Appeal help please anyone?(120 Posts)
Are there any non grammars within a doable distance? Was the reason for refusal that there is deemed to be a suitable comprehensive / secondary option?
If there is a comp option within a distance that you can get to then you will be offered that. Wanting a grammar with a reasonable distance does not make good grounds for appeal if there are other suitable options.
Did you put down your nearest non selective option on your school application form as a high priority option?
I "resigned" from appeals stuff last year but couldn't ignore your post.
First of all, try to take a deep breath and be calm (easier said than done, I know).
Now ... You say the school is an academy converter. Is it in transition to academy status or does it already have that status? If the latter, it will be its own admissions authority and that will be where you need to address your appeal.
Does the school have a medical/social need in its admissions criteria? What published guidance is there (if any) about how successful 11+ candidates will be allocated between schools?
If there is a medical/social needs category, you need to find out from the admissions authority (presumably the school, but maybe the LEA if it's not an academy yet) whether you were considered under that category and, as much as you can, why your application was not accepted under that heading.
It sounds to me as if your application under medical/social need failed because the letter was not sufficiently clear about why only that school would work for your child. If so, you need to get more and better evidence to take to appeal about the danger to your child from a long journey. You need to present the opinion of health care professionals, not just your own view. Otherwise, arguments about ease of travel, costs of fares, impact on siblings etc generally carry no weight at school, so you need to make this all about what your child needs, corroborated by professional medical opinion. If there are other benefits to your child in attending this school - say, he plays the clarinet and this is the only school with an orchestra - mention them too.
Why did you put a school down that was 20+ miles away and you knew you couldn't get your DS to?
I think you do have some grounds for appeal and it is worth a try but the logical part of my brain tells me that the LA will say that your sons needs can be met at either the local huge comp or that he should travel (at your expense) if you want him to go further to the grammar where you have a place.
Dogs your son have a statement of special educational needs or a statement from a children's mental health specialist? If he doesn't then it is quite difficult to prove that his needs are severe enough to mean he is unable to travel to the school which you selected as a 2nd option.
Your sons needs being better met in a selective environment isn't likely to hold much weight in an appeal so you need to focus on his needs for a smaller environment and the travel difficulties.
Don't focus on the £1000 travel costs either as sadly that goes with the territory of sitting exams for schools 20 miles from home and isn't something the appeals panel will be bothered about. You could get help with travel costs if the school is deemed to be the nearest suitable school though.
Is he unable to manage his hypoglycaemic illness himself safely whilst travelling?
To clarify, your DS didn't get his first choice (Grammar 1) and has been offered his second choice (Grammar 2)?
You don't want any of the non-selective schools near(er) you.
In your circumstances, the best thing will be to accept Grammar 2 and go on the waiting list for Grammar 1 - have you already done this? Depending on how high your son is on the waiting list, he may get a place at Grammar 1 in the next few weeks, without needing to go to appeal.
In the mean time, you will have to gather all your evidence for an appeal and plan for that. But please look at the results of appeals and likelihood of winning for Grammar 1 - if the chances are low, you will have to prepare yourself for the alternatives.
If you cannot afford the transport for Grammar 2, please put yourself on waiting lists for nearer schools. As Tiggy says on another post, making yourself school-less by not accepting any school will not strengthen your case for the only school you want. Good luck.
Can you be clearer about why you didn't get a place in your first choice?
Setting aside the considerations about medical/social need, if your child got a very high score in the 11+ and you live so close to the school, I would have thought that either factor or both combined would have put you far enough up the ranked order of applicants to get a place. What do the admissions criteria actually say?
Hope this doesn't cross post as I started typing earlier:
1. Don't panic this is the start of the process not the end. A lot can happen between now and Sept. I know a positive outcome in March is what everyone wants but a lot of disappointed people do eventually get a school they are happy with.
2. Waiting lists. Check you are on it. You may be high up and offered a place over the summer. People go private and move house. Places do come up
3. Errors. You may not know yet if you have been incorrectly denied a place since you may not have the letter. You ideally need to find out which category you were placed in (siblings, catchment, distance, faith etc) and ask what the last distance offered to someone in that category. Check to see if you've accidentally been placed in a lower category (classed as non sibling when in fact sibling link applies for example) and then check to see if you agree roughly with the distance they have for you (some councils use shortest route and some use as the crow flies - you have to use the same as them).
If you have been denied a place in error (unlikely but possible) then you shouldn't even have to appeal and would get an offer. However some councils do still insist on going the appeal route where you would win unless the same error applies to dozens of people and they cannot accept them all.
4. Appeal. You can appeal and be on a waiting list and accept the school you've been offered all at the same time. None of those things negatively affect each other and it is advisable to accept the offered school unless you really will Home Ed in Sept without a place.
