Reception school place withdrawn after offer!(25 Posts)
Friend applied for a reception school place giving three choices of schools including a choice of school in another local LA for a place in September.
Friend was offered her second choice which was a place at the out of borough school and accepted the place on 22nd April.
On speaking to the offered school regarding a new parents meeting she was told there had been a mistake and her child's offer should have been withdrawn prior to the offer being made as a mistake has been made.
It is not a church school.
Friend has spoke to her LA who don't seem to know what is going on. She has not yet been able to get hold of the LA the school is in.
She has not yet had a letter withdrawing the place.
Legally where does she stand and can anyone help please?
Not an expert in school acceptance but if you apply basic contract law.
They made you and offer in writing. You accepted the offer and therefore a contract is in place. The school cannot rescind an offer verbally after an offer has been made in writing and accepted.
They could try to argue "error" but I think it would be difficult.
Schools can rescind offers made following an error on their part but (until the latest revisions to the admissions code) could only do so within 3 days of the offer being made.
Although there's a widespread expectation that even after the changes (which did not specify about timelines for rescinding) that it should only be possible in a similarly short period following the offer, there isn't the same precedent.
I suggest that she starts by ringing back the school, stating that there has been no communication with her about rescinding to offer, that as far as she is concerned the offer has been made and accepted. And that she needs joiners information.
That might force something out of the system that is useful to her. Because she might need to appeal to have the place reinstated, so finding out what in eart epwent on could be a useful first step.
Other experts will know how to
proceed but was the out of Borough school doing its own admissions? Or did the LA do them? Sounds like the school. What a mess! I don't see how a place can be withdrawn unless the place was gained by unfair means, e.g. giving false home address.
As part of the main round, the admissions will have been coordinated by the borough in which the OP lives.
But each admissions authority (school or LA) will produce ranked lists for each applicant to each school. The home LA turns them into a single offer per candidate. When there is a cross-borough application, the boroughs have to talk to each other, but it's a well trodden track (hundreds/thousands such applications every year).
So school's borough would see she had qualified for a place and, as part of his it sorts lists for its schools, would ask home borough if she qualified for any higher preferences on her form (answer 'no' as she did not get first choice) and she should then be confirmed for that school.
Home borough, knowing offer would me made of place at school too would remove any lower options from its system and generate the offer letter.
Now, I realised as I typed that how complex it must sound. It is quite possible that there is just someone getting the wrong end of the stick somewhere, which is why I suggest your friend goes back to the school in the first instance. If it's not just a slip up by the school, then trying to establish exactly how her application was handled - and where any potential errors lie - could be important in setting it right.
OK the update is that LA in which the school is in have confirmed that she has no place at the school and an error was made which should have been corrected before offer was made.
The LA in which she lives have no idea about any of this. As far as they are concerned child has a place at the school...
I agree with Bojo, this seems very harsh since the withdrawal is based on admin errors that were in no way this parent's fault.
That sounds difficult. Because presumably it's one LA's fault, but the other LA is the one effected. I would get her LA to look into it.
Poor woman. That sounds terrible. Maybe it means she'll go to no.1 on waiting list for her no.1 school on list.
It's me it's happening to. I only found out bc I phoned the school who told me to phone my LA1. LA1 didn't have a clue and told me to phone LA2. LA2 claimed that I didn't have a place and they'd emailed LA1 before the letters were sent out.
LA1 remain confused and are currently looking into it.
It is one of those that enters the "grey" area where second guessing the situation is difficult.
There are old legal precedents that suggest that the longer the time the parent has assumed a place is available until they are told otherwise the more expectation there is that the place should be available. The old legal precedents suggest that after 3 days the ability to withdraw the offer is probably getting too long. However the wording in the newish admission guidance is slightly different and suggests that there is more leeway for the admission authority to refuse the place after a longer period of time if it is a genuine mistake.
From your posts it seems to me that you are well past the 3 day period and as of this moment have still not had any formal notification that the offer has been withdrawn. I would email both your LA, the other LA and the school pointing this out and therefore at this moment in time you still have an offer of a place at the school, which you have accepted. It is also worth pointing out that legal precedence's suggest that any time period over 3 days, which yours is, means that the place should not be withdrawn and you would like confirmation that the place offered is yours.
That makes them specifically reply either confirming the place or saying the place is withdrawn. You need that in writing as it then becomes a key plank in any admission appeal that the admission authority have made a decision that seems to defy the legal precedents. Most people sitting on panels have some knowledge on this area.
If they do turn you down, then you appeal for that school. You also immediately email your LA and say that because of this mix up, you have, you believe, been disadvantaged in relation to your third precedent and that you want confirmation that you do have a place at that school. That is being a bit cheeky because you may have no possibility of having been offered a place at the school but it makes the LA think about what they can do for you in the interim. They do have to find you a place at a school.
You also need to be realistic that you may well not win an appeal, so as soon as you are officially told the place has been withdrawn start looking at other schools that are acceptable and seeing whether they have places.
I think this is the link to the up to date admissions code, but it's dated 2014/2015? www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-admissions-code--2
What if it's a different authority school?
Also if you aren't already on waiting list for first choice then get on it asap, same with other choices. admission might also have a view as to whether if you weren't on the waiting list for first choice school (because you were happy with second choice), but would have been if they hadn't made an error with school 2 AND if you would have missed out on a place at school 1 in the meantime, an appeal panel might be persuaded.
Over twenty phone calls later ...
I have the direct dial number for LA2 Education Dept Principal (!) who has advised me to get a written timeline of events from both LAs to establish what happened. She's not impressed!
I also have someone senior locally to help write the appeal and come to the appeal if required.
We are no1 on waiting list at school offered too. Also another possibility too.
Oh no what a disaster! I hope they sorry it out for you soon.
Just, while your timeline might be helpful I would suggest the timeline of information held by both LAs and unknown to you at present is crucial. I would suggest that you ask for all emails, letters and transcripts of phone calls regarding your case ASAP. This will get both LAs busy with the I do you need for the appeal. I'd be worried that if you don't provide it then no one will as I think representatives of the LAs are unlikely to be at an appeal. You will appeal for the school you want and as its not a VA school you might just have the head or a governor there- no one from the LA.
As you are first on the waiting list both LAs are likely to be Hoping this sorts itself out by waiti f list moving rather than them being proactive.
As for phone calls- I find emails easier to track. If you are speaking to someone on the phone I would immediately follow to with an email to them stating what was agreed and the timeframe for doing it.
I'd also put in a formal complaint.
Good point Door about e-mails to confirm being useful to have a written trail.
Not an expert in school acceptance but if you apply basic contract law
Contract law does not apply.
Agree with the advice given by Admission.
Hope you're getting somewhere OP and fingers crossed for positive update soon.
Sorry. I had to leave it as there was a possibility of a second class at school1. The decision was made this week n he has a place there!!
Great news JustWingingItAgain! Bet you're so relieved
Yay! So you have a place at your first choice school, rather than the second choice that there was all this fuss over? That's excellent!
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