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Our youngest didn't get into the same school as his 16 month older brother - can't split myself in two! - appeal?

(209 Posts)
OhForFrigSake Mon 18-Apr-16 11:02:52

Ok, so my eldest son goes to a lovely village school jus outside of our catchment. We applied for his place and were surprised he got in last year.

This year his younger brother didn't get in - he has been allocated a school within our PAA.

The problem is, I cannot split myself in two to drop them both off at the same time. The eldest has just gone 5 and youngest not 4 yet - they're still young - I can't leave them waiting around the school to go in/ come out and wait without me there.

I've estimated that if I drop the youngest one off first at 9am (which makes sense as it's the closest school), I'll then need to get the eldest into the car, and 2 miles through the village (very congested - especially as we'll be late and parents will be leaving the site by that time). By the time we get there the eldest will be between 20 minutes to half an hour late to school. We'll then have to do this in reverse on a night and I'm guessing the teacher or TA in my youngest's school won't wait on for 30 minutes while I'm late to get him every single day!

The school drop off/ pick up will become a logistical nightmare with no choice but for us to be late for each school once a day - furthermore I work for myself and the idea of different inset days/ school plays/ school events is already making me want to cry.

Should I appeal on the grounds that the original allocation was 'a decision so outrageous in its defiance of logic that no sensible person who applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it?' (Wording taken from the appeal guidelines). Do you think I have a chance of success at appeal?

I assume that the reason he didn't get in is over subscription. Our admission criteria is:

1) looked after children and children with special educational needs
2) children in the PAA with siblings in the school
3) children in the PAA
4) children outside the PAA with siblings in the school
5) children outside the PAA

Our neighbours on the next street got their out of catchment sibling in the same school so I guess they were the last child to get in and we were the cut off sad

CotswoldStrife Mon 18-Apr-16 11:08:10

Looking at the admission criteria, he'd only have got a place if there were any spare after all the children in the PAA. Can you use a childminder for one drop off/pick up?

VegasIsBest Mon 18-Apr-16 11:09:07

Could you love your older child the the younger kid's be school?
Or look at breakfast and after school club or childminder options?

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Mon 18-Apr-16 11:11:20

Unfortuntely, I think you put yourself at risk of this situation when you accepted an out of catchment place for your first child. Everyone in catchment would get priority over you. I don't believe the logistics of your drop off are grounds for appeal- sorry.

gallicgirl Mon 18-Apr-16 11:13:07

Check with admissions that you were placed in the right category ie; have they accounted for the sibling?

If your elder child's school has a breakfast club or after school club, I'd look at using those. Alternatively is there another parent who would be willing to take him.

flowery Mon 18-Apr-16 11:13:10

If the decision was made in line with their admissions policy then surely you'll struggle to argue that it was "outrageous in its defiance of logic"? Surely it is therefore perfectly logical?

FanSpamTastic Mon 18-Apr-16 11:15:27

I would put each of them on the waiting list for the other's school. Then move whichever gets offered a place.

We moved into the area too late for eldest DD to get a place at our nearest school. She was offered a place in the next village - a car journey away. Our second DD was in next school year - we applied to the local school but could have been left with both in different schools. Fortunately a place came up in the local school and we were able to move DD1 in the term before DD2 started school.

eyebrowse Mon 18-Apr-16 11:15:53

In our area what often happens is that the older child gets moved to the younger child's school. However all our local schools are quite similar quality - just different ethos

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Apr-16 11:16:02

Assuming the appeal is ICS (the reception class size is 30) then unfortunately not.

Parent's travel issues are not a grounds for an ICS appeal.The boundary for "outrageous" grounds is very high and travel issues wouldn't fall into them (they are more intended for the very extreme situations such as families in witness protection!) In fact the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman, who reviews complaints about appeals) has specifically commented that

"A decision that makes it impossible for you to transport all your family to school on time or even impossible for you to continue working is very unlikely to be perverse. The courts have established this’.

You need to double check the LA had all the correct information for you (so your correct address, for example) to make sure a mistake hasn't been made, but it doesn't sound as if it has.

Make sure you are on the waiting list; you should be on automatically but check. If your neighbour got in but you didn't under the same criteria, I would imagine you are pretty high on the list.

PanelChair Mon 18-Apr-16 11:16:31

Your problem, I think, is that the decision to refuse your child a place is wholly consistent with the logic of the oversubscription criteria.

