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Should this have been discussed during my appeal

(10 Posts)
Masonj377 Thu 19-Oct-17 18:11:52

Hi

I won my appeal two weeks ago so this question is just out of curiosity.
It was a year 3 primary school appeal - my main reasons were ongoing bullying which had caused my daughter to develop anxiety.

Prior to appealing I had tried to get my daughter to the top of the waiting list on medical grounds but the admissions dept disagreed that her condition was an emtional need and could not be prioritised even with a medical letter. I did try to dispute this and asked for a re-review which I dont think went down very well but I was never rude and their decision remained the same.

During stage 2 of my appeal the admissions officer brought up some information which I wasnt expecting her to do and although it didnt faze me I just didnt feel that it was appropriate. Im not looking to complain but I would just like to know in case I ever need to appeal again in the future should this have really been raised by them.

1) My daughter went to the preschool attached to the school where she was bullied. They brought this information up and said that my daughter had sailed trough pre-school without any issues.
2) The admissions rep said that my daughters attendance was good and therefore implied that if my daughters anxiety was so bad why had she not lost more time from school,
3) The admissions rep told the panel that my daughters school were not aware of any bullying past / present and that they were curently unaware of the reason why my daughter had been absent for 17 days of the new term. When I interjected to say that was untrue and that I had rang in sick every day, sent GP reports, notes etc the rep said that I phoned early hours of the morning to report absence and not when the school was open. This is due to my job and my daughter had already been signed off sick but I still rang out of courtesy. Never in the 17 days of absence did the school make contact.
4) The admissions rep told the panel that i had taken my daughter out of school in 2015 to attend a dance competition. I explained that this had been authorised by the school as an educational related absence

I just feel that some of the information raised was unnecessary and irrelevant, the admissions reps tone was agressive and i do wonder in hindsight if that actually went in our favour - I had proved all of her points wrong before she had raised them in my inital evidence sent in when I appealled.

As I say luckily we won but I cant help wondering if those things should have been brought up / discussed at all.

Any thoughts appreciated - thank you x

prh47bridge Thu 19-Oct-17 20:10:31

If I had been advising the admissions rep I would have told them not to present any of this. Trying to argue against medical evidence never looks good, the absence to attend a dance competition is completely irrelevant and making an untrue claim (that they didn't know why your daughter was absent) was just plain stupid. However, saying they shouldn't is not the same as saying they couldn't.

The admission authority certainly cannot introduce any new documentary evidence in the hearing. The Admissions Code is not as clear as it could be but there is a presumption that the admission authority will not introduce any arguments that weren't in their written case. They can, however, ask you any questions they want within reason. So if these points were raised as questions after you had put your case that is probably ok.

Ultimately it is up to the chair of the panel to decide what to allow. The EFA or LGO will only step in if the chair makes a decision which is clearly contrary to the Appeals Code. They would probably also step in if it can be shown that the admission authority has made false statements which have influenced the outcome of the appeal.

I'm afraid that isn't a simple answer. I don't feel I can give a simple yes or no based on this information. Sorry.

Masonj377 Thu 19-Oct-17 20:33:27

Thank you for your thoughts etc. I was not expecting any of the things which they brought up during stage two, should i have had a copy of there "evidence" before hand ? The only info I had prior to the hearing from admissions was the basic stage 1 evidence eg classroom size, staffing, being above pan etc etc.

I made my case and then the admissions rep sad what she said, she didnt actually question me she just raised the points about and I counter acted them using the evidence i had already supplied for my appeal. The panel asked me a couple of questions but not actually related to anything that the admissions rep had said.

Im not looking to take matters further but at the time I was surprised and the more I think about it I feel it felt wrong / inappropriate and I am simply just curious ;) - Thank you for your time xx

admission Thu 19-Oct-17 22:02:42

The whole purpose of the appeal is that it follows a set pattern. The school make their case not to admit and you can ask questions of their case in part 1 and then you make your case in part 2 with the admissions rep then asking questions of the case you make. If the rep was not asking questions in part 2 but just presenting these facts then the process was incorrect and the panel chair should have been stopping the rep just making statements.
Having said that there always has to be a bit of give and take because parents quite often blurt out "facts" in part 1 when they should be asking questions. I would have expected the rep to have taken a different approach rather than just stating facts, so for instance they could have asked you" the school have no evidence of any bullying involving your daughter, can you explain why that is? Did you not put anything in writing".
The rep was clearly looking to muddy the waters by bringing in irrelevant information like your daughter being absent in 2015. I think the end result of the appeal and you winning, probably confirms what the panel thought of the attempts to blur issues, rather than stick to facts.

Masonj377 Thu 19-Oct-17 22:43:39

Thank you admission - your post explains exactly how it happened. I guess they were looking to blur the issues. I kind of cut the situation dead relatively early on and i think they realised i had tons of evidence so decided to leave the situation as it was at that point. She was very rude to me after the hearing but obviously that is a seperate issue, i think they just took the case a little too personally possibly because i had complained initially about the waiting list. I just found it unprofessional in all honestly but luckily my daughter got the outcome we wanted and 2 and a half weeks on it is like living with a different child. I am so grateful to the appeal panel and to everyone on here who helped me to prepare for the hearing xx

Schroedingerscatagain Fri 20-Oct-17 12:58:33

Lovely to hear things are going well for you

admission Fri 20-Oct-17 18:29:26

It is really unprofessional that they were rude to you after the hearing. There is no way that they should be taking anything personally unless you are accusing them of something.
In the appeal the school makes their case that to admit further pupils would be prejudicial to the school. They would normally expect to win this part of the hearing. I can understand them being a bit miffed if they lose at part 1 because at that point either somebody has made a mistake that the panel are rectifying or they have simply presented a very poor case.
However once the hearing has gone to part 2, then it is really out of the hands of the schoolrep, it is all about the strength of your case. If the school rep accepts that, then there is absolutely no need to be rude or anything but a reasonable human being with the appellants. I would hope from my experience as a panel member that most school reps do not hold any kind of grudge but obviously the school rep in your case was one of the exceptions.

Charmatt Sat 21-Oct-17 11:04:47

I am a presenting officer for schools. I would view her as unprofessional. I only ask questions at part 2. I would expect to be pulled up by the panel chair if I had done that. However, most panel's know what is relevant to the case and what isn't and may have disregarded some or all of what she said.

reallyanotherone Sat 21-Oct-17 11:16:00

Ph4bridge (i’m fairly sure, sorry if it wasn’t!) said something that rang true on a previous thread. If they are throwing everything plus the kitchen sink at an appeal- every tiny little reason they can think of- then it’s likely they feel they will lose as they have no solid grounds, and might as well go all out.

I hate the appeals process. The three schools i appealed for actually made themselves sound so shit i ended up almost not wanting to be successful. They couldn’t handle the behavioural issues, the class was particularly low achieving, they had a special needs child that was so disruptive the nqt wasn’t coping, the year above was so badly behaved they kept having to send kids in as punishment. Classrooms so small the teacher had to all but sit outside.

These were all ofsted rated “good” or “outstanding”. Opened my eyes to the public presentation of a school vs. what actually goes on!

prh47bridge Sat 21-Oct-17 23:41:37

That does sound like the kind of thing I might have said grin

The rep's behaviour was very unprofessional. Unfortunately some do seem to take it personally when they lose an appeal. And, although the current Appeals Code is less prescriptive than the old one regarding how the hearing should go, giving just a "suggested" order rather than stipulating, I agree with Admission that the rep should only have been asking questions once you'd put your case. The chair should have stopped them making further statements. But at least the panel saw through their attempts to muddy the waters.

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