Primary school appeal - PLEASE HELP

(33 Posts)
Clknight Wed 24-Apr-19 23:40:43

Hi guys

I'm looking for some help with my appeal letter. I've picked out some fantastic advice from previous threads but was hoping for some additional advice.

My daughter started in her current school aged 3 and 3 months, attended pre nursery and is now in nursery - shes been at this school for 15 months now and has formed lovely friendships with her peers and relationships with her teachers. We received her rejection letter, for reception class at this school, last week.

I've managed to put together an appeal letter but I really need some help with the more formal/figures section.

The personal reasons I have listed for wanting to attend the school are as follows:
*She had an extremely difficult time settling into to transition from pre nursery to nursery which made her anxious, upset and caused months of wetting accidents that she was embarrassed to tell her teachers about. This resulted in her becoming sore and irritated and having to go to the GP, who confirmed it was behavioural rather than a medical problem (medical report included)
*Her 4 cousins attend the school who see her regularly and help with her confidence around school
*regualr shared pick ups with my sister and brother whose children attend the school
*Our family have attended the school since 1986
I know the LA dont consider these personal reasons but they are close to me heart

I am dealing with an infant class size appeal but the LA have stated the class size regulations are 30, but they have accepted 35 of the 39 applications received.
*her class have already been functioning at 37
*other classes are undersubscribed, some as low as 26
*her class are planned to split (we were informed in parents evening last month)
*the school have split classes in the past

To support my appeal, what information do I need to gain from the LA or school secretary? And how do I use this information in my favour?
Class sizes/intake? square footage?

All advice will be much appreciated!
From one very stressed mum! x

OP’s posts: |
EugenesAxe Thu 25-Apr-19 00:07:11

I don't really understand. When you say her class is planned to split what does that mean - they will have two YR classes of 30 pupils?

If you mean other year group classes are "undersubscribed" that won't make any difference to YR intake. What reasons have they given for going 5 over the published admission number (PAN)?

I would just ask where you are on the waiting list and check back after the acceptance deadline to see if anyone hasn't taken up their place. Your reasons are understandable but at the same time, I don't think they will be considered relevant by the LA. As far as I can tell the only way an appeal will be upheld is if the school have made a mistake in how they processed your application and assessed you against the published admissions criteria.

NewSchoolNewName Thu 25-Apr-19 00:33:29

When you say split classes do you mean classes with mixed year groups?

DS1 didn’t get into our first choice school a few years back. They had mixed year groups. They’d gone something like 7 pupils over the PAN the year before we applied but they’d been able to do this because the next 2 years up had been undersubscribed by that number.
So when they took the 7 extra pupils they could jiggle the proportions of ages around in the mixed year classes and still have a max of 30 per class in the infant school.

If your preferred school is doing something similar then that might explain how they can take 35 pupils but still be compliant with infant class size legislation.

I agree with the pp that it’s unlikely the LA will be able to take your personal reasons into account if it’s an infant class size appeal.

Clknight Thu 25-Apr-19 08:23:27

Thanks for your comments, both.

With regards to them splitting the class - when the class sizes are large, they take upto 10 children from say reception and move them up into year one. They've done this numerous times in the past.
The class numbers for September's year 1 and year 2 are at 26.

Regarding taking on the 35 pupils, the letter just states
The number of applications(39) exceeded the number of places made available (35) in accordance to our published over subscription criteria.
I believe the PAN is 30 but they can take an additional 5 if numbers are high.

OP’s posts: |
Quickthrowaway Thu 25-Apr-19 08:25:28

So maybe they are already planning to move 5 kids up to year 1?

Hollowvictory Thu 25-Apr-19 08:38:42

They've already taken an additional 5? Is your proposal that they take all 39?

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Thu 25-Apr-19 08:46:21

I don't think it sounds like you have grounds for appeal. It looks like they have taken the extra 5 children with a view of them joining the current F2 cohort when they move into year 1 to make a class size of 31. The remaining 30 children will be the new F2 cohort.

Unless you an prove there was a mistake in how they applied your application e.g. they put you in the wrong category I'm not sure your appeal will be successful.

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Clknight Thu 25-Apr-19 08:48:05

So as it stands, there are 37 children in the nursery so when we had parents evening the teachers said they would move up to 10 up to year 1.
My proposal would be to take the 37 that have already been attending the school for over a year. I am on the waiting list but I know the figure wont change as all of the 35 children are already settled in the school and wont be rejecting their offer.
There's only 2 children out of the class that have been rejected (due to catchment) and the other 2 would have been new children to the school.

OP’s posts: |
Hollowvictory Thu 25-Apr-19 08:54:46

You want them to take 37 children rather than 35 but you want them to use admissions criteria that you've made up that the children need to have attended nursery for a year, to select the additional 2 places? I think you may be on a hiding to nothing asking them to set new admissions criteria that benefit you.

Clknight Thu 25-Apr-19 09:33:17

Well it is worth a try, in my eyes, for the sake of my daughter's health and well-being as I'm sure any mother in this situation would agree

OP’s posts: |
myrtleWilson Thu 25-Apr-19 09:39:03

I don't think anyone is saying don't appeal OP but be realistic about chances (fwiw even if it isn't an ICS appeal the points you've made are not particularly strong) have you visited the offered school? Do you know anyone else attending so you can talk positively about school with your daughter?

Hollowvictory Thu 25-Apr-19 09:42:21

Yes im suggesting focus on the reasons why your dd needs to attend this school may be more successful than asking them to amend the admissions criteria which may be out of the scope of the appeal panel or indeed the individual school.

