Secondary school appeals(6 Posts)
I am helping one of my best friends to bring together her case to appeal to get into the school her DD wants. They have a very strong case - Administrative failure in application process plus medical reasons why this school would benefit the family enourmously in a way that no other could.
I am clear on how to present this information, but I am struggling to work out how to prove that admitting one extra child would not be detrimental to the rest of the pupils
What information do I need to gather, and how do i get hold of it?
If there is an administrative error that deprived her of a place she would have been offered had the application been handled properly, then you won't need to go into balance of prejudice.
Are you able to post what sort of mistake it was?
Does the school have a medical/social category as one of its admission criteria? What supporting documents from HCPs do they have (now, or submitted earlier) to show what the need is, and why only this school can meet it?
Can you tell us more about the administrative error and how it cost the child her place?
You need to ask for class numbers in recent years. What you are looking for us evidence that the school has exceeded its admission number in the past and has managed to live with the consequences. That then enables you to argue that there would be no great prejudice in admitting this child.
For the medical argument she needs 2 letters from qualified healthcare (e.g GP, paediatrician or other consultant, SALT or other therapeutic discipline within the health service) or other or social care (e.g social worker) saying what the chilld's needs are and why, in their opinion, it is the best school for the child. And how the child would be disadvantaged by not attendiong the school. Give examples from primary school, state whether the child was on School Action Plus or any other SENCO category, etc.
Was the admin error on behalf of the school, LA, or your friend?
P.S - that was the advice we were given, anyway, and which worked for us in terms of Social and Medical need at primary level.
You do not need to categorically prove that admitting one extra will do no harm, it is for the panel to make that decision based on the evidence submitted. That will always be a balance between the prejudice to the school and those current pupils in the school and the prejudice to the pupil in not being admitted to the school. Obviously if the school's case not to admit is weak then the panel could decide at part 1 of the appeal that they will admit more pupils or alternatively the panel may find that there is prejudice to the school but that it is at a low level. That is where a strong case on your behalf will overcome the prejudice to the school and lead to pupils being admitted on appeal.
To get the panel to agree with you that it would do no harm to admit you need, as others have stated, to hopefully be able to show that the school has operated with more pupils in other year groups without any issue. You could look at the results at GCSE and hope they show an upward trend, suggesting that the school is easily capable of taking more pupils. I would always ask about the number of teaching groups for english and maths as they will usually run with more teaching groups than suggested by the numbers - smaller groups with the less able - but actually showing that the addition of one further to a group can be accomplished without problems. None of those automatically mean that the panel will agree at stage 1 but what is doing is reducing the height of the barrier of prejudice to the school, meaning your strong case will find it easier to exceed the low prejudice barrier in place.
You will receive the full case for the school not admitting about a week before the appeal when you will be able to see what else is being said as reasons. Likely to be narrow corridors and increasing safety risks but they can be countered by suitable questions at the appeal hearing.
To be clear on the medical aspects, you need letters confirming the reasons for the particular school but it is the way that it is written that is all important. It has to say, having examined X I have come to the conclusion that.... and this is why school Y is most appropriate. It must not say Mrs X tells me that.... The latter will have no credence with the panel and will not be considered as it is not the consultants advice it is the mothers advice.
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