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Secondary school appeal advise.

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PonderingButterfly Wed 01-Mar-17 23:58:12

Can I swear , its almost midnight and I want to shout " Fckng d*ckwads" to school admissions and vent and wake my kids and neighbors up. And it'll be totally worth it. I want to act like a juvenile right now.WHY?

For those of you who have children off to Secondary/high school in September, this week you'll receive confirmation of an offer. I happened to receive mine at 11:30 (who the fck does that), yes I'm a super sour lemon right now. I almost had a heart attack before bed.

Here I am ranting, I applied to 6 schools of course the first preference is the school I highly want my daughter to get into. Guess what, I get the very bottom of the pile . I wished now I didn't fill in all 6 preferences. That was my huge mistake, humungousaurus mistake. At least if I had 3 they will have to offer me one of the 3.I'm blubbering like a petulant child right now. I read google reviews on the school and almost jumped out the window. It is appealing..stabbings..lack of safety..the list goes on. Being a party pooper I had to break the news to my OH who is now fuming at work.

We had high hopes that my daughter will get into one of the top 3 not because we fall within the schools radar but we ticked all the boxes and are high in the can I say guaranteed place. Yes a priority, we tick all the boxes. I gave in the form on the day application began and also giving the following SIF to the relevant schools.

At least they were nice enough to say my daughter will be put on the waiting list. Not!

Now I don't know what to tell my daughter in the morning. We have been waiting anxiously for the results. What a great birthday gift this will be for her.

Mumnetters, what would you guys do and how do you think I should appeal. Shall I accept it, well obviously will have to otherwise she won't have a place. But then, hopefully even if its full , God willing not all applicants will accept.But if its our first preference ticking all the boxes and been shot down and given the bottom pile as an offer.Do we even have a chance?

I need a vice right now.But a hangover mum on a weekday is probably frowned upon. Maybe I should go for a run or just drop to the floor and throw a tantrum.

thunderbuddy Thu 02-Mar-17 00:02:23

Hi there,

There are two brilliant admission experts on Mumsnet who I have no doubt will be on shortly but I did not want to read and run.

Can I ask on what grounds you tick all the boxes and are priority, is it a faith school?

innkeeper Thu 02-Mar-17 00:05:24

If you had only put down three you would have just been randomly allocated a school

gabster33 Thu 02-Mar-17 00:05:28

They don't have to give you one of the 3 if you only put 3 - they can put you anywhere. Get on the waiting lists for all three schools- hopefully a place will come up. You can only appeal on why that school is better for your daughter not why the other is bad.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 02-Mar-17 00:13:04

Firstly you did the right thing in putting down all 6. If you had only put 3 then not only would you still not have met the criteria but you might not have been offered school 6 but a worse school further away.

Find out how the waiting lists operate. Get her on all the lists. Find out which category/ distance the last place offered was and your category/ distance. You might as well appeal to all five schools. Once you appeal to one you've only got sleep to lose in appealing to more!

It is a long and stressful few months but there is a lot of movement of places, each time a child goes private the place cascades down. Try to be upbeat for your dd about where she is going. Our dd knew we were appealing but didn't know when. Got a place end of May.

Good luck. Get some sleep.

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 02-Mar-17 00:14:59

Just to confirm, as others have said, you wouldn't have got one of the 3 if you'd only put 3. It also makes no difference if you apply on the first or last day as long as it's on time.

Yes you should accept the place, they don't have to offer you another.

Tomorrow check you are on the waiting lists for all the schools you would prefer. You can also go on the waiting list for any you didn't originally choose.

Then start preparing your appeal(s). Lots of experts on MN will help.

It's really hard, and I feel for you, but try to be as positive about the allocated school as possible to your daughter.

Good luck

PanelChair Thu 02-Mar-17 00:18:36

Previous posters have got it spot-on.

You won't get a place at any school on your list if you don't fulfil its admissions/oversubscription criteria, so it's not the case that if you'd only listed 3 schools you would have been given one of those.

Your appeal has to be about why the school in question is the best for your child and why the prejudice (ie disadvantage) to your child in not being given a place outweighs any prejudice to the school in having an additional pupil.

What made you think you were guaranteed a place at your top three preferences? Do you think a mistake has been made - have they overlooked something that would put you near the top of their oversubscription criteria? That in itself would be grounds for appeal (in fact the school/LEA ought to rectify a misrtke without making you go to appeal) but otherwise you have to identify something about the school that makes it best able to meet your child's needs.

As others have said, disliking the allocated school is not the basis for winning an appeal.

PonderingButterfly Thu 02-Mar-17 01:02:20

Maybe I over exaggerated about ticking all the boxes. And I have now calmed the F down.

The only criteria I do not fall into is 2, 4 and 6.

2. Because she is the eldest therefore no siblings at the school.
4. Unable to meet because there was no places available at the local/closest Catholic schools at the time of being granted an SGO for 3 children.Waiting list..still waiting.
6. Again being the eldest, no sibling at the high school.

Oversubscription Criteria
Places will be offered first in descending order as outlined below.
1. Catholic looked after Children and Catholic children who have been adopted (or made subject to child arrangements orders or special guardianship orders) immediately following having been looked
after.