Appeals have deadlines so you need to get the form and fill it out before then. You can add more evidence later if Dr notes or other things take longer to get. Do not miss the deadline as it will affect your chances of winning an appeal if others win theirs before you are even heard.
Appeals at secondary school are a balancing act. The school will say they are full (which whey must be if they are turning people away) and you will say your child needs a place. The independent panel listen to both sides and the strongest side wins. So if you can prove the school has coped with bigger year groups in the past AND you have medical or other strong reasons for needing a place you do stand a good chance of success. A weaker case would be one where the school is full to the rafters and your only reason for wanting a place are transport issues or not liking the Ofsted report of the offered school.
The appeal is FOR the school you want not AGAINST the one allocated. Any points you make at appeal would ideally point out how the appeal school would benefit your child and meet their needs. You can mention that the allocated school won't but that isn't the main basis of your case.
I hope a quick rundown helps.
I can't say anything helpful but just wanted to say I really feel for you. The whole system stinks.
I can't offer anymore advice than PanelChair, who is an absolute expert in this so you are getting the best advice here. Just to say that my neighbour was in your position where the GP's letter didn't make it clear enough why a long trip wasn't OK. She had put medical/social needs down and was given a school that met those needs, and it is a really good school too but one that is two buses away. She took it to appeal and won using more medical evidence and more specific evidence that showed why his particular condition made a two bus commute highly difficult.
Just re read you post - and some other specific points:
- you need to look whether the 1st choice school has a medical category. Not all of them do especially not academies. If not then it isn't an error for them to ignore medical needs. You can however use these at appeal and get even more evidence about why a 20 mile journey would be unsafe.
Now that a long journey is confirmed, the GP should be able to write a much more specific letter. He may not have known 20 miles was ever a possibility for DS.
- Does the 1st choice school have pupil premium preference? Do they know DS has FSM? IF so this is a potential error that may have denied you a place.
- Did you apply to the school you have been offered? Was it one of your choices? If so, were you expecting support with the travel expenses or how was that decided?
Miele, I'm sorry this is so hard for you all. Have you looked on the eleven plus website? They seem to have a lot of knowledge about appeals for grammar schools.
I'm guessing that if you look at Grammar 1's admissions criteria, there will be info about waiting lists (whether you have to manually put yourself on the list or not). You may be getting a letter from them to inform you of your wait list position as we speak (our grammar school does not take any phone calls this week )
Why wouldn't OP's DS get free transport to the school 20miles away?
Because of his medical needs would he qualify to need a nurse to travel with him? What about when he's in class, are you sure both schools have trained staff on site who will be able to spot & deal with his emergencies?
Since the primary is 8 miles away from the grammar I think transport is a hassle no matter where he goes, he will need to travel to the grammar on his own regardless. And he'll need that nurse or other trained adult whichever he goes to.
Thank you for those kind words, NynaevesSister.
OP - thanks for the clarification on those other points. Apart from the issues around the journey, have you got any reason to believe that your first choice school would be better at dealing with your child's medical emergencies (nurse on site/nearer a hospital etc)? The appeal panel may start from the assumption that all secondary schools are used to supporting children with quite serious health problems - so you need to muster all the evidence you can about what makes this school uniquely suitable.
Good luck Miele - you at least have some grounds - mine are more circumstances that need turning into grounds. We are planning to HE if we cannot get our preferences until a place comes up. Can I hijack briefly to ask does that go against you (ie you turn down a school place rather than accept and appeal elsewhere)
I'm not sure if this helps or not but ds1 started year 7 last September. The school is an outstanding academy and we were told at the open evening that if you are closer to another school (one is really failing) then you will get into this amazing outstanding academy on appeal.
You just have to fight for it and list all the reasons why this school is the one for your child (no slagging off the school you did get a place in) what this school offers that is unique to your child.
Fortunately for us it was our nearest school (we made sure of it with a house move 5 years ago.)
Miele, just wanted to give you a hug. I wish I could help or say something to comfort you. Have a cry. It is really hard especially when you've had to be protective of your boy for all those reasons. It is a process so nothing will get sorted today I would say. For today I suppose be kind to yourself if you can, especially as you are ill. My dc's have been to lots of different schools and it's worked out in the end from looking utterly hopeless. I believe you will get there and to do so you need to be as well as you can be.
It's ok, you have some time. You don't need to do it all today. Please give yourself some breathing space
I can completely see why you feel he needs the smaller grammar. You have the makings of a good appeal, though. Better than most appeals.
Has he seen anyone re possible ASD? On any waiting lists?
Drink tea and make lists.
You can leave phone calls until tomorrow.
Letters of support from doctors and teachers will help hugely.
Any evidence of ASD will also help (any chance at all of scraping together cash for a private ed psych?)
Failing that, a description of things he finds difficult, that a place at the prefered school would ease, again make sure headteacher's letter confirms.
Reference to distances and family finances are okay as background but aren't your standout grounds (because lots of people could say the same)
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