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Can primary school place appeal allow you to jump the queue?

(9 Posts)
GeorgiaP Sat 09-Apr-16 23:48:58

Does anyone know how the primary school place appeals process affects the queue of children already waiting for a place at that school?

If a child is not 1st in the queue, but their appeal succeeds first, resulting in the class going above the approved number of pupils, are there any grounds for complaint for the child who was already 1st in the queue? If the school can expand the class to accept the child whose appeal succeeded first, then presumably they could have expanded the class to accept the child who was actually 1st in the queue?

My child is 1st in the queue, but I know that another child's appeal will happen before my child's. If that child's appeal succeeds then they could jump the queue before my child's appeal will have taken place.

Does anyone have any experience/advice for this situation? Thanks in advance!

prh47bridge Sun 10-Apr-16 00:04:03

Any successful appeal results in the child concerned being admitted. That does not give any grounds for complaint relating to those children ahead of that child in the waiting list. It also does not mean the school could have expanded the class to accept the child who was first in the queue, particularly if this would have breached infant class size limits.

I presume you are either not in England or we are not talking about Reception appeals since offers have not been made as yet. Can you expand on the situation a bit more please.

prh47bridge Sun 10-Apr-16 08:25:39

To elaborate a little...

Appeals are completely separate from the waiting list. To win an appeal you have to show that a mistake has been made and your child should have been admitted, or the admission authority's decision not to offer a place to your child was unreasonable, or that the disadvantage to your child through not being admitted outweighs the disadvantage to the school of having to cope with an additional child. For infant class size cases (i.e. most appeals for entry to Reception, Y1 or Y2) you can only win on the first two grounds I have listed.

If the appeal panel decides to admit the child they are admitted immediately regardless of their position in the waiting list. This does not give any grounds for complaint by the parents of other children in the waiting list and it does not allow them to argue that the school should have expanded the class to allow their child to be admitted. Once there has been a successful appeal no children will be admitted from the waiting list until the class is back down to its normal size. So if there is one successful appeal two pupils will need to leave the school before a place is offered to the waiting list.

If there are multiple appeals for the same year group in the same school they should, if possible, all be heard by the same appeal panel. The panel will not make a decision on any of the appeals until it has heard all of them.

lougle Sun 10-Apr-16 08:52:59

GeorgiaP I think prh's last paragraph is key here. There shouldn't be a situation where two appeals for the same school are held days or weeks apart for the same year group. If the school was found to have space for an extra child, the second appeal would fare worse because the first appellant won. What should actually happen, if a school has space for one extra child, is that the panel considers the relative strength of the two appeal cases and decides which child should be admitted.

meditrina Sun 10-Apr-16 09:05:59

And can I expand a bit on what is meant by an 'unreasonable' decision not to admit? It has a very high threshold, and is in the legalish sense of 'so perverse it cannot be allowed to stand'. The sorts of things that usually qualify are child protection issues or certain additional (but non-statmented) needs (like putting a child in a wheelchair in a school with no lifts when all others around have them). (Basically the things that mean it is impossible for the child to safely access education at all in that school).

GeorgiaP Sun 10-Apr-16 11:28:05

The situation is an in-year application for a place at junior level (i.e. not infants or reception).

At least 2 children are on the waiting list and making appeals, with my child 1st in the waiting list. I know that 1 other child's appeal will be heard about 2 weeks before ours. I expect that their reasons for appeal will be similar to ours.

I'm not sure why the other child's appeal is so far ahead of ours, maybe they applied/appealed before us, but we are 1st in the queue because of distance?

Should both appeals be heard before they make a decision? lougle and prh47bridge both suggest this, but maybe it's different for in-year applications?

tiggytape Sun 10-Apr-16 12:20:43

It is good practice for appeals to be heard at the same time where possible and it is why parents who apply at the usual time are told to adhere to any deadlines given since being heard after all of the others reduces the chances of winning an appeal if any of those heard first are successful.

There's no harm in asking though. Given that they have to get the panel together to hear the first one, they may welcome the chance to hear both on the same day but in general, the rules give them a certain number of school days within which to hear each appeal so, if they are hearing yours much later, it will probably be because the other parents appealed weeks before you did. The same would apply to people applying at the normal time for a school place who submit their appeal much later than everyone else.

PatriciaHolm Sun 10-Apr-16 12:34:07

It is different for in-year applications, as parents will apply and appeal at different times throughout in the year, and as Tiggy says appeals are supposed to be heard within 30 days of the appeal being lodged; so appeals will be at different times depending on when parents appeal. Your position in the waiting list is irrelevant.

That said, as your appeals are pretty close, there is no harm in asking if they can be heard on the same day. But in this case it would be acceptable for the appeals to be heard separately, assuming the other parents appealed before you did. This could result in the previous appeal being won, and this would be likely to make it harder for you to win yours, but there really isn't anything you can do about that.

eddiemairswife Sun 10-Apr-16 12:50:05

I live in an area where we have many in-year appeals....usually a full day of different schools. You could ask if you can be slotted in on an earlier date if one of the appellants withdraws.

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