Year 4 in year admissions appeal..

(23 Posts)
reallyanotherone Sat 05-Nov-16 20:55:23

Hi,

We have recently relocated and my ds is in year 4.

Our local primaries are all full. We have been allocated a school but it's nearly 5 miles away, over an hour on 2 buses.

So far my appeal is in the basis of;

Dc's social development. The allocated school feeds in to a different secondary to the one he would most likely get. So he would make friends, then have to start again in two years as his new friendship group would go to a different secondary. Dc has expressed concern himself at this.

Also he would not have schoolfriends near home, making it difficult to integrate into the community generally.

The distance means the council have to pay costs- do I need a figure? I don't know whether it would be bus or taxi.

Distance and journey means I am very concerned about timekeeping, getting to school on time in the morning, and also if it is by bus what if I'm delayed at pick up. Plus it's four hours out of my day, I won't be able to work!

He won't be able to participate in any after school activities or weekend stuff like summer fairs.

I also have an older son at secondary who is still settling in to the new area that would be at home alone until i got back.

Both dc are g&t - they have extra-curricular activities they would not be able to participate in any longer.

Is that enough? Have i missed anything?

Oh and as dc isn't in school i will have to take him to the appeal. Is that allowed?

Thank you!

prh47bridge Sun 06-Nov-16 00:26:41

The fact that your son's friendship group may go to a different secondary will not be terribly persuasive. The appeal panel will know that many children end up in a secondary school with few friends from primary school and that, even where they are with friends, it is often the case that new friendships will largely supplant old ones.

The costs the council will incur on transport to the allocated school will not make any difference to your appeal. That is not something the appeal panel can consider.

The LA will provide free transport for your child, not for you. The expectation is that your child will travel unaccompanied. It is very unlikely the appeal panel will be interested in the amount of time it takes you to travel to the school and back twice a day.

At the moment your case is almost entirely about why you don't want the allocated school. You need to largely forget that and make a case about why your son needs to go to the preferred school. What is it this school will offer him that is missing from the allocated school. There are a few of your points that could be turned round with thought but you will probably need more.

Is the journey genuinely over an hour using two buses? Or will the LA provide a taxi? If the journey is really over an hour you can argue that it is too long. Government guidance is that the maximum journey time for a primary school child should be 45 minutes. Also, many appeal panels would not be happy with an unaccompanied Y4 child needing to change buses.

Do not take your son to the appeal. If he was allowed in it could alienate the panel. They may see it as an attempt to blackmail them into making the decision you want.

ThePurplePrincess Sun 06-Nov-16 01:01:07

I agree with prh47bridge

Look at the school and class sizes of other classes in the school. The actual square footage of the school and of each classroom. This will determine how many pupils they can accommodate.

The appeal panel will probably not be too interested in your personal circumstances (sorry!) - unless the school can offer your child something specific ie dietary requirements, educational need, medical support.

Good luck, hope you are successful 😀

YonicProbe Sun 06-Nov-16 01:04:43

When were you a allocated a school and how come DS isn't going there for now?

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 06-Nov-16 01:07:44

Has the school ever exceeded its PAN? If it has, that's useful.
You need to appeal for the wanted school rather than against the allocated school.

irvineoneohone Sun 06-Nov-16 07:57:18

Yonic, that's exactly what I thought reading this thread. Can you decline the place and appeal successfully? I thought at least the council's obligation for the free transport is lost?

NewIdeasToday Sun 06-Nov-16 08:39:38

Surely if the schools closer to you are full, then they're full. What do you expect them to do?

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 08:52:51

Thanks everyone.

How do i find all this out- square footage, whether it's exceeded pan, if it is taxi? I am appealing for 3 schools, all closer than the one allocated.

Do they seriously expect an 8 year old to walk to a bus stop, get a bus, get off, walk 200m to another bus stop, get another bus, walk another 200m to school on their own? Then hang around school for 25 mins until theyre allowed in? What if they get the wrong bus? Miss the stop?

If they provide a taxi will it be chaperoned?

What am I supposed to do with him during the appeal? I have no family nearby, it's a new area and i don't know anyone. He could wait outside?

