Secondary School Appeal Hearing - Advice please(16 Posts)
We are appealing a wait list decision on the grounds that my son is being bullied at his current school and is not feeling like he is part of a community (it is a faith based school and the kids of his faith are the one's doing the bullying).
The new school is also faith based, but has 100% of students in our faith and he wants desperately to have more friends who share his passion for religion.
There are other reasons as well. He is a singer and his current school has a very poor choir and the new school has a fantastic one. Again, he is looking for community that he cannot find where he currently is.
Any advice on what to say or supporting materials I can bring to enhance our case?
Thank you for your help!
He wants to find more friends who share his passion for religion? Seriously?
That was not a helpful comment.
Yes, my son is looking for community, not to be bullied. He only wanted a faith based school and would look consider others.
You need to argue for the benefits of the new school. As the current school is already a faith one that could be difficult. Music opportunities possibly. Is it selective and/or full? Why is he being bullied, is there any possibility it will recur elsewhere ?
Nothing about the old school is relevant in an appeal. It's only about the school you are applying for. Even if it wasn't, you shouldn't say anything negative about other schools as someone on the panel may gave a relationship with that school.
My statement was read out in my appeal hearing and then the admissions chap had his say. His side was about fire exits and square footage. How many TAs there were, that sort of thing.
The school can send a representative if they want but they didn't in ours.
Then I talked about why this school was the best school for my dd. Although that was already in my statement anyway.
The admissions chap and then the panel members asked me some questions and that was it.
I would focus on the bullying and wouldn't make it about his passion for religion or singing.
Kids are very cruel, and they tend to pick on people who are different. For the most minor and unacceptable reasons. It would be considered as slightly different to have a passion for religion at this age, maybe at any age and it could concern the school the same will happen again.
As such, I would leave it that he is being bullied due to his religion and being in the choir and it would be more healthy for him to move. I would also play up his positives, is he good academically? Studious, well behaved? What can he bring to the school that would make them want him?
someone on the panel may gave a relationship with that school.
Not really correct - the panel will be people who are independent of the school it is part of the code.
If you have any medical evidence bring that along to the appeal (or submit before dependant on the set up of the appeal)
I want to echo what pps have said.
The reasons for not wanting this school have no impact on wether this school should take your son.
Our appeal had the council person who was challenging the appeal, a school rep (who said nothing) and panel.
They went through what I had put in the papers, the council rep challenged it and I was allowed to counter what she said.
The reasons the school we were appealing for were discussed then. The panel then asked some other questions based in what we had said to get further information.
Fwiw I and my dd went to religious schools. However it wasn't a place to over share religion. While i had mass occasionally and had to take RE GCSE, there wasn't a huge difference.
Also plenty of people not of that faith attended. Ones of the faith weren't overly interested in the religion. They were that religion because that's what their parents said.
What I am saying goes is that he may not find people to share his religion with inside school. That's something he can pursue outside school and that's something you can help him with.
^someone on the panel may gave a relationship with that school.
Not really correct - the panel will be people who are independent of the school it is part of the code. ^
Ok, but I still don't think it's a good idea.
You're going to have to come up with better arguments I expect. How can you be certain that he would be part of the community in the other school? Did you apply for it first time round and didn't get in, or did you apply to the one he is in, but now believe the other would be better for him?
Is he currently part of the choir in his current school? How have you decided that it was poor? Do you have some objective reasons to put forward? Can you justify why he can't satisfy this need by being part of the church choir?
Thank you for all the helpful comments. To make a long story short, we were wait listed at this school last year and I didn't think we had any grounds for appeal at that time. We were able to find another faith based school that did have places and took it. That school has turned out to be problematic in a number of ways. So now, I feel that we have grounds for appeal, especially since we are going from faith based to faith based.
Yes, he is academically strong, yes he is in our church choir and a community choir. His current school also doesn't offer GCSEs in many subjects and he is miserable in some of his electives. The new school offers many more. There are so many reasons....
The range of subjects on offer is a strong one. You need to objectively consider what the proposed school offers that would be of benefit to your DS. I would say that going from one religious school to another is not necessarily a strong factor because there is no obvious improvement of what is on offer, religiously. I would definitely not say you want 100% of your religion - it sounds a bit "fanatical", exclusive and a bit intolerant of others. I am not trying to offend you, but be careful. Think about the education on offer and think carefully about what the school offers pastorally without complaining about his current school. I would also make sure you have information on the pan and the numbers of children in the school and the year you wish to join. If they have a pan of, say, 150 but already have 165, then you may well have problems, however good your case.
"I would also play up his positives, is he good academically? Studious, well behaved? What can he bring to the school that would make them want him?"
This is absolutely not relevant / permissible in an appeal.
Singing and the appealed school having a choir is. Cite the extra curricular and curriculum choir opportunities.
I think the increased curriculum is important to raise.
That school has turned out to be problematic in a number of ways. So now, I feel that we have grounds for appeal, especially since we are going from faith based to faith based.
It doesn't really work like that. As others have said, appeals are treated only on the basis of what is necessary / of benefit about the appeal school itself.
Having found other schools to be lacking isn't part of the appeal process and won't add merit to a case because the panel only ever focus on why reasons for appealing for one school not reasons for disliking another.
Your best bet is to concentrate on what the appeal school offers that is best for your son. So, in the case of bullying, it might be the new school has solid policies in place, good pastoral care, a buddy system and other things to reassure a child who has suffered bullying.
I think it would be a stretch to imply that a shared religious interest limits the possibility of bullying - bullying unfortunately happens in all types of school. You can however mention the faith element if it is something that is important to your son and not covered as well in other schools eg if the appeal school offers trips and has religious clubs and other extra provisions that your son would benefit from.
An interest in music is also grounds where the appeal school offers much more in the way of bands and orchestras and clubs to support a child with an interest in this area. The same applies to other clubs or unique subjects that the offer and GCSE options if the new school is better placed to meet his abilities and interests.
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