility that your source has got it wrong?

And is it definitely for the same year group as your appeal?

DocMcPuffins Thu 25-Jun-15 19:49:29

Thanks - that's so helpful and has given me reassurance which I needed. I will indeed refer this to the LGO if our appeal is unsuccessful. Thanks for your help everyone. Much appreciated.

admission Thu 25-Jun-15 22:48:36

Can only agree with others, as soon as the first allocations come out, all late applications should be included in any future allocation of places and must be appealed for at the same time, providing that the date for admission appeals to be registered was met.
Giving the on-time applications first bite at the appeals is clearly disadvantaged any late application.

DocMcPuffins Fri 26-Jun-15 09:24:16

Thanks admission. The council are refusing to see my point of view despite me referring them to the school appeal admissions code. They've just said that this is always they way they have done it. I'm considering writing a letter stating this point so I have my concerns in writing pre-oral hearing and if my appeal is rejected, I'll be forced to escalate.

Meditrina - I was informed that this had happened by the council school admissions office and the council democratic services office who oversees the appeals. It would be preferable if this wasn't the situation I was in but unfortunately since I've heard from the horses mouth twice, it is the situation I'm in.

tiggytape Fri 26-Jun-15 09:34:10

I'm considering writing a letter stating this point so I have my concerns in writing pre-oral hearing and if my appeal is rejected, I'll be forced to escalate.
Definitely. You may not get them to put it in writing but you can email to say something like: "following my telephone conversation last week with the Admissions Team (or name of person if you have it), I wanted to stress again the concerns I raised then. Although our school application failed to meet the October 31st deadline, our appeal was submitted on time. It was submitted on (date) so before the appeal deadline. As such, it is my belief that our appeal should have been heard at the same time as the others who had appealed before the deadline. You informed me that ours was deliberately held back purely on the basis that our original school application had been later than others. This is not how I understand the Appeals Code says things should run and, since you have told me that at least one person has already won an appeal before ours was even heard, I believe it has put us at a huge disadvantage in reducing the chances of our appeal succeeding"

In addition, keep memory notes typed up of all conversations you have so that if you take it to the LGo you have a list to print out of who said what on each day (you lose track surprisingly quickly otherwise)

BitOutOfPractice Fri 26-Jun-15 09:37:49

Keep pushing and escalating OP. And put it in writing as others have said.

Their procedures certainly seem to go against natural justice don't they?

Good luck thanks it's so stressful isn't it?

admission Fri 26-Jun-15 09:53:27

First rule of appeals, make sure everything is in writing.
I cannot tell you how many appeal panels I have sat on where the appellant says but we said this and you said that but there is no written evidence. Believe me, the LA do keep written records of their understanding of telephone conversations. In an appeal if one side can produce written notes and the other can't you know which side ultimately the panel will have to agree with. Any conversation is a two way thing and it is very easy for the two people to have very different interpretations of the conversation, not through any deliberate act but just genuine misunderstandings.

DocMcPuffins Fri 26-Jun-15 10:01:34

Thanks, that's very helpful. I'm writing an email now and will start writing up my notes. You've all given me very good advice. Thank you.

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