In year Y3 transfer appeal - does this mean anything?

(14 Posts)
SerialGoogler Thu 05-Jul-18 20:17:18

Not so long story short, we moved counties end of 2017 and as my two boys were at school near my work I decided to keep them there while I settled in and recovered from what turned out to be 12 months of waiting to complete.
I also had the time then to look at the local schools and really liked one in particular. I applied for an in-year transfer and DS2 got into Yr1 for Sept but Yr3 is full so gone to appeal.
But as I've been considering what to say and write, it dawned on me that the LEA hasn't offered an place at an alternative school. So it's not a case of arguing to get into X over Y, it's just an appeal to get into X. If the appeal fails are they just assuming DS1 will continue to go to school where we used to live? Why wouldn't they have offered another school even if miles away? There are other schools locally and I can't imagine the whole borough is full in Yr 3. I don't want any other school but at least that would be the basis of the appeal wouldn't it?
Anyone know why they wouldn't offer any alternative place whatsoever??

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BubblesBuddy Thu 05-Jul-18 20:43:55

As I understand the application policy for people who move homes in my LA is that you apply for the school(s) you want. You can find out which schools have spaces and apply. They don’t treat this as they would an application for YR or Y7. They don’t allocate you an alternative school because it’s actually your duty to send your child to school. I would be checking the vacancies ASAP elsewhere. When the schools break up, the whole process grinds to a halt. Good luck with the appeal but you may well need to look elsewhere.

SerialGoogler Thu 05-Jul-18 20:52:20

Thanks Bubbles, my back up plan is the old school although logistics would be difficult and I've thought about a short term solution (mum & a tutor) to get over any delay in September if forced to apply to a less preferable school. But what you've said makes sense of it now.

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BubblesBuddy Thu 05-Jul-18 20:57:07

Have a look on your LAs web site. They usually have good info on the process for such applications.

admission Thu 05-Jul-18 21:40:05

In reality you have a school place now and the LA will only be interested in the school you want to attend, not in offering you any other school unless you specifically ask them for information on which other schools have spaces.

Lougle Thu 05-Jul-18 21:59:33

You are only ever appealing to get in to school X. You are never appealing to get in to school 'X over school Y'. In other words, you are never appealing against a less favoured school, but only ever for the school which you applied for, and which has rejected you.

As it's a year 3 place, you only have to show that your child would benefit from the place more than the school would be prejudiced by having to take him. So you can look at the school capacity and place numbers, to see if the school is objectively full - are all year groups full? If there are spaces across the year groups, that will weaken the argument the school has about communal spaces being tight for time such as whole school assembly, corridor crowding, etc.

You can also look at classroom sizes - are they big or small? Are they good usable rooms, or do they have silly shapes with unusable areas? (E.g. L-shaped rooms often mean that one area can't be used for whole class teaching. Triangular rooms often have one unusable wall. Some schools will explain that a classroom seems big at xm2, but wall has units along it so no tables can be placed there, and effective space is therefore only ym2.

Look at facilities, clubs, etc.

Go to town - anything you can see that makes this the best school for your DS. But don't say "it's easy to get him there".

SerialGoogler Thu 05-Jul-18 22:28:11

Thanks Admission and Lougle, the school itself is open plan and overall not full; they have a Yr 1 and Y1&2 class (I think the head said similar in 5/6) so I honestly don't think adding one child in Y3 (assuming no sudden mass influx) will be detrimental.
I have a few 'arguments' lined up helped by a MN search on the topic that I do actually believe in. And although the sibling thing is the other way around than typical I hope that holds some sway.
Really appreciate all the insights.

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SerialGoogler Tue 10-Jul-18 17:17:30

My appeal is on 17th and the clerk asked me to get any further written information to her by Monday, so I sent that Sunday. I have yet to received anything from the LA. Is that permitted/can it work in my favour?
As an aside, the school is prepared to include my older DS in the transition day on the 18th as we're so close to end of term. I said I wasn't sure if I would know if successful on the same day but the school secretary said I could ask the panel if there would be an issue in doing so.
I realise they might insist I have to await their decision in writing. I think the head herself has no issue in including him as they are even giving me all the forms I'd need to send them if successful.
Although it's the LA that offers or denies places, would it hurt to bring up that the school is making arrangements in case my appeal is upheld?

