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aaaargh appeals, are panels allowed to do this(18 Posts)
Hello, I would like to know if someone out there can advise me on the murky world of in year primary school appeals.
Just had an appeal, one hearing for 2 children.
At the appeal the headteacher informs the panel that there is space for one pupil and proceeds to show photos of a classroom and hallway to illustrate the health and safety issues, even though in his submission he stated there were no issues.
Everytime I tried to respond the panel would say just tell us why you want this school, don't keep talking about the net capacity being set on the low end, or the fact that the classrooms for yr 5 & 6 are smaller but have over 30 pupils.
I have alot of issue with regards to the chair actually answering on behalf of the school. please can you give me any tips. I have taken this up with the ombudsmen.
Other than 'because you want it' what reasons did you give?
You have to make a case for yourself, why should they hinder other children's development by gaining an extra child in that class when it's already (presumably) full?
It's only in rare circumstances that the panel will disagree with the school's net capacity, you'd have to demonstrate far more than other years having more pupils in them. We don't know why there are more in other classes, there may be for exceptional circumstances. In such cases we would accept that the classes are over full, and we would not make another class over full without very good reason.
What are your other reasons for appeal?
Also, in what way was the chair answering for the school? If it's reiterating information already covered they'll do this to keep the hearing moving, that's part of the chair's role. They could equally do it with information you have already submitted.
I'm hoping your ombudsman complaint is more specific.
Thank you for responding. The mother and children are victims of abuse. This is the reason for the move. I could only present minimal evidence at the hearing.
I talked about the effect on children and how they need stability etc.
The school has a high number of children from asian bavkground, teachers are bilingual, one child although has no statement gets one to one ( is speech and hearing impaired).
When I stated that the hallway has very little relevance to actual teaching, the panel member nodded her head in exaggerated motion, and proceeded to say ohh nooooo......in the diection of the head teacher.
Is it worth my while getting mp involved.
The head teacher at the end said to me, do you still want one placement even if the other child is refused. Which I found odd.
I've been in the same position.
You said in your OP the Head contradicted information and showed evidence that was different to what he had originally said.
Did you see any of either evidence before the appeal panel sat?
If not, you have grounds to go to the Ombudsman. Appeal hearings are almost the same as court hearings- all evidence must be submitted and seen before it sits by all parties including yourself.
We had our appeal decision overturned and a place found due to evidence being used which we had not seen and which was allowed to be presented by the Chair. It's worth finding the Appeals procedure information for your district as well.
Hope that helps!
Could you tell us a little more about what you were appealing for and what happened?
It sounds like you were appealing for 2 children in different years?
You say the teachers submission said nothing about health and safety but then he talked about it at appeal. What did he say? Normally a standard case for a full primary will say something generic about not having space for another chair in classrooms, crowded common areas etc.
With regards to the space for one child - what was he referring to? Did he specifically say that one year group could go up to 1 over PAN?
Appeals have 2 stages, the first being to show that the school would suffer prejudice from the admittance of another child which is when you raise the issues about overcrowding, space etc, and part 2 which is about your child. If you were in part 2 but still talking about net capacity etc then the Chair should have moved you on, you needed to talk about the child at that point.
New evidence can be admitted at panel, but all parties have to agree.
The Ombudsman cannot change a panel decision, but can rule it invalid and order a new appeal.
Hello again, was away from the computer.
Yes, the head spoke about overcrowding and not enough room to swing a cat etc.
The appeal was for a year 3 & 4. Although right up to the last week they were adamant there was no spaces available, at the hearing he informed me and the panel that there actually was a place available in yr 3 and so the appeal was for a year 4 space. My arguement hinged on the yr 3 pupil.
There are yr 5 & 6 classes that are over pan, that is what I was arguing. And that the rooms are smaller. It is a voluntary aided school.
Should it have been 2 separate hearings?
He showed the photos at the hearing.
The yr 3 child will start next week, but we are without a place for the year 4 child.
It could well be that right up to last week there was no space in year 3,
children often come and go!
Just because some year groups are over PAN doesn't necessarily mean that other year groups should be too. There may be reasons why these year groups are larger than usual, having two overcrowded classrooms isn't a good argument for having three! Did you have any other reasons for appealing against the decision?
You were lucky to have been top of the waiting list when the Y3 place became available.
It's not unusual for a parent to be asked what would they do if only one child was offered a place, particularly if one appeal is based on Infant Class Size.
Hello, this wasn't an infant class size issue.
They were also pointing out that they do not get funding for in year admissions until the next financial year, which I though was utter garbage. I asked exactly how they have funded other children who have been admitted in year. He didn't bother answering the question. That was a point the panel agreed upon. How exactly are school in year admissions funded?
They're not, until the next census date.
It's not garbage, I'm afraid. Schools get funded on headcount on a specific day in the autumn term, so no, in year admissions are not funded until the next census day.
Sometimes stage 1 is a group hearing with other appeals and then you have stage 2 with just you. If this was a single hearing with just you the chair was completely out of order stopping you from talking about net capacity. Without knowing exactly what was said I can't comment about the chair answering for the school. But the chair should not have allowed the school to bring up matters that were not in their written case and should have offered an adjournment if the school tried to introduce new evidence such as the photos.
I understand you have already taken this to the LGO (I therefore assume this is not an academy). Report everything to them and hopefully they will order a fresh hearing with a different appeal panel.
So what do schools do with children that are not included in census. Isn't there any sort of emergency funding?
They do get pupils premiums. It was £85,000 this year. How do I argue with that point?
Yes, thank you for that prh47bridge.
I felt really overwhelmed. What are the type of answers that I could give for their generic argument for overcrowding etc.
Pupil premium funding is based in the level of deprivation associated with the individual child. so this is done at an individual child level and will start after a pupil starts at the school. You cannot argue the point that there is this funding as it is for specific pupils and should be used to improve the education of these pupils.
However the normal funding for the school is based around a set amount for each school and then so much for each pupil. The number of pupils is decided by the number of pupils present in the school at the October census day and that informs the funding for the next financial year in a maintained school from April to April. There is not emergency funding because the DfE argue that for every pupil entering the school there will on average be one leaving the school.
From what you have said it would have been perfectly reasonable to hold the two admission appeals together and in fact it quite usual to hold admission appeals for the same school when it is different families for the same year groups.
The Head was not wrong to ask whether you wanted the year 3 place because if you did not want it, it will be offered to the next person on the waiting list - that is the law. In fact the Chair should have explained at the start of the appeal that the appeal panel would consider each of the pupils separately as to whether to admit or not. It is not uncommon for an appeal panel to grant one appeal but not another, even though I accept that this sounds stupid when it is one family looking for two places. I am afraid the system is not fool-proof.
What I am not sure about is whether or not you know the outcome of the appeal for the year 4 child or not and also what you actually said about the background of the family. If you have some professional relationship with the family you should have been able to talk about the family, the effects of the abuse and the need for stability. If the family are living close to the school then that should have been a strong part of your case in ensuring that your arguments outweighed the arguments of the school. From your posts I am not sure you have got this across to the panel.
I would like to thank you all for your comments. I will definitely raise those points.Thank you