Help please - secondary school appeal(22 Posts)
My DD has not been offered her school of choice. All of her friends are going to one school in our area, and she has been offered the other school. Her preferred school has better sports facilities, gets better results and she really wants to go there because her friends are there and she loved the school at the open evening. We are appealling and I am putting together the statement. Although we haven't seen the admitting authorities case yet, I am thinking about what we might say to show that there would be no prejudice to the school.
DD is a child who the teachers say is a big positive contributor in the classroom, has lots of ideas, likes to listen and other children like working with her. I was wondering if I could argue that her admission would not be prejudicial, and that on the contrary, she would be an asset through her class contribution.
Does anyone have any experience of making this argument? would it be better to stick to arguments about space in classes, common areas, many appeals in previous years were successful etc?
Thank you very much - I'm really hoping someone can help
Don't argue that! A pupil is a pupil is a pupil - appeal panels can't sifferentiate on type of pupil and only admit naice middle class kids on appeal! You need to concentrate on why this school is the only one for your child because she plays hockey at county level an this is the only school that has hockey club for example. You disprove the school case for being overcrowded by seeing how many they over admitted in previous years and showing this didn't effect their results.
titchy is right - don't even go there!
To undermine the case that admitting your daughter will cause prejudice (harm) to the school, you have to explain that they do in fact have room for her. As you say this might mean discussing the fact that there are higher numbers in other year groups and they cope just fine.
The other side of the appeal you need to focus on is why this school is right for your DD. Again, you cannot say 'she is clever and must go to a good school' As far as the panel is concerned, all schools are equally able to deal with pupils of all abilities (except grammars of course) and if anything, a high ability child will do well anywhere.
Instead you need to look at specifics. What does this school offer that will meets your DD's needs or interests? You mention better sports facilities - is that important for your DD? Do they teach sports at this school that aren't taught at other schools and that your daughter already plays? How about clubs and curriculum opportunities - that type of thing.
Being with her friends again is something that doesn't normally influence appeals. It is accepted that many children are separated from friends at age 11, that this is normal and that schools support pupils in the transition.
If there is a special reason however why DD more than other 11 year olds musn't be separated (eg family bereavement, mental health concerns or needing peer support for other difficult reasons) then this can be included.
thank you titchy and tiggytape for your swift replies . DD is really into sports. I am trying to find out about specific sport opportunities at her preferred school - I have emailed the head of sports but he hasn't replied yet! I think both schools offer after school clubs in her favourite sports but the preferred school has a strong reputation, it had sports specialist status (I don't think the government does specialist status anymore), has an amazing sports hall and people say the sports is better although it's hard to quantify.
In terms of special reasons for staying with her friends, DD is a tomboy (wears only boys clothes since age 5, has never had a girl round to play, except for family friends) and so I think its really important she stays with her school friends (who are all boys) as she is accepted by them for who she is.
Is the other school an all girls' school then? If so then this may be a consideration. Otherwise, it might just be a case of them saying that she can still make new male friends wherever she goes even if they aren't the same male friends as she currently has
If the allocated school is an all girls' a letter perhaps from her current school / athletics coach or whoever saying that she only mixes well with boys and has only ever had male friends may help. if the allocated school is mixed you'd need evidence more along the lines that she only mixes with boys but has had trouble establishing a group of male friends who will accept her and therefore it would not be easy to make new male friends elsewhere.
Basically all children want to keep hold of their friends. It has to be more about need not about want
For sports - have you looked at the school website? Is there a clubs list? Do you knwo anyone already at the school you can ask? Does your current school have any links or know any details?
Neither is a girl's school. thanks for your suggestions. I will speak to people already at both schools to see if I can find out more about sports
You need to look at the admissions criteria and appeal on those grounds. But do remember that the move to secondary can open up new and exciting opportunities for children to make new friends and to take new challenges. A change is not always a bad thing
annie - I think you are thinking of Infant Class size appeals where parents must search for a mistake in the admissions process if they hope to win (any other grounds are rarely successful because 30 per class is set in law)
At secondary level (and after Year 2) this does not apply because 30 per class is not the law for those age groups.
Parents can appeal without any reference whatsoever to the admissions criteria after Year 2 if they want. They can win an appeal simply by proving the prejudice to their child being refused a place at the school is greater than the prejudice the school would suffer from being forced to admit that child.
In admissions terms prejudice means harm.
