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Year one appeal tomorrow.

(50 Posts)
mumof32015 Sun 18-Dec-16 15:00:41

Our family recently moved house. We had become overcrowded and we're in need of an extra bedroom. In September we were offered a house in a village next to where we had been living. Our new address has a school right around the corner, so we decided to enquire. We were told our eldest child would get a place straight away but we would need to appeal for our younger child who is in year 1. At the time I told the school I would leave it but they were very keen for me to look around and said appealing is a simple process. After looking at the school I felt it would benefit the family to go ahead with the move. The childrens current head teacher aggredo with us, even though he said he'd be sorry to see the children go. However tomorrow is the appeal and I am not happy with the comments that some of the school has made against us, one comment was that we moved to the area for a bigger house and the house we have now is still small. They have also stated that we have moved just to be closer to the school because it has become popular. Another statement is that there are 128 places at the school and 114 are filled. They've also said that we haven't made a formal application for our eldest child (which I haven't made because 1. I've been told it wouldn't add any weight to our case. 2. It actually caused her a lot of anxiety thinking she would have to move alone. 3. If she did move school and my other child didn't it would make things even more complicated.) I feel stressed about it all because when we went round the head teacher said he was confident we had a good enough case to win. Where as the head at our current school said the statements were unreasonable and they only ever go with the fact it would take the class size over 30. I just don't know what to do and obviously tomorrow I don't want to come over annoyed. Has anyone else had to sit and appeal before?

AwaywiththePixies27 Sun 18-Dec-16 15:06:43

Yes. I had to appeal for my DDs place (year 6) after her DS (year 2) got a place six months before hand.

Mine was completely different as the Infant class size rules don't apply after you come out of year 2 and we were appealing the decision for DD not DS. I do know they are VERY strict about Year 1 & Year 2 and legally can't go above their class size unless they've got very good reason.
I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than me will be along to answer your post soon.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 18-Dec-16 15:06:57

I don't see that the size of your house is any of their business so I don't suppose it would hold much weight with the appeal panel.

What is the PAN of the school and how are the KS1 classes organised?

admission Sun 18-Dec-16 16:54:49

I think that you need to take a deep breath and then understand that the school has to make a case not to admit, so they will throw in anything that they think will help their case. It is not something that is about you, they will do that for every appeal. It is also from what you have said a weak case.
If you look at each of the bits that they have come up with, you need to counter their arguments in the first stage of the appeal - that is when the school make their case for not admitting. You cannot just make a statement about how wrong they are but have to ask questions. So when they say you have moved to a smaller house, I would ask them whether that in any way has any relevance to your application? Is there somewhere in the admission criteria, which says I have to move to a bigger house. The panel will pay no attention to that statement, because it has no relevance to the appeal.
As far as the school being popular, I would ask them whether they would prefer that the school was not popular? Again it is totally irrelevant to the appeal. I think I would also in part 2 of the case, make the point to the panel, when you can make a statement, that you moved to the house because it was the right move for you and your family and that you did like the idea that there was a local school.
The fact that there are 114 places filled out of 128 is not really relevant in that whilst it shows that the school is not full as a total figure, the relevant bit is how many pupils there are in year . I presume that it is up to the PAN and that is the reason for non-admittance.
The key issue for you is whether the admission appeal is an infant class size appeal. Does it say so on the information from the school? If so then I am afraid the chances of winning the appeal are low but if it does not say it is an infant class size appeal then it is solely on whether your case is better than their case. On what you have posted their case is not strong. What you need to be doing is asking appropriate questions in part 1 and then in part 2 making a strong case for admission. Yes you have a sibling who will also join the school, because there is a place for them and that the two siblings are close to each other and need to go to the same school. That the school is around the corner and therefore pupils can walk to school. That the school has clubs that you children would like to attend. That you like the atmosphere in the school and anything else that you think might be appropriate.
Go in to the appeal being positive, without being aggresive.

eddiemairswife Sun 18-Dec-16 17:37:55

I'm very surprised that the school has made such comments about your house size and your reason for moving. It is something that I might expect the panel to ask, but even then I would not expect them to make such comments to your face.

mumof32015 Sun 18-Dec-16 18:04:36

The school has two infant classes with 60 between them. 17 in reception, 19 in year 1 and 24 in year 2.
I had not thought about the afternoon school clubs because they have a lot to offer that the current school doesn't.
I was annoyed at first about the comments about our house because we moved out of need, and were offered the property by the council. The house is just what we needed in terms of size.
I just don't know what to expect really. Is it best to write a statement to read tomorrow or just go in andifferent see what happens?

PatriciaHolm Sun 18-Dec-16 18:30:51

Have you not submitted anything so far? You must have filled in some papers to go to the panel?

With 30 in each class, then it is ICS, and thus very hard to win unless the admissions authority have made an error, or the admissions rules were illegal. From what you have said so far, neither of these apply.

Once your other daughter has a place, your youngest is likely to go up waiting lists, assuming the admissions criteria list siblings.

