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appeals refusal for one son but not other.

(20 Posts)
serein Tue 13-Sep-11 21:02:57

hi iv just had 2 appeals for my sons for years 7 and years 8,my younger son has medical probs so got his appeal accepted but his brother in year 8 got refused,on the grounds of the school being full,they said i can appeal again in 4 weeks but i prob wont have a chance and the first appeal will still stand, is it realy worth it me even bothering to try again at another appeal, my elder son has been refused last year and this year now for the same school,do you think il have a case now my second son has got in or wont they care and just say we full, and he got in on medical grounds.its just he needs his brother with him im not prepared to send the poorly one with out his older brother on a bus with no support to school and keep the older one at home home educating its just not fare how can they refuse one sibling and accept the i stand any chance at all or should i just give up, my poorly son wont go secondary school with out his brother, so if no one thinks i have any chance tell me now and il just ring the athority up and say forget it im home educating both of em, iv had enough of all the stress with it all i dont even no what else to say in an appeal as both appeals in past got refused anyhow,im so fed up with this stupid education sistem, how can they accept one brother and not the other when i apealed at same time and said his poorly bro needs his morel suport in school and going and coming home from schcool.any addvise would be helfull right now, does it even make any difference having a bro in school at all dont they even care that they are splitting kids up from there bros and sis how can they send one to one school and not the other grrrrrrr so mad.

cricketballs Tue 13-Sep-11 22:28:26

whilst I am going against the majority of MN I will whole hearty defend my post -

there is a reason why school say they are full! There are many school with classes of more than 35 students with only 1 teacher in the secondary sector. This only means that the children are suffering if more and more children are accepted. Appeals only make matters worse, whilst you may not agree with the entry criteria, they are there for a reason and when the numbers hit the maximum then by appealing you are just going to make the education worse for your own dc and the other students in their class

After so many appeals I think it is time to admit that entry to this school is not going to happen in the immediate future. Why can't your son with the medical problems attend the school your other ds has been allocated?

slavetofilofax Tue 13-Sep-11 22:48:53

I mostly agree with Cricketballs, there will be a reason why your older son was refused a place, and if your younger son didn't have an older brother he would have to cope alone.

Can you explain more about what grounds you appealed on for your older son, and why you want them to be together?

What's the school they have been allocated like, and why do you feel you want to refuse it?

Home educating at secondary level is really not an easy thing to do, are you sure you would be able to provide them with a good standard of education?

admission Tue 13-Sep-11 23:02:15

It is quite possible for this to happen.
The case is always a balancing act between the prejudice to the school and the prejudice to the pupil. The panel has to consider each pupil separately.
It could be that the school numbers in year 7 are only just at the admission number but in year 8 are maybe considerably higher than the admission number because of previous successful appeals. The prejudice to the school is therefore much greater in the year 8 case than the year 7 case.
When we come to your two sons, again your year 7 son would have a higher level of prejudice in their favour because of his medical problems and therefore on balance the prejudice is to your year 7 son but not to your year 8 son.
I fully accept that this leaves you in an impossible position and I think that i would be tempted to agree with cricketballs that you probably given the past history of appeals are unlikely to succeed unless you can come up with a much stronger case for admission.

