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Secondary School Places and Appeal

(22 Posts)
sawan232 Mon 25-Jun-18 19:07:17

Hi all,
Somebody please help! I had an appeal for a school place for my daughter, initially we didn't put this school on our list of priorities, later on we filled in a another form for a place at this school, the appeal panel told us that the information we provided during the hearing is different from what was on the forms in front of them implying that there was no mention of our son going to this particular school and that we were out of the catchment. School provided wrong information to the appeal panel.
We checked on council's and school's website and we were in the catchment area. School and council only allow you one right of appeal. According to the council the only option now is to go to the High court. Has someone experienced this? Would really appreciate for your advice on this.
Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Mon 25-Jun-18 22:30:13

I think you are going to have to explain a bit more I'm afraid. What exact wrong information did "the school" (presumably the one you were appealing for) give the panel?

Do you have a son at the school you are appealing for?

You seem to be suggesting that you have a son at the school and are in the catchment, but panel were not told this. Essentially these things would affect your place on the waiting list, they are largely irrelevant for appeal.

admission Mon 25-Jun-18 22:37:38

This seems wrong. Firstly you can apply to any school, you do not need to be in the catchment of a school to be considered for a place, so I do not understand the comments by the panel on that. Also how could you be appealing for the school if you have not applied for a place, it just seems all wrong. If the evidence submitted by the school and you was different then it was for the panel to ask sufficient questions to ensure that they understood what had happened and that they could understand all the issues of the appeal. Does the letter confirming the appeal was unsuccessful explain what the panel thought about the differences in information.
It is also wrong to say that you only have one appeal per academic year. That is correct but there is a bit more and that is that if there has been a substantive change in either your circumstances or the schools then you can be given a second appeal. I would suggest that if the panel were told incorrect information by the school and you can prove that, then this is good reason for another appeal. You need to go back to the manager of the admission authority and make your complaint in writing and see what answer you get back.

sawan232 Mon 25-Jun-18 23:05:05

Thanks for the messages @PatriciaHolm, our son attend this particular school in year 8 and we live in the middle of the catchment. Our daughter was at the top of the waiting list, 17 appeals were accepted by the appeal panel on that day, the Head Teacher argues that he doesn't have anymore space at this school, hence, our daughter now is at number 18 on the waiting list, outrageous sad

@Admissions we were given a right to appeal for a place even though we did not put this school on our priority list expecting that we'll be offered a place at this school as we are in the catchment and our son attends this school.
When we didn't get our top choices then we applied for this particular school and were given a chance to appeal
Either the local council or the school were responsible for the provision of incorrect information to the panel, they only confess over the phone but nothing in the writing.
Unfortunately, our local authority only gives one opportunity to appeal, they are asking me to go to the High Court now if I didn't agree with the panel's decision.
We are given a school more than 5 miles away, this school is only 1 mile away.

OP’s posts: |
Halfblindbunny Mon 25-Jun-18 23:07:14

So you wanted your daughter to go to this school if she didn't get into your top.choice but you didn't put it down on the form at all?

myrtleWilson Mon 25-Jun-18 23:12:28

Hi OP

Can you clarify this part of your thread
we were given a right to appeal for a place even though we did not put this school on our priority list expecting that we'll be offered a place at this school as we are in the catchment and our son attends this school

Are you saying you didn't apply for this (appeal) school originally or you didn't apply as you assumed you would be given (appeal) school because in catchment and sibling link?

if you didn't apply for the school at all then the information re catchment and sibling doesn't automatically come into play at appeal. It would bump you up the waiting list.