PatriciaHolm Sun 18-Dec-16 18:33:17

Also - where did those statements from the school come from? They are completely irrelevant to the appeal. All that is relevant is that the classes are full, and no error has been made; the size of your house and circumstances of your move are irrelevant.

admission Sun 18-Dec-16 18:55:17

What is the Published Admission Number (PAN) for the school? It is not easy to understand from the current figures for reception (17), year 1 (19) and year 2 (24).
You have a major problem as there are 2 classes of 30 so it is an infant class size case and therefore very difficult to win. But if the PAN is 20 then you have to be asking why the school has not admitted your child, if it is less than 20 then you have to be arguing that the school have admitted significantly above PAN and therefore your child should also be admitted. If I am honest the infant class size regs maximising the class at 30 do trump any such argument unless you can convince the appeal panel the school have not been very fair over previous admissions.
I am also very surprised that there has been no mention of the ICS regs in the papers you should have received. Has there been any? If not that will give the panel another problem because the school is arguing there objections to admit are more pressing than yours, whereas the real decision is that it is an infant class size regs case.

mumof32015 Sun 18-Dec-16 19:53:11

They have stated that the PAN is 18. We have submitted our case with supporting evidence.
The statements from the school were sent to is with a letter telling us of the dateam of the appeal.

admission Sun 18-Dec-16 20:07:52

So if the school has a PAN of 18, then you need to ask in part 1 why the school have 19 in year 1 and 24 in year2. Hopefully they will say that they admitted because they believe that they could take those pupils, at which point you can ask them if they could admit those why not your child.

Your problem is that this is an infant class size appeal and you can only win the appeal if they have made a mistake in not admitting your child, which they have not. However if they have not said that it is an infant class size appeal, then until the panel say it is I would just assume that it is a normal appeal where your case has to be better than their case. Try to counter all the comments they have made in part 1 and hope your case in strong enough.

mumof32015 Mon 19-Dec-16 18:04:19

Had the appeal this afternoon, it went well but I won't find out until Wednesday. But I really don't understand what has happened since viewing the school and today the head teacher seems to have taken a complete u turn on it all. When we met with him at the school he was all for my children attending and me appealing. But today he was saying how taking on another child has really worried him and what it will do to the school. When I went to shake everyone's hand him and his govner just ignored. Really don't know how I feel now.

LIZS Mon 19-Dec-16 18:07:13

Try not to take it personally. They have to defend the limit on infant class size to avoid setting precedents for future appeals.

admission Mon 19-Dec-16 22:41:46

Agree they have to as a school defend bringing more pupils in. Put simply if let 1 pupil in over the PAN then there is a distinct possibility that when the next pupil comes, they say no and it goes to appeal that the appeal panel will say that if you were happy to have the previous pupil, then you should take the latest one. So a need to try to defend admitting any more pupils.

bojorojo Tue 20-Dec-16 10:21:09

A PAN of 18 is very difficult to manage. Two year groups added together make 36 which is too large for Infant class sizes so the organisation of the classes must be quite complex, and, open to change according to the numbers on roll one would think. I think the PAN of 18 is a bit of a legacy from times gone by when they could have 36 in a mixed age class if they wanted. I would certainly want to know how classes are organised and the numbers of children in each class and year group. This difficult PAN may explain why they are not actually full of course.

I hope you win.

mumof32015 Tue 20-Dec-16 11:45:19

Just thought I would update, we didn't win the appeal due to the infant class size prejudice. Which is fair enough and I feel I have absolutely no argument on this. However like I said before the classes are set out as follows R 17, y1 19, y2 24 making 30 over 2 classes. Had all this been put to me when I viewed the school I wouldn't have even considered going for appeal this year. In September when the 24 move into the juniors the infant classes would no longer be full and we would probably be offered a yr2 place. Again this is something I was unaware of. Also we were told at the viewing that infants had been split into 3 classes because they didn't have the room. So again I didn't think there would be a problem.
I think what I am trying to say is, if anyone is thinking of appealing don't make the same mistake as I have done. Make sure you know all the figures of how many there are before you make the decision to appeal. I feel pretty stupid today because when I rang the school to find out if there was space, they told me to come in have a look and all i'd have to do is make a simple appeal. They were really pleasant telling me that I would probably win, then yesterday I felt like the horrible woman who was trying to ruin the school.
I don't know if next year I will want to try again knowing that I will be successful, but honestly the whole thing has stressed me out. But I do know that things could be a lot worse.

mumof32015 Tue 20-Dec-16 11:46:33

I mean 60 over 2 classes, not 30 0ver 2.

bojorojo Tue 20-Dec-16 13:29:08

So they take less than PAN (as they have in Reception) to manage the numbers they have already taken in? Admission would know if this is fair, but I rather thought it was not. Had you wanted a Reception place, I wonder what the outcome would have been? I thought schools had to take up to PAN in every year group.

