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In year appeal plus a new year 7 appeal

(26 Posts)
mochibun Thu 19-Apr-18 21:15:56

Hi I am wondering anyone can help re: admission appeal.

My son is in year 7 and has long been on the waiting list for a place at a school thats oversubcribed. He is in a school where he's not receiving the support needed for his needs, despite the help he was getting in primary school and assurance that all notes were passed over and help would carry on. He is miserable and the school never return my calls. He is on a waiting list for a paediatrician to diagnose autism, whici has been dragging on for ages and his current school aren't helping with. In the meantime, I have sought counselling, since his current school aren't being proactive.

I have put in an in year appeal for him as this can't go on. We received a reply today that it would be held on 2 May. The school replied saying they didn't want to go over the PAN, the school is oversubscribed and they already have taken more anyway for past two years. The lack of LA funds has meant the restoration of one of the buildings hasn't fully happened, and they already have a number of SEN children who receive support for various reasons and they believed it might be possible it would be detrimental to the current children there. Another reason was that they worried if they took one more, it may have an impact on the 45 minute lunch break in the canteen, which is already crowded.

I have noted that this school has a lot of SEN support plastered on their webpage, which none of the others in the area do. I have sought help from my daughter's current primary, who suggested the appeal and other SEN places I may get help. I wish to get an EHCP plan, but tbh I wasn't aware of any of this as I hadn't been informed until her school mentioned it, but they said it can take up to 5 months, and wouldn't be ready for the appeal.

So far I have submitted a letter from a doctor, a letter from a counseller and my own, detailing my reasons, inc copying what's on their website. I have tried to stick to the facts and not undermine his current school, which is hard, as he's also been bullied physically.

Also my daughter is in year 6 and appealing for same school. We have no appeal date for her yet, but hers is more to do with her emotional wellbeing, as she was emotionally bullied in her previous primary and was alone a lot, but in her new primary, the staff have been brilliant and has lots of friends, but they've all got in the school she wanted. (They do live nearer and we are moving nearer this year.)

Can anyone tell me my chances? Or offer any help? Thanks in advance.

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admission Thu 19-Apr-18 22:53:16

It is always very difficult to judge what the likelihood of success is at appeal.
In terms of the in-year appeal, the information that the school have put in their reasoning for not admitting, all sounds very like the standard things that are in every appeal statement. You should not get discouraged by this. The school have a legal duty to justify with reasons over that the school has reached the PAN, so they will always talk about things like overcrowding in the canteen.
You seem to have mentioned the obvious things to do for your appeal but I would also be looking for anything the school do that is different and which would appeal to your child.

mochibun Fri 20-Apr-18 06:58:34

Hello and thanks for the reply.

My main reasons are that the school offers better sen support and other emotional support which he’s not been getting, which in turn has made him very isolated, vulnerable and his anxiety is higher than normal. They’d promised to chase things up re assessments but failed to do so, leaving me to do it. He had support in primary but not here, and since secondary school is quite important going into his adult life, he needs help now.
I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning but when we looked around the school last year, he became anxious and we had to leave one of the classrooms. A teacher rushed over and asked if he was ok. We explained about his anxiety and she offered to show him around personally instead of the big group we went in. She spoke to him and he felt better, thinking that they ‘cared.’

In the school’s report, is it worth highlighting the use of ‘may,’ as they said it ‘may’ be worse for other children and it ‘may’ result in not serving everyone at lunch etc? Could I say where’s the evidence that they believe this? There’s no mention of overcrowding in ofsted.

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admission Fri 20-Apr-18 21:52:35

For there to be something in an Ofsted report about pupil numbers or the classrooms is now very unlikely.
I do not believe that the use of the word "may" makes any difference. They are stating what they consider the reasons for not admitting an extra pupil, you need to offer a stronger set of reasons to admit an extra pupil.

mochibun Sat 21-Apr-18 16:32:43

I’ve noticed in the paperwork they sent me that the net capacity of the school is 1080, yet they only have 1065 on roll. There is an average of 28 pupils in each class, and year 10 is not at the admission number of 216 per year. Is this worth noting to say, since they say it’s full but not at full capacity?

