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Appeal Help (another, sorry)

(9 Posts)
Redesul Tue 25-Apr-17 10:28:25

I apologise, this is another school admissions thread.

In my area we can apply to three primary schools, which I did so, and on time, unfortunately my son didn't get into any of them. Which is fine, it happens. However, he has been placed into a school that has a rather bad Ofsted report, and seems to be going downhill from what I can see from previous reports. My son is dyspraxic and has a speech delay, and my partner and I, also his nursery, feel that he will require some sort of special needs help, at least to begin with. The school he has been placed in has on their Ofsted report that they fail to provide adequate special needs support, and the school as a whole fails to meet the requirements of reading and writing. On a less important note, it is a Church of England school, and we are not religious. I don't have a particular problem about him going to a religious school, but my partner feels strongly about it and does not want him to go there. Basically we don't mind if our son wants to follow a religion, but we'd prefer for him to decide this on his own when he's old enough. Although I realise we probably don't have much grounds for appeal on the religious aspect. I've warned my partner we may no choice.

I have requested forms to appeal for all three schools we applied for, but I'm wanting to know how I go about it? We are appealing because we feel the school he was offered cannot meet his needs. Does that go on the forms for the original schools?

We have accepted the offer, after all a school is better than no school, and we could well end up with a worse one. If he ends up going there, is the council obligated to help provide extra support, i.e a tutor outside of school? I feel this is probably a no, but you never know

unfortunateevents Tue 25-Apr-17 12:05:05

More knowledgeable people will come along I am sure but the basic advice is to remember that you are appealing FOR a school and not AGAINST the school you have been offered. Being negative about the school you have been offered - poor SN provision, poor outcomes, religious - will get you nowhere and will not impress the panel. If your son is dyspraxic, do you have a diagnosis for that and was it mentioned on your application form? Do any of the schools for which you are appealing provide particular support for that? Can you get the nursery to write a letter in support of the help they say he needs (although that does beg the question of what they are doing about it at the moment?).

You won't get anywhere appealing on religious grounds as all UK schools are supposed to provide a daily act of worship (although this can be broadly interpreted) and if you are determined enough for him not to have a religious education you can withdraw him from RE classes.

Redesul Tue 25-Apr-17 12:25:15

Thanks unfortunateevents that's helpful. I want to avoid trying to be negative about the school, I'm aware people will still need to go there regardless. I'm not even convinced myself that an appeal is worth it, but people keep advising me to.

My sons needs were mentioned in the application, but when I look back at my applications you can't actually see the section where you can write in your own comments. He has action plans at nursery to follow provided by a speech therapist and has seen a paediatrician. One of the schools I initially applied for do provide extra support, but I'm not particularly hopeful on getting into that one. The others, from reading their Ofsted reports, have been praised on their ability to support children with special needs.

That's interesting, I thought only the religious schools did daily worship.

catslife Tue 25-Apr-17 12:45:25

Just because the school is officially a C of E school doesn't necessarily mean it's particularly religious. There is one near me that has a Head who is an atheist and has less links with local churches than some of the community schools.
How old is the OFSTED report? The first thing schools need to do is to draw up an Action Plan to make sure that the main issues in the report giving the most concern are addressed. If the report is more than a year old the chances are that the school is already addressing this issue and providing the extra support needed.
The fact that your ds has a diagnosis is good but the key is whether (or not) he will qualify for extra funding and the type of support that professionals assess that he will need. I hope that makes sense.

PatriciaHolm Tue 25-Apr-17 13:42:57

Would it be an ICS appeal? (are the classes for the other schools 30 in reception/yr1/yr2?) If so, you can only win if the admissions authority made a mistake, the admissions criteria were unlawful, or not admitting was perverse - a very unreasonable decision (note this is a very high bar to reach)

If it is ICS, then realistically your grounds don't fall into the above.

Did the schools have medical/social grounds for admittance in their criteria, and if so, did you apply under that criteria? Different admission authorities take a different approach to this, but again this can be a hard bar to pass to get admitted in this category (significant SEN with diagnoses, plus letters as to why this school is required etc)

Redesul Tue 25-Apr-17 14:05:01

patriciaholm I'm not sure, the letter sent is super confusing. To be honest, not a lot of the schools had that much info on admissions, and the application system was simply:

"school 1:
Comments:

School 2:
Comments:

School 3:
Comments:"

They were all regular schools, while son has a speech delay, there is nothing else wrong so did not require a specialist school. There was nothing said about sending letters and whatnot in, nursery never mentioned it and neither did the schools, even when I brought up the subject

tiggytape Tue 25-Apr-17 14:26:19

The first question to consider is whether the appeal will be infant class size i.e. will admitting your child cause the school to have a class with over 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2 at some point while your child is in infants. If the admission number is a multiple of 30 it will be infant class size. It is likely to be infant class size if the admission number is 15 or 45.

You can ask the school or the council to find out.

If the appeal is infant class size your chances of a successful appeal are exceptionally slim unless you can show that there has been an admissions mistake that directly deprived your child of a place that should have been theirs.
The only other grounds are that the admissions criteria are in breach of the Code (unlikely if they are the usual faith / sibling / distance ones) or that the decision to reject the child is so unreasonable that no other person presented with the same facts could agree it was reasonable. The bar for this one is high - it would include situations relating to where a child could be in real danger attending certain areas or schools etc.

An error is by far the most common way people win ICS appeals so looking into whether your child was wrongly denied a place is important. Which admissions category was he placed in? Was that the correct one (eg did they forget he has a sibling or lives in the priority admissions area?). What was the last distance offered? (and are you further away than that or have they got your address wrong?)

You can appeal even if you can't show that but unless a mistake has been made, an infant class size appeal is a very long shot.

If the appeal is not infant class size it will be a standard appeal where the panel consider whether prejudice (meaning harm or disadvantage) to your child through not being admitted to the school outweighs the prejudice the school will face through being forced to admit another pupil. You should concentrate on anything about the preferred school which shows it best meets your child’s needs or interests. You child's extra needs and how the appeal school can help with these will be a big part of that. Do not be negative about the allocated school though - you are appealing for one school not against the allocated one.

Charmatt Tue 25-Apr-17 19:59:57

Does your son have an EHCP? If not, his needs will be considered to be in the normal expectations of what a mainstream school should be able to provide so it is unlikely to make much impact in an appeal for ICS.

As has been pointed out, you need to appeal using a case that states why your child should been given a place at that school rather why the offered school isn't right.

admission Tue 25-Apr-17 21:31:10

From your posts it would appear that the nursery has recognised that your son has some potential issues and has done something about it. However they do not seem to be sufficiently severe for an EHC plan to be considered.
Schools know that many pupils just starting schools can have a level of speech delay and therefore it is unlikely that any primary school that he goes to will do anything for a period of time about any issues he might have. They will want to get him settled in school before they attend to any issues.
As such to me whilst it is always right to mention the issues that the nursery provision have indicated at appeal, the panel will be very clear that these issues are not at this time considered to be anything to be too worried about. As such I think that the best advice as far as the appeals are concerned is to consider each of the three schools in turn and work out what are the positives about the school which are reasons why your son should attend that school. As others have said if it is an Infant Size Class appeal the chances of winning of very low but if you do not appeal you will never know.
I would also look at other schools that are a possibility to get to and see whether any of these suit you better than the allocated school. If they have spaces you can request a place the school and if they have not then going on their waiting list just gives you that extra possibility of getting a school that you want.

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