Clearly there will be a change next year when the Y1 is still part of the KS1 numbers and become Y2. However, with just 36 children over two classes, does this mean they will admit 24 into Reception and not 18? How did 24 manage to be admitted in Y2?

I do agree that the school have not been clear with you. I assume they do their own admissions. Are the C of E or RC? I would also advise anyone to ask the LA for the "truthful" position on complicated admissions, even if it is not an LA school. They will know the numbers and the rules and can give appropriate advice.

By the way, you are absolutely not stupid and I am really sorry you felt underprepared and the school should have been clearer with the information they gave you. I think the school cannot have three KS1 classes because they do not have a third classroom - this is why they have two classes. The PAN and admissions appears to be a tricky situation in this school. You can re-evaluate the position for September, as you have said, but ask the LA Admissions Team for advice. When would you need to apply, what rules are pertinent, is there a waiting list, and what your chances are? They will know the numbers in each year group, which will help you. Presumably there are still advantages in your children going to a local school.

Are you renting nearby because you wanted this school? You say you were offered a house.

mumof32015 Tue 20-Dec-16 13:53:22

Yes we rent from the council. It is a CofE school. The 24 in year 2 they said was from appeals from other families. Apparently the 19 in year 1 is due to a child not being offered a place and then a child in reception changing their mind. So what they did was offer the child in year 1 the place, expanding year 1 to 19 and reducing reception to 17.
At the school they currently attend it is just 30 spaces in each class and every year group has a class. So pretty simple.
They said yesterday that intake is 18 to allow room over the infants to let others in.

eddiemairswife Tue 20-Dec-16 14:21:52

Is it an academy? I know academies have freedom to increase PAN at short notice, but I'm not sure about reducing it.

admission Tue 20-Dec-16 15:49:41

The school to some extent has been playing fast and loose with the guidance on admissions. If the school has an admission number of 18 (which is an awful number to have as a PAN) then in the reception year they obviously admitted 18. Then when one of the 18 backed out, they should have left that place open because at the point of entry into school they have to admit up to the PAN. So leaving it vacant would have allowed somebody else in reception to have the place. The decision to admit to 19 in year 1 was therefore a decision to make sure all 6 places in KS1 were full, but it was not a sensible decision for the school. I think that somebody applying now for a reception place, when they still have 17 and with what has happened would have a good chance of winning an appeal, even allowing for the ICS regs as the school have failed to carry out the guidance correctly and fill to the PAN.
Following the above train of thought the panel did have a difficult decision to make in this appeal, do they accept the limit of 2 classes of 30 and the infant class size regs taking precedence or did the schools decision to admit over the PAN into year 1 mean that the school should consider taking an extra pupil again. Unfortunately the reality is that the ICS Regs will always win in such a decision.
You are able to appeal once very school year or more than that if there has been a substantial change in either your or the school's situation. I would say that towards the end of this school year (middle of June) would be an excellent time to appeal again. You have extra information that the school made the arbritary decision to admit a 19 pupil to year 1 and that in September there will only be 18 in reception, 17 in year 1 and 19 in year 2. So it will not be an infant class size case as you only have 54 in the two classes, unless the school again do some fiddling with the numbers coming in. If you apply say in the middle of June, you would be looking for a september start in year 2 and presumably there would still be a place for your elder child.
As for the comment on the PAN being 18 to allow others in, that goes back to the Ark, when schools could hold places open for pupils moving into the catchment. It was made illegal in the admission code at least 10 years ago.

mumof32015 Tue 20-Dec-16 19:01:54

I feel if I did appeal against I would definitely build a stronger case and would argue more on the numbers and not why I wanted my children to go. In some ways I do feel it was unfortunate that we lost on the 30 class size rule, because I felt the panel did actually stick up for me and told the headteacher that the things he was saying were irrelevant.
I have only ever delt with a community school and to be honest I have never looked into how other none community schools work until now.
I always thought it was just a set number for intake and they didn't go over that number.

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Tue 20-Dec-16 19:09:42

You have had top advice from admission

I just wanted to say sorry for your bad experience X

bojorojo Tue 20-Dec-16 22:40:49

What happens if this popular school offers 24 children places for Reception in September? They have clearly gone above PAN in the past to maximise numbers and income. This may mean there is no Y2 place either!

mumof32015 Wed 21-Dec-16 01:04:58

I really don't know. In the information the school gave to the appeal panel they were arguing that the have 60 children over 2 classes. When u was shown around the school I was taken into 3 classes a reception class, a year 1 clasd and a tear 2 class. All having one teacher and one teaching assistant. I have just now double checked the schools website and it clearly says the school is set out as having 5 classes. A reception class with named teacher, a year one class with named teacher, a year 2 class with named teacher, a year 3 & 4 class with named teacher and a year 5 & 6 class with named teacher. Am I right in thinking that the 30 pupil rule is, 30 pupils to one teacher and then anything over they have to make a new class? I really don't know why I didn't double check this before the appeal.

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