LA says they'll give me info re: primary school offers as FOI meaning I won't get it in time for my appeal

(7 Posts)
OhForFrigSake Mon 25-Apr-16 18:21:03

To cut a long story short I didn't get my child into his older sibling's school. We're only just out of catchment but it's been a bumper year so whilst we had no problem getting our eldest DS in last year, this year we didn't manage it (we're currently 2nd on the waiting list).

We live mere feet away from one neighbour who got their child into the school despite being the same 'level' of priority as us (sibling, out of catchment).

Given that it's going to be an ICS appeal I know that the only chance I have of getting my son into the school now is if they've made an error calculating the distances of applicants.

I put a request in for information about distances (how they're calculated, what ours was calculated as, what the last offered place was calculated at, decimal places they use, tiebreakers etc) but have only been notified today that it is now being considered as a Freedom of Information Request. Apparently I have to wait up to 20 days for a response - meaning that the information will come the day before the deadline for appeals.

Can they do this? I put the request in on the 20th of April but they've only decided to look at it now.

DesertOrDessert Mon 25-Apr-16 18:27:54

I'm not an expert, but from reading around, can you not submit the appeal as "concern regarding calculation of last place calculated" and then flesh it out (or withdraw) when you have the full info?

PatriciaHolm Mon 25-Apr-16 19:59:58

They shouldn't do that, in fact the LGO has previously ruled that schools need to give appellants all the relevant information they would need to appeal -- see, for example, one of the examples stated here (Mrs X)

www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint/fact-sheets/education/school-admissions

They don't have to give you distances for all the other children admitted, but they definitely need to tell you how distances are calculated (though this should be in their admissions information), your distance (again you should have this in your letter re.admissions), last offered distances, etc, in order for you to make sure a mistake hasn't been made.

I would call the LGO and ask their advice.

OhForFrigSake Mon 25-Apr-16 20:30:42

They didn't have any of that information in the letter, just that we hadn't been offered a place at our first choice, but got our second.

I have been told only that the distance is calculated 'as the crow flies' but that's it, they won't give me any more information at all unless by FOI request and I have to wait 20 bloody days for that - meaning it won't be admissable! 😡

OhForFrigSake Mon 25-Apr-16 20:30:59

We contract LGO and ask!

OhForFrigSake Mon 25-Apr-16 20:31:10

Will contact not contract

admission Mon 25-Apr-16 20:44:39

Definitely not what is expected by the LA and question whether somebody has got hold of the wrong end of the stick in terms of answering this.
They have to give you the information for your appeal on what category you were placed in, what the straight line distance is as measured, what category the last pupil admitted was and their straight line distance as measured.
However you do need to understand that the deadline for appeals is a completely artificial deadline. You can appeal at any time and get an appeal. What they mean by the deadline is that after that date they cannot guarantee that the appeal will be held with other appeals for the school or before the summer holidays. You also do not need to fully complete the appeal form with all your reasons. You can just say that you believe that a mistake was made in allocating the places to pupils and that our child should have been given a place. If you then also say further information to follow, that gets your appeal in and gives you the maximum time to plan your appeal.

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