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Appeal allocated Primary School based on mum's health issues?

(27 Posts)
Gbean Sun 23-Apr-17 20:31:29

I posted in chat first and have been pointed in this direction. My OP:-

My nephew had just been allocated a primary school, not within walking distance or a pick-up school for his nursery which provides wrap around care. There are two closer schools with Are within walking distance and nursery collects from both.

My sister (nephews mum) is currently having treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. She isn't able to drive or walk some days. She has two friends with children at closest school (one lives next door) who will do school runs when she can't, but only if DN is at the same school.

I've downloaded the appeal form but would be grateful for any advice or tips please.

Thanks

Extra info - sis didn't mention health issue when she applied for place as this is a recent diagnosis.

CoffeeBreakIn5 Sun 23-Apr-17 20:35:36

I think you'd need to speak to the LEA as it's not a usual situation. If the diagnosis was after the closing date then you'd think they would have to take it into consideration, it would depend on the authority.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister's diagnosis, I hope your nephew gets into a school that helps to alleviate some of the stress. It would have to be a pretty heartless authority that didn't help but you never know x

ExplodedCloud Sun 23-Apr-17 20:50:13

Did your sister apply for the 2 closer schools? I assume she did. Was the school they were given placed higher on her list than the nearer schools?
Unless there's been a mistake somehow them in theory an appeal won't win. However it might be worth a try.
Other things to do are get on the waiting lists for the 2 schools asap in case a place frees up. Talk to the L.A. and see about that.
Additionally when does your nephew turn 5? He's not obliged to be there until the term after he's 5 so the school may be willing to hold his place and he could continue at nursery.
Hope your sister recovers well flowers

cantkeepawayforever Sun 23-Apr-17 20:52:07

It's a really difficult situation, because places in Reception can only be allocated on the basis of the published over-subscription criteria, which are usually:
- Children with a statement of SEN / ECHP that names the school
- Looked after, or ex looked after, children
- (Faith if relevant)
- Siblings of children in school (often, but not always)
- Other children by distance or catchment or both.

Some schools - a small minority in my experience - have a social and medical needs category, which may come above siblings. It is worth looking to see whether the desired school does. If it does, then you also need to see whether it covers the social and medical needs of the child, or also of the parent or carer. Those that only consider the child are more common in this already rare type of category.

if there is a category for exceptional social / medical needs that include carers / parents then your DN can be placed in this category at this point - although it won't get him a place, it will put him very high on the waiting list.

If not, then the admissions authority isn't allowed to give him any priority on compassionate grounds, because that is against the way admissions law works. You could appeal, and you could meet a very sympathetic panel, and it might be that if it isn't an infant class size appeal (ie your DN wouldn't take the class over 30), then they might decide to admit - but it is a long shot as i understand it, and if it is an infant class size appeal, however sympathetic they feel they cannot take the class size over 30 to accommodate him.

Gbean Sun 23-Apr-17 21:12:40

Yes, the schools closest were 1 and 2 on the form. The school allocated was number 5.

It's so upsetting for them, they really don't need this on top of everything else. All DN's friends are going to choice 1, he's got enough to cope with at home with "mummy's poorly".

ExplodedCloud Sun 23-Apr-17 21:26:58

Seems slightly strange that he missed out on 1 and 2 then. Do you know why he didn't get a place there? Do they live further from the school than his friends?

Gbean Sun 23-Apr-17 21:42:30

They all live similar distance. It's one of those areas where the schools are so good people move there iykwim.

BrieAndChilli Sun 23-Apr-17 21:45:26

It's worth appealing but I'm not sure you will win as they haven't acted unlawfully or made mistake on application.
The LEA should on the other hand provide transport to the school and if the parent is very ill I would ask for this to be door to door.

ExplodedCloud Sun 23-Apr-17 21:49:21

Assuming it's a local authority school there are strict criteria to be applied that, unless you're in a special category, usually include some combination of distance and sibling priority.
Do any of his friends live further away but have got in? If so do they have siblings at the school?

ExplodedCloud Sun 23-Apr-17 21:51:00

Brie - why do think the L.A. should provide transport?

cantkeepawayforever Sun 23-Apr-17 22:07:55

There's a minimum distance for transport to be provided - you could look it up, it's 2 miles I think at this age but you would need to check, and it would also be important that there wasn't a closer school that could have been applied for (and where he would have got a place) but wasn't included on the form.

prh47bridge Sun 23-Apr-17 22:11:45

If the allocated school is over 2 miles from home by the shortest safe walking route the LA must provide free transport for your nephew. However, they don't have to provide transport if it is less than 2 miles from home even if it is more than 2 miles from the nursery.

If this is an infant class size case an appeal is a long shot. Under the rules it is only possible to win an ICS appeal if a mistake has been made or the refusal to admit was unreasonable. I'm afraid this case does not appear to fall into those categories. However, sometimes a sympathetic appeal panel will admit even when the rules say they shouldn't so it is worth a try. All you can do is explain the situation fully and hope the appeal panel decides to help.

