appeal next week!(33 Posts)
We're appealing on the basis of me having limited mobility, don't drive, use a mobility scooter and can't really travel on multiple buses to do school run. We've been given a place at a school 3 miles away, which I really don't think I'll be able to get him to reliably as I have a fluctuating condition. DP will be working full time and the school has no before or after school clubs and we can't afford additional childcare - the prices we've been quoted wouldn't be covered by tax credits. I've got plenty of medical evidence about my conditions and how they effect me, but we also feel it's really important to reflect the importance of him having consistent attendance - how can we best do this?
Is there anything else I could or should flag up? There's other stuff relating to DSS that I've added in our statement to the panel but I'm wondering it there are certain phrases worth using or things I can quote? There's no reasonable adjustment for disabled parents regarding school places in law is there?
If he's primary school age and you applied for the closer schools they have to provide transport if it's over 2 miles.
Did you supply your medical evidence with your application originally?
Why are you the only person who can take him, lots of people (most people) have to fit school runs and work into their day, it's an entirely normal and predictable part of being a parent.
On what grounds are you appealing? And is it an ICS appeal?
I don't want to put you off, but I think you need to think carefully about your chances here
Are they not offering transport? If this is below y2 then you need to appeal for the requested school not against the allocated one.
They don't have any around school care at the school we've been given a place at. We've been told that the council won't help with transport. It is an ICS appeal.
We're appealing on the grounds that I can't get him there reliably because of condition and it's unfair on DSS to have a disrupted education because of my condition.
I appealed on similar grounds , full time wheelchair user and lost. You won't win on those grounds like pp says you need to use a childminder or find another way to get your child to school.
Re the attendance if it's not sufficient you will be prosecuted unless your ds has a disability school transport won't help.
In the end my dh works flexi hours to do school drop off and I am well enough to drive for pick up because I only take extra meds at night that affect my driving.
The only advice I can give is to contact social services who may help with transport.
Sorry just to add if you were a lone parent you may have had a chance, we were told my dh would have to give up work if needs be.
Your ds does have a parent who can take him to school you need to either facilitate that or pay someone you would get 70% of childcare paid for.
Is this for reception and is it ICS (30 pupils per class)?
If so, then I'm sorry but there are very limited grounds on which you can win and your mobility is not one of them. (essentially you can only win if admissions criteria were illegal, incorrectly applied, or the decision to admit was unreasonable in a legal sense)
However; most schools will have a "social and medical grounds" in the admissions criteria. Sometimes this covers just the child, and sometimes either child or parent (for example, Surrey make explicit that this covers either the child or the parent/carer.). If your LEA has this and it covers the parent, then you would have needed to supply evidence at the time of application - is this the case? did you do so?
If the admissions criteria has this covering parents too, and you supplied evidence, then your argument would be that they should have put your child in this priority category and the decision not to was unreasonable.
If the admissions criteria has this covering parents too but you didn't supply evidence, then the LEA cannot be expected to have made a decision based on it, so the decision to admit would not have been unreasonable, and you are very unlikely to win an ICS appeal based on it. The appeal can only look at the decision the LEA made based on the detail it had at the time.
If the admissions criteria doesn't cover parents, then your medical situation won't be relevant and so the decision to admit would not have been unreasonable, and again you are very unlikely to win an ICS appeal.
we still can't afford the extra 30% of the costs - the only place that picks up from the school he has a place charges £17.50 a day for pick ups and doesn't do breakfast club so I'm not sure what we could do about that. DP will be working a considerable distance away from the school and doesn't drive. In his past job he applied for flexihours and was refused several times, and I feel thats likely to be the same with the new job. I stated that I have mobility issues on the form but I was told that they didn't accept any further evidence until we were given a place. I asked about social/medical stuff and no one seemed to know what I was on about, so i'll send them an email. I do have a social worker so I'll see whats they say if we lose.
How can I find out how many children are in the classes of our chosen school? Is it unreasonable to expect a school with capacity to make an extra class for a year group if needed? All of our chosen schools have a large waiting list (2 of which we're nearly at the top, 2 of which we're 20+ away).
You can just ring the school and as the class numbers they should tell you.
Honestly they don't care if you can afford it, I was very surprised at the result of our appeal but understand now we had zero chance of winning. Ultimately if a child has an able resident parent it's their responsibility to get them to school even if it means finding a different job or being unemployed.
Is there no nearer schools that you could get to on your mobility scooter?
If you want to PM me the name of the school/LA I can check what the admissions criteria say on social/medical - it should be explicit.
The admissions authority should be able to tell you the PAN (published admissions number) for the school but again I can look it up for you if you want.
