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Appealing for school place in Year 3

(13 Posts)
rrbrigi Mon 21-Mar-16 11:51:51


My child was in our catchment school in Reception and Year 1 than I removed him from the school (because of family reason) and he was home educated for a year. Then I applied for a place for him in our catchment school (the same school where he was in Reception and Year 1) for Year 3 in July 2015. I got an answer in Sept 2015 that they do not have space for him and the council offered a place in another school for him which we accepted and I put him to the waiting list for our catchment school immediately where he was in the first place. The council said that the intake in our catchment school is 45 in Year 3 and there are already 47 children (in two classes, so the numbers of the children do not reach 30 in the two Year 3 classes), so it is very unlikely that we will get a place. Then I found out that 1 child went into the Year 3 class in December 2015 and 1 child in March 2016. I called the council and they told me that these two children win an appeal, and that is why they get the place and they told me I should do the same if I want to put my child into our catchment school.

I would like to appeal but I do not have any “good” reason to do that. What sort of reason should I come up with?

Is that enough that all of his friend is going to our catchment school and he does have only 1 friend in the school he attend now that won’t be there next year, because she is in Year4 and will move into another class?
Or the catchment school is in walking distance so we could walk to school which is healthier for him than travelling by car to the other school?
Or in our catchment school they teach Spanish and he speak good Spanish (because we spent 1 year in Spain, so no any family reason) and in the school he is now they teach French? (So he can practice his Spanish in our catchment school)
Or can I appeal if the 2 other children (who get place because they win an appeal) are living further from our catchment school than we are?

I cannot come up with any other reason? Can you help?

He does not have any medical reason just generally not happy in his new school.

Thanks for your help.

prh47bridge Mon 21-Mar-16 12:43:32

You need to show that he will be disadvantaged if he doesn't go to this school and that this outweighs any problems the school will have through admitting an additional pupil. Of the things you list:

- Friends going to the catchment school will only help if there is independent evidence that your son has a stronger need than other children to be with friends.

- The catchment school being in walking distance isn't really relevant. You can mention it but don't spend too much time on it. It is very unlikely to win your appeal.

- The fact they teach Spanish has potential. This is easily your best point.

- The pupils already admitted on appeal are irrelevant. Living closer to the school than them is not a reason for your appeal to succeed.

The thing I find most interesting about this is the size of the classes. With a PAN of 45 I would expect to find 3 classes covering Y3/4 and another 3 classes covering Y5/6. If they have 2 classes every year that gives very small classes. It is, of course, possible they have very small classrooms and can't cope with classes bigger than around 23 pupils. However, if the classrooms can cope with additional pupils this might be an easy appeal to win.

rrbrigi Mon 21-Mar-16 13:30:03

When my child started Reception there, they had the following system: In each year group they have one class that is straight Year class with 30 pupil (e.g. Year 3) and one mixed year class (e.g. Year3 and 4). In the mixed class they should have 15 pupil from one year group and 15 people from the other year group.

When my child was there in Year 1 they extended the school and increased the intake in Reception to 60 pupils. That is changed their system to two straight classes in each year group, where each class have 30 pupils. On my child’s year group they also changed to two straight classes with 45+4 pupils in the two classes all together.

So they have big classrooms, they can accommodate 30 pupils in a class.

I just need some help to find some good reason to appeal.

So Spanish is good reason (and I think it is also helpful that his uncle is from Bolivia so he also speak Spanish and change the school would help them communicate?).

What other good reason are for a school appeal?

WhosDrawnOnTheWallAgain Mon 21-Mar-16 13:59:19

Thanks to the vast and kind support and experience on this forum, I won a ks2 appeal and would probably take the following approach, based on my experience.

Email school admissions and ask for the PAN and max class sizes for the last 5 years. Use this info to work out if school has gone over pan before. If so , this shows they can and have coped before.

Ask school admissions for map of school and classroom sizes. Use info to identify the Y3 classroom. Is it larger than other classrooms with same/similar no of children?

If your son has kept in touch with some of his friends, that could be very useful for you to point out, in terms of continuity and maintaining friendship groups for your son on returning to a familiar school environment , rather than a new school + new environment IYSWIM.

You are appealing for a school and not against the one offered. That the desired school teaches Spanish is a good plus. Have a trawl through the desired school website. Is there anything that would particularly appeal to your son that the offered school don't have? Eg. Drum lessons, a particular sport or music? Or do they have a particular structure, facility or way of delivering the curriculum that would benefit your son? They would be worth highlighting too.

I would say though, don't go overboard with the points you make, as that may actually weaken your case. It's better to have a few strong points than an army of weak points.

admission Mon 21-Mar-16 21:27:30

Part of your problem here is the published admission number for the school. It is obviously 45 for year 3 and those years above year 3 but has been changed to 60 for reception, year 1 and year 2.
Officially the LA are correct in that the PAN stays the same as the year group goes up the school because there is an expectation that the classrooms available are set up for 45 PAN. So that would normally be 3 classes between year 3 and year 4 and 3 classes between year 5 and year 6.
However what the school actually appears to have is the level of classrooms to have 2 classes per year group. Quite frankly I cannot imagine any appeal panel not admitting under those circumstances because the school simply cannot make a case for saying that the education of other pupils is suffering by admitting further pupils in year 3. They have to prove over and above reaching the PAN of 45 that there are issues, which seems very unlikely.
I would get your appeal in now, saying that there are 2 classes both capable of taking 30 pupils and that 4 have already been admitted over PAN as they can easily accommodate 60.

rrbrigi Tue 22-Mar-16 10:01:16

Thanks for your helps.

