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Arguments for KS2 class size appeal

(7 Posts)
JayneJ Tue 06-Jul-10 23:04:12

Hi all,

My husband and I would really like some advice on this subject. We have a KS2 appeal for our DD (year 3), where DS1 (year 4) joined the school a month ago and DS2 joins in September (reception)

We assume we have a strong case since there are about to be two siblings at the school and the school is the closest to our house... Nethertheless we are worried to ensure we present the best possible case to the appeal panel.

Currently DD is at a school 1.5miles away and it will be impossible to do the school pickup run unless something is done. We are relying on grandparents right now.

If anyone can offer advice on the best way to construct the argument it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for any help

Jayne

prh47bridge Tue 06-Jul-10 23:44:03

Class size rules only affect Reception, Y1 and Y2. Are you sure this is a class size appeal? If so, it would be interesting to know how the LA are arguing that ICS regulations apply.

The problem you have is that the arguments you've given here don't make a particularly strong case. The panel will listen to anything you say about transport difficulties but that doesn't give them a reason to admit your daughter. Having siblings at the school and living near the school may push you up the waiting list (if there is one) but it doesn't give the panel a reason to admit. You need to show that your daughter's education will suffer if she doesn't attend this school. Look for any facilities the school has, after school clubs, etc. which will be useful to your daughter and which are not available in your current school. Will attending this school help your daughter's social development? If so, that's worth mentioning too.

You will also want to look carefully at the case put forward by the LA. If you can show that the school can comfortably accommodate your daughter without any problems you can win the appeal that way.

Have you had the LA's case yet? If you post it here we may be able to point you towards any weaknesses.

JayneJ Wed 07-Jul-10 00:38:32

Thanks for the response. We got the LAs case today (hence the panic to ensure we are prepared for next thursday)...

Reason for refusal = the school has reached the published admission number for the relevant age group (60). And then the following statements.

"Admitting more pupils will lead to an increase in class sizes this reducing the ability of the school to provide an efficient, effective education and to raise pupil achievement"

"Admitting more pupils to the year group would prejudice the provision of efficient education. There would be an increase in the workload of the teachers, less individual attention for pupils and less access for pupils to learning materials and facilities"

"Given that there are places available at other schools in the area, it would not be an efficient use of resources to admit additional pupils into the year group"

They seem like standard arguments against admission. Further things of interest are:
- the net capacity of the school is stated at 240 (KS2 only), and there are 238 pupils. So the net capacity to teach is OK, is that a valid argument?
- In year 3 (the one in question), the number of pupils on school action/action plus is quoted as 11/4. this seems very high compared to the other year groups and it appears to be a point against us... "The requirements of pupils with a statement of special educational needs, or those on School Action/Action Plus, in terms of extra space, additional support staff and additional resources makes the need to admit only to the published number imperative".
- Also, as she is in a school 1.5miles away (considered close), it is claimed "There are places available at alternative schools in the area (see map) where provision of resources has already been made. Therefore, to admit more pupils to this year grop, which is already full, would represent prejudice to efficient use of resources, not only at this school but also other schools within the area."

For the clubs, it is difficult as the current school is actually quite good (it is a faith school in fact)... one extra reason for us wanting the move is that most of her peers will move onto a faith secondary and the school we are appealing for is opposite our chosen secondary (and are both 0.26 miles from our house... according to the appeal form!)... and the reason we are in this predicament... we moved into this area two years ago and the only school which could accomodate both our children was the faith school... but DS2 of course didn't qualify! when he turned 4...

Last qn, can we use a family argument?, i.e. if we lose then it may actually affect the other children as well since the effort to pick them all up will take time away from other opportunities and prevent all children from benefitting from a good walk to/from school.

Sorry for long text!...

prh47bridge Wed 07-Jul-10 10:36:42

That sounds like a pretty standard case. If that is all they've said it isn't a particularly strong case.