Just because a school has a waiting list it doesn't mean the places are needed - those children may well all have a place somewhere else, they just prefer this school. A bulge is only needed if a significant number of pupils in an area don't have places, or all have places an unreasonable distance away (more than 45 minutes travelling time as a rule at primary)
If the allocated school is 3m aren't the LA obliged to provide transport for the child ? It sounds as if there wasn't a social/medical category for parents if they didn't request evidence but you need to check for each of the schools you are appealing. If they should have requested it but didn't you may have an argument. If you are ever too ill to do the school run who would get your child to school even if it were closer?
Did you apply to all the nearest schools? If you did then the LEA has a LEGAL obligation to arrange transport for your child to a school over 2 miles away. They can't say they won't help...
I'm really sorry but they are right.
I think it would help if we could break it down into sections. So:
Did the schools you applied for have a 'social and medical' criteria (often this would be criteria 2 or 3, after statemented children and Looked After children but before any others)?
If they did, did they state whether they take into account the medical needs of the parent or just the child? Some LAs will only take into account the medical conditions of a child, others will look at medical needs of a parent that affect a child.
If they did, did you apply using that criteria, and did you supply evidence that specifically named that school as necessary in that medical professional's opinion (rather than "Greengoth89 tells me it is very important that her DS goes to X school")?
Did you get offered a school closer than the one 3 miles away that you turned down?
Have the council told you why they don't think they have to provide transport for the school that is 3 miles away?
I am presuming this is a year R place. Am I right?
Yes this is a Year R place. We've applied to 4 nearest schools, I have got evidence that says that will effect my health if I have to take him that distance on a daily basis, but I was never given a chance to provide it beforehand - in fact i was told not to send it in at the stage of application. the council have said they only provide transport for those with a HE plan. There was only closer that we had th turn down because it was 2 buses away rather than 1 which during rush hour with a mobility scooter would have been almost impossible for me to get to - i frequently get refused by bus drivers as the wheelchair space is already taken by a buggy. One bus is hard enough! It still would have been more than 45 mins bus ride away! I'm still struggling to find out if they have a social/medical criteria which included parents - most schools don't know! If he was at a closer school then we have friends/family who could potentially drop him off but any further away and it would be difficult for them to do it.
Check your PMs - I've replied. There is no criteria covering parents needs I'm afraid. If you turned down a nearer school then they don't have any responsibility to help with transport either unfortunately.
Oh dear. By turning down the closer school, you have let the LA off the hook in terms of providing transport. They only have to provide transport to the nearest suitable school if it is more than 2 miles away.
If you want to send a PM with the LA (and school names, ideally) to PatriciaHolm or me, we could look to see what the criteria are and how you might be able to proceed.
Cross posted with you there, PatriciaHolm. It's as I feared, by the sound of it.
We were told that there was no transport available for that school before we turned it down.
Thank you for your help Patricia & Lougle, I'm contacting some educational law people to see if they can help any further!
There wouldn't have been for a closer school but had you been allocated this one initially they would have been obliged to provide some.
If the nearer school was less than 2 miles away then no you wouldn't have qualified for transport, and by turning it down you disqualify yourself for transport for other schools I'm afraid.
Be careful of paying for Education Law specialists; many know very little about how this sort of school appeal works, and approach them more as a court of law. They are not, and this sort of approach is more likely to annoy and frustrate a panel than help; for example, appeal decisions set no precedent. Seek advice by all means, but ICS appeals are pretty cut and dried I'm afraid.
Try Simpson Millar for education advice. I remember seeing a really good guide to admissions appeals that they did, and they will also be able to advise on things like school transport and whether the duty to make reasonable adjustments for your disability will help.
I'd be interested to know how the Equality Act applies in situations such as this. Does it apply to the school admissions system PRH and co?
The Equality Act has some applicability to admissions but it is limited. Schools can discriminate on grounds of the pupil's age. A single sex school can discriminate on grounds of the pupil's sex. A faith school can discriminate on grounds of faith in that it can use faith to prioritise admissions but it cannot exclude pupils on faith grounds.
In terms of disability, if the pupil is disabled that would clearly come into play. They cannot be allocated to a school which is unable to accommodate their disability, nor can they be given a school which they cannot get to due to their disability. However, even for able bodied parents, whether or not the parents will be able to get their child to the allocated school is not a consideration. Parents are expected to cope with getting their child to whatever school is allocated. I therefore don't think there is an argument under the Equality Act that a child should be given a place at a local school due to a parent's disability.
I would be prioritising looking into a way of getting your child to school. Childminders will be filling up and before and after school care is your priority. Dh will need to drop off and pick up. Do you know where you are on the waiting lists of the local schools? A place may come up yet.
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