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Oversubscription appeal - questions!

(14 Posts)
Shattered04 Thu 22-Mar-18 10:04:55

I'm hoping an admissions expert can help me out here with a few questions! I've started a new thread as much of this isn't relevant to my old one.

1. Does the LA have to provide a map of where the measurement was taken from? There are potentially multiple school gates they could be measuring from. I asked twice, and they are declining to give a map or specify which gate. Is this allowed?

2. To my shame, I never attended the school's open day. Part of the reason was because there was no way we could make the day/time specified. I also never followed it up because (and this is my own anxiety-related issue here) I was terrified that we would really love the school and then we wouldn't get a place and I'd feel resentful forever. I didn't want to see what we might not be able to have. Unfortunately, had I known then that having not looked round the school is usually picked up at appeal and seen in a very negative light, I'd have moved heaven and earth to get there. I honestly thought it didn't matter.

I should say that we didn't go into it completely blind - we have friends with children there, I had a brief look when dropping DD off for the 11+, and others did attend the open day and share their thoughts. Knowing the type of children that go there and are thriving, and knowing DD, we knew it would be right for her.

So my question is - will this be really held against me, and/or is there any way I'd be able to look round now? What justification could I use, given I didn't look around before? It seems most schools are very against tours outside of open day for obvious reasons, and especially if we don't even have a place!

3. All these things over classroom sizes, number of PCs in ICT suites etc - where do you get this information from? When I contacted the school over a late social and medical application last week asking what they might be able to do to help DD with newly diagnosed ASD, I was told they are not allowed to help us with an appeal (this was an application!) and to not expect a response. Which was a bit off-putting.

Thank you!!

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Waspnest Thu 22-Mar-18 15:33:54

I'm sure one of the experts will be along later but you have my sympathies, I thought we'd have to go to appeal but have just got a place off the waiting list (thankfully). I had no idea that you would be marked down at appeal for not attending open evenings. If I recall dd's secondary held an open evening in (our) year 5 for parents - I couldn't make it but they let me make an appointment for the following week and I was given a tour by a year 10 pupil who was lovely and gave me a real feel for the school. The school had absolutely no problem with people looking round outside parents evening (I think that's a good sign actually because it shows that the school are confident about how their pupils behave in lessons).

In Oct last year they had a proper open evening that parents and children were invited to, to chat to teachers and the head, take part in science experiments etc. but I don't think anyone even noted down our names tbh. I also visited another school with a friend during school hours and we were given a tour by the head. I think I'd be slightly suspicious of a school that wasn't willing to do this. Good luck, I can't believe quite how stressful the admission process is - I swear that's why I've just gone down with a nasty coldy thing.

Shattered04 Thu 22-Mar-18 15:58:46

Well done on your waiting list place! We still have to wait until April 10th (argh) when we find out if we have a place by NOT getting an email, as they only send emails to confirm waiting list position. They post offers.

That was lovely of your school. My main concern is that the school is obviously over subscribed, and we're out of catchment (although until this year we would have got in every single year - the other two in DD's class who applied scraped in) so they may not be as keen. Plus it's not in the traditional pre-application stage. Our primary didn't let us look around when we were on the waiting list after moving in area which was a bit rubbish, but the school has been brilliant.

We do have a DD in Y4 but that's somewhat too early ;-)

OP’s posts: |
tiggytape Thu 22-Mar-18 16:43:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Thu 22-Mar-18 16:56:45

Thank you very much!

The LA has received my "stub" appeal (basically a submission with "the rest to follow") and confirm that I am eligible so they know I'm serious. It is good to know that they really should give me more to go on other than a copy/paste from their website which doesn't answer any of my questions or I would not have emailed them!

I'm hopeless at lying, so telling the truth works fine for me. I just hope it doesn't count too much against us.

It's an academy but the LA seems to handle admissions/appeals - should I still ask the school?

I'm surprised they didn't want to answer my question about what support they could offer a child with ASD, especially as it was for a late application, but maybe I am missing something there.

