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Infant size legislation

(21 Posts)
keephope6 Tue 06-Jun-17 06:06:00

Does anyone know if there is a recent study on larger infant sized classes that does not diminish learning but increases it. We are looking for evidence to rebut the infant size legislation.

Wellmeetontheledge Tue 06-Jun-17 06:12:25

No, the larger the class the less teacher time each child gets.

Catminion Tue 06-Jun-17 06:31:37

Assuming this is for an appeal - sorry that argument is not going to convince the panel who are bound to follow the admissions code.

The point is that schools are not allowed to have more than 30 infants in a class and will have to find resources, space, teacher, funds to resource extra.

The only infant class sizes that I have Sen succeeding are when the school has made a major mistake or they should have been admitted anyway.

Catminion Tue 06-Jun-17 06:32:25

Sorry Sen = seen

Northgate Tue 06-Jun-17 06:34:45

Is this to do with appealing a place for an infant class?

Just thinking that gathering evidence that rebuts the infant size legislation isn't going to be any use for a current appeal. Even if you got a mountain of evidence saying e.g. infants learn better in classes of 50 than classes of 30, the appeal panel would still have to comply with the current legislation. Which would basically mean they're not allowed to let the infant class size go above 30 except in specific exceptional circumstances.

keephope6 Tue 06-Jun-17 07:08:33

Thank you for all that have responded. We just want to make sure we have all the arguments we can possibly have to put our case forward. I know there is lots of different studies that have been done for both sides and wondered if anyone had used them in appeal or for some reading. Thank you

meditrina Tue 06-Jun-17 07:17:08

Is this for an appeal?

Or for lobbying your MP idc to have the law changed?

Appeal panels are bound by the Admissions Code which has the force of law. Arguments about why the law may be flawed carry no weight at appeal whatsoever.

The only ways you can win an ICS appeal are:

a) the admissions authority made a mistake which deprived your DC of a place
b) the criteria they are using are unlawful (not just 'could have been different in a way that benefited us' but actually ones that are disallowed)
c) the decision is so unreasonable it is legally perverse (threashhold very high for this, think child protection issues)

Whether having over 30 in a class would have an impact on the good running of the school and the education of all the other pupils is simply not a lawful ground of appeal until (English) year 3 and older.

Sorry, I realise that's not what you want to hear, but it's better to go in with a realistic idea of the strength or weakness of your planned arguments.

PatriciaHolm Tue 06-Jun-17 07:58:30

You can't "rebut the class size legislation". That's what "legislation" means - it has the force of law. The panel can't look at your research and say, ok, gosh, that shows that 31 in a class is a good thing and so you can have a place! That would be against the law. Nothing you can say or show in an appeal can change that, even if the panel are of the opinion that the research is valid. It doesn't matter, they have to follow the legislation.

The only reasons you can win an ICS appeal are those set out above by meditrina. (I sit on appeals panels).

keephope6 Tue 06-Jun-17 08:09:43

Thank for that definitely good advice. Do you know what kind of questions the Panel will ask on the day. And yes it's infant size appeal. Its on Monday and want to make sure we have done enough preparartion don't want to stumble upon a question or be taken aback

PatriciaHolm Tue 06-Jun-17 08:35:29

Well, the panel will be looking to you to show you have a case under one of the above grounds.

Do you have evidence that a mistake was made in the admissions process that cost your child a place? For example, measuring your address distance incorrectly, not allowing for a sibling?

Do you have evidence that the admissions criteria are unlawful? For example, a church school taking into consideration parental volunteering.

Do you have evidence that the decision was legally perverse in the the sense that no reasonable person would have made it? This is an extremely hard criteria to reach and would be something extreme and unusual.

MostAppealing Tue 06-Jun-17 13:06:00

As ^^, but just to clarify that 'reasonable' is used according to the legal definition, not your everyday sense (you might think e.g. that as it's your nearest school and your DC will have to take 2 buses and a 10 min walk uphill to get to the allocated school which is in the opposite direction from your work, then it is 'unreasonable' not to admit them to the preferred school. It is not 'unreasonable' in the legal sense)

^So what is the legal definition of unreasonable? It has been described as the following in the School Admission Appeals Code:
The panel will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit the child was "perverse in the light of the admission arrangements" i.e. it was "beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker" or "a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it".^

There are very few examples of this (because so rare) but one that is often quoted is the case of a child who was not admitted to the school where a step-sibling was already a pupil, because the admissions authority (the school in this case) did not consider the child to be a sibling. The panel took the view that the school admissions authority was acting perversely and unreasonably in refusing admission under sibling criteria, citing the fact the LA included step-siblings under sibling criteria for the schools for which it acted as admissions authority.

As others have said, ICS cases are very difficult to win. It's always worth checking the available space and number of teachers; the panel will need to confirm that it is indeed an ICS case but usually this is just a formality (yes, PAN is 30, we have 7 classes of 30, we have made 30 offers for YR for Sept 17). However, sometimes the situation is slightly less clear-cut, especially if mixed year classes are involved. E.g. PAN of 45 means two YR classes of 22 and 23, but it's future ICS prejudice, as you will have a total of 90 Y1 and Y2 pupils in 3 classes of 30.

If, OTOH, PAN is e.g. 16, you may have a mixed YR/Y1 and Y1/Y2 class of 24 pupils per class, and then mixed Y3/4 and 5/6 classes of 32 pupils each. Appealing for admission of a 17th pupil would be considered as a standard appeal because although classes in the school would exceed 30 in the future, they wouldn't do so at the infant class size stage (KS1 - YR, 1 & 2).

