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Advice and tips regarding secondary school appeal hearing please.

(17 Posts)
Lucyccfc Wed 18-May-16 09:47:33

We now have our dates for our school appeal. Appeal submission sent, summary written and questions to challenge the admission authority case - so as prepared as I will ever be.

Just wanted to see if anyone else has been through this and has any tips or helpful advice for the actually hearing.

The admission authority (stage 1) is a group one. There could be about 50 parents there, so not sure what to expect and also worried about not being able to getbthe chance to ask my questions. Anyone been to one of these before.

I am quite calm about it all, but would benefit from others experiences.

Many thanks

OP’s posts: |
t4gnut Wed 18-May-16 11:28:27

On what grounds are you appealing?

Secondary are slightly more forgiving than primary ICS, but you have to show the advantage to the child outweighs the disadvantage to the school.

PatriciaHolm Wed 18-May-16 13:35:30

As you are aware, if there are multiple appeals for the same school, the appeal will be held in 2 stages.

Stage one is to determine whether the school can take any more children. The admitting authority will explain why applications have been turned down, and how they believe the criteria have been applied correctly. They will also explain why the admission authority believes the school can take no more children - expect something around classroom sizes, dining room sizes, and other elements that might affect this. You and the panel will have a chance to ask questions here. Personal circumstances are not relevant here though. There is then likely to be a short adjournment whilst the panel decide whether prejudice has been proven.

The usual situation at this point is that prejudice is determined to exist, so stage two then progresses to determine whether there are cases in which the prejudice to the child is greater than the prejudice to the school. If prejudice is not proven, and there are only appeals for fewer than the number of additional children the school could take, then all children win their appeals at this stage. For multiple secondary school appeals, this is rare though. It's more likely that prejudice will be determined to exist, so the appeal progresses to stage 2.

Stage two is to decide who it should admit. This is where you get the chance to put your personal case forward (in private now, in front of just the panel and admitting authority). Now the panel has to weigh up the balance of prejudice caused to the school by admitting a child with your case for admittance. If there are more children appealing than the school could admit, the panel will have to compare cases and uphold those with the strongest cases. If at stage one it is clear that a certain number of children could be admitted without causing prejudice, the panel must admit at least that number.

Your case needs to address specifically why your child needs to attend this school; what does the school offer that your child needs?

Lucyccfc Wed 18-May-16 19:01:39

Thank you Ladies.

I am already aware of the different stages and their purpose.

I think I was asking more about what to actually expect in terms of how formal/informal it was? At stage 1, is a free-for-all in terms of questions, do, you put your hand up, how many questions can you ask etc. I don't even know how long this group session will last.

In terms of stage 2, I have already submitted the appeal in writing, with supporting evidence. I am not sure how much time we get, so I have prepared a summary of the main points of my appeal, as I would assume that they will have already read my written submission (is this correct?).

Will the panel argue against my case/ask questions etc?

Thank you (sorry, should have made myself clearer).

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Wed 18-May-16 19:29:39

The panel will have read your submission, yes, but you will also be asked to present your case verbally. Don't just read out your submission word for word, as I say they will have read It - tell it in your own words. You'll get the time you need, don't worry. The panel will then ask you questions, and the admission authority can do so too. The panel won't argue against you, they are neutral, but will ask questions to make sure they fully understand your case. They shouldn't be aggressive or overally formal, and they will be used to people being nervous etc. At the end, you will get a chance to sum up your case, as will the admissions authority. Then you all leave, and the decision is made; in my LEA an email is then sent with the decision yes or no often that day and a longer letter with an explanation of the decision will follow. In cases of group appeals decisions can take longer as the panel have to hear all appeals before making decisions.

In the first part, it'll be the same panel The Chair of the panel should make sure that everyone who wants to ask a question gets the chance to. but you don't have to ask anything at this stage. It;s the responsibility of the chair to keep things moving and relevant. Again, it shouldn't be too formal, putting your hand up to ask is fine, the Chair will keep things on track and relevant. Panel members also ask questions of the admissions authority at this stage.

However, if you believe there was maladministration or a mistake made (such as your address being measured incorrectly, for example) you need to raise it in part 1; Part 1 is about correct application of the admissions rules, part 2 specifically about why your child should be admitted. Maladministration may well affect more than one child or even all, if measurements were done incorrectly for example. and the panel will need to consider this,

Lucyccfc Wed 18-May-16 20:04:13

Patricia - you are a star.

Thank you so much for all the information. Exactly what I needed to know. xxx

OP’s posts: |
Arkwright Wed 18-May-16 21:54:57

There were over 90 lots of parents at our appeal. Everyone got their say the Clerk was very good at organising them. If you had a question you put your hand up. Ours was a waste of time not one appeal was allowed. We didn't get our letter for two weeks. From 1st March my life was on hold. Be prepared for how it takes over your life.

t4gnut Thu 19-May-16 08:35:19

I think there's an assumption among some parents that its like modern customer service - kick up enough fuss and they'll give you what you want. I know some local authorities try to manage realistic expectations as much as possible.

