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Distance criteria and "open school gates"

(39 Posts)
Shattered04 Tue 13-Mar-18 13:43:47

We missed out by a tiny distance on our first choice school. The criteria is described as follows:

"Distances are calculated in a straight line from the address you provide to the nearest school gate."

Is there any room for error with this method? Will the LA show me which gate they used?

"address" also seems vague - is it the centre of our house, or the centre of our plot of land, or the closest point of our plot of land, or the middle of the part on the road, or, or.. confused

I'm fairly sure I'm not going to find anything by going down this route, but I don't want to leave any stone unturned just in case for my own peace of mind. We have plenty of (hopefully) good evidence for an appeal as mentioned on other threads.

ReinettePompadour Tue 13-Mar-18 13:49:52

My LEA uses your actual front door (not a porch door, the main original front door of the building) to the main school pedestrian entrance/gate which is usually considered to be the front where the main office is located.

The information is on their website but its usually in with loads of other stuff so will take some reading unless they have included it in the FAQ bit.

prh47bridge Tue 13-Mar-18 13:52:33

If they identify your house and the nearest school gate correctly the distance will be correct. They could get the wrong house or the wrong gate.

They should be more precise about where on your property they measure from. If you missed out by a few metres it might be worth pursuing this but if it was more than that I would forget it and concentrate on your other points.

Shattered04 Tue 13-Mar-18 14:21:43

There's a couple of gates on the school property so I think it could be worth looking into. The distance is 64m, so it's reasonably high given the small distances concerned, but I guess you never know.

I'm assuming "open school gate" would mean pedestrian access. Because we save over 64m by looking at the vehicle gate.. then again, if they don't actually specify?

However, then everyone else roughly in our area would be moved slightly closer in proportionally too - although obviously not in all directions.

Talk about splitting hairs!

Shattered04 Tue 13-Mar-18 14:26:04

Hmm, I've just realised it's not even "open" school gate, that's me misreading. I'm definitely going to ask them which gate they used.

admission Tue 13-Mar-18 21:43:28

They will probably say the school gate to reach the main entrance but of course that will probably not be the one that pupils use to access the school.
It is worth following up but as another poster has said, it means lots of people could have the wrong distances. If the panel accept your argument then they would have to adjourn until all the distances are recalculated which may work in your favour or against your favour.
Normally where this can lead to successful appeals it is where the distance is measured by shortest walking route not straight line distance because there is far more potential for there to be mistakes made.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 11:07:39

Wow, they'd really recalculate everything and potentially withdraw offers? Or would it just mean if through some miracle it did work out in our favour that she would be admitted?

Apparently they define their "gate" term elsewhere on their site, and they sent me a link. It is this:

"We use straight line distance for admission purposes. This is the distance from your child’s Normal Home Address, as set out by Ordnance Survey, to the nearest open school gate available for pupils to use. We use a computerised system to measure straight line distance.

The point we measure to at your child’s address is determined by the Ordnance Survey Address Base which is an Ordnance Survey data product that provides a National Grid coordinate and a unique reference for each postal address in Great Britain that is on the Royal Mail’s Post Office Address File."

However, despite me asking, they didn't tell me which gate they would have used. I'm trying to decide whether to be "that parent" and ask again, or just accept the chances of success down this particular route are close to zero!

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 11:14:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 11:20:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 11:38:53

Thank you tiggy - that's all food for thought. I have to see if I can find out if any pupils, whether in a car or not, are permitted to use that gate. I did some measurements using various mapping tools to our house, and the difference comes out with us 0.05 miles closer. We missed out on a space by 0.04 miles. The pedestrian gate measurement also corresponded exactly with the measurement given by the LA. So you can see why I'm interested in this!

Alas, we do not have a mansion in acres of land, it's a bog standard house in suburbia. Probably not many metres to play with there, unless they took it from the back of the plot of land versus the front which clearly they don't!

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 11:48:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 11:59:19

It's definitely a tricky one. Obviously there is no way for me to know if there are many people who might be affected by this as I don't know who applied (in my general direction, given it is that particular gate - am I right in thinking this?) slightly further out. I'd hope, given the distance is about 70m or so, not many. And the chances of them appealing lower again.

I may go draw some circles and lines and have a think.

It's simply because they say "open gate available to pupils" and there is a second gate that could possibly be used that I'm thinking there might be some wriggle room.

If there were disabled spaces behind that gate that were available for sixth form drivers with mobility issues, would that count as "pupils"? It's really pedantic, but..