If you're saying you did apply for (appeal) school and the admissions process didn't put you in the correct category (catchment/sibling link) then this may have been grounds for appeal?

sawan232 Mon 25-Jun-18 23:42:35

@Halfblindbunny, yes that's right
@myrtleWilson, I filled in an application form for this school but only after knowing that we were not offered a place in any of our top priority schools. Thanks

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myrtleWilson Mon 25-Jun-18 23:46:35

ah I see... am awfully sorry OP but I think you've not understood the process at all. If you wanted your DD to go to this school (at all - even if not your first preference) you should have included it on your "preference" form.

once you get to appeal the panel have to decide whether there was an error (not in your case) or whether the detriment to your DD in attending the school was greater than the detriment to the school having to take extra pupils. I don't know what your appeal was based on but if it just centred on sibling link/catchment then it won't have been enough I presume.

myrtleWilson Mon 25-Jun-18 23:51:20

Aside from the distance to the allocated school - how do you feel about the school? Are there other closer schools that may have spaces available that you could look at? If not, perhaps the best bet is to big up the allocated school to your DD and see how the waiting list pans out -by the way if 17 appeals were "accepted" (do you mean places given?) then those people are off the waiting list. If you mean that 17 appeals took place then its not a given that your daughter is in 18th place - the waiting list will be sorted in accordance with the admission criteria so if sibling link and distance are high up then she'll be high up the waiting list. Have you heard officially where your daughter is on the waiting list? flowers

Imchlibob Mon 25-Jun-18 23:57:27

You don't have any grounds for appeal whatsoever unless a waiting list place has become available and been awarded (separate from appeals places) on a date more recent than the date of your eventual late application to this school, assuming that you did mention that your son goes there on your application and a waiting list place was awarded to someone with no sibling there. The admissions process has worked correctly. You didn't apply for this school. The places have been allocated to people who did apply, using their published admissions criteria.

I don't know of any school that has a category in their admissions criteria of "siblings of students currently on the role who didn't apply to this school but might like a place anyway"

sawan232 Tue 26-Jun-18 00:05:55

@myrtleWilson, thanks for you reply, how do people have successful appeals? I mean under what circumstances an appeal is generally successful?
I had to ask the council under freedom of information act that how many kids were offered places after the appeal and I was informed that 17 were successful in getting the places.
I was an academic, one of my Chinese students at the University mentioned a rape case he witnessed near that school, unfortunately this area is deprived and have long rows of council flats. what option do I have? Could I keep my DD at home?

OP’s posts: |
myrtleWilson Tue 26-Jun-18 00:11:44

One of the admissions experts will pick up - but in essence. Once you are at appeal you have to make the case that the detriment for your child not attending the school is worse than the detriment for the school taking another pupil.
You are not arguing against the school you were allocated.

So an appeal may be based on "preferred school offers Russian language from yr 7 and my child has been learning Russian since 5 years old and no other schools locally offer Russian at MFL" - that may not be enough to win an appeal but is an example of how an appeal focuses on what the preferred school offers that better suits child.

When you say you had an FOI application after appeal - when did you appeal and submit your FOI request - are you sure the 17 didn't refer to previous years?

AornisHades Tue 26-Jun-18 00:33:39

It looks as if you didn't put your older child's school on your initial choices and assumed it would be offered as default. If you'd put it as your last choice it probably would have been.
You can't appeal on the grounds that if you had understood the published criteria then you would have got a place. You need to make a case as to why the school you're appealing for is the only school that meets your child's needs. Having a sibling there and the allocated school being in a 'bad area' isn't enough. It needs to be specific and personal to your child.
You can home educate your child. There are private internet schools.
If 17 appeals were granted then 18 children would have to leave the year group before your daughter gets a waiting list place so you could home ed in the hope that happens or start her at the school she's been given.

Imchlibob Tue 26-Jun-18 04:15:10

You can also put in applications for every school that you would find more acceptable than the school you have been allocated - it may be that a waiting list place comes available at one of those before a place becomes available at the sibling school.

rose69 Tue 26-Jun-18 07:41:03

You should be sent the same papers that are sent to the panel. If you think that the panel was run incorrectly than appeal to the ombudsman.
I don't really follow your case but if ombudsman does give right of re-appeal you need to concentrate on why the school is best for your child.
Hearsay evidence about violence near your given school is not enough.

prh47bridge Tue 26-Jun-18 08:49:55

It appears you made the mistake of not including this school as one of your preferences in the belief that you would be allocated a place at your local school if you didn't get any of the schools you wanted. I'm afraid it doesn't work like that. Putting this school as your final choice would not have affected your chances of getting in to one of your higher preferences and, given what you say, would probably have resulted in your daughter getting a place. Because you didn't name it and didn't get any of your preferences the council has allocated a place at the nearest school with places available.