2. Catholic children with a Certificate of Catholic Practice with a sibling
at the school at the time of admission.

3. 10% (30 places) will be available for Catholic children with a Certificate of Catholic Practice not attending a named school listed in Category 4

4. Catholic children with a Certificate of Catholic Practice attending the following Primary Schools at the
time of application:-
* Lists of Catholic Primary school here*

5. Other Catholic children with a Certificate of Catholic Practice

6. Other Catholic siblings (those unable to supply a Certificate of Catholic Practice).

7. Other Catholics.

8. Other looked after children and children who have been adopted (or made subject to child
arrangements orders or special guardianship orders) immediately following having been looked
after.

9. Any other applicants

AlexanderHamilton Thu 02-Mar-17 01:11:02

Can I get this clear, is your dd a previously looked after child & you now have a special guardianship order?

Did you supply evidence ascot that fact?

If so I think a huge mistake has been made.

PonderingButterfly Thu 02-Mar-17 01:26:13

Thank you, I know my daughter will be heartbroken but yes your right, i'll have to stay positive about the offered school otherwise she will just have a negative perspective about it. I know its nothing I can do but appeal, but it guts me if she gets really upset about it.

We have chosen the preferences not because it was highly recommended nor because we were impressed through visits but mostly because my family branches from various denominations of Christianity and for us it's part of beliefs is part of our culture, it's part of who we are. As church goers at the linked high school it's our utmost desire for her to attend a Catholic school where she can continue to further her understanding and growth of the word of God surrounded in a school where our beliefs are very much valued.

In regards to disliking the other schools. We chose each preferences keeping in mind what we saw, asked questions and heard during open evenings, reviews, talked with OH and daughter about the schools and oFsted reports. A school is a school and I'm grateful for education. I don't know if my appeal is strong enough. If my appeal is declined I guess there is no other choice but to stay in the waiting list.

PonderingButterfly Thu 02-Mar-17 01:31:41

AlexanderHamilton- Yes she is a looked after child. And have supplied supporting documents and letters to the admissions department of the borough and to the respected school where an SIF was required.

Even had somebody from the schools admission check documents and forms so that all was complete to avoid it being sent back and being delayed.

PanelChair Thu 02-Mar-17 01:51:22

In that case, it's beginning to sound as if something's gone seriously wrong.

Start by emailing your first choice school (I'm assuing it's its own admissions authority) to ask them to confirm whether they received your documentation about the SGO and whether they considered your application under criterion 1.

PonderingButterfly Thu 02-Mar-17 08:04:25

I'm going their in awhile after dropping kids off to see what they say.And yes they have their own admissions criteria.The only school in our preference that needed an extra form.

EduCated Thu 02-Mar-17 08:10:22

Agree it's starting to sound like a mistake - just to be clear, your daughter is a practicing Catholic who has been adopted/previously in the care system?

If so and she had been considered in the wrong category, I believe you have pretty solid, straightforward grounds for appeal. The admissions bods on here will know better.

tiggytape Thu 02-Mar-17 08:36:50

Sorry to hear you didn't get the offer you wanted OP. Going through your points one by one:

I wished now I didn't fill in all 6 preferences. That was my huge mistake, humungousaurus mistake. At least if I had 3 they will have to offer me one of the 3
It doesn't work like that. They believe you did not meet the criteria for top three so you cannot be offered any of them. Had you only listed 3 not 6, you still wouldn't have been offered any of your top 3. You would have been offered the nearest school with places still available after all other pupils were placed (so in all likelihood a school undersubscribed because it is less popular than others).

At least they were nice enough to say my daughter will be put on the waiting list. Not!
It is cold comfort to be on a list but the good news is that, in London, lists move fast. If you are near the top of any list, you could literally have a new school offer within a few weeks. So definitely stay on all lists.

Mumnetters, what would you guys do and how do you think I should appeal. Shall I accept it, well obviously will have to otherwise she won't have a place.
Accept the offer but definitely appeal too. You have nothing to lose by appealing and potentially a lot to gain.

But if its our first preference ticking all the boxes and been shot down and given the bottom pile as an offer.Do we even have a chance?
This is a pretty crucial bit. If you are definitely in the higher or highest admissions bracket and not been offered a place then something has gone wrong and potentially, an authority should deal with that by immediately offering you a place without even having to go to appeal. If your child is Catholic and was adopted from care or is your foster child or came into your home immediately after having been in local authority care then she is in bracket 1 and should have a place. If she meets that criteria and doesn't have an offer it is an error and you should be given a place. If the admission authority refused, you should win an appeal outright on that point alone.

The only thing I can think to explain it is the authority believe that your DD does not qualify for the top criteria in some away eg if she was not in local authority care immediately before she joined your family. Or if they do not see that she meets the faith criteria to be classed as a practicing Catholic.
The alternative explanation is that they lost your paperwork proving all this.
You really need to speak to someone in admissions and ask why a child in category 1 did not get a place and see what they say. Once you know that, you'll also be able to get more help here on what to do next and how to appeal if necessary.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 02-Mar-17 09:01:28

Good luck op. I hope it turns out to be a rectifiable error. Looked after children are in category 1 for a reason & deserve any advantage they can get due to generally having such a poor start in life.