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 12:00:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 12:07:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 13:10:33

I suspect you are right, and that the school would argue (probably convincingly) that the other gate should not be used. I do need to find out the status of it. Which makes it all quite moot!

I drew some circles, it really is a very thin band (unsurprisingly!) that we fall right in the middle of. We live in a relatively rural area, so there are only a couple of places with housing outside of catchment that the band falls through.

From zooming right in, I'd estimate there were approximately 150 households that fall into that area including ours. Of those, based on my local knowledge of the area and a few other factors (including proximity to bus stops, standard and culture of local primaries) there's probably only about 50 households who would even consider it. Of those, there would need to be a child of the correct age who has applied. At our school, three pupils including DD applied and qualified, so roughly 10% and that's under the optimum conditions. It's a similar number for a school slightly closer in too, in similar circumstances.

I could be missing something really significant here, in which case I apologise! But it does feel like it is quite likely we would perhaps be the only ones affected.

I can PM you a link to the map I made if needs be!

I have to say I don't particularly like this particular way, as if through some small chance it was successful, it feels kind of underhand. But at the same time, DD is the first child from her school to qualify yet not get in - she worked so hard to qualify, the school is so suited to her and we had no reason until recently to think she wouldn't get it so long as she qualified. So I feel like I have to try everything.

Do some appeals often come down to things of this nature, out of interest?

prh47bridge Wed 14-Mar-18 14:08:48

If they have measured from the wrong gate it is not underhand at all. And yes, appeals do sometimes come down to things of this nature. I remember a case, for example, where measurements at a primary school had been taken to a gate that infants were not allowed to use, allowing people to argue that this was unreasonable.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 14:47:01

Thank you! I've asked them to clarify which gate was used for my measurement, and if it is the main gate as I suspect, I'll dig a bit more into the vehicle gate. Most likely it's not for use by pupils, unless one could argue (and this is the part that feels nitpicky) that blue badge holding sixth form pupils with a car could use it, and they count as pupils..

Fortunately there's no way we are basing our appeal on it, we do have plenty of other hopefully strong reasons, but it's the whole no stone left unturned thing!

In an ideal world we'll get a waiting list position next month anyway and this will all be moot (please!!!!)

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 14:54:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 14:59:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 15:34:24

Thank you!

Yep, definitely not high density. There's almost certainly no blocks of flats and most of the line passes through fields or parks. Our road (ironically) has probably one of the bigger concentration of likely properties and I am 99.9% sure we are the only ones.

Out of interest, if the stars aligned (i.e. some pupils can use the gate, and it was not the gate we were measured from and we do indeed scrape in) I'm assuming we would still need to wait until appeal to use it and nothing would be sorted sooner? Given people have to debate the nature of the wording as regards gates.

Would this be brought up at the first stage or the second stage?

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 16:06:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Wed 14-Mar-18 16:09:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Wed 14-Mar-18 17:23:10

Thank you, that is all very helpful and pretty much what I suspected. It is a bit of a gamble (assuming it looks like it is possibly worth pursuing) but at the same time I really don't think there will be many, if any.

I've asked the LA again to tell me which gate they used.. I will update!

admission Fri 16-Mar-18 18:54:40

I think the other relevant point here is that whilst this other gate may be accessed by a few pupils, the LA / school will argue that the gate which they have measured to is the gate through which year 7 pupils are supposed to enter the school.
However until they answer the questions posed you will not know which gate has been used and even whether they have used different gates depending on where the person lives (though that is very unlikely).
I have certainly chaired appeal panels where the appellant won their case by showing that the entry point to the school could be different for different people and won their case.

Shattered04 Fri 16-Mar-18 23:43:14

Thanks! Yes, I'm quite sure they'll argue that point, they'd be daft not to.

And I suppose, thinking back on my own schools that I attended, it would be unusual if there was more than one school gate pupils could officially use. (I'm thinking here of a gate at my secondary that was unlocked, but we were forbidden to use it)

I'm still waiting to hear back as to which gate they used for their measurements. Probably it is the main gate, so then I need to get some insider information as to what circumstances pupils can use the other gate.. or not at all.

It does say in the school rules that pupils are not permitted in any of the car parks, so I'm going to assume they aren't ordinarily allowed through that gate. But this technicality hinges on whether sixth formers with mobility issues who drive can use it.. and whether a panel feels this is a reasonable interpretation of "pupil". There's no mention of year group anywhere.

Good to know that some people have won based on similar though - thank you!

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