School appeal(5 Posts)
I need some advice about secondary school admission appeals, please. We didn't get any of our choices and am now facing the prospect of preparing for appeals. Our first choice school is very popular and has the best exam results. It is also our closest school by about .2 of a mile. It is the only secondary in our area that offers Mandarin at GCSE level and this is something that we would like our child to have the opportunity to study, especially as our child is half Chinese.
Our child does currently go to Chinese School to learn Cantonese which is what my husband speaks to our children. The written forms of Mandarin and Cantonese are the same/similar but verbally they are different. I think this does give us a bit more of a chance at having a successful appeal but I don't know if I should emphasise his attendance at the Chinese School, I would like more advice if anyone has any to give?
I am looking at overcrowding issues, PAN, class sizes etc. Also looking at the other subjects on offer at the school that my son is good at - trying to match him to what they offer. I have read that it isn't worth getting the primary school to write and say how 'wonderful' my child is academically as the appeal panel won't be able to take this kind of information into account. I am wondering if this is the case?
One of the other schools we applied for is one with a performing arts specialism which offers out of catchment applicants to take part in an assessment day in art, music, dance or acting. The results of which are then sent to the LEA and can help secure a place at the school, there are a limited number of places. Our child did a music assessment and took part in the other exercises that were part of the assessment/audition. Parents were not allowed to receive any details about how the children had performed. So I will be preparing for an appeal for this school too but it is far from our house and does not do Mandarin.
In terms of preparing the appeal is it better to include an in depth assessment of space, class sizes etc and how they could surely squeeze my child in or could I wait and use some of the information I have to challenge the school's case on the day of the appeal?
If anyone can give any advice I'd be grateful. Thank you.
I am sure one of the 3 people who always give really good advice will be along soon but I would say the fact that your child cannot access mandarin at the other schools would form a major part of the appeal.
I suspect it may be best not to mention attendance at the Chinese School as they may say well you can access it there.
I would definitely mention that she is half-Chinese and you'd like her to learn the grammar/written side of the language through school.
The argument around Mandarin is a good one. Personally I would mention the Chinese school as it shows your child's interests and abilities. However, it could be a disadvantage to mention it if your child could study Mandarin there in addition to Cantonese.
It is very much the case that the panel cannot take into account how wonderful your child is academically. Including that won't help your case and could annoy the panel. Keep well away from it.
I would not get into arguments about the capacity of the school when you submit your case. Concentrate on why this is the right school for your child. You must submit any documentary evidence you want to use before the hearing but you can bring up any arguments about capacity in stage 1 of the hearing.
Parents were not allowed to receive any details about how the children had performed
Raise that at appeal. It is a clear breach of the Admissions Code. Paragraph 1.32c states that admission authorities must "take all reasonable steps to inform parents of the outcome of selection tests" before the closing date for applications. This applies to all form of selection test including the aptitude tests you describe. Refusing to tell parents anything is clearly not "taking all reasonable steps" on any interpretation. It won't directly win your appeal in that you can't show that your child would have got a place if the school had complied with the Admissions Code, but it may make the appeal panel more inclined to give you the benefit of any doubt.
A friend of mine raised an appeal on the basis of the school teaching and offering a GCSE in Mandarin. He doesn't have any family tie to the language, but became very interested at a young age and attended a school every Saturdays for years. They didn't get a place and lost the appeal. They stated that as he had been learning the language at that school, he could continue to do so and therefore wasn't prejudiced against the learning. As for them being able to take it at GCSEs, they said that many pupils were not able to do GCSEs of choice, so not a reason to offer a place.
He was put on the waiting list and got offered a place there towards the end of Year 8 but in the end, he had settled well where he was, getting good results and he didn't want to move any longer. His parents agreed and he ended up with good GCSEs.
Thank you for your replies. I may put another message on once I have prepared the appeal.
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