You have now applied to this school, been refused entry because it was full and appealed. Reading your posts, it sounds like you didn't understand how appeals work. The fact you are in catchment and your older child is at this school is irrelevant for appeal. You needed to show that your daughter would be disadvantaged if she wasn't admitted to this school. You were appealing for this school, not against the allocated school, so your concerns about the area in which the school is located would not have carried any weight.

You say that the panel was given incorrect information but have not specified what they were told that was incorrect. You would have been sent the same papers as the panel. Did those papers say anything that was wrong?

You cannot simply keep your daughter at home. She must be in full time education by law. You could home educate her if you wish. Your other options are to refer the case to the LGO (the ESFA if this is an academy or free school) if there have been irregularities in the way the appeal was run, or to go for judicial review. On the information you have posted here I don't see anything that suggests you have a case that would fly with the LGO/ESFA or judicial review. I'm sorry but you need to home educate, send your daughter to an independent school or accept the place that has been offered.

PatriciaHolm Tue 26-Jun-18 09:12:12

OP, you still haven't said What information do you think was supplied incorrectly?

On the face of it, appealing because you mistakenly didn't put the school on your form isn't going to win you an appeal.

If you can genuinely home educate your child, then you can keep her at home, but if not you need to send her to school. You can't just keep her at home doing nothing until the local authority offer you something you like better.

sawan232 Tue 26-Jun-18 09:26:47

Thanks everyone for your valuable feedback. As many of you have indicated that I didn't put my DD for this school, was a blunder. Should have consulted someone before hand. Other parents should learn a lesson from this chaos that we created for ourselves.
We are now looking into the option of moving home to Warwickshire in the hope that we get a good school where both kids could go together.

OP’s posts: |
sawan232 Tue 26-Jun-18 11:03:55

@PatriciaHolm, I don't really know how this happened but there were 2 things panel told us that did not match with the forms which they had and what we told them during the hearing;
1. We told the panel that we were in the catchment area of the school and panel were told (by the council?) that we were out of the catchment area
2. We argued that in spite our son attends this school we were not given a place in the second phase of seat allocation. School disputed this implying that they were not aware of sibling going to this school. Even though I clearly mentioned on the forms that sibling attends this school.
I hope it reduces the confusion?

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Tue 26-Jun-18 11:20:03

Right, well, this gives you a little more to work with.

Who is the admissions authority for the school? The school itself, or the LA?

If the school are saying they didn't know your proper address (which presumably is how they tell catchment) and that your DD is a sibling of a current student when you applied, but you did tick the relevant boxes and put your correct address, then potentially you have an argument for maladministration. These things would presumably put her high on the waiting list for the second round of allocation assuming you applied in time for that, so it's possible she missed out on a space then IF the school didn't take these things into account.

Do you have a letter from the admissions authority saying why a space was declined at the school? Do you have anything in writing from the appeal that says they didn't account for her as an in-catchment sibling?

Imchlibob Tue 26-Jun-18 11:37:52

What exactly happened in the second phase of allocations and did the LA have an application form from you applying for this school and with all details correctly showing that your dd should be in the "with sibling at school" category?

If they had all the information and correct application from you at that stage, and didn't allocate you a second-phase place but did allocate second-phase places to other people with lower priority categories - then you do have an appeal case as they made a mistake.

The exact dates are critical. When did the LA receive your second application form naming this school and giving sibling details? When did the second phase allocations take place?

sawan232 Tue 26-Jun-18 12:38:18

@PatriciaHolm, now this is tricky, school is an academy, LA and the school point fingers on each other but they only accepted this over the phone, in the hindsight I should have recorded the conversation.
@ImchlibobI, can't see the LA's records but I was informed that since we put our application for this school there has been no movement apart from those 17 successful appeals. Although our DD is at the top of the waiting list but she will have to wait until 18 kids have left this school. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |

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