Alanna1 Sun 23-Apr-17 22:20:09

Yes you can appeal - you could contact one of the law firms that specialise in this area for advice. Here's a link to legal 500 - you can look in the geographic area you're in, obviously -http://www.legal500.com/c/london/public-sector/education-individuals

tiggytape Sun 23-Apr-17 22:45:03

Firstly, the advice would be to ensure your nephew is on the waiting lists for all schools that your sister would like. You can also ask to be added to more lists for other schools you didn't apply to. Maybe there is a local one you prefer to the school offered? Lists will start moving soon and lots of people get the school they want this way.

Secondly, check there is no error over allocations by asking why your nephew did not get a place. Which category was he placed in (distance or siblings etc) and what was the furthest distance offered? Check to see if the answers you get seem right. Success at appeal is possible if there was an error costing you a place or if the schools you want have classes smaller than 30 right up to Year 3.

I am assuming that the neighbour's children either got a place in a different year or that their child has a sibling at the school and your nephew doesn't? However, if there seems to be an error about distances accepted, this is worth exploring as it can be the key to winning an appeal.

As prh says, if there as no error and there are 30 per class at the school, an appeal can be a long shot simply because the panel are being asked to breach the law on class sizes and there are rules laid down about limited circumstances when they can do that. However, that's not to say something won't come up at appeal or they will be sympathetic and bend the rules to allow the appeal. With any luck, a waiting list place will come up long before the appeal but make sure you get the form in on time just in case.

irvineoneohone Sun 23-Apr-17 23:00:20

Sorry, I can't help but it really makes me wonder what is wrong with English system when I read thread like this.
I went to primary in two different countries. Rule was simple. Nearest where you live. They plan ahead and accommodate all the children within the area. Few movers aren't the problem either.
Why is it so complicated in England?

I hope it works out for your Dn.

CrazedZombie Mon 24-Apr-17 07:23:19

Irvine - the law here limits ks1 class sizes to 30 and you can't keep spaces open for people who move to the area.

Astro55 Mon 24-Apr-17 07:26:30

If next door got in - I'm not sure why DN didn't unless NDN child is older and the catchment was wider that year

You can do any harm appealing

Astro55 Mon 24-Apr-17 07:26:50

Can't

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Mon 24-Apr-17 07:30:59

NDN child might have special needs that the OP doesn't know about.

meditrina Mon 24-Apr-17 07:31:40

I answered on your thread in chat.

The first thing she needs to do is establish if any appeal would be beld under Infant Class Size rules (was the admission number a multiple of 30, or 15, or occasionally another number if year groups are combined anywhere in years R-2 producing classes of 30)?

The first thing she needs to establish is whether this appeal will be held under ICS (infant class size) rules. Is the admission number 30? (or 15, or occasinallyna different number that adds up to 30 per class if mixed year teaching anywhere in years R - 2.

Also did either of the preferred schools have a criterion for "exceptional medical or social need" and if so, did she ask to be considered in that category (medical need refers to needs of the prospective pupil, but social need can encompass the medical needs of the primary career).

Sorry to be bombarding with questions, but some of these points can make quite a difference to appeal prospects.

Has she checked she in on the waiting lists of all acceptable schools?

"Why is it so complicated in England?"
Population density is the main reason.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Mon 24-Apr-17 07:34:43

Just mentioning that as a possibility though - some more investigation and possibly an appeal well worth a shot in case an error has been made.

Oh and to state the bleeding obvious she needs to make sure she's actively on both waiting lists and rings back frequently to confirm that she's still ready to take any place available. If she's so close to the school she's presumably high up the waiting list and people do move unexpectedly.

Mehfruittea Mon 24-Apr-17 07:55:48

I don't think you will get anywhere with the appeal tbh. A parents needs are not taken in to account.

A cancer diagnosis covers her under the equalities act as a disability and the LA will normally help cover the cost of transport where a parent is temporarily too sick to take the child themselves AND there are no other options for getting the child to school.

I didn't get our first choice school last year, wanted due to easier access for me to manage drop off and pick up. I'm a disabled wheelchair user and really needed a school with better road access.

We got our closest school by distance instead, a really lovely school. But I have been bullied by other parents at the gates and on FB for parking close to the school. I now don't do the school run and we have switched our lives around to make this happen. As my disability is permanent there is no help, I have to get on with it.

I hope your sis starts to feel better soon.

Gbean Mon 24-Apr-17 11:43:46

He was refused a place based on ICS. No social needs taken into account. Not looking very hopeful at the moment.

admission Mon 24-Apr-17 16:41:57

What I would do is look at the admission criteria which is appropriate for the school and see whether this has a medical / social criteria. If it is does not then you have nothing to loose by going to appeal and being open about the issues involved. You should not win at appeal if is an ICS case but you never know as some LAs do take a very lax view of the situation.
If however there is a medical / social criteria in the admission criteria then it just gives you a chink to push against by again being open and honest at appeal but making it very clear that this issue came up after the admission cut off date. If it had been before the admission cut of date then you would have submitted a case for the medical / social criteria and had a reasonable expectation of getting a place. Again you do need to have a sympathetic appeal panel.
To reiterate what others have said, the most important thing is to get yourself on the waiting lists for all the schools you are happy with as there will always be some potential movement

Gbean Fri 07-Jul-17 16:19:02

Just want to update - we appealed against the refusal to offer a place at 2 schools, attended 2 separate appeal hearings - and we won BOTH!

So happy right now. Thanks so much for all the advice. grin

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