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not happy with the school place given

(74 Posts)
123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 11:49:53

hi im really upset about my daughter not been accepted to the first school that i choose for her and i really don't want send her where she has been accepted (apparentely not good school at all), does anyone know what i can do to change the decision? really worry for my daughter education and im sure sending her to that school will make it worse...

We heard from the website about a place for DS when we looked this morning.
We were pleased he'll be able to go to the same school as his sister.
Am sorry for anyone who's not happy though.
Basically you can try an appeal but not easy - you do hear of some who are successful.

prh47bridge Fri 01-Mar-13 13:11:12

As others have said you can appeal for a place at your preferred school. To win you will either need to show that a mistake has been made or that this is the right school for your daughter. That must be based on things it offers that the allocated school does not. Ofsted ratings, league table position, local reputation and the like will not help you. Appeal panels are not allowed to consider them.

You should also make sure you are on the waiting list for your preferred school and see if there are any other schools with places. I would also recommend visiting the offered school. A school that was awful in the past will often continue to have that reputation locally for some time after it has improved.

I would recommend accepting the place that has been offered. If you reject it the LA is not under any obligation to come up with an alternative. If they do make another offer you may find it is an even worse school. Accepting the offer will not damage your chances at appeal.

Excellent comprehensive advice bridge smile

Quejica Fri 01-Mar-13 13:17:06

I logged in to County Council website at midnight and saw our allocation.
I then received an allocation email at 1:20am.
Then at about 11:00 am the post arrived with an allocation letter dated today!

123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 13:33:17

yes it was my second choice, and i beleve is in the catchment area, but i spoke to all the parents and pupil that they go to that school and everyone told me that the school is rubbish. I will put my daughter in the waiting list, and see what happends

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 13:53:58

confused why did you put it as second choice if you don't want it?

DeWe Fri 01-Mar-13 13:56:11

Why is this a controversial topic? confused

It's a common one and generally people have sympathy, and either express horror that things have been handled so badly, or sympathy that the Op is unlikely to win at appeal.

Op, I'd stay on the waiting list, and look at other schools nearby that you'd be happy with and either apply or go on the waiting lists of those. But also go and look at the "dreadful" school because sometimes reputations are not correct. It could be the perfect one for your dd when you look at it.

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 14:04:36

Prhbridge has given you excellent advice on how to appeal. Unfortunately, you did not help yourself when applying by putting down as your first choice a school which you were not in catchment for and at which you therefore did not have a realistic chance of getting a place. If you are so unhappy with the school offered and already believed it to be a poor school, why put it as your second choice? It would have been better to choose another school which, while not your preferred, was still more acceptable to you. However, that's all by-the-by now.

There is nothing to stop you from going on the waiting list of your first choice school or any others in which you are interested. There can be a lot of movement on waiting lists so there is nothing to say that you won't end up with the place you want. DO accept the place you have been offered, turning it down will not help your chances at appeal, the LA have fulfilled their obligation to provide you with a place and are under obliged to find you another place whcih you prefer. you cna always turn it down later if you do get another place.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 14:13:34

OP did entirely the right thing by putting her favourite school 1st on the form. Even if you have a one in a million chance of getting in, you should always list your favourite school first. But you should also list an acceptable back up as annh says.

The problem is putting a school you hate as 2nd choice (unless there is no other school which OP has a hope of getting into which is possible). It is too late to worry about that now though. Prh is the appeals expert and has given excellent advice.
OP - you can, in addition to launching an appeal, also ask to go on the waiting lists of other schools you prefer. In the meantime accept the place you've been offered. You can reject it later if you win your appeal or get a waiting list offer but if you reject it now, you may end with no place at all.

Where we are if you put your catchment school anywhere in your list it will be your fall back guaranteed option. We decided to put it third on our list of three.
Some friends put it first as it was their first choice school. You are recommended to include it somewhere in your choices.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 14:50:08

Juggling - that's pretty much the case everywhere. Parents are told to put a school they know they will get into (in terms of meeting the criteria) somewhere on their list as a back-up option because it is better to get an O.K school on your doorstep than a less desirable school randomly allocated by the council.
But some people don't have a catchment school - some areas are so full that not everybody has a definite back-up option. Not all LAs have official catchment areas and some people live further than the 'last distance offered' meaurement for every single school.

anniesw Fri 01-Mar-13 18:13:05

You say 'apparently not good' - go and look, talk to the head and staff rather than listen to what others say. Many schools are making big changes these days - Ofsted is requiring that so information based on even 3 years ago could be out of date

anniesw Fri 01-Mar-13 18:16:13

This thread is useful too

auntevil Fri 01-Mar-13 21:12:22

prh47 - can I ask you a question? You have listed some aspects that panels are not allowed to consider, are the statistics for expected progress, AV etc allowed ?
I'm asking way in advance as DS1 only Y5! blush
Only 1 school in catchment and we do not think it suitable. Another school 10 min walk from this one is suitable, but we are not in catchment. If you could show that a school has not been able to show acceptable/average progression for a particular sub group, and your DC was in that sub group, but the alternative school showed that adequate progression was made, could that be used?

I would have thought that was just the sort of thing you'd want to show auntevil (though am not 100% sure)

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 21:25:33

auntevil - no that would not help. In appeals you have to remember that you are appealing for one school not against another. And appeal panels have to assume all schools are equally good because of course somebody has to go to the ones that are less popular. They are not there to pass judgement on the school you are offered but to hear your case to explain why the school you want meets your child's needs.

