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Secondary School appeal advice

(15 Posts)
kayskiuk Mon 07-Mar-16 14:32:07

My son was awarded his first choice Secondary school. I wanted him to go to his 3rd choice (A catholic school, (he is not Baptized)) as the reputation is great and the results speak for themselves but it is always oversubscribed. I was worried by putting it first it would mean he lost out and would be put in the school i did not list but am in the catchment for. So he got his first which is an average school, not the best in the borough but i was content with him going there.
Now i want to appeal and here is why - My son has no contact with his dad or the family, I was a young mother of 18 and back then when he was a baby i had a very bad controlling relationship with his dad, in the end i left, he was violent and abusive verbally and would harass for contact with my son but then would only speak to me about our relationship and make threats, so after one such incident which was violent while in a local park i had to call the police. The normal procedure followed, he was not allowed to contact me, come to my property etc (i'm trying to be as brief as possible, stay with me) but from then i did not feel safe so i cut contact if it meant i has to be involved, he took me to court for access which was fine and he was awarded supervised contact in a contact centre once a week for 2 hours. He kept this up as he should, not turning up only a couple of times and i was warned if he did as he should he would probably be granted more access not supervised, the next court date for a review he didn't show and that was that, 10 + years later i have not seen or spoke to him or his family and he has not tried to contact his son. Sad for my son but life happens. So his family were just as bad, threatening txts etc and they have also not had any contact with us for over 10 years. They live in the same town but as i work full time i have actually never even bumped into them (thank god) the whole situation was very traumatic for me and my family and my son is still quite affected by not having his dad and doesn't really know the ins and outs.
Now the school i have been allocated i have since found out some of those family members children go to it, meaning i would be coming face to face with them and the children and more importantly they would be coming face to face with my son, he would not know who they are but they would know him and the thought of them talking to him, mentioning things just anything without me being there petrifies me. Any advice on if this is grounds for an appeal? Would they take into account the personal circumstances around the situation and what might they be likely to ask me about this? Hopefully someone has some advice it would be greatly appreciated.

meditrina Mon 07-Mar-16 14:45:09

Firstly, you need to get him on to the waiting lists for any school which you would prefer to his currently allocated one (this might have been done automatically if they had been higher on your preference list, but win the have been as you were offered your first preference).

Secondly, can you find out if there are any other schools which have vacancies (even if they were not originally on your form). If so, that offers another potential solution. The LEA might be able to switch your allocation to another more acceptable school.

It is always worth appealing, but you need to be realistic about your chances of success. You are not appealing against your allocated school, but for the one you want. So whereas you would, in these circumstances, mention the reason for the unacceptability of your currently allocated school you will also need to show why the school you are appealing for is a particularly good fit for your DS. Generalised 'good results' aren't going to be specific enough. What else about the school (or schools) you would prefer makes it an especially good fit?

tiggytape Mon 07-Mar-16 14:49:17

Firstly - ask to go on the waiting list for the school you want.
You won't be automatically added as you have been allocated a school you said you liked more (you got your 1st Chou as far as the borough are concerned so they'll assume you're happy).
Waiting lists might move from next week on. If you want a chance of a place from it, you need to be added now.

Appeals are separate. The general principle of appeal is that you are appealing for one school not against another. In your case however, it depends on how you (and nay professionals involved in the problems you had) view the danger to your son or view the problems he might face. If a social worker or someone else could verify everything and say your son would be at risk of harm or considerable upset to his homelife then, yes, that could be used.
Ideally you want as much evidence for this as possible.

You also need to say why the appeal school is the one you want and why it would benefit your son to be able to attend and what it offers that meets his needs.

I am sure you already know that you made an incorrect assumption when you filled out the form. You needed to put the school you really liked first. If they had no place for you, it wouldn't have harmed your chances of getting into the school you've been offered. You don't' need to play it safe when filling out the form but, as you did not know that, you can tell the panel that's what happened.

