Advanced search

Anyone else going through a Secondary School Appeal or can offer Tips??

(53 Posts)
bringbacksideburns Sun 02-Mar-14 13:20:49

My daughter got none of her three choices - we don't know anyone in this particular predicament, as most seem to get at least second or third choice. We do know people who have fought and won Appeals but i wondered if anyone else could use this thread for some much needed support?

We are in a Rock and a hard place - our choices were the excellent all girls school i went to, oversubscribed and in the catchment area,the excellent Catholic school a ten minute walk away and a good school some distance away but still in the area. We didn't put the Catholic one first as everyone told us we wouldn't get in as not Catholic so we reasoned we would have no trouble getting in the All girls one.
Usually most kids go to the local (poor) academy from her school but every year there are a handful who go to the all girls and the all boys my son attends. There are usually no problems and no appeals - last year four girls were all accepted - one, a friend's daughter, lives further away from us. The year before that a couple got in, again one further way than us. The absolute shock on seeing the email was horrible.
They have offered us the poor academy that we didn't even go to see. My husband went there for an Open evening when it was my son's turn - it is headed by the former Headteacher of a failing school and that was shut when the new one opened. He said all that was talked about was how many millions the Sports Dept had spent on it. They have the lowest pass rate in the county.

What is really motivating me is the way my daughter responded when we told her where she was offered - i have never seen her so upset, sobbing etc. Even the fact all her friends are going to the other school doesn't seem to cheer her up. Infact she says she hates the other school and it is full of Bullies. She is determined she will not go so that is why i am appealing for the girls school and the nearby Catholic one. I have friends who live some distance away who are catholic who got in but i can't and live on the doorstep, yet i can't get in the other one for being too far away yet it was fine for others last year - sod's law.

I have been copying and pasting like a madwoman to prepare and just read on the Mumsnet bit that you should focus on why the other school is suitable and not slag off the one you have been offered. I also know i need to do a lot of research on class sizes etc from last year.

Any other tips?

LIZS Sun 02-Mar-14 13:27:37

Sounds like both you and your dd need to calm down. She won't be alone in not getting her choice and needs to learn not to listen to hearsay. It is premature to talk of appeals . Could you only name 3 options including one that was a safe, acceptable option or did you leave the rest blank ? Go on the waiting list of those you prefer, revisit the academy (presumably the open evening was a few years ago now) and once the dust has settled from this round of offers/acceptances review.

bringbacksideburns Sun 02-Mar-14 13:40:29

She's not listening to hearsay? It's not premature - when you get the letter they tell you how long you have to appeal and they do it online now. Then you wait.

Yes, you can only name three where i live - she didn't get any of them and she's upset. It she wasn't i wouldn't appeal. No she was not alone in getting her choice - others got their third or second and are reasonably happy with that.

I didn't leave any blank and thought the first and third were safe. You are automatically put on the waiting list of schools you didn't get during this process.

At the end of the day i just want her to be happy. She isn't. She doesn't want to go to the school and if i'm brutally honest i wouldn't either but i'm trying to not show that to her and be positive.

prh47bridge Sun 02-Mar-14 14:08:43

Assuming there hasn't been a mistake you need to concentrate on why this is the right school for your daughter. You are right that you shouldn't be negative about the offered school. That can go down badly. Instead find as many positive points as you can to show that your daughter will be disadvantaged if she doesn't go to the appeal school. Look at anything this school offers your daughter that the offered school doesn't but keep well away from Ofsted reports and league table rankings.

In parallel it is worth taking a look at the academy. You may be pleasantly surprised.

bringbacksideburns Sun 02-Mar-14 14:16:15

Thanks - yes, i think you are right in keeping away from Ofsted and concentrating on maybe the different cirriculam and specialities.

ForeverProcrastinating Sun 02-Mar-14 14:45:40

I have sympathy BBS we are in the same boat, didn't get offered a place at any of our three choices just one at the catchment poor performing school. Like you am gathering ammunition for our appeal and trying to remain positive.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 02-Mar-14 14:52:54

The best thing is to find evidence to show that your preferred school have administered their admissions code incorrectly, or prove that it is the only school that can meet your daughter's educational needs.

