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School offer withdrawn

(3 Posts)
Olsadang Mon 13-Mar-17 21:11:45

Please help! On March 1st my daughter was offered a place in a grammar school. On 10th March the offer was withdrawn despite them knowing on the 28th February that there was an error due to a computer fault.
We are 5th on the waiting list so may get reallocation but it is extremely stressful and I cannot tell her. She would be devastated.
I have applied for appeal and written a letter of complaint to both admissions authorities involved. One admission authority sent the applicants affected an email on 28th February explaining the issue. The other applicants were told on 2nd March. We were not told until 10th March by letter (slowest form). They asked the schools would they take extra but the schools said no. Can they be made to if it is the fault of admissions?

golfbuggy Tue 14-Mar-17 11:27:48

Bumping your post for you and hopefully one of the admissions experts will give you a "proper" answer.

But to clarify ... are you saying your daughter was incorrectly offered a place at grammar school due to administrative error (i.e. she shouldn't have been offered a place). And you were subsequently advised on the 10th March of the error (despite other affected applicants knowing sooner)?

Have you been offered an alternative place? And is this the place you would have been offered if no mistake had occurred? If so, I'm guessing that it would be hard to "force" the school to do anything, although I understand it's upsetting.

admission Tue 14-Mar-17 12:00:35

The first question is whether or not you accept that a mistake has been made and your daughter should not have been offered a place.
If you accept that your daughter should not have been offered a place then I think you have to be open with your daughter and tell her now. As time goes on it will become more and more difficult to tell her. I think you need to understand that there does not tend to be much movement on grammar school waiting lists, so assuming you will get in off the waiting list is not a good idea.
The legalities around the withdrawal of places is rather grey. There have been previous court cases that set legal precedents that suggested that if the place was withdrawn say within 3 days that this is acceptable as the pupil / parent has not really suffered maladministration or disadvantage but that the longer the time difference the more likely it is that the withdrawal would be considered unacceptable. These precedents do however refer to previous versions of the admissions guidance. The current guidance says in para 2.12 that an admission authority must not withdraw an offer unless it has been offered in error. There now seems to be more suggestion that all offers made in error will be withdrawn no matter how far after the offer it was.
From your post you seem to be caught to some extent in the worst of all worlds. The error was discovered on the 28th Feb, that is immediately before offer were sent out and some applicants told on this day, others told on the 2nd March but you not till the 10th March.
If you had been told on the 28th or the 2nd I would say that you would have no case at appeal to have the place reinstated. However for reasons I am not sure about you did not get told till the 10th. That is clearly more than the 3 day arbitrary cut off referred to above. In some respects that gives you a stronger case than any of the other pupils that were disadvantaged in this way, in that you had more time to get used to the idea of daughter going to the grammar school.
I am not sure who is the admission authority here, it is either the LA where the school is based or it is the school. Either way, accepting you have already said you are appealing, I would go back to them in writing and say that having now had time to reflect on the devastating letter that you understand that there are legal precedents that suggest that where the offer was not made till after the third day of receiving the offer, that the place should not be withdrawn. That whilst you accept that in most cases the offer was withdrawn immediately for reasons that you do not understand your offer was not withdrawn until 10 days later and therefore you ask for the decision to be reconsidered in the light of the legal precedents. The probability is that they will say no but you will have create a paper trail, showing that the school and LA knew that there was a difference in your particular case but did not differentiate it from others. That will be helpful when you get to appeal.

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