We were allocated the other school 2 weeks ago. Admissions and the school said not to worry about starting until after the appeal as there was no point changing schools again if the appeal were successful. I have not declined the place, we have authorised absence until the appeal.

The school allocated is large, and was failing a few years ago. It is on the up now and results are good, but it's reputation hasn't changed so it's undersubscribed and has places in nearly all year groups.

It isn't that I don't want the school, i just don't see how the journey is feasible! Especially with both dc outside school commitments.

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 08:58:01

Surely if the schools closer to you are full, then they're full. What do you expect them to do?

Well what do you suggest? Everyone has the right of appeal. Admissions advised an appeal, the worst that can happen is it's refused and i've not lost anything other than a bit of time and effort.

It is up to the appeal panel to "do something" ,if they decide something needs to be done.

ReggaeShark Sun 06-Nov-16 08:58:16

They won't expect him to do that journey on his own. They will provide a taxi with a DBS checked driver. No chaperone. Did you check school status before you moved?

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 09:09:21

Did you check school status before you moved?

It wouldn't have made any difference. All local schools are full, this is the closest with spaces. Not moving was not an option. All we could do is move, and get on waiting lists. There are plenty of local schools, but we are only allowed to go on the waiting list for 3.

Taxi with no chaperone? That terrifies me. A taxi full stop terrifies me, i have a real fear of getting in cars alone with people I don't know.

prh47bridge Sun 06-Nov-16 09:49:26

Surely if the schools closer to you are full, then they're full. What do you expect them to do?

This is why we have an appeals system. If the OP can show that the disadvantage to her son from not attending the preferred school outweighs the problems the school will face from having to admit an additional pupil she will win her appeal.

What am I supposed to do with him during the appeal?

I'm afraid that is your problem. The LA may not be happy with him sitting outside the hearing unaccompanied. You need to find someone who will look after him for you.

Taxi with no chaperone? That terrifies me. A taxi full stop terrifies me, i have a real fear of getting in cars alone with people I don't know.

The LA may provide a chaperone but most will only do so if the child has particular needs which require a chaperone. The appeal panel will be sympathetic to your feelings but they won't take that into account. The taxi, if that is what the LA provide, will be for your son. The driver will be DBS checked. It will be safe.

The appeal panel cannot allow your appeal to succeed just because you are terrified of sending your son in a taxi. I'm sure that isn't what you want to hear but I'm afraid it is the way appeal panels work.

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 10:19:36

prh47- mind if I send you a PM?

I'd like to explore one other avenue, but can't say on a public forum.

The LA are sending me the arguments as to why they can't admit DC, so presumably my starting point is to counter those arguments?

Again, does anyone know where I can find out stuff like whether they will offer a taxi, whether schools have gone over PAN before, etc?

I'm a bit peed off I can only wait list for three schools- there are at least 6 within an easy journey for us, if a place came up at one of the other 3 we would miss out there. Can I bring that up?

Thanks for everyone's help. I am genuinely taking it all on board.

LIZS Sun 06-Nov-16 10:30:17

It might not be a public bus but a specific school minibus or coach service. Tbh it sounds as if you are projecting your fears onto your Ds regarding travel arrangements. Alternatively could you find a local cm who could do drop offs and picks up, enabling you to work longer hours. Presumably you can still call schools you aren't on the list for, in case a space comes up.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 06-Nov-16 10:42:41

I think you can ask the admissions dept for PAN history & travel arrangements. They're encouraging an appeal so they might be helpful.

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 10:55:29

It's not catchment at all for this school, so no, no minibus service.

The school is on the other side of a major river, and we are fairly rural, which is why two buses- one to the nearest town where the bridge is, then one to the school from the other side. The river is fairly divisive and makes the journey tricky, so the catchment is exclusively one side of the river. It has a defined catchment area, not home-school distance.

Btw I realise my taxi fears won't count for an appeal, but I do dislike the idea a lot- but yes, I know it is my problem.

Just trying to figure out which arguments to focus on to give us the best chance.