serein Wed 14-Sep-11 08:25:57

hi my sons didnt go to the alocated school cos of bullying, iv already home educated my elder one for the past year and found it very rewarding,
also i new that id be sending my younger son to a different school becouse of his medical needs or else home educating so i decided i wasnt going to be prepared to send one to one school and the younger to another and split them up and have to travel in different directions every day, i already have other children in junior school and i cant be in 3 places at once,if the one with medical needs has a prob i have to go to the school to help him what if my other son needs me in another secondary school what then,plus we on a low wage and the fact that i could pass uniforms down to the younger one and the younger one will have support from his elder brother, also the fact they are siblings and why should i split them up and send them diff schools,the fact is he isnt a only child and does have a brother who hes very close to and needs , as hes very shy and becouse of his illness will need him more and more as he gets older , i cant go into detail as its very personal situation and all i can say is if im wasting my time trying again for my older son then im just gona keep the ill one at home,i already know what im doing regards home education and its not as hard as one may think it is but still at the end of the day id rather they be in school together than at home as i now cant work and will have to stay home indefinatly to home educate,
does any one think that if i go to another appeal for the older one that the fact my younger son is now in school this my help my appeal now he has a bro in that school and the fact with being able to pass uniforms down and travel probs to diff schools if i sent them diff schools, is there anyone out there whos won an appeal cos of siblings being in same school even thoe the school was over crowded,and can anyone help me put something together that my help my last and final stressfull apeal to get my to sons together as regards sibblings being split up or what ever any tips at all, how can i show that my older son needs to be in school and it over rides the overcrowded school prob i just dont know what to say anymore.i know it will be a different pannal i see but it will still be hard to find what to say to them as iv faild twice already for him,but at themtimes his bro wasnt at the school but now has a place.will this make anydifference at all, im allready giving up as my younger son has cryed alnight saying hes not going to go to school without his bro, also if my son will be geting an appeal in around 4 weeks then does that mean as i got a place alocated for my younger son i can ring the school anytime i like to arange for him to start or do i have to do it straight away, cos i was wondering weather to just cary on home educating both of them till after the 3rd appeal then see what happens then. or do i need to decide like now and ring say i dont want the place im homeeding, grrrrrr im so worn out with all trying.

Theas18 Wed 14-Sep-11 08:57:52

If you don't take the place for your younger son he will loose it. You will also have got the backs of the appeal board up I'm sure.

"Threatening" to Home Ed till you get a place isn't a good strategy, either do it because it is best for you and the boys or don't do it at all.You seem to be using the kids as pawns in some game... If you want to home ed then do it but don't moan you were "forced into it" you have a place for your youngest and a place will be found at another school for your eldest.

I understand that appeals will only succeed if schools haven't applied the allocation criteria correctly. If they have then tough...

The "don't want to split siblings up" argument would carry no weight I'm afraid, in my city it is very normal for this to happen- we have some selective schools, some single sex and some mixed. Passing uniform down with secondary age kids is a pie in the sky idea- you'll be chucking it out worn out before it's outgrown.

Your kids your choice, but I can't help thinking that the way you are dealing with this is causing your kids more upset- if you'd try a positive spin on the younger one going alone, making own friends etc then he may not be "crying all night" . Medical issues or not both boys are their own people and making them dependent on each other isn't a good thing.

cory Wed 14-Sep-11 09:02:31

If your son's medical problems are so bad that he cannot travel unaccompanied on the bus, can you not get the LEA to organise transport for him? Or an escort? What exactly are his medical problems? Maybe the SN forum could advise on that?

As for your other points (not splitting siblings, your having to go into school to help them)- you do seem very overprotective, given that these are young teenagers/almost teenagers.

Obviously, you need to be able to go into school to help your poorly son if his condition is one that cannot be managed by himself with the help of the school. But how often would a situation arise where you had to go into the school for anything to do with your healthy son? I have two children in secondary and I very rarely have to go in to the school; the risk that a situation would arise where you were called into both secondaries simultanously seems very small to me. If parents evenings clash, surely you can just ask one school for a separate appointment time?

I understand about your ds being shy - my dd who has medical problems suffer from panic attacks so I know where you're coming from- but I am wondering if it mightn't be better for your ds in the long run if you concentrated on teaching him coping mechanisms.

I do understand that it is hard, but in the long run your younger ds is going to have learn a way of dealing with his difficulties that does not depend on his older brother. Liaising with the school would seem the most important thing, maybe some kind of confidence training (CBT or similar).

HattiFattner Wed 14-Sep-11 09:03:04

send your youngest to school as planned. He is a senior now, and will have to learn to cope in the real world at some point without his older brother.

No doubt your older son will now move to the top of the schools waiting list as you have a sibling in the school, so now its a waiting game for a place.

In the meantime, continue to home ed. Although I would brush up on punctuation... grin

cory Wed 14-Sep-11 09:13:48

Theas18 Wed 14-Sep-11 08:57:52

"I understand that appeals will only succeed if schools haven't applied the allocation criteria correctly. If they have then tough..."

Not entirely true; we got our appeal through on medical grounds even though they had applied the criteria. BUt you would really need to show why your case is special. We had to supply reams of professional evidence to showing why dd needed the school we appealed for in a way that other children didn't (mainly to do with disabled access).