I know a small number of people who have won appeals and this is what they did.

tiggytape Sun 02-Mar-14 16:01:55

Sorry to hear this. Last year was a really low birth rate year in many areas. A lot of people got into schools that they wouldn't get into in normal years. This year appears to be a more normal year. That said, you may find you are very near the top of the waiting list for the girls' school and will get an offer that way. Don't panic just yet but do prepare your appeal anyway.

As you say, you are appealing "for" one school not "against" another. So telling the panel that the allocated school is rubbish and full of bullies is not going to help. You need to focus on explaining why the school you are asking for meets your child's needs and interests. This might be a medical or social need or it might be to do with the clubs and GCSE subjects they offer. Your appeal should barely mention the allocated school in fact.

The other part of any appeal is addressing the school's objections to taking another pupil. If they are at PAN they are full. However, many schools regularly have more space if they've extended in recent years or have extra pupils in some year groups and cope just fine. Mentioning these points also helps. You may find out Year 8 and Year 10 have 6 more pupils that official numbers allow and all is fine. You are allowed to ask the admission authority for any info on this that might help your appeal.

Double check you are on all waiting lists too.

bringbacksideburns Sun 02-Mar-14 16:36:33

Thanks tt. They are at PAN. But i am trying to find out about recent years intake. Last year only six applications were declined. I have just emailed the Admissions/Appeals people but should i contact the school directly for that info?

It says that you are put on the waiting lists.

Forever - i wish you luck. It's quite stressful but i will feel better when i start to put everything together.

I suppose all i can focus on is the Single sex education angle unless i can juggle figures.

tiggytape Sun 02-Mar-14 16:48:58

It doesn't really matter how many applicants are declined.
The school will have a fixed number of places available for Year 7. It might be 150, 180 or 300... this is called its PAN

Once they have reached PAN, they stop offering places.
That might mean 6 people get rejected or it might mean 106 get rejected. All that is important is that the people who got places did so because they met the admissions criteria more than the people who didn't get places eg they have a sibling or live closer or be Catholic or whatever the admissions criteria asks for.

What you really want to know if how many children are in the current Year 7-11 now. You might find out that the school's PAN is 180 but there are 188 in Year 8 and 186 in Year 11. That will show that the school can cope with more pupils because they arr already doing so. That helps your case.
If it is an academy ask the school direct for this info
If it is a community school, ask the LA

crimsonwitch Sun 02-Mar-14 23:54:04

I'm in the same boat, this thread is really helpful. I'm putting together all my appeal info and sending it tomorrow.

RobotLover68 Mon 03-Mar-14 11:05:32

Firstly, I would phone up and find out where she is on the waiting list for choice 3 - there is a huge amount of movement with senior schools unlike primary schools and it may be that she will get a place without the need to go to appeal - good luck OP

crimsonwitch Mon 03-Mar-14 13:19:11

Who do you ring to find out where on the waiting list they are? I think I will do that too.

tiggytape Mon 03-Mar-14 13:35:50

You probably won't find out waiting list positions for a week or two. If the school is a community school you ask the LA. If the school is an academy, you ask them direct.

They won't know yet though who has accepted and who has declined their place and most don't release waiting list results for a while.

The best bet is to submit your appeal soon and make sure you ask to be added to the waiting lists if it isn't automatic (in many areas it is automatic but check this).

If you wait until waiting list positions are known or until they start to move, this could be Easter or beyond before you know your chances. You can submit a basic appeal outlining your main reasons for appealing and write "I will add more to my submission before the appeal date" or something along those lines.
That way you don't have to stress about writing an entire appeal now but you can still register that you've appealed and met the deadline to have it heard with all the others and not late. You can always retract it later if it isn't needed.

crimsonwitch Mon 03-Mar-14 16:38:01

Thank you very much for your advice. Here's a daffodil

tiggytape Mon 03-Mar-14 16:40:18

They're new I haven't seen those before - thank you smile

mamicar Mon 03-Mar-14 16:55:22

we went through appeals process last year and got ds a place smile

focus on why the school is good for your dd. if the school is growing in pupil numbers each year. research that and make it a positive thing that they can deal with an extra pupil because they are constantly growing year on year and still publishing great results. ds's school is the top school in wales. so we jus t bigged them up. dh researched building work they were planning to expand classrooms etc.

ds does has mild sn, DCD and APD so we also praised their sn department. explained in great detail why we thought the school would be the best option for him.

dont slag off other schools. I was also told not to take solicitor/ professional as it would then be treated as a case rather than two parents who wanted the best for their child.