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Thu 25-Apr-19 09:44:45

Normally nursery attendance has no bearing on admittance to the actual school itself, so it’s completely irrelevant.
As is any friendships built up there, etc, because they don’t all move on as a class to the same school. It’s a new beginning for all of them.
Why do you think an unsettled start to nursery (not all that unusual, really) will impact on her settling well in reception?
She’s a whole year older now.

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Thu 25-Apr-19 09:46:28

Don’t even ask to have the admissions criteria amended for you hmm
It’ll be treated with the derision it deserves.

itsaboojum Thu 25-Apr-19 10:01:53

Local authorities have an annual review of admissions criteria, informed by a formal consultation process which is open to all parents.

It’s very obvious they can’t change the criteria after the places have been allocated, or they’d have to run the entire process over again (and again and again...... until every single family got their own way.)

Clknight Thu 25-Apr-19 10:08:44

Can I ask why you feel it is so ridiculous to ask the LA to consider allowing one more pupil into the school? Do you believe that me asking them to take an additional pupil is inadvertently asking them to change the admissions criteria?

I know it's a long shot but I feel it's worth a try. The advice I have previously been given is that being it is an infant class size appeal, it is very difficult to overturn as it's down to figures - so I totally understand this.
I am trying to put together points as to why it would not be detrimental to the school/pupils if they were to take on another pupil. That's why I was looking for advice on PEN, class sizes, square footage of the school etc. If posters feel this is an invalid point then I will take that on board.

I'm just a mum looking for advice.

My reasons for not wanting to move my daughter is down to her lack of confidence, her finding it difficult in new environments and around new people. Yes, her being a year older may make a huge amount of difference but she still struggles in clubs, events and classes outside of school so we have had to pull out of these (even though she had originally requested to go)

If the appeal does get rejected I will do everything to make her moving schools be as stress-free and positive as I possibly can and will back it 100%

OP’s posts: |
TheGrey1houndSpeaks Thu 25-Apr-19 10:11:44

Are you outside the school’s catchment, op?

myrtleWilson Thu 25-Apr-19 10:18:39

If it is an ICS then there are two ways to win an appeal - demonstrate an error has been made in applying the admission criteria or that the decision to not admit your child was perverse.

I'm still not sure I fully understand when/how the decision to raise the PAN took place - so that may be an opportunity to explore it is not ICS - but that may come down to the split classes issue.

if it is not an ICS your appeal needs to focus on why it would be more prejudicial to not admit your daughter v the school taking on one more pupil. In non ICS appeals you'd be looking to show why this school in particular is the most appropriate for your daughter and that outweighs the schools argument they are "full". My point was that being at nursery, having cousins there, shared drop off, family attendance since Noah and his Ark are not usually strong enough reasons..

Notonthestairs Thu 25-Apr-19 10:27:41

Could you ask to have a chat with the head/head of KS1 to discuss the PAN arrangements - I suspect you are missing some information and would be better armed if you understood the schools position in greater detail.

We appealed (Under demonstrating an error made etc) and I really wish we hadn't bothered. It wasted valuable time getting to know other schools in the area. We accepted the place we had been given, stayed on continuing interest lists and visited all the other schools in the area which we previously had discounted. Our son ended up in a school we'd previously never considered - he arrived not knowing a soul - and has had a very happy 6, nearly 7 years there.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 25-Apr-19 10:45:53

I think you need to ask how they are planning to organise the classes next year and what those class sizes will be. That will determine wheth it is an ICS appeal. If they’ve accepted an extra 5 and are mixing year groups then thete’s A chance it might not be.

PatriciaHolm Thu 25-Apr-19 10:55:39

If it is ICS, then nothing about the size of the school, prejudice to your child is relevant. You can only win if they have made an error in admissions that cost you a place, the admissions criteria were unlawful, or the decision to not admit was legally unreasonable ( which means no sensible person would have made it, this is a very high bar). Nothing you have suggested so far suggests an error that cost you a place or that the decision was unreasonable.

So it is absolutely essential that you get clarity on how this is an ICS appeal. Having taken 35 with 26 in years 1 and 2 for September, I would imagine they are suggesting running 2 classes of 30 and 31 across those three years, with one of those children from the 35 coming in being an excepted child for some reason ( for example they have an EHCP naming the school). This would make it ICS.

NewSchoolNewName Thu 25-Apr-19 11:17:03

You definitely need to clarify whether your appeal is going to be an infant class size one.

How sure are you of the Year 1 and Year 2 class sizes of 26 you quoted?
How are they arranging the classes next year? E.g. just one mixed Y1/Reception class rather than making a mixed Y2/Y1 class as well?

Clknight Thu 25-Apr-19 12:15:22

How can I find out if this is definitely an ICS case?

Once the school reopens after Easter, on Monday, I will be able to clarify all of the numbers but until then I am going on what the current class sizes are now.
All I currently know is that September's reception will have upto 10 of the pupils moved into year 1. I'm doubtful any year 1 will be moved up into year 2 as my nephew is in that class and they weren't informed anything about class splitting in parents evening, like we were.

PatriciaHolm - What do you mean by on of the 35 being an excepted child and an EHCP naming the school?

OP’s posts: |
NewSchoolNewName Thu 25-Apr-19 13:09:44

Speak to the school when they reopen and ask them about the numbers.

If there’s going to be 30 children per class once they’ve done the class splitting it’ll be an ICS case.

The excepted child thing - there’s some rare cases where schools can legally admit children over the 30 children per class limit. Such a child would be an excepted child.

An EHCP is an Education Health Care Plan, which children with extra needs e.g. SEN can apply for. An EHCP will generally name the school considered most suitable for that child, children with EHCPs usually have high priority for their named school when it comes to school admissions.

Clknight Thu 25-Apr-19 13:29:58

NewSchoolNewName thanks for that info. We do have 2 little boys who have additional needs and support staff to help them, in the class so this maybe this is the case.

OP’s posts: |

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