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In Year Admissions Appeal Advice Required

(8 Posts)
mum0fthree964 Tue 18-Apr-17 20:29:25

Hi,
We recently moved to a new borough with our three children. The decision to move was pretty much non negotiable, as our eldest boy (diagnosed asd) had previously been out of school for 18 months and finally got a place at a private specialist school 30 miles away. The journey was affecting the placement, hence the reason for our relocation.
We are now in an affluent rural location, but my year 1 daughter has been out of school for half a term. I am appealing a place at the mainstream school next to my son's specialist school and this is also the school my youngest daughter is attending in Sept.
There is a massive safeguarding issue in regards to getting my son to school safely and the nearest school with availability is 5 miles in the other direction from our house and his school.
The local minister for education has been involved in our case and advised us to use our right of appeal. But, the legalities over class sizes are against us.
The fact we had to choose one of our children's education over the other was heartbreaking and I think we have a case using Section 17 of the Children's Act 1989.
Does anybody have any knowledgeable experience of winning an appeal due to extenuating circumstances?
I have only just got over the fight of getting my son the specialist education he has a right to and now my daughter finds herself out of school because I had no option but to support my son.
Feeling very lost right now, if anybody has any words of wisdom; I would truly appreciate it.
PS our appeal is next week.

tiggytape Tue 18-Apr-17 22:18:14

Has your DD been offered any school at all as yet or is it a case that you have been offered and declined the school some distance away?
And will the appeal be a standard one or an Infant Class Size one?

My reading of your post is that the basis of your appeal is that you need to accompany both your DD and your DS to school, neither can travel alone and therefore the schools need to be close together?

If so this is quite a common issue that parents face and generally it is expected that parents have to manage it (breakfast club, use of childminder, lift sharing etc). It is also the case that the council must offer transport for your DD if the school 5 miles away is literally the only one with a place. It might be a taxi or school bus however some just offer financial help or a bus pass.

All you can do really is explain your case to the panel and present any supporting information you have.

prh47bridge Tue 18-Apr-17 22:26:10

I do not believe you have a case under Children Act 1989 S17. You may have a case if the LA was not providing for your eldest son but your daughter does not appear to meet the definition within the Act of a child in need and Part 1 of Schedule 2 does not list education as one of the services covered.

You refer to the "local minister for education". Are you in Scotland or Wales? Or are you in England and referring to the LA's cabinet member with responsibility for Education?

Assuming you are in England I'm afraid you are very much reliant on getting a sympathetic appeal panel that is willing to bend the rules for you. In general parents are expected to resolve transport issues themselves. And, as Tiggytape says, if the school 5 miles away is the nearest with places available the LA must provide free transport for your daughter. Note that the transport is only for your daughter. They do not have to provide transport for you to accompany her to school or collect her after school.

You should make the best case you can but if it is an infant class size case as your post suggests I'm afraid you need to be realistic about your prospects of success. If the appeal panel sticks to the rules you will lose, I'm afraid.

Campfiresmoke Tue 18-Apr-17 22:32:01

Sorry to hear about your transport troubles.
I can't offer advice re appeal sorry but would you not qualify for transport for the school 5 miles away? We were lucky as we are rural and live more than 3 miles away from school and roads unsuitable for walking on so mine have been using the dedicated minibus since reception (driver or teacher check seat belts on OK and accompan them into school grounds). Sometimes I take them in myself but not often. It's fairly normal at my kids rural school for Reception kids to be on the bus. Could you elaborate what the safe guarding issue is with getting your daughter to school?

mum0fthree964 Tue 18-Apr-17 23:27:15

Thank you for your replies.
Yes, we are in England and it is an infant class size appeal. The current reception year has a class size of 31.
The safeguarding issue, is due to the severity of my son's disability, he could be deacribed as having a severe mental impairment. He tends to run away without any comprehension of safety and this is completely unpredictable and sometimes without warning. Anxiety exacerbates this e.g being in a crowd of people, unfamiliar surroundings, fear of being late...all of which are factors in having the schools next to each other.
My daughter is 1st on the waiting list and ranked due to special circumstances because of her brothers school next door. So, the school are aware of the situation and have done all they can for us, to which I am grateful.
I realise class size prejudice is nigh on impossible to win at appeal stage; but wondered if I was missing anything at all.
Taxi to school for DD is not an option. The timings don't tally and strong possibility of nobody being home when dropping my 6 year old off in a taxi. I could potentially be waiting/struggling to get my son in the car for an hour before he complies. Again, this is totally unpredictable but a serious reality that I live with each day.
What upsets me the most is seeing my daughter's struggling and missing out because their brother happens to have a disability. I am by no means the only one in this situation, I just find it an incredibly sad reality.

AndNowItIsSeven Tue 18-Apr-17 23:32:31

Unfortunately your ds disability has no bearing on an appeal for your dd. The panel will likely say you could use a childminder/nanny etc as she has no additional needs.

prh47bridge Tue 18-Apr-17 23:46:06

Unfortunately your ds disability has no bearing on an appeal for your dd

I would still mention it and explain the full situation. Sometimes an appeal panel will decide to admit even though under the rules they shouldn't. But it is dependent on getting a panel that is willing to do that.

mum0fthree964 Wed 19-Apr-17 11:05:36

Thank you everyone, I will be walking into the appeal knowing that class size prejudice will prevail. I will keep my fingers crossed for a sympathetic panel at the same time, that's all I can do.

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