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In Year Transfer School Appeal

(12 Posts)
Rjs90 Tue 12-Apr-16 22:01:08

I posted a few weeks back asking for advice but thought I would start a new thread seen as things are a bit confusing.

Long story short - we have just moved boroughs and applied for a place in Yr2 and Rec at our local school for our two children. Daughter has been offered a place in Yr2, which we have accepted, son has been offered no place at any school in the area as there are none available.

Now the complicated bit... The school added a bulge class in Sept 15, taking Rec to 4 classes/120 pupils. The school currently has 94 pupils in Rec, all from offers sent out April 15 admissions round. They are again offering 120 places for Sept 16 admission.

I have asked the council when and why the number of spaces in the current Rec was reduced from 120 to 90 - they don't know.

I have explained Rec is not actually 'full' if they have 94 kids across 4 classes.

I have enquired whether the current 4 Rec classes will be merged to 3 - they don't know and expect a decision in October!?

So... Appeal wise, would this still count as an ICS Appeal if they was going to merge the classes? As obviously they directly offered 94 spaces which takes them over for future years?
Also, can they just change their admission numbers as it suits them?

Any advice appreciated, many thanks x

prh47bridge Wed 13-Apr-16 00:52:30

Technically speaking when they created a bulge class they may have admitted beyond PAN rather than increasing PAN. They are allowed to admit beyond PAN at any time. Even if they did increase PAN that is straightforward requiring no consultation at all if the school is its own admission authority, and just the LA consulting the school if the LA is the admission authority. Reducing PAN has to go through a full consultation process with a fixed timescale. So if they want to reduce PAN for 2017 entry the consultation should have happened already.

As they currently have 94 pupils they cannot merge classes legally unless at least four of the pupils are excepted, i.e. don't count towards the infant class size limit. They also cannot make it into an ICS case by relying on a future decision to merge classes. So my view is that this is not an ICS case. I will be interested to see if the admission authority tries to argue that it is ICS.

Rjs90 Wed 13-Apr-16 10:05:11

Thanks for your response.

I have just found a 'Non Key Execuative Decision' signed 1st April, in which the LA have agreed to not admit any further children to the current reception year, allowing the year to filter back to 90 as children leave, so they can go to 3 classes in Yr 1.
That now makes its an ICS appeal does it not? Thanks

prh47bridge Wed 13-Apr-16 11:55:46

Interesting. I would argue that it doesn't on the basis that there is no guarantee that four children will leave between now and September and, if they don't, the school will have to stick to four classes or it will be in breach of the infant class size limit.

If they have definitely decided there will only be three classes in Y1 they are already potentially in breach of infant class size rules. In my view that would make it an ICS case as you can't use the fact they are already over the limit to argue that they should admit another child. However, I would bring the potential breach to the appeal panel's attention. The panel may feel that this is playing fast and loose with the regulations which may make them more inclined to admit your son.

If the decision is conditional on getting down to 90 by September admitting another child will not cause class size prejudice, it will simply mean that it is more likely they will need four classes in Y1. In this case my view is that it would not be an ICS case although I wouldn't put it beyond the admission authority to argue that it is.

If your son has not been offered a place by the time of the hearing you should also bring that up. If he doesn't have a place at all or only has a place at a school that is more than 45 minutes travelling time from home in each direction the appeal panel may well feel that the LA should have treated him as an excepted child which would allow him to be admitted regardless of class size limits.

