Legal people/education experts - advice please...(10 Posts)
Sorry for the vague post but wondered if someone could help me in regards to an issue with a Local Authority (School Admissions).
I don't really want to say too much here, but it involves errors on a Starting School Application form, and I also have a couple of queries on laws/regulations on "Walking Distances to school" and if anyone is aware of any guidelines re siblings (being at same school).
Apologies again for crytic post, but please let me know if you can help at all,
Have a look at your LEA website for more details about how they apply the sibling rule. Some LEAs include all siblings (both older and younger) for others it only apples to younger dcs. Some only have a sibling rule for in catchment siblings.
The walking distance to school depends on the age of the dcs but the LEA should provide with transport costs (for the children) if the closest school with spaces is over 2 miles away for a reception child.
Yes - there is priority for siblings for where we are. I just wondered if there was any evidence/reports saying why siblings should, where possible be at the same school. Any effects on education etc?
The only spaces available are at a school 4 miles away. and apparently, the LEA provide transport costs, but only from the term after they turn 5, which doesn't really help me at the moment as my little one is not 4 until Aug. We are also very rural, so it is neither a safe walking route, nor is there much in the way of public transport.
My main issue however, is that the LA admission form contained an error, which as a result, meant that we have been denied a place. I am really at my wits end as to what to do, as the LA aren't really listening.
I'm not aware of any of any reports on the effect of siblings and their education. Do you think such information might help you in an appeal?
I would query the bit about not providing transport until the term after they turn 5. Afaik of they offer a school over the maximum distance (is it 2 miles? ) they have to provide either transport or a bus pass or something.
The mistake on your application form, was it their mistake or your mistake?
One of the ways to win an appeal, even under Infant Class Size rules, is if the admissions authority (which can be either the LA or the school itself, depending on its status) has used impermissible criteria (ie giving priority to a group which it is not allowed to, or not giving priority to a group to which it must).
Without knowing exactly what sort of error you're talking about, it's impossible to give specific advice. Some of the expert posters might offer to have a look by PM if you don't want to post the issue publicly.
I am happy to help if I can but I'll need more information to give proper advice. Feel free to PM me if you want.
Errors in administering admissions can lead to a successful appeal if the error has cost your child a place. If you give me details of the error I will advise whether or not you have a case. On the information you have posted so far this would appear to be your only realistic chance of winning an appeal.
Transport difficulties rarely win appeals. You can defer entry for your child to help with the problems you describe. Provided your child starts school before the end of the school year they have to keep the place open for you.
I wouldn't bother with arguments about whether or not siblings should have priority. The Admissions Code says they can be given priority but it is not compulsory, so any challenge suggesting the school should/should not give priority to siblings will fail.
As prh says - you may well be able to find guidance or reports that indicate attending a local school with siblings is considered the best outcome for a child however the Admissions Code does not guarantee either of those two things and the Admissions Code, being law, trumps all other advice or studies.
Of course an admissions error (an error that wasn't your fault that cost you a place) is a different matter and can win you an a place via appeal if necessary.
The walking distance rules are: where a child is forced to attend a school more than 2 miles away (by the safest walking route) the council must pay for transport. In some areas this is a taxi. In other areas it is a bus pass (but not for the parents - just the child). After age 8, the qualifying distance increases to 3 miles
What's the situation for free transport when the pupil has not yet reached statutory school age?
This page www.gov.uk/free-school-transport seems to be saying not entitled.
That is correct. The entitlement is only for children of compulsory school age so LAs do not have to provide free transport until the start of term following the child's fifth birthday.
More than happy to help if at all possible. Please PM details of what your issues are and hopefully I can answer them.
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