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mochibun Wed 25-Apr-18 10:39:04

Can anyone please clarify? Also what questions do the panel and school rep ask? My appeal is next week and need as much help as possible. Thank you

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prh47bridge Wed 25-Apr-18 18:21:38

If the school is below its capacity that is worth mentioning as it suggests they can handle additional pupils. However, they may argue that, although the school isn't full, they can't handle any more in Y7.

The panel and school rep will ask questions to test the strength of your case and probe for possible weaknesses. There are no standard questions so it is impossible to predict exactly what will be asked.

mochibun Wed 25-Apr-18 19:03:00

Thanks for the reply. If there are 8 classes of 28 in year 7, then that’s still below 30, so it’s still below even the key stage 1 limit, so is this worth mentioning?

Average class size is 27 in years 8 and 9 with 218 and 216. The pan was 216 before they said they raised it for past 2 years. Year 7 is 224.

There is a lot of sen support at this school which my son needs, with regular updates and a rapport is established between parent and staff from the beginning. We have tried his current school but with no support, we realise this is the best school based on the statements on their website, the fact that a teacher noticed his anxiety when we looked around the school and rushed to see if he was ok.
I have already sent a letter from his GP, his counsellor and I wondered if he should write something by him only?

Also I’ve noticed on a website that ‘net capacity offers the flexibility to allow extra space for pupils with Sen. the net capacity of a school can be based on a long term policy of inclusion for all pupils with or without statements of sen).

My son is awaiting a diagnosis for asd and is due to be seen in May. He was receiving support in primary but nothing in current secondary. I have sent proof of referral as well.

Does this all sound helpful? Anything else I can do?

Thanks in advance

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prh47bridge Wed 25-Apr-18 22:19:31

Personally I would use things like the number in each class as questions to the admission authority's representative in the hearing rather than putting them in your case.

The stuff about SEN support is good. That is the kind of thing that can help win your appeal.

DO NOT get your son to write a letter. At best it won't help. At worst it will put the panel's backs up, making it less likely that they will give you the benefit of any doubt.

The document you've found on is a very old piece of guidance from the (now defunct) DfES. It dates back to 2002 and is no longer current. Even if it was, it doesn't really help you. It is just a general statement about the flexibility allowed to schools in setting net capacity. It doesn't tell us whether or not this school has made use of that flexibility. What could be useful is to find out the calculated net capacity range for the school (if they've got one - increasingly schools don't as that method of setting net capacity has largely been abandoned). If they do have the range, that would tell you whether they set the net capacity at the bottom or top of the range, which may help you.

Franklyyes Wed 25-Apr-18 22:40:46

As both your children did not get into the school, I'm assuming you are some distance away. Do you have other schools closer to you? This can make a difference. You may have other families who are appealing at the same time who live closer or it is their nearest school.
The school may be excellent at meeting sen but this should not mean they are then disadvantaged by taking lots more sen children than other schools. Their funding will be stretched to accomodate any extra which has a knock on effect to spending elsewhere
Try and look at your appeal from another angle - why should your children specifically be admitted over number taking into account there will be other families in similar scenarios. If they let your children in would they be challenged by others and have to agree to those too?
Although they have space in Year 10 if families move into the area and apply for a place the school does have to admit up to the PAN. So panels can't agree to go over in Year 7 just because of Year 10.
The appeal is for the school you want and not about the school you don't want. Panels can't take into account that you are unhappy with the current school

mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 07:59:47

Thanks for the replies.

Noted about his letter. He won’t write one.

The document they sent said the net capacity is 1080 but is at 1065. Is this what you mean?

I know they said they didn’t get all of the funding from LA to totally expand the school. Some has been built, the rest hasn’t. It can comfortably accommodate who’s in now but they aren’t sure if more are added, and believe they may need another classroom?

They didn’t seem certain, just assumed they may have to do certain things to accommodate.

Is there anything else I can do? I will refer to their Sen policy on their website and they state anyone new can be referred to sen right away, they receive further assessment and additional support put in place. All pupils have quality teaching and differentiated work is the first step to responding to pupils with Sen. We recognise some pupils will need provision that is in addition and different to their peers. These pupils receive a personalized package of support.’