So one of my reasons could be that they easily can accommodate 30 pupils in a class. They need to within a year, because there are 60 Year2 children in the school. And I also will ask for the class structure and number of pupils in the class now and the last 5 years.

Do I need to find another reason why the catchment school would be better for my son or the reason above is enough?

admission Tue 22-Mar-16 15:55:47

What you have is a reason why an appeal panel should find in your favour in stage 1 of the appeal. However it would be wrong of me to say that this is a certainty. At stage 2 of the appeal you are stating why the preferred school is the best school for your child. So you should also submit evidence on good reasons why the preferred school is the right school, so that is things like the ability to take spanish and preferably other things as well.
You need to put together the strongest possible case to win at both stage 1 and stage 2 of the appeal.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 24-Mar-16 20:51:46

Have a look through or ask a friend for a list of after school clubs too. Maybe your son loves chess and that school has a chess club but the other school doesn't.

rrbrigi Wed 27-Apr-16 14:04:07


I got back the numbers (for class size and Year group size) from the council, so I started to prepare my appeal. The year 3 group size is above by 2 pupil (so all together 47), but they teach them in 2 separate class (each class less than 25 people). All the other classes are 30, 31 except the Year 6 classes which are the same as in Year 3. These are the class sizes in Sept 2015.

So I think I easily can say “there are 2 classes both capable of taking 30 pupils and that 4 have already been admitted over PAN as they can easily accommodate 60”.

But then I need to prove that this school is better for my son than the school he attends now.

The language (that they teach Spanish) won’t work, because they switched to French and the current school teach French as well. But they have an Italian after school club and two of his cousins are Italian, so can I say that he would like to learn that language?

So my first and strongest point would be the school clubs they provide that the current school do not provide. These are country dancing, art (these two provided by the school for free), karate, cookery, dance, table tennis, football, multi skill sport (provided by external people for a fee).
Shall I put all of these clubs in my appeal, or choose only one or two? He would love all of these clubs (in Reception and Year 1 he was attending to multi skill sport and art).

My second point would be that this school has a good drama education. Children can perform and they have a drama club for children to join.

My third point would be that this school arrange visitors of interest of each topic where possible. They already had a visitor in Year 3 for Science and Math and another one for World book day. (The current school does this as well, but not as often. Will the panel know what the current school does?)

My fourth point would be that all of his friends are in this school (some of them in the Year 3 classes) which we still keeping contact. And my son is very shy and cannot make friendship very easily (no paper evidence).

My fifth point would be that this school is in walking distance from our home, so he could go to school by walk, which is better for his health and for the environment too (no need to use the car).

The school day is half an hour shorter (until 3 o’clock) in the school we appeal, than in his current school (until 3.30 p.m.). We would prefer the shorter day, because he could spend more time with us and with his sister. Is that something I can mention?

Do you think would this be enough for winning the appeal?

What sort of answer should I have if on the appeal they ask me about the other children health and safety (in the event of fire or something like that)?

Please help me, I would like to do it right for him in the first time.


prh47bridge Wed 27-Apr-16 17:47:45

Yes, you can use the Italian after school club as an argument. Personally I would list all the clubs that your son would want to join but concentrate on any you can show are particularly relevant for him.

Your second point needs tying in with your son somehow. Why does he need a school that offers a good drama education?

I'm not convinced that the third point will carry any weight with the panel.

The fourth point won't carry any weight unless you can get some independent evidence that your son has a stronger need to be with his friends than other children of his age.

Your fifth point won't carry any weight at all I'm afraid. It simply isn't possible to give everyone a school within walking distance.

Your preference for a shorter day is irrelevant. If you can show that a shorter day would benefit your son it might be a worthwhile argument but I think you will have difficulty persuading a panel of that.

It is impossible to tell whether this is enough to win the appeal. It depends on the strength of the case to refuse admission.

I would be very surprised if you get asked about the health and safety of other children. However, if the school has raised that as an issue I would ask their representative how many accidents they have had directly attributable to overcrowding in the last 3 years. The answer is almost certainly none.

rrbrigi Thu 28-Apr-16 09:56:18


If I say that drama would help his English to develop (because English is not his mother language) would that be helpful?

If I mention my third, fourth and fifth point on the panel will they make my case weaker? (Just because they think we would like to change the school because this one is closer, his friends are there and finishes earlier?). I understand you say it won’t carry any weight in the panel, but they are people too, so it does make sense to them that a school which is closer and full of friends is better for a child than the other, even if they cannot say they consider these things if they hear they will have an opinion about it.

prh47bridge Thu 28-Apr-16 10:12:42

If I say that drama would help his English to develop (because English is not his mother language) would that be helpful?

Yes, that could help. It depends how the appeal panel view that argument.

If I mention my third, fourth and fifth point on the panel will they make my case weaker?

It depends how you present your case. If the panel are left feeling that you have thrown in every argument you can think of they may be confused about your case which won't help. You need to concentrate on the strongest points of your case. If you mention the other points make sure you don't spend much time on them.

they are people too, so it does make sense to them that a school which is closer and full of friends is better for a child than the other, even if they cannot say they consider these things if they hear they will have an opinion about it

It is not just that they cannot say they consider these things. They won't consider these things. They have these arguments put to them time and again. They have had it drummed into them in training that these arguments don't count for anything and, having seen how many parents put them forward, they know why. If they gave weight to these arguments their job would become impossible.

rrbrigi Thu 28-Apr-16 10:34:18

Ok. Thanks for your help. I will do the appeal today.

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