Secondary school appeal.(15 Posts)
I am seeking advice regarding my son loosing the chance to go to his preferred secondary school.
My son has suffered from social anxiety from infants school and he's extremely gifted in the area of maths.
He was bullied for a short time throughout infants and seemed unaware, until other child (his friends) bought this to our attention.
It was suggested we have our son assessed for Autism, by a teacher in infants. I opted against this, being a psychiatric nurse myself I felt the changes to his education this would bring would not outweigh the benefit. Furthermore he has a great social network which supports him and the school provided a social development mentor, throughout infants to current. It's very much before the borderline and as we know autism is a spectrum disorder.
My son has attended both the infants and currently primary school of the preferred school. The school is approximately 2 miles away from us and allows 180 places, our son was placed in a school also 2 miles away with 420 places.
However as the preferred school is oversubscribed its catchment area is basically a peanut on the map.
We are highly concerned about our sons ability to deal with the change of going to a different school, we believe he would manage. However it is and will cause him much anxiety and likely to affect his ability to focus at school. He recently started missing his meals at home stating he feels sick and appears much more tense. I am seeking a doctors appointment to get something more concrete.
Any advice would be great my partner is really stressed out by the whole thing.
An appeal will need to be based on proving that the detriment to your son in not attending the school is higher than the detriment to the school to admitting another student.
You are not appealing against the school you have been offered; you are appealing for the school you want. So you need to identify key things the school offers that make it the right place for your son to be; can you prove his abilities in maths for example and then demonstrate the strengths of this school with specific reference to them? Why is this school capable of supporting his maths ability specifically?
The anxiety issues are going to be hard to prove, given your son has no medical diagnosis. A letter from a GP or specialist being very clear about his issues and why the required school is the best place to meet his needs would be helpful, but an awful lot of parents will turn up to appeals saying their child is nervous about high school/wants to be with their friends etc, so it can't be given a lot of weight unless there is significant medical evidence that it is a serious issue. Something from the social development mentor would be useful too.
Sorry your son didn't get a place at his preferred school. It must be very stressful for you all.
Have a look at this website:
Although it is primarily an 11+ forum there is a lot of very good advice for all kinds of appeals, including over-subscription, given by parents who have been through the same and also people who have sat on appeal panels.
Be prepared to do a lot of reading and prep for your appeal. Will the Primary Headteacher & GP be prepared to write supporting statements?
Yea we have a very strong letter written from his learning mentor outlying his social development problems, low self-esteem and confidence.
Whilst you are concentrating on the appeal, have you also looked around the school you have been offered? Did they give you any indication as to how they deal with pastoral care and particularly anxiety etc?
I have found our secondary school very geared up to this (arranging teaching groups carefully, offering a counselling service etc). My ds sounds similar to yours, and the transition to secondary, while not entirely smooth, had been far more supported that I had even hoped for.
Does the letter explicitly state that in the mentor's professional opinion your child should go to preferred school because of reasons a b and c ?
Will his current friends attend the school you wish to appeal for? If so you can site peer support as a reason for wanting a place for him too. Generally friendship issues carry little weight at appeal but if a child has medical or other reasons for relying more heavily on their friendship group, this can be explained at the appeal.
Any point relating to emotional, social or medical needs ideally needs to be backed up with professional evidence stating not only that the need exists but also that the school you are appealing for is the best one to meet that need. Any disadvantage or problem your son would face from not being awarded a place there could also be explained in any letters you get to present at appeal.
As he is gifted in maths, does the preferred school offer something extra that the less preferred does not?
A maths club?
Chance to do further maths or stats at GCSE?
Sunnydayinmay - we attended the open day and have participated in various activities at the junior and infants school. The secondary school is next door, we've introduced ourselves to the head teacher and discussed our sons chances at the open day.
We don't currently have any information on how the secondary school deals with anxiety, so then maybe I should write a letter asking for information on this particularly? As there website is very scrambled with no perspective and only very very light information.
However they have an Ofsted report, although the doesn't mention much.
Teenandtween - no the letter doesn't specifically state they should attend this preferred school but rather that it is a great matter of concern going forward.
Tiggytape - so looks like we need to we need gather medical information and seek out if this is the best school, we feel that way as we've been really happy with the care so far. Also his academic ability is very very high, the school have commented on this and this needs nurturing especially in mathematics, he is a August baby so youngest in his class.
If he was in the year below he would be phenomenal... I don't know where he's comes from. We just don't want him to become overly distressed as he has started to.
No opportunity to do further maths which does disappoint we they don't offer philosophy either however they have done a great job with my child, just what you expect from a school.
However there are regular maths groups, that's a good argument.
getting desperate here, my son did not get into any of his preferred schools we have put him down on the waiting list, but have stupidly turned down the place offered, now we are very horrified at what we have just done- leaving him with no school for September and taking the burden of this off the LA. so now no one in admissions can tell me what to do for the best, do I apply as a late admission, keep ringing admissions and wait for the left over places to be freed up or do I start ringing the schools myself, at one of the schools he has two siblings would this strengthen my case with them if they have a place left, and would he get the jump on the other children waiting. what do I do for the best outcome here. we have put in an appeal at the other schools, coming from the angle of what the school has to offer our son academically, and the affect this will have on him if he doesn't get in, I know its not very strong but I have to give it my all.
Get on the waiting list for absolutely every school in the area that you would accept and can get to including ones you didn't originally apply to.
If you are in a very oversubscribed area be prepared to home educate will you wait.
Tell the school you turned down you made a mistake and can they instate your sons place. There is no harm in asking.
When you get offered a place accept it but remain on the waitijng list for all preferred schools.
Hopefully by September you will have something acceptable
Yes as mary said, you need to be very proactive. If the school is an academy ring the school. If the school is a community school, ring the council. If you're not sure ring both and ask how to be added to their list. Don't wait until the lists start moving because every place they offer out might be one that you could have had if you'd been on the list - do it first thing on Monday if you can.
If the school your other children attend gives priority to siblings (and if you meet the sibling criteria eg they all live in the same household etc) then this could place you higher up the waiting list than most other children so make sure they know you have siblings there.
I also agree with mary about seeing if you can get the original offer reinstated. Let the council know you didn't understand the implications and see what they say.
This happened to someone I know. She appealed for the schools she had applied for, didn't win. The Local Authority eventually reoffered the initial school again, and she accepted.
Try contacting the LA again?
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