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Advice and tips regarding secondary school appeal hearing please.

(10 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

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).

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

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

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