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Nightmare appeal - what an ordeal!!

(15 Posts)
petelly Wed 07-Oct-09 22:17:04

Wow, just had our appeal for a Yr 1 place for our dd.

The chair was against us from the start and yelled at me for using the cross-examination to repeat things. I mean, the criticism was fair enough, but no need to reduce me to tears, it's not like I've done this before!! He could have just politely told me!

Then the school said it was a 'moral' issue because there was a sibling 'patiently waiting' ahead of dd. And then the chair yelled at me again when I pointed out that it wasn't a moral issue at all (since sibling has right of appeal).

It was awful although at least chair reducing me to tears added a dramatic element when I read my statement.

What a blooming nightmare though. It was horrid. At least the clerk was lovely and told us on the way out that we'd done a good job.

And now we need to wait for the result.....

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 07-Oct-09 23:06:52

Hi Petelly. I remember your other thread.

When do you expect to hear?

1dilemma Wed 07-Oct-09 23:42:22

sorry it was like that

I have (an admittedly very mild) kind of PTSD about our school appeal.

It was about 4/5/ months ago and this is the first time I can bring myself to even mention it on here (and I received enough advice from others on here for which I am very grateful)

I feel bad that I havn't even posted thanks to them

petelly Thu 08-Oct-09 00:36:57

1dilemma: I can get that. I still can't believe the way we were treated in there although wasn't as bad as the first appeal that was adjourned. I've been trying to sleep for the past hour but can't because I keep on running it through my mind and getting upset. I can't get over the school suggesting we were doing something immoral by appealing and the panel not calling them on such an outrageous statement.

MBDT: Within a couple of days. The clerk's great this time so she'll probably let us know sooner rather than later and she said she'd do it by email so that makes it quicker. I don't think we'll win though - the panel seemed very sympathetic to the school's case. I kind of get the bad behaviour of the school - they really seem to think we're queue jumping and denying a sibling their rightful place at the school.

cory Thu 08-Oct-09 08:06:53

VERY sorry to hear that your appeal was so awful. This is really not what they are supposed to be like. When we had our appeal meeting we got the feeling that the panel really were impartial and were just as likely to pull the LEA up when they got their facts wrong or tried to argue something that didn't fit with the rules.

And most importantly, they were quiet and corteous.

It's stressful enough as it is, having to do an appeal, without the added stress of being badly treated.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Thu 08-Oct-09 10:50:33

I agree with Cory. It shouldn't have been like that.

I can see where the school is coming from with the "morality" remark. Something I have always been very conscious of (as mentioned before, I sit on appeal panels) is that you have no idea about the situation of the people who are already on the waiting list and/or haven't appealed - they may in fact have a stronger claim to a place than the people who are appealing. But, that is by the by; that sort of consideration is purely speculaataive and has no place in the appeal, which has to be considered on its own merits and with respect to the 'prejudice' to the child on whose behalf the appeal is being made and those already in the school.

I can only speak for myself here but I would have given the queue-jumping argument very short shrift. If schools don't like the way the appeal process is set up, it's always open to them to lobby the DCSF for change.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Thu 08-Oct-09 10:51:40

speculative blush

1dilemma Thu 08-Oct-09 20:30:43

Thanks guys

whilst I see your point madbadetc you are charged with considering only those cases that are appealing I think not every child....

loosing ours has totally screwed our life as a family not just the child in questions might have been slighlty bareable if just one tiny weeny comment had been correct!

cory Thu 08-Oct-09 20:37:09

What impressed me about our appeals panel was the way they kept reminding both the LEA and (some of) the parents of what the rules actually were and how they were bound to stick to them. So there just wouldn't be any irrelevant whaffle about some other child whose case wasn't even being tried: this was all about whether these appeals followed the rules or not.

petelly Thu 08-Oct-09 20:42:16

Well, we lost

Not surprised but very upset and from the letter it's clear that we should have lied. They took the school's word at face value with no requirement of evidence even though they've submitted inaccurate and misleading evidence in the past. Even when they were caught out in a lie as in when the head said 'Oh, we don't have a dining hall' and I said 'But you have a dining hall on your layout' everyone thought that was OK.

To be honest, I hate that school so much now anyway I wasn't sure I wanted my dd to go there. It's hardly behaviour I want my dd to model - and then the idea that if she did win a place it'd be immoral is disgusting.

1dilemma Thu 08-Oct-09 20:48:41

sorry petally apparently it is an acceptable defence for the council to say 'oh we don't have time to prepare a proper response'!

petelly Thu 08-Oct-09 20:54:09

Is that what happened to you????

And the appeals panel accepted it????

I've got a journalist from the local paper who's very interested in my story, so I'm going to tell it like it is and how the cards are very very heavily stacked against parents.

I've also got a complaint against the school and I'm taking it up to the Secretary of State if I have to.

1dilemma Thu 08-Oct-09 21:08:14

yup

the appeals panel accepted much worse
eg LA was allowed to introduce an entirely new criteria to be considered

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Thu 08-Oct-09 22:17:52

From 1dilemma -

.... whilst I see your point madbadetc you are charged with considering only those cases that are appealing I think not every child....

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to say. As I said, the thought has gone through my mind in the past that there may be children whose parents haven't appealed who have just as strong a case for a place as those appealing - or possibly an even stronger one. But that's nothing to do with the appeals that are actually made and heard. Although I can see the point the school was making, it's a red herring. The panel can't make a comparison between the situation of the child whose appeal it is and some other child who hasn't appealed; the panel does not any remit to do that and it isn't part of the process (and the panel doesn't have the information to do it anyway). The only points of reference for assessing 'prejudice' are the child who has appealed and the school.

Petelly - If you do want to take it further, ACE can probably advise you on your options. If you consider there has been maladministration, it's possible to complain to the Ombudsman.

petelly Fri 09-Oct-09 23:09:35

No, I don't want to go through another appeal - two was quite enough! This time Id find it much harder to show maladministration and I've totally gone off the school now.

It's not so much that the decision went against us but they seemed to have made their minds up and the letter they wrote showed they'd just ignored most of what we'd said. If I ever have to do it again, I know now you need to lie through your teeth. If the school's doing it, you had better make sure you do it too.

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