Appeals and waiting lists are separate. Don't wait to start the appeal to get added to that list.

kayskiuk Mon 07-Mar-16 14:53:51

Well the fact it is a Mathematics and Technology specialist school really is a big plus, My son is very enthusiastic about maths, it is his favorite subject and he really does well in it, this pushes me to want him to continue to excel and i feel this school out of the other choices i may have would be the right one. It is very academic and quite strict and i feel he needs that to keep him on track as i know the older he gets the way he sees certain subjects may change. Also majority of my family Fathers Side are Catholics and although i have not yet gone that route with him of having him baptized it is something i have looked into for a number of years and that i intend to do in the near future.

kayskiuk Mon 07-Mar-16 14:59:45

Ok thanks, yes I contacted my local council and he said as i was not refused a place from this school i would not be added to the waiting list i would have to apply again with an admissions form, i have received this form now so will hand into the council and hopefully that will get me on the waiting list.
The only people i had involved in the events with the father were Cafcass at the time of the court hearing who just asked us both a couple of questions, i have never had any social workers involved with him, not sure where i would obtain evidence for it.

admission Mon 07-Mar-16 21:18:05

Your response from the Council worries me because they seem to be taking this as a request to be considered for a school place in the context of a new application. That is not the case, you have a legal right to be placed on any waiting list, no matter what decisions you made previously around preferences for places.
When you fill in the form, make sure that right across the top of it, you write this is a request to go on the waiting list for X school. I have accepted a place at Y school which I want to keep and have not rejected. That should make sure that nobody can misunderstand and leave you with no place.
Please make a copy of the form before you sen it back in, so that you have a copy if anything does go wrong.
In terms of getting a place, there are certainly places offered for situations like you describe. However they usually have a significant amount of evidence to back up the claims. From what you have said you do not appear to have any such evidence and as such your appeal is therefore weaker than it would be preferable.

kayskiuk Tue 08-Mar-16 10:32:08

Yes, i thought that regarding the application. I have been told to place only the name of the school i want to go on the waiting list for, but the form was the exact same as the first application with the closing date at 4th November 2015 etc. I am going to give them a call i think.
I think maybe i should take me appeal the route of why i want my son to attend this school of which i'm appealing for then and use as many facts about that school as i can.

Spindelina Tue 08-Mar-16 10:38:04

You say that you have been told to put only the school that you want to go on the waiting list for. But are there any other schools that would be better than the one you have been allocated? If so, put them down too (in your true order of preference, in case any of them have spaces).

kayskiuk Wed 09-Mar-16 14:09:13

The council have rejected my place at the school meaning i am now going down on the waiting list and the school he has been offered already is not affected.
My son's teacher called me this morning out of the blue and asked if i would like her to write a letter to help with my appeal, sort of a letter of support for him. Anyone know if this would help me at all?

Floggingmolly Wed 09-Mar-16 14:43:04

You wanted him to go to his 3rd choice... What was the rationale for putting it in third place, then??

kayskiuk Wed 09-Mar-16 15:07:40

The Rationale was the 2 i really wanted are always massively over subscribed and are hard to get into and there was one i am in catchment for that i really did not want him to go to, my 1st choice i was indifferent about but it was better than my catchment area school so i played it safe, as i've discussed in previous threads i realize now this was a mistake and should of just tried but i know of a couple of people who did what i should of and ended up with that catchment school and that was what i feared.

lalalonglegs Wed 09-Mar-16 15:20:14

It doesn't matter at what place you put the school you are likely to get your child into: the LA will give your child a place at your preferred school if your child meets the entry requirements/lives within the distance necessary for that year etc. So, even if you had put the school that your child has been offered at 6th place and put five other schools above that, if the other schools couldn't offer him a place, he still would have got a place at the local school regardless of it being your last choice. The advantage to doing things this way is that there would be a chance that your child would have got a place in your preferred schools in the first round of offers.

lalalonglegs Wed 09-Mar-16 15:22:05

Sorry, I got distracted and took a while to finish that post, I can see that I have cross-posted with OP.

kayskiuk Wed 09-Mar-16 15:37:57

I understand that, however there is nothing i can do about that now so i am not going to dwell on the fact, I am a single parent working Full time i don't chat to other parents as i don't get to pick him up from school any day so never see anyone else and this was something my mother hasn't dealt with for over 20 years when i was at school so i had little to go on and made an error in judgment on how they allocate places, as i've said though nothing i can do now.

kayskiuk Wed 09-Mar-16 15:39:35

Sorry, i did not see your message under that, same here got distracted.

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