In your example, if your child was in a sub group like g&t or having dyslexia and the school you wanted had a special literacy unit or a special enrichment programme for g&t students then you could use that to show why you wanted a place. What you cannot do however is say that the school you've been allocated has poor results / is rubbish at science / has bad behaviour therefore you don't want your child to go there because they are academic / good at science / quiet and well behaved.
You must just concentrate on what is good about the appeal school and how it meets your child's needs and interests.

Ooh interesting tiggytape - it's all quite subtle isn't it ?
And feel like you need a PhD or insider Mumsnet knowledge wink to have a chance of jumping through these hoops.

auntevil Fri 01-Mar-13 21:56:03

So even if the statistics show that the school offered does not meet the educational targets for a specific sub group, the panel have to assume that the school is equally as good as a school thats statistics show that it provides an education where the same sub group make expected progress?
But if I can show that the preferred school runs a programme to help with this sub group that the offered school does not (hence why the results are as they are) that would be accepted as evidence by a panel?

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 22:05:40

Exactly true auntevil - when you are preparing for appeal, if you find you are talking more about the school you want to avoid than the one you are appealing for, then you have not made your case.

In any appeal, the allocated school should barely be mentioned at all. Even where you are making an unfavourable comparison about what is offered, you should state it factually eg 'School B has a literacy unit on site with highly specialised teachers well used to coping with DS's condition and we believe he would benefit from....' You don't even need to say that School A doesn't offer any decent help let alone mention that their results for dyslexic pupils are shockingly bad.

There are schools many parents appeal for and others that many are seeking to avoid and it is often obvious why. But at appeal, you have to resist the urge to tell the panel that the school allocated is awful - that is not what they base any decisions on. You have to explain to them why the other school is the right one and what it offers your child (the implication of course being that the allocated school does not offer this at all and is not a good fit for your child)

PanelChair Fri 01-Mar-13 22:32:52

Auntevil - I can't add much to what tiggytape has said, but things like Ofsted ratings, SATs scores and progression are not the basis for a winnable appeal.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 22:51:29

As a rule, you would need good evidence to show that your child actually needs the specialist input too - in most cases, that would be a Statement of SEN, ie, something which 'states' what 'special educational need' your child has, that any good school could offer. {The panel has to assume all schools are equal, as Tiggy says}. So one school running a particular support group, wouldn't generally be seen as a good reason, as the LA would argue, the other school could run it too.

auntevil Fri 01-Mar-13 23:09:48

So can I very naively ask, for whose benefit these new progression data tables are for? I thought that it was a good indicator of which school was a good fit for your DC

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:14:06

BackforGood - children with statements won't be part of this appeals process. They are dealt with separately, before the other children and generally get the school they want no questions asked. In theory they should have no need to appeal (although I know a lot have to fight to get a suitable school named on their statement in the first place)

Appeals can be won on the grounds of a parent demonstrating that the school they want meets their child's needs. These don't need to be very extreme needs (probably not a good way of putting it but you know what I mean).
If a child is in a choir and plays violin and is quite shy, a parent might say they want them to go the school that has 7 different bands, 3 music clubs and 4 choirs as this would be good for their confidence and enable them to keep up a talent / interest that is important to them. This would carry more weight if for example no other school in the area had much / any music provision.
If a child excels at a sport that only one school offers or wants to take a GCSE in a subject no other school does, these would all be grounds that could be used at appeal.

GCSE results, SATS, Value Added, Ofsted gradings etc though are not.

Whether you win an appeal depends not only on the reasons you give but on the school's case too. Some schools are bursting at the seams and any extra pupils could cause them serious problems. As such, for a parent to win, they'd have to have an overwhelming case.
Other schools are full on paper only and actually built 5 new classrooms 3 years ago but never upped the admission figures and always take more than PAN with no problems whatsoever. Parents appealing to these schools wouldn't need such an impressive case to be able to demonstrate that their wish to attend outweighs the school's valid objections.
It is a balancing act and the panel decides who has more to lose by admitting the child - the child who is denied a school they very much want or need or the school who is forced to go above their stated numbers. If the parents can tip the balance in the child's favour, they can win

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:19:32

So can I very naively ask, for whose benefit these new progression data tables are for? I thought that it was a good indicator of which school was a good fit for your DC

auntevil - it is a bit of an alien concept to me and others in London but some lucky sods people have a genuine choice of High Schools. They have maybe 2 or 3 local schools that they'd qualify for on distance criteria and maybe even a faith or selective option on top of that. They have to weigh up which order to list their preferences in since they are almost certain to get their first or second choice. When they look at data and attend Open Days, they do so with a view to making a choice between 2 or 3 schools.

Other parents have no real choice at all. In some cities, parents might have literally 1 school that they qualify for on distance and if they don't like it, it is tough as they won't get a place anywhere else. In those cases, open evenings and comparing headline figures is a bit futile because there isn't really any chance to make a real choice. Of course they still list the school they like best as first choice and hope against hope for a low birthrate year and a lot of people to go private but generally, choice is limited to the ones you qualify for not the ones you like the look of.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:25:14

Meant to add BackforGood is right about evidence required. If you are going to rely on violin playing, social circumstances that mean staying with friends is crucial or benfits from a literacy unit - you have to back this up with evidence.

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