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What is a HT is allowed to do help us at appeal?

(15 Posts)
ImASecretTwigletNibbler Wed 12-Mar-14 16:12:34

I asked our primary HT to write a letter of support for our secondary appeal - she said that she wasn't allowed to express an opinion that one secondary is better than another but said she was happy to write a letter to confirm that DD does have the issues that are relevant to our appeal.

Firstly, is this correct? I am SURE that I read somewhere that an HT from the child's current school is allowed to say why one secondary is better for the child and it's only the school being applied to that has to remain impartial.

Secondly, would a letter from the HT proving that DD has these issues be of any use at appeal, even if the letter doesn't actually state that our preferred school is best for her?

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 12-Mar-14 16:18:39

The primary headteacher can state facts and provide concrete evidence, e.g. test results, reports, anything from the child's file that might lend weight to the argument that school A is the only place where the child's educational needs can be met.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Wed 12-Mar-14 16:41:11

I think they can also specifically say "I think This Child needs to go to This School" though....?

tethersend Wed 12-Mar-14 16:47:51

I think you are correct, but hopefully someone who knows more than me can confirm this. A headteacher is an involved professional who should be familiar with a child's needs, so should be able to submit evidence that a particular school is suitable for that child. And yes, the evidence would need to clearly state why that particular school can meet the child's needs in a way that no other school can.

Having said that, I think each LEA sets out its own specific criteria, so do check with them.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Wed 12-Mar-14 16:55:54

Thanks, both of you. I will go back to Google and try and find what I read earlier...

Unappealing Wed 12-Mar-14 17:17:01

As a panellist I have seen letters of support from HT. Sometimes there are 6 appellants from one primary school and they all have identical letters!

I think you still need to address WHY your dd has to go up that particular school and think what value the Head can add in respect of that.

The position of the person writing the letter be they Head, MP or anyone else does not impress a panel if the contents don't add much to your argument.

Unappealing Wed 12-Mar-14 17:17:54

Sorry for typos iPhone!

prh47bridge Wed 12-Mar-14 17:28:30

The head cannot support appeals for her own school but there is nothing in the Appeals Code to prevent her supporting a secondary school appeal. There may be guidance from the LA or she may simply feel that she would be in a difficult position if she supported some appeals and not others. If she supported every appeal her views would carry no weight at all with the appeal panel.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Wed 12-Mar-14 18:18:09

Thanks, prh, I knew I was right! smile

Unappealing, I was thinking that our HT could prove that DD does have the issues that we think make it right for her to go to this school - to show that we aren't just making it up to get into the school! Although we already have a letter from DD's counsellor to say this so maybe one such letter is enough?

Unappealing Wed 12-Mar-14 19:12:29

More letters can be persuasive as long as they help to say exactly why your DD needs that school and that no other school will suffice.

I have seen loads of letters from hospitals for example stating that X has dodgy kidneys and needs the loo a lot; or Y has diabetes; or Z has had major surgery 5 years ago; but not saying WHY it is that particular school that can deal with their need.

Perhaps I am cynical but I sometimes think that parents just want a school because it is perceived as "better" and then think of reasons they can put on the form. You need to counteract that.

Appeals are not a second go at the admissions process, as some people seem to think, but a safety net to help those who really should have been given a place. You have to persuade the panel that you are one of those rare (in my area) cases.

I have seen some cases which looked hopeless on paper but the parent put up such a good argument that the appeal succeeded.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Wed 12-Mar-14 20:16:24

Thanks, Unappealing. Super helpful!

Icimoi Wed 12-Mar-14 23:57:58

I don't think any primary school head could or should say that a secondary school is better than others, and it wouldn't help with an appeal if she did. What she can do is to say that the child needs to go to a particular school, e.g. because of the distance, or because she needs to escape children who have bullied her, or something similar.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Thu 13-Mar-14 07:59:15

Sorry, yes, that's what I meant - not that this school is the best in the area (it isn't) but that it's the best one for DD. That's what I wanted our HT to write but she is saying she can't. Although you have now made me wonder whether the HT thinks I am asking to say that this is the best school!

prh47bridge Thu 13-Mar-14 09:24:27

Reading your OP again that could be the problem. There is nothing to stop her from saying that this school is the best in the area but, even if it was true, it would carry no weight at appeal (and is unlikely to endear her to the heads of other schools if they find out). What you want is for her to say that in her opinion this is the right school for your daughter, i.e. that this school is best placed to cope with your daughter's issues and that she would be disadvantaged if she doesn't go to this school.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Thu 13-Mar-14 09:52:31

Thank you so much, prh - sorry, you guys must be very busy at this time of year! I will talk to the Head later and clarify that this is all I want her to say.

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