Splitting siblings in itself is obviously not going to cut it, seeing that siblings are very often split up at this age and most people agree that it is a good idea to develop independence at this age. I suppose you could supply medical evidence testifying to your son's unusual mental state of health if he is that badly affected by his fears; if he is not bad enough to be seeing a mental health professional already, this is probably not much help to you.

prh47bridge Wed 14-Sep-11 09:42:37

Theas18 - For a secondary school appeal it is not necessary to show that a mistake has been made, although that is always a very strong case. To win you simply have to show that the prejudice to your child through not being admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school through having to cope with an additional pupil.

serein - Normally you are not allowed to appeal twice for the same academic year unless there has been a change of circumstances. The most obvious change of circumstances I can see is that your younger son now has a place at the school. This may help your case but it will not be conclusive. It is true that transport will be easier and you can save money by passing uniforms down if both your sons go to the same school. Unfortunately that is not something the appeal panel can consider.

I agree with others that you need to strengthen your case if you appeal again. If you want to argue that your two sons must be at the same school you will need to produce independent evidence to support this as Cory says. You should also look at things the school can offer which are of benefit to your older son and which you cannot offer through home educating him. You should similarly look for things which this school offers which are missing from the offered school and which would benefit your son.

I note that you say your sons did not go to the offered school due to bullying. Are you saying that your older son started at that school and was bullied? And is the LA still saying that the offered school is the alternative to the appeal school? If the answer to both questions is yes and you have evidence of the bullying which shows that the school was failing to deal with the problem you can bring that up.

cricketballs Wed 14-Sep-11 17:51:28

as others have said; the reality of you being called to your eldest sons school at the same time as your youngest is remote in the least. My dc attended completely different schools (eldest mainstream secondary, youngest special school about 7 miles apart from each other) and I have never had this problem. The eldest I have had to pick up in 5 years about 3 times in total.

What were the bullying aspects which are stopping you from taking places at the allocated school? Maybe if you gave more info people can help; but my first post remains my honest opinion regarding appeals

prh47bridge Wed 14-Sep-11 19:06:42

cricketballs -You are entitled to your opinion. However, I would point out that there are only two reasons an appeal can succeed.

The first is because the admission process has gone wrong somewhere and the child should have been admitted. You may disagree with this but I am personally of the view that mistakes like this should be put right. If the child should have got the place if admissions had been administered correctly I think they should get the place (unless, of course, the mistake has affected a lot of children in which case the appeal code correctly states that the appeal panel must decide how many children the school can admit and pick which ones). A surprisingly high proportion of cases I come across here and elsewhere involve mistakes in the admission process.

The second way an appeal can succeed is if the appeal panel conclude that the prejudice to the child through not being admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school through admitting an additional pupil. They will take into consideration all the factors you mention. If the school is genuinely full to overflowing with 35 in a class an appeal is highly unlikely to succeed.

Some schools has deliberately set a low admission number so that it will be well below capacity even when each year is "full", giving them plenty of space and making life easy for staff. I came across a primary school which tried to argue that its staff couldn't possibly be expected to cope with more than 25 children in a class and that a school designed for 210 pupils couldn't cope with any more even though there were only around 170 on the roll. Should the appeal panel in that case have refused to admit because the school was full?

Some secondary schools use this as a deliberate tactic so that they can admit more sixth formers as a sixth former is worth more money to the school than a pupil in any other year. Should the appeal panel simply accept this?

I could go on but I hope you get my point. Just because the school is "full" doesn't necessarily mean it is really full.

cricketballs Wed 14-Sep-11 22:34:15

Another thing to note is the point that another poster has stated, whilst a school might have 'official capacity' it may be in other year groups and not the one your dc are in

prh47bridge after working in secondary schools for too many year to mention I can not for one minute accept a school would say that they are full when in reality they are only 75% to capacity as every student who is on roll comes with a premium.

Whilst I understand what you are saying re admissions procedures not being followed correctly in some cases, to have another student in my class following an appeal will have a severe detriment to all the students as I can only stretch myself so far - for example I have 28 computers in my room - how can I teach a class of 30+ who all have individual needs/targets etc? It is all well and good sitting on a panel and saying yes, they should attend that school but in reality it is doing more harm than good.

