Appeal on a technicality?(25 Posts)
DD2 has not been offered a place at our preferred school. We were technically a late application - although I applied in good time originally, we moved DD1 to a different secondary (our preferred choice for DD2) in January and so when I changed our preferences for DD2 I was told it would be treated as a late application unless I could email details as to why it should be considered exceptional - which I did.
I've been told that there are a number of children who have been offered places who were lower down in the over subscription criteria than us, but because we were late we were allocated (or not!) last.
Looking at the School Admissions Code, section 2.9 says " Admission Authorities must not refuse to admit a child solely because they have applied later than other applicants". Do you think I have a chance for appeal on this basis?
I have been told that she's 2nd on the waiting list so I'm optimistic that she might be offered a place anyway, but it just want to be prepared.
Just re-read that and it sounds like we moved DD1 to get DD2 into our preferred school - we didn't, she was subject to bullying which the school failed repeatedly to deal with effectively, and her grades had dropped to a level that she had been at 2 yrs previously. Since moving she's really blossomed and we therefore want Dd2 to go there too!
As waiting lists are in order of how you meet the criteria as you are now waiting for a 'sibling' place surely you will stand a better chance than anyone else?
Appeal anyway (I can't advise on the technicality issue) but I would have thought that is you are number 2 and have sibling status, your chances are as close to cast iron as possible! There is usually loads of movement on secondary lists, and the second round of offers will go out after all the acceptances and declinations are in.
I think the stipulation you quote us designed to prevent the order in which applications revived being a criterion. All those received by the deadline must be treated equally. It is permissible to treat applications before and after deadline differently, especially if there is a procedure for late applications to be treated as on-time in exceptional circumstances.
You need to look carefully about how they handled your late change to see if you were advised correctly about the change of preference being counted as 'new', how they assessed your reasons why it should exceptionally have been treated as on-time, and whether th decision was reasonable.
I think they would argue that they haven't refused to admit you solely because you applied late, but because by the time your application was considered, the school was full and there were no places available.
I think the part you have quoted probably refers to a situation where a school may have places but refuses to allow you one because you didn't apply at the correct time.
I don't think there is a technicality here. Otherwise there would be no such thing as a late application or a deadline for handing applications in by.
I'd imagine your best bet is to do what AuntieStella says and look into whether the decision to count you as a late application was reasonable, although that's probably still a long shot.
The clause in the Admissions Code you refer to is not for people who apply late to be treated as on time afterall. It is to make sure schools don't do first come first served and to make sure that people who miss entrance tests by moving late to an area can still be assessed for a school. Hence the use of the word solely amd the term "later than other candidates" as opposed to being a late applicant overall.
As AuntieStella says, they are allowed to effectively put late applications to the bottom of the pile but there should be a process that explains this eg some councils have a "late with good reason" date. That usually falls in December and is aimed at people who are new to the area for example.
By late January however very few if any councils will allow changes without the penalty of becoming a late applicant i.e. being dealt with last. This is usual procedure and is allowed but, as Stella says, I'd check you were correctly advised. Generally most councils would advise against deliberately making yourself a late applicant because it usually means not getting your school choices. If they told you you could be exempt from this then you need to find out when / if they decided not to make you exempt and why and if correct procedure was followed.
Does your LA have an admission rule about giving priority to those with exceptional social or medical circumstances?
I think that could be your gambit. Did you explain the issue with bullying at the application, do you have any professional reports that would support that? Is there still time to get such report from your GP, or an Educational Psychologist about the effects of bullying and the recommendation for both girls to go in a particular school? Remember that you need a reason, endorsed by a professional, for why this and only this particular school is suitable (i.e. one of your dds is already there made friends and ....).
Have you tried to appeal o
Ok thanks everyone for your help. I'm hoping that we'll get in via the waiting list, but otherwise I'll just try to appeal through the usual manner then (ie. the benefits of Dd2 going to that school, and the detriment of not going to the school that her sister and best friend go to (and conversely the distress of being offered a place at the school which we took her sister out of as it was letting her down) compared with the prejudice to the other students in the school.) thanks
Meant to say: "Have you tried to appeal on the ground of the rule for exceptional social or medical circumstances?"
Hismum4 the trouble is I haven't got any proof that she was bullied, no professional reports... Only a myriad of emails (mostly unanswered) to the school. When we thought her mental health was starting to be affected (eg she started to wash her hands compulsively) we pulled her out and sent her to this school.
That is still proof though i.e. you have a paper trail. The fact the school didn't act on it just shows more evidence of why you acted and the timing that was involved.