SoupDragon Thu 02-Mar-17 09:02:34

At least they were nice enough to say my daughter will be put on the waiting list. Not!

I have already turned down my DD's place at her allocated school so one child has already got the place they wanted. Lots of children get in from the waiting list.

PanelChair Thu 02-Mar-17 09:12:10

To support your appeal, it will be helpful to have the school's information in writing so, after you've spoken to them today, email them to ask them to confirm your understanding of the conversation, i.e. "I asked ... and you said ..."

As I said before, if this is a clear cut mistake, it ought to be put right without going to appeal, but - for their own reasons - some schools and LEAs make everyone take such issues to the appeal panel.

PonderingButterfly Thu 02-Mar-17 09:38:41

I am super grateful for all the advice and inputs.I went their today and unfortunately all I got was you have to wait for the package from them and go from their on.So i'll just wait.I'll also email the school just so that I have it in writing.

My daughters biological mother passed away 6 years ago .And we're living in a different borough (maybe another reason why), they stayed here for awhile a month after their biological mothers death so their biological father can get himself sorted out.Unfortunately he never came back and social services advised us to take guardianship which we were over the moon with.Father never contested, I wasn't surprised.

We are a member of the catholic church and so as my daughter which the school is linked to but I don't think its highly plausible reason for an offer.

I haven't told my daughter yet I'm sure its going to be the talk at school with her friends which school they have been offered.

tiggytape Thu 02-Mar-17 09:46:40

If social services arranged the guardianship then I think you have a good case to say that she was under LA care at that time else they wouldn't have been able to give permission for you to take guardianship if she wasn't their responsibility at that time.

My feeling is that possibly this chain of events has been missed - that someone somewhere has decided that your DD was not in LA care immediately prior to coming to your home and therefore does not qualify for category 1.

That's the only explanation I can think of having read your response. I do think you should appeal this because it clearly your case isn't a family adoption (step parent adopting family child for example) or an overseas adoption of the kind that can be excluded sometimes because of the requirement for LA involvement.

tiggytape Thu 02-Mar-17 09:49:22

And please do update when you have their reasons for refusal. There are lots of people here who I'm sure would be very moved by your DD's situation, who know a lot about the different aspects of appeals and will want to help.

prh47bridge Thu 02-Mar-17 15:04:15

Not much advice at this stage. However...

I can confirm that you did not mess up by filling in all 6 preferences. They don't have to give you one of your preferences. They have to give you the highest preference that has a place available under their admission criteria. You didn't get a place at one of your first 3 preferences. Naming them as your only preferences would not have made any difference. You still wouldn't have been offered a place at any of them.

It doesn't matter how many of the criteria your daughter fits. What matters is which is the highest criteria. It sounds like she should be in category 1 as a Catholic former looked after child. If that is the case she should have got a place. So either the school did not class her as a former looked after child or they think she did not meet the requirements for being regarded as Catholic.

You need a clear answer as to why your daughter did not get a place. Under which category was she considered. Why was she not placed in any of the higher categories. Once you have those answers things will become clearer. If a mistake has been made they should, in theory, offer a place without an appeal but, as PanelChair says, they may make you go to appeal anyway. However, if it is a clear cut mistake it should be a relatively easy appeal to win.

TeenAndTween Thu 02-Mar-17 15:33:41

I'm going to disagree a little bit.

I don't read it that your daughter was ever Looked After. Daughter came to live with you straight after her mother's death and has stayed with you. Under LA advice you have taken out a SGO, but it doesn't read to me as if she was ever formally looked after. (Especially if e.g. you are her bio aunt).

Did you apply under category 1? i.e. Tick boxes and send proof of SGO and ex-Looked After status? In which case if they weren't accepting it as proof they should have told you before now. If you have proof of all this then it is a clear mistake in my opinion.

Which category did they say they considered you under?

prh47bridge Thu 02-Mar-17 16:08:42

Yes, that may well turn out to be the central question. Should she have been classed as a former looked after child. If not we have to look at category 3. Why did she miss out on that? And if she missed out on that correctly, e.g. due to distance, were any children admitted from category 5?

PonderingButterfly Thu 02-Mar-17 17:22:42

More details:
My DD was under social services all throughout her childhood.But we wanted something more concrete and stable for DD and her siblings and applied and was granted an SGO. However, the social services was from another borough where she previously lived. Is that a reason why she was not in the 1st category.

Yes, I have applied under category 1 and also the category where I had to get a confirmation form from priest to say that we attend said catholic church.

Again, thank you so much guys for all your inputs. I am going to type to the 'Clerk of the Governors' (Is that who I address it to) later tonight but I need more insight of the refusal if it is as fair as it is or is their something solid I can counter the decision with.

My DD asked about her school just now, told her, upset, but tried to make a light situation out of it. I haven't told her I'm appealing or is on waiting list as I don't want to get her hopes up.

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