I sobbed most of the way through the meeting tbh. its an emotional process. but we got there grin

crimsonwitch Mon 03-Mar-14 17:07:38

I'm feeling much more positive about my appeal now smile

Pippintea Mon 03-Mar-14 18:18:51

DC got third choice today! 1&2 oversubscribed. We are out of catchment area. Last year a lot of pupils got in but this year none. I am sure that more people have applied who live closer so I think it's just a fact that the school is full. We are 22/70 on the waiting list.
Do we really stand a chance if we appeal? The fact is, more people want to go there than there are places and people live closer. sad

tiggytape Mon 03-Mar-14 18:24:20

Pippintea - it depends on your reasons for appealing as to how good your chances are.
Being 22/70 on the waiting list doesn't add to or detract from an appeal. The 2 things aren't linked.
You aren't more likely to win an appeal if you are higher up the list. The person currently at number 70 on the list may win if they appeal for example and then they would get a place.

Yes lots of people want to go there and yes they live closer but you might have a particular reason for wanting or needing a place and the appeal panel might agree that this is a good enough reason to give you a place despite where you live.

bringbacksideburns Tue 04-Mar-14 10:56:24

You have been really helpful tiggytape - thanks!

JohFlow Tue 04-Mar-14 12:31:53

For anyone who is interested there is a similar thread in General Education entitled Appeals 2014 - Did you DS/DD not get any of their preferred schools? Some extra tips there. Hope its helpful. All sources/threads on this topic is good news in my book smile

Boothy2 Fri 07-Mar-14 13:38:46

We live in Kingston and are having the exact same problem. If my DD had applied for Coombe Girls School last year she would have got in with little if any trouble but this year the council decided to change the catchment area from safest walking route to an "as the crow flies" straight line measurement. This has now more than halved the catchment area and we are now on 49th on the waiting list. The number of out of borough children has now risen spectacularly, leaving in-borough children with no extra provision either in or out of borough. There are fifteen secondary schools in Kingston (five of which are private). Given that my daughter is a girl you can then discount the four boys schools, leaving six available to girls. Discount Tiffin because they only give places to robots tutored to within an inch of their lives. We are now out of the catchment area of Coombe Girls and Tolworth Girls school and Holy Cross is catholic (which we are not) AND we're out of their catchment area. So we're finally left with two options...the two worst performing schools in the borough. And just to rub salt in the wound Hollyfield (the one to which we've been assigned) refuses to allow my DD to go and visit before she (supposedly) starts in September. Not one of her friends is going there and she is distraught. How the council can say you have a choice is beyond me. Am planning to appeal Coombe Girls decision but the chances are slim at best.

Boothy2 Fri 07-Mar-14 13:47:58

One other thing - don't expect too much with regards to the PAN mentioned above. I phone Coombe Girls and was told (quite firmly) that they accept 210 places and they NEVER exceed this number.

tiggytape Fri 07-Mar-14 14:12:46

How the council can say you have a choice is beyond me. Am planning to appeal Coombe Girls decision but the chances are slim at best.

Nobody has a choice unfortunately. We all just get the chance to express a preference which, unless you happen to qualify for numerous schools by virtue of siblings, religions, distance or tests, doesn't lead to getting any of those preferences. It is a choice out of all the ones you qualify for not out of all the ones you like.

Coombe Girls are right - no school goes over PAN as a rule. They each offer all their places and then that's it, they're full.
However if you ask the question a different way i.e. "how many girls are there in each year group from Year 7 - Year 11?" - you may find some years do have more than 210 and this will help prove that they can cope with more than 210.
It would be a highly unusual situation for a school to never have a pupil leave and never have an appeal won (which leads to extra pupils in the year group) or never to take statemented children outside normal admission rounds (which also leads to extra puils in the year group). In most cases schools will have some year groups bigger than the official numbers even if they didn't initially admit more than PAN.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now