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admission Tue 10-Jul-18 20:35:19

The LA will / should have been given the same instruction to get info to the clerk by Monday, so I would expect that by now they will have sent copies of all the papers for the appeal to you, the LA and the panel members. In that context it is of no advantage to you at appeal.

What is potentially of more issue is the fact that the school are bending over backwards to include your child. I am sure that the LA will be unhappy about this as it does give the impression that the school are willing to admit and it is the LA that is stopping this happening. You do not want to burn your bridges with the school by pushing too hard on this but it would be worth at the appeal making the point in part 2 of thanking the school for being so helpful in being prepared to allow child to go to the transition day on the 18th if they are successful at appeal. I am sure the panel members will pick up on the suggestion that the school has no real problem with admitting your child.

SerialGoogler Tue 10-Jul-18 20:59:52

That's a great way of phrasing it admission.
I am trying to manage my expectations and I am hopeful but prepared for disappointment, but to what extent is a denial of place automatic in terms of following process? What I mean is, if a cohort is full, does an LA ever look at the whole picture and say, 'well, it wouldn't really be an issue to increase the school population by one, let's just approve the application.' Or do the have to deny the place and let it go to appeal? I ask because it must happen a lot that a school wouldn't object to an extra admission and yet the LA does.

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SerialGoogler Thu 12-Jul-18 17:26:04

Just received the paperwork and it is curiously lacking in passion. And they included all the paperwork for DS2 not DS1 for whom I am appealing.

Total school roll is 291 but net capacity has been measured at 315. I've been told by parent that 2 children in later years have just left so I think the roll figure is not 289.
It says information regarding the availability of places at other schools will be presented at the hearing.

It's summary tells me the LA is focused on the provision of efficient, effective and quality services etc and the PAN for the Y2 (3 in Sept) has been reached. The panel are invited to uphold this view.

It does state that in the event preferred school during admission process is full another place is offered within reasonable distance but if there are none it may be necessary to admit over PAN under certain circumstances then lists all the usual exceptional reasons which includes an upheld panel appeal.

I know from my own enquiries that all schools within their definition of reasonable are full in year for which I am appealing.

I did ring the Clerk's office to let them know the LA have sent info on the wrong child and she asked if there was anything else I wanted to send and that I could do so right up to the hearing and during. Was she giving me a hint?

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admission Thu 12-Jul-18 20:58:08

You need to get anything else you want to present in before the hearing because late information can lead to the panel deciding to adjourn, so they can review all the info and that is in nobodies interest. So I do not think it was a hint. It is true that you can verbally raise issues at the appeal but you do risk adjournment unless it is you realising that there is a mistake somewhere in the LA's case.
What you describe of the LA's case sounds totally typical but they do have to prove prejudice over and above having met PAN, so there should be some detail about things like small classrooms, overcrowded corridors, small hall, small playground etc. Is that there or not? If not then you need to impress on the panel that the LA have not met the basic criteria of proving prejudice. This is para 3.10 of the admission appeals guidance which states "the admission authority must be able to demonstrate prejudice over and above the fact that the published admission number has been reached."

SerialGoogler Thu 12-Jul-18 22:20:37

There's nothing there about the impact admitting one child would have. Nothing about H&S issues, space issues, impact on other students and in following years etc. I was expecting it but there's nothing. They've even perfectly highlighted that their measured capacity exceeds current student numbers.
I do think they've also ignored their own criteria (as written in their case) for admitting over PAN which is where a child moves into the area and there are no spaces in a school they consider within reasonable distance. That would be us. The only argument they might have against that is that the DC are finishing out the term in the old LA school.
I already submitted my 'pro school' argument. There's no medical or other professional argument so I don't know what else I could send in. Presume I can raise the notion their own case suggests DS1 should have been given a place without appeal according to the information they sent as part of their case.
Also not sure why they've said alternative schools will be discussed in the hearing.

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SerialGoogler Thu 19-Jul-18 20:03:10

Update if anyone comes back or finds this in a search. Appeal upheld at stage one! The LA had no real case to prove prejudice to the school and it looks as though I was only there on a technicality in that 6 months had passed between moving and asking for a place and the LA had no obligation to provide one. Nearest school was further than acceptable distance. I got the impression the LA had no issue with us taking an additional space. So it all ended well even though I had to prepare and steel myself for the full process. Thanks to you all for your excellent advice - I was armed and prepared well!

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