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Quick question about written statement for secondary school appeal

(26 Posts)
ImASecretTwigletNibbler Mon 17-Mar-14 11:57:03

Will it hinder my chances of success if my written statement doesn't mention anything about me disagreeing that the school is full or will suffer prejudice etc? I ask because the appeals deadline is fast approaching and I'm not sure that I'll be able to get all the info I'll need on that in time... can I say something like "I do not believe the school will suffer prejudice by admitting my child and I will expand on my reasons for this at the hearing"? TIA.

prh47bridge Mon 17-Mar-14 12:41:59

You don't need to say anything about that in your written case. Concentrate on the reasons your child needs a place at this school. You deal with the prejudice to the school by asking appropriate questions of the school's representative in the hearing.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Mon 17-Mar-14 12:46:30

Great, that gives me some more breathing space then smile Thank you.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Mon 17-Mar-14 13:59:37

A further thought - but if I don't mention it in my written statement then would anything new I mention at the hearing when questioning the school rep count as new evidence? (eg. copies of floor plans for building extension work at the school or proof that their exam results haven't suffered). In which case am I right in thinking that the panel aren't obliged to take it into account?

prh47bridge Mon 17-Mar-14 15:55:08

If you put forward new evidence in the hearing the worst that will happen is that the hearing will be adjourned to allow the panel and the school's representative to absorb it. They cannot simply ignore it. And in general they will only adjourn if it is significant new information that will take some time to read. If you want to put forward documentary evidence it is safest to do so prior to the hearing. But you don't have to mention it in your written statement at all.

Note that you are completely free to put forward new arguments in the hearing. The panel will not adjourn for that. An adjournment is only possible if you supply new evidence (which generally means documents).

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Mon 17-Mar-14 16:49:15

Aha, I think I had probably been probably been muddling arguments with evidence. Thanks, that's all very helpful.

Obviously the ideal is to submit everything at the same time but if I can't get the documents I need before the deadline then I presume I can submit them after I've lodged the appeal but before the hearing?

<nominates prh for a knighthood>

prh47bridge Mon 17-Mar-14 17:09:05

You can.

prh47bridge Mon 17-Mar-14 17:09:38

And thanks! smile

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Tue 18-Mar-14 12:57:03

Can a written statement be TOO long? Rather than just listing the outline I'm putting every single thing about our case down, as I don't want to forget anything at the hearing - but it's running to 3 pages of A4 so far! (typed, not handwritten). Is that ok, or will the panel find it tiresome to read that much?!

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 13:35:03

The appeal panel have to read every single case. They will be hearing all the appeals for this school. So they won't thank you if your written case is too long. Parents submitting long cases also tend to ramble a bit, making it harder for the panel to see the essential points in the case. I don't think 3 pages is disastrously long but it won't do any harm to cut it down a bit.

For the hearing itself I never work from the written case. I will have my own notes that I will use when presenting the case. If you do that you don't need to put every single point in the written case.

Another alternative is to make the written case just a list of bullet points and fill them out in the hearing.

Whatever you do, remember that the panel will read your written case before the hearing. There is no point simply reading it to them.

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 13:35:34

Sorry - when I say, "fill them out" I mean "fill in the detail"

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Tue 18-Mar-14 13:44:20

Hmmm... my concern is that I'm going to forget something vital, or explain it wrongly when asked a question. Will it go against me if I read a pre-written answer when asked a question? Some things I know I will be asked and I'd rather read out than rely on memory to explain it properly.

I have done a summary at the end of each section, so hopefully nice and easy to see the main points but I will try and trim it a bit.

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 17:19:43

I doubt that you will have pre-written answers for all the questions. There is no way of knowing what the school's representative or the panel members will ask you. But it won't go against you if you have a pre-written answer provided it actually answers the question as asked.

I am unclear as to why you think everything must be in your written case. There is nothing to stop you taking your 3 pages of A4 as notes to help you but submitting a much shorter written case to the panel.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Tue 18-Mar-14 17:35:33

Oh no, I certainly wouldn't have answers for all the questions! There are just a few bits that I know will need explaining and I'd rather read those out rather than relying on me stumbling my way along and forgetting something important.

I don't think everything needs to be in the written case, I just get nervous about speaking and wondered whether it would cut down on some questions if wrote everything down initially. For example (and this is nothing to do with the real case) if I wrote "DD has been bullied", I would obviously be asked more questions about that. But I wrote "DD was bullied from X date, this was witnessed ny X person, this was the outcome" etc., it might cut down on some questions as it provided more info. Or if it were relevant, I could answer "I'll direct the panel to my written statement..." and then read that bit out.

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 18:25:04

Ok, I see what you are trying to achieve.

I wouldn't read out part of the statement in response to a question. They have already read that. If they are asking presumably they want more. But yes, more information in the statement may reduce questions. The risk is that it will confuse.

You could, of course, PM me your statement if you want an opinion.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Tue 18-Mar-14 19:05:30

You could, of course, PM me your statement if you want an opinion.

Oh goodness, that's really kind of you - are you sure?! Before I do, I guess I ought to check that you aren't in the same area as me, on the teeny tiny chance that you'd be on my panel smile I'm in the Essex/Suffolk area... nowhere near you, is it?!

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 19:38:38

I don't serve on appeal panels. If you find me at an appeal it will be helping parents. But no, I am nowhere near you.

prh47bridge Thu 20-Mar-14 00:24:08

Since I haven't heard anything yet I just wanted to say that of course I'm sure. I am always happy to help parents on Mumsnet in any way I can.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Thu 20-Mar-14 07:26:14

You're a star, thank you thanks wine I finalised it last night and will PM you later today.

PanelChair Thu 20-Mar-14 07:46:49

As ever, I agree with prh47bridge.

In particular, I would advise against saying "I refer the panel back to my written statement" and then reading out something they have already read carefully. It will be tedious and it is more appropriate to a court of law than an appeal panel.

As is often mentioned on these threads, you want to make a positive impression on the panel because if, at the conclusion of their deliberations, the arguments are finely balanced, you want them to give the benefit of any doubt to you.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Thu 20-Mar-14 08:37:53

Thanks, PanelChair, I will definitely take that advice onboard. I suppose as long as I have put all the relavant points down in my written statement then I don't need to worry about forgetting to say something and can just concentrate on answering questions honestly and not fret about what I should be saying.

Doonuts Wed 20-May-15 06:48:29

Were you successful?

LucasNorthsTwiglets Wed 20-May-15 12:18:52

OP here - yes, we won smile

Doonuts Wed 20-May-15 17:04:20

Fantastic!!! I'm going through it now, it's consumed my life! Just looking for some positive stories grin

LucasNorthsTwiglets Wed 20-May-15 18:20:50

I do feel for you- I remember how all-consuming it was. You just can't think of anything else, can you? I'm still angry about some aspects of the hearing, a whole year ago! Thankfully it all worked out. Lots of luck to you - let us know how you get on!

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