In primary he was identified as having additional needs so he went on a waiting list for asd diagnosis. A Speech and language therapist saw him and he also had fiddle toys. He worked with a senco mentor. Despite this going to his secondary school they won’t give him a fiddle toy or have any interest in letting speech and language see him. They said they can’t chase up any referral due to data protection, despite being told at beginning of September they would.

On this secondary school’s website they say they work with parents and pupils from day one and liaise with appropriate people to give him the support he needs.

I know I can’t ‘diss’ his current school but it’s hard not to in a way when one doesn’t provide something and the other does? So how does one get around that?

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prh47bridge Thu 26-Apr-18 09:23:09

No, that isn't what you are looking for on net capacity. If they did a net capacity calculation that will have given two figures - a maximum and a minimum. The lower figure will be 10% less than the upper figure. So if the upper figure was 1080 the lower figure would be 972. You need to ask about those figures. If they have set net capacity at or near the bottom of the range it adds evidence that they can handle more pupils.

I have to disagree a little with Franklyyes regarding the current school. An appeal for an in-year place is different from a normal admissions appeal. For an in-year appeal it is reasonable to highlight problems with the way the current school is dealing with your child. For example, in a normal admissions appeal it doesn't help to say that the allocated school has a bullying problem - it may be true but it doesn't mean your child will be bullied. However, for an in-year appeal it does help if you can say that your child is being bullied and the school is failing to deal with it. Similarly, in your case, it is reasonable to say that your son's current school is letting him down. Don't be too negative about it but you should point out the ways in which they are failing your son. If you can show that they aren't giving him the support he needs that strengthens your case.

They said they can’t chase up any referral due to data protection

I don't know all the details but that sounds like rubbish to me. It adds to the evidence that your son's current school isn't interested in dealing with his problems.

mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 09:25:24

Other reasons why he should go.

The school is a specialist sports and drama.

My son is very keen on fitness and is really into weights, body mass etc. There is an on site gym with a trainer suitable for the age groups and he’s really keen to get into that. He’s too young for regular gym at the local sports centre.

He’s also into football but can be quite shy in team games as he lacks social skills (another reason for his possible asd diagnosis). This school has people from the local team who coach and train the pupils. My daughter is currently in the primary school which also has these same people from local team coaching her, and now an anti sports girl is really into sport for the first time and scoring goals. I believe this type of training would also be beneficial for my son.

Drama. My son has always been heavily into drama but his previous primary and current secondary don’t have drama. We had tried to find local clubs, and was only ever able to find a school holiday one at a place about 6 miles away, but they only catered to the age of 9. I have videos and photos showing how much he came out of himself to express his character etc and he was disappointed he couldn’t continue it. I know I mention my daughter again (her appeal will be later), but in her primary school, they have a qualified dance and drama teacher who comes in and does a special stage school, which carries on into this secondary school. My daughter is still coming out of herself, but her first show this weekend is something my son really wants to do too, as he’s seen how happy she is at home practicing and keen to perform. The secondary school do productions just like in my daughter’s primary but my son hasn’t been able to do this. Seeing the benefits for my daughter in primary is another reason I’d like him to go to this school.

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mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 09:40:47

Thanks for the reply. I have a letter from current school saying they can’t chase up any referral due to date protection. They acknowledged his last primary school said he was believed to be on autistic spectrum and were waiting for diagnosis, so they supported him in school, which we were led to believe would carry on. The same person who replied to this letter is the one who assured me she would chase the diagnosis.

This is why I’ve had to be more proactive and try to get him counselling and chase the GP in the meantime. Only via this has my GP replied and said he should be seen next month sometime but with no idea on a date and the appeal next Wednesday, I doubt I’d get that information from Paediatrics about his asd. The counselling was something I found out about myself and had some advice from daughter’s current school, but they only run for 6 weeks due to funding and now he has to wait again before he can be seen again. He used to beg me not to take him back to class after going for counselling and it took 40 minutes to calm him down. I told school and they said someone would talk to him but when my son came home that night he said he was just sent back to class, as everyone was busy.

He hates it, he cries a lot and worries constantly about each day, wondering if he will say or do the right thing and how others will respond, which has got him in trouble before. His head of house was unaware of his needs as nobody told him, yet the letter said they always knew?