You're in a tricky situation, but it's the downside of getting your first child into an out of catchment school with no guarantee of a place for younger siblings. A panel will no doubt be sympathetic but if this is an infant class size appeal (much discussed on other threads) their hands are pretty much tied.

Could your oldest child go to the younger sibling's school? Are there other local schools that could offer s place to both? By all means appeal, but recognise that your chances of success are very very slim and you need a contingency plan of some sort (which could be a childminder or swaps with other parents for the school run).

OhForFrigSake Mon 18-Apr-16 11:16:38

I work for myself (only started my business last year) so can't afford a childminder to do drop off and pick up. My husband works away a lot of the time which means I have to do it.

The thing is that my eldest son is already at the school so to move him would disrupt his education which doesn't seem fair but I guess I'll have to look at it if I can't appeal.

You really don't think splitting myself in two twice a day and being 30 minutes late for drop off or pick up are a logistical difficulty? I could understand if my eldest was a few years above - but they're both young and can't be expected to wait around on their own at either drop off or pick up can they?

aprilanne Mon 18-Apr-16 11:18:39

i never understand this in scotland you go to the school in your catchment area .end of story .everyone in family goes .no choice you live near that school so thats where you are going .

Lucsy Mon 18-Apr-16 11:19:05

Logistics aren't their problem unfortunately.
Waiting list for both schools and hope.
It sounds like you only just missed out on a place so you may be lucky

You have my sympathies. My children are currently at schools 20 miles apart. I'm counting the days until July when they will be back together again

OhForFrigSake Mon 18-Apr-16 11:19:12

According to department of education guidance 'admission authorities should give consideration to the needs of younger children at primary schools where parents may have problems with transporting children placed at different schools.' This has to count for something surely? It's impossible to be at two places at once.

OhForFrigSake Mon 18-Apr-16 11:20:23

Sounds simpler Aprilanne certainly

OhForFrigSake Mon 18-Apr-16 11:20:58

Lucsy - how do we place our name on waiting list?

OhForFrigSake Mon 18-Apr-16 11:21:22

Ps your situation sounds very difficult, how do you manage it?

IslaSinga Mon 18-Apr-16 11:21:45

Don't they prioritise siblings first when allocating schools? Or is it just done on distance / catchment? Where we live, siblings are first priority, so it would be very unusual for something like this to happen. I would find this situation very difficult op and I would appeal. I would also look in to the possibility of moving the older child and see which will work out best. Which school do you prefer?

Therealloislane Mon 18-Apr-16 11:22:10

Do you know any parent (like the one in the next street) who could help you out?

I work full time now but before that I was always happy to help out other parents.

NotJanine Mon 18-Apr-16 11:23:19

The problem is that their criteria aren't logical - not giving preference to ALL siblings.

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Apr-16 11:23:33

The DoE guidance is to schools in determining admissions policies, to encourage them to think about giving preference to siblings within those policies for primary schools.

The school you want does indeed do that. It gives preference to siblings within the PAA. You knew that when you applied, and it's a very common policy.

ICS appeals rules are clear. Any appeal panel would be sympathetic, but parent transport issues are not a consideration.

I would check your position on the waiting list as that is your only realistic hope of a place.

(I sit on appeals panels).

Lucsy Mon 18-Apr-16 11:23:58

It's an infant class size appeal. Honestly you have next to no chance ( if any)
Years ago I was in the same situation and sat and waited it out
I had ds at home for 2/3 months but in the end it was the right decision

Find out where you are on the waiting list for you preferred school

You may also consider holding out for a bit and gambling on a place appearing over the course of the next acedemic year. Your child does not have to be in school until they are 5
But i would doing some research on that gamble.
How many parents re likely to decline places and go to an indie for eg

Speak to the HT to see what you can find out

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Mon 18-Apr-16 11:24:50

I don't think anyone doubts that you have a problem being in two places at once, but the authorities decision wasn't outrageous. You accepted an out of catchment school, there was always going to be a risk that you wouldn't get a place if all spaces were filled by children in catchment. I think the only way you could appeal would be if the authority made a mistake and admitted a child who lived further out of catchment than you do. You could ask them how far out the furthest child was.

Lucsy Mon 18-Apr-16 11:25:11

You ask the school about waiting lists. I would do this in writing

EarthboundMisfit Mon 18-Apr-16 11:25:18

I see your point, but by choosing a school for your eldest which had low priority for out of catchment siblings, you willingly ran this risk. It isn't grounds for an appeal unless you have evidence that admissions criteria weren't followed.

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