OP’s posts: |
tiggytape Thu 22-Mar-18 17:37:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prh47bridge Thu 22-Mar-18 18:01:43

will this be really held against me, and/or is there any way I'd be able to look round now

Just to add that I have never known this come up at appeal. It isn't relevant so shouldn't be taken into account and certainly should not be used as a reason to refuse your appeal. It isn't a question that should even be asked in my view. But I agree with tiggytape that, if asked, you should be honest.

Shattered04 Thu 22-Mar-18 22:07:08

Thank you both! I've obviously been doing a lot of reading about appeals, and I had heard people being very dismissive about those who "hadn't even bothered to look around the school". But then, that's probably coming from other parents, rather than people on the panel.

As tiggy rightfully says, I wasn't too bothered by not going at the time, because if you've already done your research then there probably isn't much more to be gained. I'm also very aware that schools put their best image forward at these things so to take them with a pinch of salt anyway. DD has been to three primary schools (although she's been settled at her current one since Y1 - we moved into area and she had to sit on the waiting list for our current school for six months) and I looked around all three. None of the look-arounds gave me the right impression of what the school was actually like once I got to know it - the "word on the street" was far more reliable.

I'll write to the LA and ask, explaining it's for appeal reasons and see what they say. I think you are probably right in that it's difficult for them to draw a line when you bring up a specific child. I have done a fair bit of research through their website, prospectus, Ofsted etc so I know some of the things they're offering, but as you say I can ask in a less-DD-specific context as well in the way you're suggesting to see if there's anything not mentioned online. That all makes perfect sense.

OP’s posts: |
PanelChair Fri 23-Mar-18 00:05:09

Nothing much for me to add. Whether or not you attended the open day is a red herring. The appeal is about the child’s need for a place at that school, not about the parents’ so-called commitment in going to the open day. I’ve never heard this particular bit of misinformation before and wonder about the motives of whoever's spreading it!

Witchend Fri 23-Mar-18 09:42:31

I’ve never heard this particular bit of misinformation before and wonder about the motives of whoever's spreading it!

At my dsis' dc's primary school one of the governors told her that she needed to be at all the open afternoons and make sure she spoke to the head and the governor in attendance and made a good impression.

So she dragged her bored pre-schooler to six different afternoons and came home devastated after the last when her bored pre-schooler decided to improve the look of the wall with a felt-tip that was conveniently left there.

Mind you, I suspect strongly the governor was after a backhander as he also told her that governors decided who got in and he'd vouch for her "if she wanted".

I told her to run like the wind, but she didn't believe me. Four years later they got a "totally dreadful" on OFSTED and the leadership and governors* were really slated, and she left the school, feeling totally let down. I looked and it really was the worst Ofsted I've seen for a primary.

*They told the school parents they'd resigned on mass in protest. Dsis didn't believe me when I said they'd have been told to go.

Shattered04 Fri 23-Mar-18 10:25:48

I'm now trying to remember where I read it! It was in multiple places, people claiming panels looked disapproving at those who had not "even visited the school". I've been doing so much research all over these past few weeks it's all a blur now. However, given I think it was the impression of competing parents, they're going to be a bit biased and the panel probably didn't care at all.

Witchend - wow, what an awful school!!

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Mum52016 Fri 23-Mar-18 11:18:36

I'm in a similar situation where I'm appealing an oversubscribed school. I didn't go to the open evening back in October as I had to stay home with the younger DC, but my DH & DS both went. And DH was vague in telling me what was good apart from that it was a good school! hmm

In hindsight, had I gone, I think it would have given me a feel of what kind of things to include in the appeal.

tiggytape Fri 23-Mar-18 11:44:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered04 Fri 23-Mar-18 12:12:57

Yep, our issues were childcare-related too. It was logistically impossible given we both work and the timing of the open evening on top of the childcare too.

tiggy - that's reassuring! Yes, our appeal focus definitely does not bring up the grammar aspect at all after getting good advice from here and elsewhere. It is all about the school, and far more about the pastoral/SEN, school culture and extra-curricular aspects than anything academic. So it sounds like I may well be spared!

OP’s posts: |

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