At number 2 on the list, you will hopefully get an offer without too many problems but it is worth appealing too if you want to as the two things are separate and it won't affect your list position.
You can get a letter even now, if you discuss it with your GP about washing hands obsessively. Check the list of people who are accepted as professionals...
The good thing about the rule of exceptional circumstances, is that it allows to make exceptions, even go above admission number if the school is full. All other appeals typically fail if the school is full...
HisMum4 Appeals at secondary age do not necessarily "fail ...if the school is full". I have known a lot of appeal succeed even when the school was full.
By definition, every appeal won will have been won despite a school being full. If a school wasn't full, there wouldn't be any need to appeal in the first place.
Lots of people win at appeals although it is true that more fail than succeed. There is reason to be hopeful and to view appealing as a legitimate course to follow alongside waiting lists.
I would also make very sure that they know that she is a sibling and that that is the criteria they should be judging your application against, for the waiting list.
In the gap between Oct and now - let alone between now and Sept - people move house, chose to go private, believe it or not some of the people who were offered your first choice will actually be hoping for other schools because they are nearer or single sex or faith or something, so may free up a place when they get a new offer - loads of movement between now and September.
I think you need to resolve exactly what has happened here about the late application and the only sensible way to do that is to appeal.
Most LAs have a deadline for applications which is the end of October and then most have some kind of fall back mechanism for situations like moving house or exceptional circumstances like this. However there is a final cut off date after which you will always be considered a late application.
The first question is whether or not the LA considered your application for the late application to be exceptional. You need to be able to prove that you did submit paperwork in time and the LA will then need to tell the panel exactly what they did. Normally around my area you would have been told whether the application for exceptional circumstances had been accepted and therefore counted as an on-time application. If the LA did not consider the application then that will be in your favour at appeal and the panel will have to consider whether the reasons appeared exceptional. If they do then they will decide that you should have been an on-time application and then decide whether you would in those circumstances have been offered a place.
Your description of what has happened is confusing because if you were considered a late application then you would have been further down the over subscription list than all those that were on time. It is not possible for you to have been further up the admission order criteria and not be offered a place against pupil who were further down the admission criteria order. I wonder whether who ever told you that is confused or is saying if you were counted as an on-time application you would have been further up the admission criteria order than some who have been offered a place.
The LA is only allowed to offer places based on the admission criteria order for on-time applications and then fill up with late applications again in admission order criteria. If they have offered based on anything to do with the date of the received application then that would be incorrect.
admission I took the OP to mean that there were places offered to children who would have been further down the admissions criteria if the OP's application had been dealt with as 'on time'. But since it was dealt with as late then those children were allocated first and by the time they allocated the OP's place the school was filled to PAN.
Presumably if that is the case and an appeal panel do decide that the application should have been considered on time, then it goes without saying that the OP would have been offered a place.
Yes Rafa that's right. Thanks Admissions for your comprehensive answer - my email regarding the exceptional circumstances was not responded to at all. Perhaps with hindsight I should have chased this up, but I didn't realise it would have such an impact. Can I email them now, and ask if it wasn't, why not?
Yes, no reason not to, though you need to make it very obvious to them that the email was sent by sending a screen dump of the email. It is a shame that they did not respond because the odds are that they will say they did not get the email.
We'll I've checked, I did receive an acknowledgement email, so I emailed to ask them whether our application was considered under the "exceptional circumstances" rule - and they replied and said no it wasn't. I then asked what situations were classed as exceptional, to be told that "Each case is judged individually but it would really be something exceptional such as an emergency house move or some other personal crisis that prevented the parent from making an application before the closing date."
So I think part of our appeal will be that it should have been considered as exceptional, along with the on-time applications.
If you specifically asked to be considered under the exceptional circumstances rule then they should have considered it. To have not considered it is incorrect process on their part. The emails confirming they did not consider it becomes a significant part of your appeal.
They should have considered and then informed you of the outcome of their considerations. The answer may well have been that we do not consider this exceptional reasons but the fact that they did not follow due process means that the appeal panel should consider this carefully. The appeal panel will want to know exactly what is then considered exceptional circumstances.
You need to check the LA admission booklets to see what they say about moving house. If they allow time after the official cut off date for people moving you need to see where that date stands in relation to your first request to be considered under the exceptional rule for a change of admission preferences. Although it is not the say it is as near as you are going to get and if the date of your first request was before the cutoff date that would significantly strengthen your argument that they should have at least considered the request not just ignored it. If it was after the second cutoff date then I can see the LAs reasoning behind not accepting the new preferences other than as a late application.
Thank you, Admission, I'll do some more research. Mumslife, I do hope so..!
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