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Please help, so worried about school appeal!(6 Posts)
Son is starting Yr R in September and daughter leaving her infant school to go to Yr 3 in junior school. We were supposed to move mid-February (and took daughter to see the junior school she was going to go to)... but it fell through so had to change my school choices for both of them a few days before the deadline... I put down 2 choices for each with schools near to one another in the same order. Son got 1st choice (where daughter currently attends). Daughter got 2nd choice. Main problem is that as son will be in year R you have to take them in the classroom, help them take their coat off, choose their lunch with them etc... I would not be able to leave the infant school until 8.45 and the doors to the allocated junior school close at 8.50, it's at least a 6 min drive plus a 2 min walk so daughter would arrive late every single morning... On top of that she is absolutely distraught, I have never seen her like that. She is the only one to have been allocated that school (25/30 are going to the school near the infant school). She was in such a state the day the other children got their letter for the junior school, it was heartbreaking, she cried for hours on end and was actually so unwell the following day I had to keep her home :-( . She is quite an anxious child, she bottles things in and then it all comes out in one go... Needless to say, I am dreading the day her friends go in for their settling in sessions... Sorry it's such a long one but I'm trying to get all the facts out there... My question is what should I put forward first in our appeal and how? I'm losing sleep over it!
Are you on the waiting list for your first preference? Check that with the LA first, see what position you are on the list. People drop out, and if you are close to being offered a place, hold tight.
Secondly, are you still planning a move? Will that be closer to the desired school?
To be honest I don't think you will be successful in an appeal, it has to be that an error has been made, not a reconsideration of your circumstances....
We appealed a primary place (it was infant school, so less chance of success), and the appeal panel said it wasn't their concern if I had to hire someone to do the school runs each day! It's not fair, but I think you will have to make the best of it - you will probably find when the time comes that you will be able to leave reception child earlier, even if it is by special arrangement. Which isn't ideal I know, but might make it workable. We ended up with special arrangement that we could drop child slightly early to office waiting area and he also waited there after school, as he got upset as everyone else drifted away and he was left outside, with lots of parents asking him if he'd been forgotten.
Alternatively, is there space at son's 2nd choice that makes timings work better?
Practical arrangements for dropoff and pickup are completely irrelevant to appeals. Please don't waste the pannel's time mentioning such issues.
Put your ds onto the waiting list for the school near dd's and vice versa, chances are that there will be some juggling over the summer.
If not you will need to set off earlier and drop off dd to breakfast club if there is one, or a childminder who lives near the school otherwise, before going on to take ds to the infants school.
As the previous poster says, you won't win an appeal based on transport and childcare difficulties. However, the good news is that an appeal for a Y3 place is not an infant class size case. You can win by showing that the disadvantage to your daughter from not going to this school outweighs the problems the school will face through having to accommodate another pupil. Her desire to stay with her friends won't help unless you have professional evidence that she has a much stronger need to stay with friends than other children of that age. You need to look at what your preferred school offers that is missing from the allocated school. Anything you can find that is relevant to your daughter will help. So, for example, if your daughter is musical and the preferred school has a lot of extracurricular musical activities but the allocated school doesn't, that is worth bringing up in your appeal.
Thank you all for your replies.
We might still move but that would be to a completely different area.
Last I check dd was 2nd on the waiting list (having been first for quite a few weeks). It does really seem unfair that the practicality of dropping off and picking up is irrelevant to the panel but at least now I know where we stand!
The school we are appealing for is quite unique in the area in the way they do things and therefore very different to any of the other schools around us so I will aim to explain why that school would be better for dd for those reasons. However that wasn't in my original reasons for appeal. Is that still going to be ok? Should I write and send everything I would say at the appeal or are bullet points better? We now know that the appeal will be on 25th June.
You still have plenty of time. Set out your case explaining why your daughter needs this school and send it in, telling them that this replaces your original case. Don't simply read out your case in the hearing. The panel will already have read your case. Use the hearing to emphasise the strongest points of your case. It is entirely up to you whether you submit your case as bullet points and expand on it at the hearing, or submit a full written case and talk around it at the hearing.