admission Wed 13-Apr-16 14:45:41

This is really a difficult puzzle but to add my ten penny worth. I agree completely with PRH that at present the LA agreed to admit 120 to reception in sept 2015 and for whatever reason the numbers currently stand at 94. As such they must have 4 classes or rather 4 school teachers (sensibly in four classes) to not be in breach of the infant class size regs.
The LA can make any non key executive decision they want about not admitting but they have legally to obey the law around admissions. The situation rather depends on whether they originally agreed to increase the PAN to 120 for sept 2015 entry or whether they agreed to hold the PAN at 90 and admit over PAN which they are allowed to do. The fact that they are again admitting 120, suggest to me that they agreed an increase in PAN of the school, as a long term move towards being 4 form entry across all year groups. If that is the case then the agreement is 120 and they must by law admit to that level (especially when they are above 90). Paragraph 1.46 of the admission code confirms that the admission authority must determine the admission arrangements for entry for September 2015 and all subsequent years. My suspicion is that they hope to get to 90 at which point they can argue that even though the PAN is 120, they have 3 full classes of 30 and that to have to admit a further pupil would jeopardise the efficient use of resources. That in my mind is a bit dodgy but I have seen it done in the past.
If the LA have simply agreed to admit over PAN, then they are in theory able to reduce down to 90 as pupils leave and not admit by right to new pupils. However I do not know how they will ever be able to justify that position at appeal whilst the year group has more than 90 and is running 4 classes to abide by the infant class size regs. They cannot argue efficient use of resources because there are 4 teachers now and they certainly can't argue efficient education if they are increasing class numbers by going to 3 classes. You need to press for the appeal panel to be heard urgently as your child has not got any place at present but the reality is that the outcome of any appeal is tied up with how many pupils there are in the year group at the time of the request for the place and at the time of the appeal along with the mechanism used by the LA to agree 120 admission for sept 15 admissions.
I would be very interested in seeing the non-key executive decision if at all possible. Could you PM me the LA and when the decision was made and I will look at the actual wording of the decision.

Rjs90 Wed 13-Apr-16 16:41:25

Thank you so much admission. I will PM you all the details.

LA have finally confirmed today that it will be an ICS appeal and apparently he is number 2 on the waiting list - there wasn't a waiting list last week, and being 0.2 miles from the school with a sibling in it, I find that very strange!

admission Wed 13-Apr-16 17:15:52

Will be interested to see the info and how it relates to their contention that this will be an ICS appeal.
The waiting list, it could be possible to be no 2 on the list (for example a sibling living closer than 0.2 miles from the school) but you are probably right to be a bit suspicious about this.

Rjs90 Wed 13-Apr-16 17:26:34

I've just PM'd you th it's admission. Although I have just realised the decision does not come into play until tomorrow pending 'no call-ins'. Does this mean they should not have used this reason before it is in force? I'm livid now! Thanks again for all your help ladies x

prh47bridge Wed 13-Apr-16 17:40:12

I would also be interested in seeing the information and how they are justifying this as an ICS appeal. I think it is very debatable. I would hope that you could persuade the appeal panel that it is not an ICS appeal. And if it is treated as an ICS appeal by the panel there may be mileage in taking it to the LGO.

They can use a decision provided it is made prior to the appeal hearing. But I'd like to see what they actually decided before saying any more.

Rjs90 Wed 13-Apr-16 18:17:46

Just PM'd you the info also, thanks again.

admission Wed 13-Apr-16 18:32:42

I have replied in private to RJS but the basis of the Local Authority case is that there will be only 90 in September as pupils leave the school this term, which is a big assumption.The LA are therefore arguing what is called future prejudice. That is that admitting anybody now will mean they cannot just have 3 classes in September. There are other issues around the need for there only being 3 classes but the LA did not increase the PAN in 2015, they simply agreed to admit over PAN.

prh47bridge Wed 13-Apr-16 23:43:24

As Admission says, that is a big assumption. They talk about an expectation that the school will be able to manage with 3 classes in Y1 in September. That is by no means guaranteed. Based on the documents you have shared I would argue that no decision has been made to have only 3 classes in Y1. The decision shows that is the aspiration but they clearly cannot legally decide to reduce the number of classes unless numbers in Reception drop to 90. I would therefore argue that this is not an infant class size case on the grounds that admitting your son would not, of itself, cause class size prejudice. What will cause class size prejudice is if they go ahead with reducing the number of classes in September if there are more than 90 pupils in the year. I can't guarantee that an appeal panel will agree with that argument but I think the LGO would based on previous relevant decisions where they have clearly taken the view that ICS is about what will happen, not what might happen and at the moment the reduction to 3 classes is definitely in the "might" category.

Having said that, even if the argument is accepted I think this will still be a very difficult case to win. The decisions suggest that the school doesn't actually have enough space to accommodate 4 classes in Reception and 4 classes in Y1 next year. So the argument against admitting your son would be that it increases the likelihood that they will not be able to fit the current Reception into 3 classes in September and therefore the school won't have enough space for all the pupils. They are, of course, taking that risk anyway so but the panel may still regard that as a strong argument.

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