As a parent, you need to ensure that you have checked all the facts and that they are indeed as presented by the admissions authority i.e.:
- it is an ICS appeal
- the grounds on which your child was refused admission are correct (e.g. Distance from house if refused under distance criteria - can be measured however the authority decides, eg front door to front door, middle of property, shortest walking distance, as crow flies, as long as it is clear in admission arrangements what method is used and it is applied fairly to all applicants). I have seen a transposition error costing a place - distance stated as 1.31 miles when it was 1.13 miles. Not quite sure how that happened, but I bet there was an investigation...
- admission arrangements fairly applied, eg if siblings in catchment, catchment, siblings out of catchment etc, that nobody was rejected from catchment category if offers were made to siblings out of catchment.
- Admissions criteria lawful (as Patricia ^^)
- Admissions arrangements continued to be applied fairly after offers made, I.e. Management of waiting list. As long as you were on the waiting list, nobody from a lower priority category than your child should have been offered a place from the waiting list under normal circumstances (beware of this, it is always possible that somebody may have moved into a higher category) - but if you know you lost out on distance, you were 3rd on the waiting list but 4th the waiting list who lives 2 houses down from you has just been offered, it is worth checking whether a mistake has been made.
- the decision was not (legally) unreasonable or perverse.

Aside from the appeal itself, which can't take into account the following factors, are you on the waiting list and do you know the position? It is highly possible that there will be further movement between now and Sept and even that children simply don't turn up in Sept (some schools regularly have 1 or 2 no-shows where families have taken up a private school place but not bothered informing the LA/state school that the state place is not needed, or families regularly move out of the area and assume the new authority will inform the old authority). Also do you have any idea of average turnover at the school, ie when a place will come up? Have you been allocated a place at all?

keephope6 Thu 08-Jun-17 15:33:14

Thank you for the advice we have enough evidence and questions to challenge infant size. Does the panel ask personal questions or questions such as ' the school that you have been offered is identical in ethos, standards and status, why not just move sibling to that school too'

meditrina Thu 08-Jun-17 15:40:02

They might ask - because if a key thing for you is keeping siblings together and this is achievable, they might be interested in why you are not taking the option already open to you.

But that'll be a very minor point, because siblings having to go to different schools will not be regarded as a perverse decision, so may well not need to be discussed at all.

keephope6 Thu 08-Jun-17 15:48:56

meditrina, do you sometimes work on the panel too. do you get to read the case file before the hearing, if so I am assuming you have already have a fair idea which way this appeal would go. I am I right in thinking the panel discuss the first point infant class size and then listen to case from school and us and then make a discussion and then let you know if ready top go onto the next point ...

meditrina Thu 08-Jun-17 15:57:37

Under ICS, the school does not have to make a case. It's not about the school's view, it is about the law limiting class size to 30.

The appeal panel will be considering if the admissions procedure has been applied correctly, and what weight to give to any arguments that the decision is legally perverse.

PatriciaHolm Thu 08-Jun-17 16:37:45

The panel will have seen your case beforehand yes. The admissions authority will state the situation - that the school is full under ICS and that they believe the admissions criteria are lawful and were applied correctly in your case. That is all the case they need to make - under ICS there is no discussion about class room sizes, prejudice to the school etc. You can ask questions, but there is no point trying to counter the idea of 30 in a class.

You will then get the chance to present your arguments, and both the panel and Admissions authority can ask questions.

keephope6 Thu 08-Jun-17 16:47:56

PatriciaHolm, is there a document or something that we can read to understand the order of the appeal, it isnt very clear in the appeals code and we have been given very little support or no help from the appeals clerk. Our local admissions authority is the headteacher from our school (it's a faith school). we have no idea how to organise our case or our questions, hope this makes sense. thank you

PatriciaHolm Thu 08-Jun-17 17:20:17

The ICS documents linked to on these pages are quite good -

Presumably you have submitted your case already?

keephope6 Thu 08-Jun-17 17:39:15

Thanks you for those will have a read through. Case all submitted to panel, hearing on Monday very nervous but feel prepared, we have stuck to the facts of the case and haven't brought any emotions into it. The school (admissions) have made a catalogue or errors, they gave us 6 days notice of the hearing, havent answered any of our questions properly. For example we asked how many children applied for a place for reception 2017/18 there response was "under the data protection act we unable to provide you this" ??? What are they protecting by giving us a figure. It's been very painful process just hope the Panel are fair and take on board our points

PatriciaHolm Thu 08-Jun-17 18:06:13

Whilst I would expect them to be able to answer that for you - it's usually published data for many local authority maintained schools - it's not really relevant. It could be 31 and you are the only one who didn't get in, it could be 210! If the criteria are legal and properly applied, it doesn't matter.

Similarly, 6 days notice isn't great - you should be given 10 school days - but you can waive that if all parties agree. Neither of these things should have any impact on your success at appeal.

However, if it's symptomatic of a general lack of willingness to engage with you and answer simple questions, that's not good.

unfortunateevents Sun 11-Jun-17 17:37:15

I don't know why they wouldn't tell you how many applications they had, presumably this information will be available later through the LA, certainly by the time it comes to applications for next year. However, there is little point stressing over the non-provision of information which isn't going to help your case? If e.g. they told you that they had 62 applicants for a one-form entry school, how would that help your appeal? In what context would you use that information? I appreciate that your appeal is now tomorrow but don't use the time you have on things that won't help your case. What are the areas on which you appealing for a place at this school?

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