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School places (Miltary Covenant)

(10 Posts)
toobreathless Thu 02-Jun-16 23:44:24

Apologies for rambling but I am struggling to get my head around this.

In brief:
- DD1 is in reception at an excellent school, we live 9 miles away but last year it was undersubscribed so we got in.
- the PAN is dropping this year by 30 so it will probably be slightly oversubscribed.
- sibling priority will get DC2, DC3 and a theoretical DC4 in.

We are armed forces and facing a posting abroad.
We would return to the same house but guessing would not get our children back in the school.

Can we appeal this using the military covenant arguing that we are unfairly disadvantaged due to DH's mobility because has he NOT been posted we would have got all 4 in.

Looking at dates it would NOT be an ICS appeal for DD1 so we should get her in I would hope at appeal assuming we don't get an immediate place. And DC3 may not be at school yet so sibling priority would get him in but that leaves DD2 in the middle....

If anyone can shed some light I would be grateful.

prh47bridge Fri 03-Jun-16 08:15:35

You can apply for school places before you return to the UK provided your application is accompanied by an official letter giving your return date and address. The LA must accept that application and deal with it as if you had already returned.

The admission arrangements must support the government's commitment to removing disadvantage for service children.

Children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round are regarded as excepted children for the purposes of ICS regulations. That means they don't count towards the class size limit. An appeal for DD2 should not therefore be an ICS appeal. Indeed, because she will be excepted it is possible she will be admitted without an appeal even if the school is full.

In view of this I think it is quite likely you will be able to get your children back into this school.

It seems from your post that a possible appeal is at least 3 years away. It is, of course, possible the rules will have changed by then. As things stand you could use your suggested argument at appeal but there is no guarantee it would work. If the appeal was coming up in the next few months I would recommend coming up with some additional arguments. However, given that it is so far away it is far too early to be thinking about your appeal case!

admission Fri 03-Jun-16 13:45:35

I would agree with what PRH has said.Most panels will be very supportive of such situations and the weight of the admission code is definitely at present in favour of any appeal being allowed if at all possible.
Having said that there are times when the class sizes etc have just got to the point of being silly and some appeals are not allowed , when there is an overload of armed forces personnel all returning to the same area in a very short period of time.
I think you are over worrying about a situation which is not likely to happen for a number of years. There is almost for sure going to be a new schools admission guidance over the next 2 to 3 years and the only people who know what might be in that, will not be saying anything, anytime in the next few months. It is unlikely however to upset the current balance around admission for forces personnel.

RifRafia Fri 03-Jun-16 21:13:23

Have you spoke to the Forces Children's Education Advisory Service? They are the experts on these issues, if you look them up on Google you can call them to discuss

Verbena37 Sat 04-Jun-16 19:49:22

We have had a similar issue but we're living in our own house and both children were already at the primary school. Then we were posted and because of the nature of the post, we chose to move back into a quarter with DH.

Before our return, we applied for the same they were previously at (it is extremely close to the school though) and gave a written letter in addition, signed by DH's 2IC, explaining. We also pointed out that the children's best friends were still at the school and we had kept in contact for that 18month posting. They got a place with no problem.

Hope it all works out for you.

toobreathless Thu 09-Jun-16 00:09:24

Thank you for all your messages. It is very much appreciated.

The situation is a bit complex (& I am worrying about it now) because we are trying to decide whether I (& the DC) accompany DH on his next 3 year tour - abroad, or whether we stay. Like you verbena we own our house and DH will be returning here for the tour after next. Lots of Pros and Cons as you can imagine! But education is probably our main reason to stay alongside my job and the separation our top reason to go with him.

Does the fact that we live nowhere near the children's current school affect our chances of getting back in? I thought an in year admission with them being 'excepted' had to be our nearest school? Have I got this wrong?

prh47bridge Thu 09-Jun-16 08:51:42

Does the fact that we live nowhere near the children's current school affect our chances of getting back in

If there are places available it makes no difference at all - they must offer you a place. If there are no places available you will be further down the waiting list than you would be if you live close to the school. However, if you appeal the distance should have no effect on the outcome.

I thought an in year admission with them being 'excepted' had to be our nearest school

No it doesn't. Children of UK service personnel are always excepted if they are admitted in year regardless of whether it is their closest school or a school at the other end of the country. That doesn't mean they automatically get a place but it does mean that any appeal is an ordinary prejudice appeal, not an ICS appeal. As Admission says, under the current Admissions Code an appeal panel ought to allow any appeal if at all possible.

PatriciaHolm Thu 09-Jun-16 09:37:41

"That doesn't mean they automatically get a place but it does mean that any appeal is an ordinary prejudice appeal, not an ICS appeal"

There is a slight wrinkle to this in some counties. The Admissions code says that service children may be admitted as excepted children, not that they must. Many counties have interpreted this as meaning appeals should be heard as prejudice, not ICS.

However, some counties have apparently taken legal advice about this and continue to hear service children's appeals as ICS. It came up at a panel I attended a little while ago and was the subject of much debate. Of course this may change over the next few years, and it may not be the case in the OP's county, but it adds another layer of complication possibly.

prh47bridge Thu 09-Jun-16 12:35:18

If the admission authority chooses not go treat a child as excepted LGO guidance is that the appeal panel must look at that decision. If they decide the child should have been treated as excepted they must deal with the case as an ordinary prejudice appeal. The panel should not accept the authority's decision unquestioningly.

PatriciaHolm Thu 09-Jun-16 12:49:20

And indeed they didn't, it was a robust conversation....

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