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Appeal In-Year (Year4) - Twins

(18 Posts)
Mammaoftwins Thu 13-Sep-18 14:11:28

Hi everyone, I've been reading this post and other similar ones as I have appealed for one of my twins and I am looking for guidance on how to approach the hearing and the submission of additional documents.

After we moved into a new area we put our twin daughters in the waiting list for one of the local schools. Twin 1 was offered a place after 2 and a half year in the waiting list, for Year 3. We accepted and Twin2 remains in the waiting list in first place now. After almost a year (the girls are in Y4 now) of having the twins in different schools, we understand movements in the school (1 form entry) is not likely. We had asked the Headteacher to accept Twin2 as an excepted pupil bringing the class Y4 to 31 but she said no. Twice. She said she cannot do this exception as otherwise other people will ask for exceptions. Our objection is that this exception is not a common one and it is even stated in the School Admission Code as possible. So we decided to appeal.

As my initial motivations for the appeal I wrote that the current situation is extremely disruptive for the whole family and especially distressing for the girls.
My husband and I have been trying to minimise the impact on the girls, although we had to compromise around our working life and especially on my side, as a working mum, the situation is having a great impact. But most of all I've been seen the effect of this hectic life on the girls who are forced into long drives after a school day (Twin1), not being able to join clubs, although being in a local school where she could cycle or walk to and Twin2 who cannot benefit from being part of the same community as her twin sister.

I also mentioned the School Admission Code Section 2.15, as I understand that the limit of 30 is to be kept for children under the age of 7.
And even for infant classes, the limit CAN BE RAISED in case of twins. So why not for older children?

Now I would like to submit a "good character" letter from Twin2 Y3 teacher saying that having her will not be disruptive in any way (as she's basically a good girl...).

Would it be useful that I write another document to the panel, with other motivations, more specifically? Like that at the current school (it is an independent one, but not an academically good one) T2 is not getting the most her education and she would be much better off in the same school as T1?
Also that T1's school has focus on subject of great interest for T2 and she's missing out on the same opportunities as her sister?

Please advise on what and how much to write. I would want to be overwhelming for the panel, writing useless stuff or adding up reasons that potential might only dilute the power of my request....

One more thing: in your experience, is the panel likely to accept what the Headteacher says? I do understand her point of view. She wants to keep her school small and manageable, with an excellent reputation and Ofsted, while increasing the class size might be harmful from her point of view. Do I stand a chance?

Thank you so so so much!!!!

OP’s posts: |
Hersetta427 Thu 13-Sep-18 15:33:30

Is the school an academy that sets its own admission criteria?

Witchend Thu 13-Sep-18 15:47:03

I thought twins were excepted admissions (for the second one when the first has got in), but maybe that's just at the main admission points, or some councils.

A letter of good character will have zero effect, and I don't think I'd even bother thinking about it.

eddiemairswife Thu 13-Sep-18 16:05:58

According to the School's Admission Code Excepted status only applies to infant classes where the limit is 30 pupils per classroom teacher.
What is the LEA policy with regard to twins?
Were you offered a place at an Lea school for T2?
As this is not an infant class size appeal I would expect that under the circumstances you would have a good chance of success.

Mammaoftwins Thu 13-Sep-18 16:12:25

No, it is not an academy. The admission criteria are the ones of the council’s (catchment area, sibilings etc). The twins were in waiting list 6th and 7th at the beginning. Then children left after Y2 and T1 got in. But they reached 30 children in class with the entering of T1 so T2 is first in the waiting list, currently. But no movement is happening and it is not likely to happen.

OP’s posts: |
Mammaoftwins Thu 13-Sep-18 16:14:38

Hi Witchend, thanks for your reply. Why do you say such a letter would have no effect? I will not ask the teacher to write it if it will not help our case... Have you got experience of appeals where such a document was considered irrelevant?
Thank you!!

OP’s posts: |
Mammaoftwins Thu 13-Sep-18 16:17:27

Hi Eddiemairswife. According to LEA policy on how waiting list works they are actually doing what is written. One goes in and the other one waits up until a place arises.
Does that mean I don’t stand a chance?

OP’s posts: |
admission Thu 13-Sep-18 17:31:29

You can appeal for a place at the school once each academic year and there is good reason to do this now just to see what the outcome is as I would not be convinced that moving in year 5 or 6 was a good idea.
The basis of the appeal is that the 2 twins are in the same school but you then need to explain why the school you want is the right school for the second twin. You need to turn around the poor aspects of the current school into good reasons to go to the wanted school.
As the appeal is for year 4 the appeal is based on the panel deciding whether the case for admission outweighs the case of the school not to admit, so you need to build the best case you can of good things in the wanted school. Panels have to follow guidelines and the honest truth is that a letter from a current teacher saying they are nice kid will have zero influence on the outcome of the appeal.
The other point to make here is whilst it is the head teacher that is saying no I do not want to admit over the published admission number of 30 (and I would in similar circumstances because of the precedent it sets) it will actually be a Local Authority Representative who will be making the case not to admit to the school. So do not think that appealing will somehow back-fire on the twin already in the school. It will not.