By the way I work in a school with a 6th form and we have never turned down a KS3/4 student in order to accommodate a 6th former - schools with 6th form operate as 2 different entities

cricketballs Wed 14-Sep-11 22:35:49

sorry, posted before I finished commenting

the primary school you have referred too - is it the building that is designed for 210 pupils? That doesn't mean that they have the staff for 210 pupils

prh47bridge Wed 14-Sep-11 23:57:02

Re the primary school, do the maths. With around 170 children in classes of around 25 they clearly had 7 classes, all correctly staffed. The classrooms were designed for 30 children but were holding 25. As I said, their case for appeal argued that their poor teachers couldn't possibly be expected to cope with more than 25 pupils. I accept that smaller classes are preferable but to suggest that the teachers in this school couldn't cope with class sizes that are common in most primary schools was simply ridiculous.

And, whether you believe it or not, I have come across a number of secondary schools around the country artificially pushing down the capacity in Y7-Y11 simply so that they can take on more sixth formers with the increased funding that brings. I am glad your school doesn't do that. I think it is true to say that most schools don't. But there are a few that do.

I don't know where your 75% figure comes from and no, I haven't seen a secondary school go that low. But there are a number of secondary schools around the country with the admission number set below that indicated by their capacity. Then we could talk about schools (both primary and secondary) that build new classrooms but don't bother to recalculate their capacity, leaving them with a capacity and an admission number that do not reflect current circumstances.

I understand your concerns. The panel should be taking such matters into account. They have to decide whether the considerations you raise outweigh the prejudice to the pupil from not being admitted. Unless, of course, there has been a mistake and the pupil should have been admitted - in that case the rules say that the prejudice to the school is only considered if the mistake affects a number of children.

Sometimes the prejudice to the school is so great that no appeal will succeed, however deserving. Even a disabled child who has been allocated a place at a school which is totally unable to cater for their disability won't get in. On the other hand sometimes the case presented for refusing an appeal is so weak that almost any appeal will succeed. If the best the school can come up with is "crowding in the corridors" the parents won't need much of a case to win their appeal. Most cases are somewhere between those extremes. I don't envy those who sit on appeal panels and have to make these judgements.

slavetofilofax Thu 15-Sep-11 09:03:33

As this seems to heva turned in to a bit of a debate about appeals and how they can be detrimental to a school, I'd just like to point out that in many many cases, the school doesn't actually end up with one extra pupil in a class, or a year group, especially in secondary.

Even if an appeal has been won, it often just means that a child on a waiting list will be bumped down a place, and by the time term starts, the school still has the same number of pupils it would have done without a succesful appeal.

This is what happened in our case.

Obviously it does mean that a child who would have been offered a place ends up having to go elsewhere, but then that child probably didn't need the place as much as the appeal child did. Otherwise the waiting list child would have appealed at the same time as the other child, as they would have both been refused initial offers at the same time.

It is really not easy to win an appeal and to prove that the prejudice to a child will be greater than that to the school, so therefore I think it is safe to conclude that in the overwhelming majority of succesful appeals, that child does rightly deserve a place.

serein Thu 15-Sep-11 22:40:30

doesnt matter now im not sending them iv had enough, and as for some of the coments iv had you havnt a clue,my son whos ill has a disability not mental one ok,and yes hes inderpendent ok, but my other son wants to be with him not becouse hes afraid to be alone but becouse hes his brother and wants to be in the same school to be with him im not going in to detail about my sons disability its no ones busnes i just wanted to know if i had any chance at geting the older one in thats it,as for my punctuation that dosnt matter as im not the sole teacher in my household,also i know for a fact at least 3 other kids have got in to the same year group i want my elder son in just cos they had siblings there so why is it they got in and my son cant and he has a disabled bro now exepted to go there it isnt fair,

as for home education im not using that as a way of trying to get them in to the school either,and as for being over protective, my sons is ill and im glad im overprotective im his mother i want the best for them,

im not sending them to different schools just cos the education department dont care and others have to id rather they stayed together and they are wether in same school or staying at home,yes bros and sis are split up when in diff schools like secondary and junior what ever the situation,