Truth is if the local authority has done their job properly their shouldn't be any appeals upheld.

PanelChair Thu 19-May-16 09:11:48

In a sense, you're right, t4.

There is s widespread view - often evident on MN threads - that the appeal runs along the lines of "but I really, really want my child to attend this school", "oh, alright then'. In reality, as Patricia has explained, the panel has to act within the terms of the admissions appeals code and evaluate whether the admissions authority has adhered to the admissions code. That's why parents have to identify what it is about the preferred school that makes it the best one for the child and the disadvantage to the child if they don't get a place.

Anyway, OP here is already aware of that.

Lucyccfc Thu 19-May-16 13:17:45

T4, I think you are right to an extent. A couple of the parents who are appealing have that attitude. One of them said to me 'roll on Monday, I will give them hell'.

Suffice to say, I shall be seated at the opposite side of the room and have lots of questions that I will put politely to the admission authority.

My individual case is all about why this school is the right place for my son and I am hoping to show (with evidence), that on the balance of probabilities that my sons detriment outweighs whatever degree of prejudice that may be established by the admission authority.

My appeal is based on medical and social needs and I am under no illusion that it is going to be easy to win the appeal. It's not a case of me stamping my feet and demanding a place - I hope to be far more professional than that and put my case based on his needs and the evidence I have gathered.

I am just doing my best as a Mum for my son and if we win the appeal, Imwill be delighted. If we don't we put it behind us and get on with life as we did before.

Appreciate everyone's advice on here - it's been very useful in knowing what I can expect next week. Thanks x

OP’s posts: |
trixxieloo Tue 22-May-18 18:29:51

Hi Lucyccfc

Really hope you won you appeal, hope you don't mind me, hijacking your thread but believe you and your respondents maybe able to help me.
we have our secondary school appeal in a few weeks and I am trying to prepare. Can I ask about questioning at the group stage 1 meeting, I obviously want to lower the schools prejudice case but should I reveal my questions here? the school is hearing 60 cases and yes I want to lower the schools prejudice case but I want to do that in relation to my child's appeal (sorry if it sounds selfish).

Can I wait for my one to one stage 2 meeting to ask my questions? will these be allowed at stage 2? I have already sent in all my evidence around medical needs but just wondering about the point of aiming to reduce the schools case.


admission Tue 22-May-18 21:23:49

It really depends what your questions are about. If it is about anything in the admission authorities case then it needs to be raised in part 1. If you believe for instance that the distance quoted to your address is incorrect, you will have stated that in your papers but you need to ask the question in part 1 of the panel whether it needs to be discussed in part 1 or in part 2. If it is a simple question about your actual distance the Chair of the Panel will say raise it in part 2 but if there are a number of people saying there is an issue over measurement then they may well want to establish facts in part 1 as to how things have been measured.
If there is anything that is amiss with the way that the places have been allocated then it is not just you as the person who raised it that potentially benefits but everybody who is appealing. It happens probably once a year in panels I sit on that an issue is raised that is a problem in the school's case but actually others get the places rather than the person who raised the issue.
So the reality is raise the issues in part 1 and accept that it will not be the answer to your prayers- a strong part 2 case is much more likely to get you a place on appeal

trixxieloo Wed 23-May-18 01:48:22

Thank you admission.
My question of more around trying to say the school can accept one more addition person. I'm trying to tip away that the schools case, ie they are not as tightly packed as the appeal paperwork sent to me ( schools prejudice caae) says.
They quote alsorts in the schools case, ie the majority of the classrooms don't easier the recommended 62 sq metre.

prh47bridge Wed 23-May-18 10:04:51

If stage 1 and stage 2 are separate hearings, any arguments that the school can accept more pupils need to be raised in stage 1. So your argument that they are able to accept one more pupil belongs in stage 1. Stage 2 should be purely about the reasons your child needs to attend this school.

trixxieloo Wed 23-May-18 20:49:03

Thank you

Thomas07 Sun 03-Jun-18 20:39:36

Hi, I’m appealing a middle school (in our area we have a 3 school system) first school year 1-4 middle school years 5 - 8 the high school year 9 onwards. I have 1 child in middle school and 2 at first school my middle child is due to start middle school in Sep and he was given a different school to his brother so I will have 3 schools to get too come Sep! I have been reading the posts and my appeal is 15th June I haven’t been told about stages so I’m assuming we are straight to stage 2 though I know there are 27 appeals for the school does that mean they have already decided that they can take more children?

prh47bridge Sun 03-Jun-18 22:23:22

No, it doesn't mean that at all. It means that you are having a single hearing covering both stages. The school will present their case to refuse admission in each of the 27 hearings and you will be able to question their representative. The appeal panel won't make any decisions until they have heard all the appeals.

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