OP, do you not think there is a danger that e mailing the Head of Sports NOW suggests that your original application was not on the basis of badly wanting this school because of all the sports facilities and activities on offer and which you had researched as being exactly what your child needs?
Hopefully in a large school the P.E team are going to have very little direct contact with anything to do with admissions.
But if it comes to it, you can always say you'd heard by word of mouth what wonderful sports facilities they had but for appeal purposes you wanted it written down officially in order to submit in document form - which is basically true.
Rather to my surprise the sports teacher returned my call. Apparently the school has more PE teachers, and more specialists as well as generalists - apparently most schools have mostly generalist PE teachers. It has lots of links with county sport etc etc. I think tiggytape is right, although it has a good reputation, I wanted to get some facts for the appeal, so fine to email the school I think (hope!)
I was going to appeal for my daughter who didn't get our first choice - luckily a place has come up on waiting list, which is a huge relief. But I have a great book I bought on writing an appeal I'd be happy to send you if you like.
In a nutshell, it talks a lot about how you have to not only say why X school is what your child needs, but why taking an extra child wouldn't be harmful to the school - so look at things like the published admission number compared to the actual admissions (do they generally have more than they say they can), find out what the pupil: teacher ratio is and whether it's better than average - that kind of thing.
I'd be happy to send you the book if you'd like it, as it was a great help to me, I had my appeal almost all written!
Anybody who is appealing for a place at a secondary school, which is not a grammar school, has to understand the way the system works.
The admission authority will have admitted to the PAN and will then be saying that they cannot take any more pupils because the school is full to busting. That is usually not actually the case but under the admission regulations the admission authority has to show over an above having admitted to the PAN that they are full. That is why the admission authorities case will have things in like all the classrooms are too small and are overcrowded, that the corridors are narrow and the playing fields/ playground is to small.
The admission appeal panel has to decide in part 1 of the case a number of things. Firstly were the admission arrangements lawful, secondly were the admission arrangements carried out correctly, that is the right pupils were offered a place and thirdly whether in fact the panel think that all the pupils who are appealing could be admitted to the school without causing prejudice to the pupils already in the school. It is not about whether the school can admit one more pupil, i.e your child but all the appellants.
At secondary school level it is possible to win at part 1 by showing that the school really is not full but with an increasing number of appellants there is more likelyhood that the panel will find prejudice at the end of part 1. What you are trying to do is knock a few holes in the admission authorities case such that you minimise the prejudice to the school when it comes to part 2. That is where you need to present a strong case on why your child should be given a place. The panel will hear every case separately but then decide how many of the cases actually have more prejudice to not admit (that is they have a good case) than prejudice to the school. All those that meet this freshhold will then be admitted providing the panel thinks that the school can cope with this number. If they think that the school can only cope with a smaller number then they will compare all the cases and admit the more deserving cases. So you do need a strong case for admission and it must be on why the school appealed for is the school for your child, not why the other school is not right for your child.
Hello RosieAandO. Really sorry I didn't reply to you last week, got caught up with things at home. Thank you very much for your kind offer - I would love to get a copy of your book - what was it called? I could buy it myself if difficult to post to me.
I think lots of people (I am guessing 50) will be appealing to be admitted to the school this year which means that there will be 50 people looking up the figures about whether or not the school is overcrowded.
I am not sure whether it is worth spending lots of time trying to argue the case at part 1 as all the other parents will also be arguing that the school is not really full. I havent started looking at part 1 so far, just spent my time putting a case together to show that preferred school is more suitable for DD than the allocated school
Thanks Floggingmolly, Blu's post was about contacting the head of sports...or do you mean something else?
I spoke to the head of sports and he was very helpful. I don't think he is going to be involved in the appeal so not sure it matters that I contacted him
For what it is worth I don't think it matters. I would be very surprised if the school brought up the fact you have contacted the head of sports in the appeal. Even if they did, I would be surprised if the panel thought it was in any way relevant.
Do you know where your dc is on the waiting list for a place? With a bit of luck you may find that you don't have to appeal at all!
We are hoping that we get a place on the waiting list. I know there are always some people who don't take up their places for whatever reason but we have to work on the assumption that she wont. I understand the waiting list is rather long.
Hi, the book i've got is called 'Your School, Your Choice' and did give loads of very good advice. I'm more than happy to post it to you if you wanted to send me your address - otherwise, would definitely recommend it as a good read
Hi RosieAandO, I've got it! and yes I think it's pretty good. Thank you anyway
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