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Appeal for granddaughter who lives less than half a mile from school.

(9 Posts)
Grandmagillybob Wed 29-Mar-17 15:38:22

I would be grateful for any help or advice anyone could offer. Basically my DGD has been refused a place at the Academy situated within 0.4 of a mile from home and allocated a place in a school miles away (and 2 buses). The reason for her not getting a place is that she was unable to get into a feeder school (we failed an appeal to get her into a feeder) and the school has filled up with children from the feeders (despite some of them living miles away). The school is an Academy and its admission criteria seems very unreasonable to me. Basically, Feeder ?, you're in, Sibling Link?, you're in, looked after child? , you're in.
Living on the doorstep? no chance.

Has anyone ever successfully challenged the admission criteria?

Many thanks for taking the time to read my post. i am a very desperate grandma, visiting from Gransnet. smile

TeenAndTween Wed 29-Mar-17 15:59:24

I'm not an admissions expert.
But
You don't really want to be trying to challenge the admission criteria at this stage. You need to be saying why this school is so good for your DGD that the prejudice to her of not attending is greater than the prejudice to the school for having to admit her.

So, apart from distance, what is so special about this school for the DGD?

Is she a talented musician and they have an orchestra (whereas offered school does not). Back it up with music certificates.
Does she have pastoral needs and the school e.g. offers social skills support whereas offered school does not.
Does she have ASD or anything which means that she needs a simple journey to school way more than other children. Back it up with a doctors note saying she is not capable of doing the offered journey.
That sort of thing.

Just in case, does the child live with you and not the parents? If so then the need to be 'part of the community' or whatever could help perhaps? Especially if the change was recent.

Was the allocated school on the list of preferences? If not, you do know you can appeal to the other schools too?

ZombieApocalips Wed 29-Mar-17 17:25:56

How long ago was the appeal to a feeder school? You can appeal once per academic year so if you haven't appealed this year then I'd try to get a spot at a feeder school after Easter.
This won't guarantee a place but she'll move up the waiting list because she'll be in the feeder school category rather than distance.

Is she on the waiting list at closer schools too?

PanelChair Wed 29-Mar-17 17:26:01

Yes, there's no point appealing on the grounds that, had the admissions criteria been different, the child would have got a place. Any number of people could make the same argument and - unless the admissions criteria are so demonstrably unreasonable they're indefensible - the appeal panel has to work with the criteria as they are.

From the little you say here, if sounds to me as if the admissions criteria are pretty standard (and consistent with the admissions code) so you'd do better to focus on why this school is the best match for the child - curriculum, pastoral support, whatever - and base the appeal around that.

ZombieApocalips Wed 29-Mar-17 17:29:47

Admission criteria are announced a year before they become applicable. That's the time to object to unreasonable criteria.

If your grand daughter has younger siblings then you might want to ask the school (if it's an academy) to consider splitting the feeder school category into feeder school and in catchment/feeder school and out of catchment. If there's no catchment area then they might want to define a distance say 3 miles.

PatriciaHolm Wed 29-Mar-17 17:33:09

Having feeder schools is entirely legal under the admissions code, as long as they are transparent and reasonable. Given you already appealed for a feeder, I'm assuming they were clearly laid out in the admissions policy.

Challenging admissions criteria won't do you any good at this point; the time to challenge them was pre-application, if you believed then they were genuinely unreasonable. If there is a glaring reason that they are biased, say the feeders are clearly chosen to exclude children from a local council estate, you might have a point, but that won't make the case why your GD in particular should have a place. The fact you live close to the school isn't relevant either.

How far is the allocated school? More than 3 miles and she could be eligible for free transport if it is the nearest school she is eligible for.

Any appeal needs to be based on showing the prejudice to her of not attending is greater than the prejudice to the school of admitting. This will come down to showing why this school can meet her needs specifically - in terms of subject offered, faculties, specialisms etc, as well as showing that the school won't suffer from taking an extra child into a full year.

swingofthings Wed 29-Mar-17 18:07:58

I was in the same situation. We moved with my partner and DS was given a place in a school on remedial measures 2 miles away rather than a place in the excelling school less than 1/2 mile away because they prioritised feeder schools and all those who would have gone to the school on remedial measures managed to get places in the feeder schools.

That means that DS ended up there when all the neighbours went to the local school. To make it worse, the local school had a breakfast and afterschool club which we needed because both my partner worked FT, so instead had to use the only scheme that did a drop off to his school which was miles away from my home in the other direction to our jobs, adding 20 minutes each way because of traffic.

Ironically, despite all this, I ended up very happy because as it is, the school got a new Headteacher who was fantastic and my DS did exceptionally well there, finishing with amazing SATs results and great friendships whilst my neighbour increasingly moaned about the local school and sure enough after three years, it went from an excellent ofsted report to being put on remedial measures with all the teachers leaving one after another...and ending up in the other school! It was actually quite funny to see a number of parents trying to get their kids transferred to DS school to be told that they would have to go on a waiting list! I did feel there was a justice but really, the whole system was just bonkers.

I hope it will turn out the same for your GD.

mummytime Wed 29-Mar-17 18:21:26

This is a secondary school?

I know of one school localish to me where exactly this can happen. It is a perfectly acceptable entry criteria. Could your DGD really not get a place at any of the feeder schools during the time after she moved to the area? (I am assuring this is not a religious school btw.)
The steps that can be taken are: a) make sure she is on the waiting list for this an any other schools her parents would prefer to the one offered.
b) they should definitely request that the LA provides transport if they applied to all schools closer than the one allocated.
c) they need to appeal, and search for evidence of what makes this school especially suitable for your DGD. so artistic talent, music, drama, sport or specialist facilities etc.

golfbuggy Wed 29-Mar-17 18:49:30

All the schools near us have feeder schools as a primary criteria (though they do also have catchment). The criteria are set like that as individual primaries foster strong links with particular secondaries so there is a sense of continuity.

why did your DGD not get into the feeder school (any of the feeder schools?) . Has she recently moved? Remember you can also appeal for other schools on her preference list.

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