but this is a personal situation and im not going into detail about it,the fact is why is it my son cant get in and 3 kids up road did,i aslo no that one of my sons freinds has told him theres only 26 kids in his class so weres the over crowdedness there then,

also last year when i appealed they said it was over crowded and then a few weeks later his freind said a lad started in his class, so its all bull shit about schools with there detrementsals to other students ok,

yer may be some do have more but its a scam i think,as for home education well all my oldest children as i have a large family all have very good jobs and did realy well with my help so home education isnt a game with me ok,i just wanted my two boys together in school and im let down by the education department,

home education is my other option becouse it was my first option, my sons didnt go to the alocated school becouse its realy bad and my son was bullyed becouse of his disability by the kids who then went up to that school ok bye the way its a very rare disability ok and hes had several ops for it, hes had enough probs never mind going to same school and geting more,

i just wished id home ed from the start now instead of sending them primary school it was the schools fault in first place why my son got bullied for not doing what they were suposed to be doing which i wont go in to detail about as its not a simple thing,

ok.iv gone on enough its something i cant be botherd with any longer the education sitem stinks and needs to buid more schools if its so freaking over crowded every were,and get more teachers not break familys up sending all there kids diff schools or flipin what ever,

and on the other side of the coin yer i know of fams whos kids got sent to diff schools which is pathetic,her daugter got in a school ok then year after she moved up road ok then when it was time for her second daughter to go they refused saying its full and must go to the catchment one which actualy was about the same distance but oposite way then when she tryed to get her other daughter in the now so called catchment school with her younger daughter they said no its full its crap all of it sucks,the goverment need to sort its heads out, regards building new schools alot more new schools or building up the ones they do have knowing fare well they need to becouse of this stupid situation with over crowding, from what iv read all schools are over subscribed today in uk.

slavetofilofax Thu 15-Sep-11 22:52:41

Okaaay then hmm

prh47bridge Fri 16-Sep-11 00:14:24

I'm sorry you feel this way. I am afraid that many parents find they have to cope with children at different schools. I was in that boat for one term until I managed to get my youngest child into the local primary school.

Just to state the obvious, if the friend who said a lad started in his class was in the same year there are a couple of possibilities:

- the boy concerned had already got a place before your appeal but had not yet taken it up, e.g. because they were just moving into the area

- another boy left that year (not necessarily the same class) thereby creating a vacancy which was filled from the head of the waiting list

If this boy was in a different year to your son that is perfectly within the rules - your son's year was full up, this boy's year wasn't. That is the way the system works.

Whilst it is not impossible, it is very unlikely that the boy concerned was admitted to your son's year when there was no vacancy.

You obviously think that your son should have got the place when the vacancy arose but the school must work to its admission criteria. If this boy was higher in the admission criteria than your son he gets the place. It is that simple.

Not all schools are full to overflowing. However, they don't operate with vast numbers of spare places as that would be a waste of money. No government can guarantee that siblings will always get into the same school unless we remove parental choice completely.

As far as I can see no-one was suggesting that your younger son had mental problems. We were just trying to explore whether or not there was an argument that both boys need to be in the same school. On the basis of what you have just posted there is no such case to be made. I'm afraid your sons desire to go to the same school will not convince an appeal panel, nor will the savings through handing down uniform or transport problems. If there had been a medical reason why they needed to be together that would have been a very strong case. However, it seems there isn't.

It may, nonetheless, have been possible to put together a reasonable case for your older son to be admitted.

cory Fri 16-Sep-11 07:53:28

I did not suggest that your son has a mental health problem. What I did suggest was that unless he suffers from a mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, he will be expected to handle the problems arising from his disability and negotiate with the school on his own, seeing that he is now growing up. I speak from experience, having two physically disabled children at secondary and having gone through appeal for one of them.

The panel will be looking for professional evidence that your case is different from that of other families with disabled children. Since lots of disabled children, and children with serious medical conditions, cope perfectly well on their own, they need to have it explained to them why your ds is a special case. That's perfectly reasonable from their point of view. They are not going to know unless you explain it to them. "im not sending them to different schools just cos the education department dont care" isn't really a strong enough argument.

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