The fact that the school is under capacity helps you a little and is certainly worth bringing up. It would be also worth finding out if they have been over the admission number in Y3 before. It is quite likely that they have been. You can then ask what problems this caused. The chances are that it didn't cause any significant problems, which again helps you.

The pupils on school action/action plus looks like a potential negative. However, whilst I understand their comment about space, I'm not sure how the need for additional support staff and resources for these children makes it harder for them to accept your child unless they are implying a funding issue. It might be worth contacting the admissions team before the hearing and asking them to explain this point.

Their argument about prejudice to other schools in the area looks like complete rubbish to me. If your daughter moves her existing school will be funded for a pupil who they no longer have. That will help them, not harm them. And prejudice to other schools is, in any case, irrelevant. The panel should only be interested in the prejudice to the school involved in the appeal.

You can certainly put forward a family argument. Whether or not it will help you depends on how sympathetic a panel you get.

admission Wed 07-Jul-10 15:43:36

This is an absolutely bog standard case by the LA. At stage 1 you need to be arguing that the LA have not made the case that the school would be prejudiced by having one more pupil. What the LA have put down is absolutely standard words none of which are specific to show why there would be prejudice. You have effectively identified the SEN level in year 3 which the LA case should have been highlighting, 15 out of 60 is 25% which is more than the national average level (20%). The LAs comment "The requirements of pupils with a statement of special educational needs, or those on School Action/Action Plus, in terms of extra space, additional support staff and additional resources makes the need to admit only to the published number imperative" can be easily rebutted. Ask them what happens if a year 3 pupil with an SEN statement comes to the school. The answer has to be that they will be admitted above the PAN, they have to by law. So the idea that to only admit to the published number being imperative is nonsense. Also check how many TAs they have, it could well be that there is actually not a TA in that year group or 1 across the two classes, whcih again casts doubt on their arguement

I would also ask for the maximum number that has been in a junior class in the school in the last 3 years and hope that it is more than 30. You can then say there is therefore no reason not to admit a further pupil, done it in the past very successfully.

I suspect you will not manage to convince the panel that they have not proved prejudice but the aim has to be to reduce to an absolute minimum the level of prejudice, so that when it comes to part 2 of the appeal the prejudice level you have to overcome is minimised.

Different panels will have different views over the need for siblings to be together, so that is a weakish arguement. However I would make the point that your daughter now feels that they have been isolated as they are not at the same school. You also need to address the reason why you have moved the other sibling to the school, why did you not leave the two in one school? You need to explain that it was not your wish to have the two older children at the faith school but that there was no other places available when you moved in and the family has now been doubly disadvantaged by the fact that the youngest could not get a place at the faith school. (I am assuming there that your chosen secondary school is not a faith school and you can therefore argue that you did not really want a faith education)

You will also need to try and counter the arguement that there are other schools in the area by asking whether there is any school within walking distance that can offer a place to all three of your children - and hope that there is not! You can then argue that the LAs arguement is not valid as the whole purpose of this change is to get all three chldren into one non-faith school, not spread them out over 2 or 3 schools.

I would try and avoid saying too much about you have chosen the secondary school. It is a well used arguement but that is the secondary school we want / need and the panel will ignore it.

It would be ideal if you could say that it is impossible for the grandparents to continue to pick up your daughter but don't lie.

Try and find something out about the appealed for school which will allow you to say why it is the only one. If clubs generally is not realistic, is sport or drama or dance?

JayneJ Mon 12-Jul-10 23:44:24

Thankyou for all the comments... we are preparing our argument over the next couple of nights and will consider all these points.

karenjm Wed 01-Jun-11 04:28:17

Hi, I came across this old post. I was just wondering, how did the appeal go? Did you get a place?
I'm interested because your situation is similar to mine. We're moving back from Australia in August. My DS starts in reception at our local school in September but my daughter hasn't got a place because Yr4 is full. We're top of the waiting list so there's still hope, otherwise we're going to appeal.

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