This is a lot about his anxiety and lack of social skills, but if he’s not getting support in school for this, how is this going to help in his future as a teen, an adult etc? There is only so much a parent can do, which is why I need a school who works closely with child and parent to enable them to thrive in life and be the best they can be.

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mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 11:01:12

Sorry i don't know how to edit a post but I looked on this website and it has details on school capacity, but it has a different number: 1155. Any idea what that could be, as that is totally different to what they have sent me?

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prh47bridge Thu 26-Apr-18 12:00:15

That is the school's official capacity according to the information available to the DfE. No idea why it is different to the information the school has sent. Ask them. They may have a good explanation but, if they don't, that will help you.

mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 12:26:14

They have also said that they have 'temporarily increased intake but not their PAN,' so instead of 216, they have taken 224 in year 7. They want to keep 'in their PAN,' in their summary at the end of their paperwork, but does that mean they would remove children later on, if it is as they say, temporary? Or they would lower their PAN in the future, despite what their net capacity is? Isn't this higher intake pretty much increasing their PAN anyway?

On their website, the head boasts their '£18million state of the art building and magnificent grounds,' but in their paperwork, they say the 'lack of LA funds rebuild is partially complete for 216, rest isn't,' yet the 224 are fine?

They also said this: 'Although not at PAN, currently managable, if asked to admit over, likely need to move 9 full teaching sets.'

It seems a bit odd to me, since they now say their not at PAN? but am I missing something?

Is it fair to point out all of this?

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prh47bridge Thu 26-Apr-18 13:07:59

No, it doesn't mean they are going to remove anyone. It means that PAN for next year will be 216 again. It also means they don't have to offer a place off the waiting list if people drop out, although there would be a good chance they would lose the subsequent appeal in that situation. Schools must admit up to PAN. If they want to go beyond that they can do so without increasing PAN.

Without seeing the school's case in full it is impossible to say for sure but it does sound like there might be inconsistencies you could use.

mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 13:14:17

Upon asking admissions just now, they had never heard of the upper and lower net capacity that you mentioned and just knew their PAN. They also had no idea about the DofE website saying a higher net capacity either. It's a Foundation school, so they are paying admissions to do appeal, but apparently they can set their own PAN?

I can show a scan of what they've sent if that helps and you don't mind looking?

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admission Thu 26-Apr-18 15:51:38

It is correct that the school as their own admission authority can set their own PAN, just as they can go over their agreed PAN if they want to. In fact this is what they did last year apparently, taking 224 instead of 216.That is an extra 8 pupils, which in the run of things is negligible.

In terms of net capacity, there are actually three figures. There is a maximum figure, a figure which is 90% of the maximum which schools would not normally go below and then there is an agreed net capacity, which can be anywhere in between the other two figures. In this case I believe the agree net capacity is 1080, which just happens to be 216 (the PAN) in each of the year groups 7 to 11. I cannot be sure about the 1155 figure but this is most likely the maximum figure. You can therefore argue that the school is not up to the maximum of the net capacity, though it is a relatively weak argument.

mochibun Thu 26-Apr-18 16:08:05

Thanks for the reply. They’re at 1065 right now so surely even at 1080 being what you say could be their net capacity as they’d told me, so surely they could accommodate? I’ve also found out someone else is appealing after me and I’d get my result by the next day at the latest

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mochibun Fri 27-Apr-18 16:20:34

I have just seen in the papers the school have sent me that they are going to take in more students for the new year 7, over the 216 as advertised. Surely if it wouldn't be sustainable, then they couldn't do this again?

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prh47bridge Fri 27-Apr-18 16:40:01

They can go over PAN any time they want. Presumably they don't think they can accommodate more than 216 in every year otherwise they should change PAN. However, they clearly think they can go over 216 some years.

mochibun Fri 27-Apr-18 17:27:02

It just doesn’t make sense though that they are doing it again if what they’re saying is they can’t have any more but aren’t reducing the intake back to where it was.

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mochibun Thu 03-May-18 19:00:55

Hi I’ve had my appeal and was told I’d get a phone call later that day or next morning at the latest, but I’ve heard nothing. Is this normal? Any idea what could have happened? Tia

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