Mammaoftwins Thu 13-Sep-18 17:50:44

Hi admission, thank you so much for your detailed response. It is going to be very helpful in building the case. One more thing. All these reasons, do I have to write them down in a document that I will submit before the hearing or is it something I have to keep in mind when I expose my case that day?

OP’s posts: |
eddiemairswife Thu 13-Sep-18 18:15:11

You need to send info in before hearing. perhaps in bullet points that you can then expand on at the hearing. It's helpful for panel members, who can then have time to think about what they want to ask both you and the school representative.
Also it is helpful for you to have something on paper in front of you in case your mind goes blank. It does happen!

prh47bridge Thu 13-Sep-18 23:20:27

Good advice on this thread already. Just to add that you shouldn't talk about excepted children. That only applies in infants (Reception, Y1 and Y2). By Y4 the infant class size limit no longer applies so there is no such thing as an excepted child.

Mammaoftwins Thu 13-Sep-18 23:36:38

Thanks prh47bridge. What I don’t understand is: if an exception is possible for infant classes (where from what I get the law wants to protect the younger children not allowing more than 30 kids in a class. But still it is possible to go to 31 in case of twins - so it is admitted that being twins got something “special”...) why should it be so difficult to take a class to 31 IN A CASE OF TWINS when the children are older??

I understand what you are saying regarding the wording “excepted”. Thanks for suggesting not to use it. And yes, I am ever so grateful for all your kind advise. I am going to keep them all in mind when I build my case. Thank you so much.

OP’s posts: |
prh47bridge Fri 14-Sep-18 00:25:53

A twin being excepted does not guarantee that they will be admitted to infants. They normally will be but sometime schools or local authorities will refuse. If that happens the parents have to appeal.

MarchingFrogs Fri 14-Sep-18 07:53:43

Just a thought, are you somewhere very remote and sparsely populated and the independent school the next nearest school of any type? Or is there another state primary closer to home / Twin 1's school, that could take Twin 2 or even both of them?

Mammaoftwins Fri 14-Sep-18 08:39:14

There is more than one state school (1 very close) with places. It is just that when we chose (after we moved into the area) we decided for the one that to us was (and still is) the best. And now that T1 is in it we wouldn’t want T2 to miss out on opportunities that T1 has BECAUSE she is is in the “good” school while T2 will have to go to the “2nd best”.

OP’s posts: |
MarchingFrogs Fri 14-Sep-18 09:10:50

we wouldn’t want T2 to miss out on opportunities that T1 has BECAUSE she is is in the “good” school while T2 will have to go to the “2nd best ”.

But you have described Twin 2's fee-paying school as being 'not an academically good one'. Is the next nearest state school really so much worse? At least if you had them both in the same place, or at least geographically close to each other, they could perhaps spend some of the time currently spent travelling between school 1 and school 2 and back home on some nice enriching after school activities?

If the school Twin 2 is still in was a state primary that far away but the only one which had any places when you moved to the area, without any places having become available in between in the meantime, then an appeal panel might be a little more sympathetic - 'convenience' is not a very strong argument anyway, but inconvenience exacerbated by not availing yourself of a simple way out of the situation would go a few more rungs down the ladder, I would suspect.

You might be lucky, though, a KS2 class of 31 not really being of itself out of the way. Unless the school has other reasons for not wanting to admit into that year group above PAN, such as a high level of additional need, inflexibility re arrangement of desks, maintaining a safe exit in case of fire etc.

Mammaoftwins Fri 14-Sep-18 10:07:25

Hi MarchingFrogs, what you say makes a lot of sense and we are researching the other local school as a "plan B" if the appeal doesn't go well. We do not want to leave T2 in the far away, paid-for school. I just strongly believe both my girls would be better off in the school T1 is in at the moment. And bringing T2 in a different school will mean they will be separated for the whole primary, most likely. At that point I'm not sure I want to move T2 again shall a place arise in T1 school and I definitely do not want to move T1. She is the most shy and it wasn't easy for her to move into a new school. Now that she is settled and she's found a balance, I don't feel it's fair to upset her balance again.

OP’s posts: |
sallythesheep73 Fri 14-Sep-18 11:22:01

TBH if my child was in the class with 30 kids I would not be too delighted when the 31st child turned up. I understand the head's point on this.
Why not move them both to the nearest school to you?

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