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Grounds for appeal

(11 Posts)
watchingitallagain Fri 13-Jan-17 12:07:41

I'm wondering if anyone out there can point me in the right direction for some help/advice.

My DD started reception at a school in September. We moved house closer to another school in August but had already had to make her application based on our old address. We've got her on the waiting list for the closest school where we're in first place because we now live so close. I have been advised that the year she is looking to enter is already 4 places over the PAN and that we're still unlikely to get a place as 5 children would have to move. I know that a child joined the class in the last few weeks, presumably via the appeal process. I would be surprised if they live closer than we do now although it's not impossible.

So, the local authority have said the only chance of getting my DD a place would be to appeal. There's not much on their website that details how to put an appeal together or valid reasons for an appeal. I have two other pre-school children that will be going to the closest school as we're now in that catchment and the journey to the second school (past the closest school) is not far but is difficult because it's up a very steep hill. Today DD isn't at school because of snow but we could have easily made it to the closest school.

Can anyone suggest somewhere I can check what valid reasons for appeal are to see if it's going to be even possible?

cantkeepawayforever Fri 13-Jan-17 13:25:37

Watching,. the key question is whether there are 30 in the class your child wants to go into.

By law, 30 is the maximum number, and any appeal for that class would be an 'Infant Class Size' appeal and vvvvvvv difficult to win.

If it ISN'T 30, then the appeal is on the normal 'balance of prejudice' (basically, is it worse for the school to admit you, or for your child not to go into that class) grounds.

So once you know whether it is an ICS or normal appeal, post again and the brilliant experts on here can advise you. Only a very small number of ICS appeals succeed (5%? Something like that) because you have to prove that a mistake has been made that deprived you of the place that should be yours - which is clearly not the case for you.

bojorojo Fri 13-Jan-17 13:38:41

If they are already 4 over PAN in Reception, then no chance. Does this mean they have 34, 64, 94, or 124? The admitted child could be a looked after child or a child with the school named on the EHIC. Not all admissions are based on distance. You must look at their admisions policy. You just do not know why this child was admitted. I think it is looking very difficult to see any way an appeal could be successful.

If you are in first place, and all these children leave, stay on the waiting list. You moved too late, unfortunately.

cantkeepawayforever Fri 13-Jan-17 13:41:31

bojo, if the PAN is 17, or 20, or 25, or 8, then 4 over PAN can still result in a class not being 30 - or on the hand being 30 due to combination with other year groups.

Especially in small schools with small PANs and composite classes, you can go from year groups with 4 over PAN to ones 7 under, and different combinations of year groups in composite classes every year...

bojorojo Fri 13-Jan-17 13:49:48

Very true. I had forgotten about small school scenarios. Usually if you are walking past one school to get to another one, it is an urban setting and small schools are not normally what you find. It is still a problem if the school needs lots of children to leave though.

PANS that do not add up to 30 over two year groups are a pain in the backside because schools manipulate admissions to fill up to 30. They need to do this for the money. This makes life difficult for parents and admission is more of a lottery. It is still perfectly possible for a child to have been admitted for legitimate reasons though.

steppemum Fri 13-Jan-17 14:06:15

the new child who was admitted could be a Looked After Child, an adopted child, a child with SEN or a child with a sibling already in the school.
Once your younger child starts at the school, you are in an even better situation.

cantkeepawayforever Fri 13-Jan-17 14:21:49

Steepmum, that depends. Some sibling priority only works 'downwards', from an older sibling in the school to a younger one entering it, and doesn't work to give priority to an older sibling. Definitely worth careful scrutiny of the admissions criteria.

PatriciaHolm Fri 13-Jan-17 14:51:26

The first thing to ascertain, as PP have said, is whether this is an Infant Class Size appeal. If the PAN is 30, a multiple of it, or a number that allows classes in YR/1/2 to be 30 (so a PAN of 20, say, allowing 2 classes of 30 over the 3 year groups) then it will be ICS and thus exceptionally difficult to win, as this is the legal maximum normally allowed. An appeal for ICS can only be won if the LEA made a mistake that cost your child a place, the admissions criteria were unlawful, or the decision not to admit was legally so perverse no regular person would have made it.

In the case you describe, that sounds unlikely - you moved late, and thus were simply put on the waiting list for a full class. There is a very limited amount that could have gone wrong there realistically, especially if you have been told you are first on the list and no-one has left the school since. The child joining the class is likely to have an EHCP that names the school; assuming that you're happy that no-one has left and this child hasn't got the first place from the waiting list by mistake, then grounds under ICS seem very unlikely.

If the PAN is not 30, then the appeal is on the balance of prejudice; you need to show that the prejudice to the school of admitting would be less than the prejudice to your daughter of not being admitted.

Quite frankly, if the class is already 4 over PAN then I can't see a panel would be happy to admit more unless there is some strong mitigating reason why the school can cope with so many more than PAN (it has spare classrooms and teaching staff for some reason, say, which is basically very unlikely!)

There is no harm in appealing, and you can appeal once per academic year; but on the face of it, there are no grounds here for a successful appeal I'm afraid.

(I sit on appeals panels BTW)

watchingitallagain Fri 13-Jan-17 15:21:36

Thanks everyone.

The school we want has PAN of 60 and I have been told by admissions they already have 64. I thought from what I'd read that an appeal would be unlikely to be successful- I was just thrown when the last person I spoke to suggested an appeal should be my next step. It sounds like it's a way of getting people off the phone rather than helping. hmm

PatriciaHolm Fri 13-Jan-17 16:01:20

Well, realistically, an appeal is the only way forward to get a place at this school other than just sitting it out on the waiting list, as unlikely as winning might be. It would be remiss of them not to mention your right to appeal.

admission Fri 13-Jan-17 16:31:56

If the year cohort has 64 and the PAN is 60, then the only way because of the Infant Class Size Regs that the 4 have been admitted should be either because mistakes were made in the original allocations, that they are LAC or they have an EHCP which names the school.
The question that you need answering is whether this latest admission to the year group was via an appeal. If so, there is no way they should have got a place as by now no mistake would be justified and those who are LAC or EHCP should have be offered a place directly by the LA. If it was by appeal then I would have to question whether the appeal panel is correctly administering the Infant Class Size Regulations.
The problem is that nobody is going to tell you whether the admission was via an appeal . The only way to question the 4 admissions is by going to appeal but expecting to not win the case unless something very strange is going on.
By law the admitting authority has to tell you that you can appeal but in the circumstances it is a for lone hope that you will win

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