I have phoned round other schools, but short of doing it every day, it's going to be pot luck if I happen to phone the day a child leaves.

eddiemairswife Sun 06-Nov-16 11:29:01

Even if you phone on a day a child leaves they would still have to allocate from the waiting list (if there is one).

prh47bridge Sun 06-Nov-16 12:40:33

Feel free to PM me.

The LA's case will be about why the school cannot take any more pupils. It will help if you can weaken their case a little but that is unlikely to be enough on its own to win your case.

does anyone know where I can find out stuff like whether they will offer a taxi, whether schools have gone over PAN before, etc

The admission authority (the LA if this is a community or VC school, the school itself if it is a VA school or academy) must answer any reasonable questions you ask in order to help you prepare your appeal. It is a requirement of the Admission Appeals Code.

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 13:23:19

I have just discovered edubase. Very interesting!

It would appear 5 of my nearest schools are well above PAN already, comparing no. of children on roll to the admissions number. As in up to 5- children over, which seems huge...

The other though is only 1 over- this is actually our preferred school so maybe I should focus on that one?

The school I have been allocated has nearly 100 places spare...

The other thing is we are on the border with a different LEA, so some of their schools are nearer. I have rung the schools and there are no places, but is it worth contacting that LA directly, or will they just refer me back to the one I live in?

When we moved I was more worried about secondary school too, as there were only 2 real options, and both were very oversubscribed.

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 14:03:48

I have also found the LA's transport policy.

It states that they provide a bus card, refund public transport expenses, or a milage allowance for those who require special arrangements. No mention of a taxi, but I have emailed to clarify.

It also only provides transport for published school times- so I wouldn't be able to use after school clubs or a CM, especially if it were a taxi.

I know I'm not supposed to argue against the school allocated, only for the school(s) we want. Do I just need to find a way to word it that DC would be disadvantaged by the inaccessibility?

Sorry to bombard with posts, trying to get it right! Don't want to go in with a load of stuff the panel will deem irrelevant smile

reallyanotherone Sun 06-Nov-16 14:10:22

Oh and what documents am I likely to need?

I have a letter from DC's extra-curricular outlining the level they're at and why they need support.

I was going to print off the bus route and home to school policy to take with me.

I'm reading various websites that are saying proof of address etc, and that I need to lodge all documents 3 days prior.

YonicProbe Sun 06-Nov-16 17:17:55

Really

The most relevant number is the number on roll in the year you are seeking; yes, all pupils use e.g. The playground but classroom overcrowding etc will be year by year

prh47bridge Sun 06-Nov-16 18:56:24

I have rung the schools and there are no places, but is it worth contacting that LA directly, or will they just refer me back to the one I live in?

That LA can tell you which schools in their area have places. Depending on their arrangements for in year admissions they may tell you to apply direct to the schools you want or they may tell you to apply through your home LA.

Do I just need to find a way to word it that DC would be disadvantaged by the inaccessibility?

No. If they only provide a bus card that gives you an opening. This is one of the few situations where you can argue against the allocated school. The journey is longer than 45 minutes each way which means that, under the government's Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance, it is too long for a primary school child. It also involves a change of bus. You can argue that it is unreasonable to expect your son to make this journey, that you need a nearer school, that all local schools are full but that your preferred school is only 1 over PAN and therefore better able to accommodate an additional pupil.

I'm reading various websites that are saying proof of address etc, and that I need to lodge all documents 3 days prior

You won't need proof of address. You should send in your documentary evidence before the hearing. The letter notifying you of the date of the hearing should include a deadline for submission of evidence. If you miss this the appeal panel may not get a chance to read it before the hearing so they may want to adjourn to a later date. In terms of what you submit, it is entirely up to you. Whatever you need to support your case. However, don't overload the panel with written evidence. They have to read it all. They won't thank you if there is too much.

The most relevant number is the number on roll in the year you are seeking

There is some truth in that but the overall number for the school can be equally important. If there are 34+ per class in the year already most appeal panels won't want to admit any more pupils. Some will get nervous on a lower number. However, admission authorities often argue that there will be overcrowding in the corridors, H&S issues, etc. if additional pupils are admitted. If the school is under capacity overall it is hard for them to sustain that argument.

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