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Response EFSA -appeal complaint

(13 Posts)
friendlyflicka Fri 13-Jul-18 17:10:45

Very similar to another thread. Expert stated this school by reason of peer group, size, family members attending and logistics was necessary for my daughter. It is a faith school - she is not of that faith.

Very strong appeal, I thought, as did all professionals involved in case.

My rejection letter very full, listed the background etc and then said: 'the panel had already agreed there were a lot of cases that outweighed the school but didn't feel it could cope with additional pupils. They therefore looked at the strength of the appeals and noted there were stronger cases. The panel noted there were other schools that could meet your daughter's needs...'

I complained that evidence had been disregarded because all evidence stated explicitly and all circumstances suggested obviously that there were no other schools that could meet my daughter's needs.

Just had a response: The deicision letter shows that the panel did consider the information raised, including your preference for the school, travel, daughter's counsellor assement and letter, that her sister attends the school and practical requirements of your family. 
The decision letter states the ‘the panel had to weigh up the cae presented on behalf of the college against the case presented for daughter.’ The decision letter goes on to say the panel ‘looked at the strengths of the cases heard and concluded there were other stronger cases presented’

I also claimed irrelevant evidence was taken into account because the school starting talking about her sister's needs (in year 10) as though they were equivalent - they are not.

ESFA response: 'You state irrelevant evidence distorted the panel decision, specifically, the school’s experience of sister.
This is not a breach of the Schools Admission Appeals Code (SAAC). The code allows the panel to consider all evidence and points presented.
'

Does this mean there is nothing more I can do? The panel have referenced all evidence submitted in their letter of refusal. But the panel drew conclusions from that evidence that directly contradicted the evidence, thus they are effectively failing to take the evidence into account.

The letter ends that I have until 20 July to respond and otherwise they will assume I have dropped the complaint.

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friendlyflicka Fri 13-Jul-18 17:23:01

Forgot to mention 3 out of 20 were upheld.

Lots of evidence for her appeal.

I really do feel pretty lost about this because it is going to be logistically impossible for our family. Our family has involvement with CAMHS, mental health team, domestic violence support. Very very difficult

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friendlyflicka Fri 13-Jul-18 17:24:40

And my daughter only one of her class not admitted because of faith.

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friendlyflicka Fri 13-Jul-18 20:32:00

Someone who knows about this, please help

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Zoflorabore Sat 14-Jul-18 06:26:04

Hi op, we had an appeal not allowed for a faith school ( also an academy ) in 2014.
It was a shambles, very strong case from us with lots of medical evidence etc.

Complained to EFA and had 7 areas for complaints. They upheld 3/7 of my complaints and if it had been 4/7 they would have ordered a fresh appeal.

Was devastated at the time, appealed again the year after which was even more of a shambles, we even had CAMHS come to the appeal and again it was not allowed.

I couldn't deal with the way it made me ill anymore so dropped it.
Ds is leaving year 10 now in a school I would never have applied to and he's loved every minute of it.

Very best of luck flowers

friendlyflicka Sat 14-Jul-18 09:35:38

Thanks so much. I know what you mean. Laying all your problems before them is really horrible. Really glad all going well for you xxx

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prh47bridge Sat 14-Jul-18 09:44:01

It sounds like this is the ESFA's draft decision rather than their final decision. You can challenge it at this stage if you think it is wrong. However, the ESFA is not there to rehear the evidence. The question is whether the panel has acted in accordance with the Appeals Code. It sounds like they did, by and large. Drawing conclusions that were contrary to your evidence is not necessarily a problem, although it would (or at least should) be an issue if the panel decided they knew better than medical experts.

If the ESFA decides against you, the only possible way forward is judicial review. That would again look at the process and would also consider whether the decision was Wednesbury unreasonable (in effect, irrational). If the process was followed correctly (or you were not seriously disadvantaged by any failings) and the decision was not irrational the courts would uphold the appeal panel's findings. Going down that route is costly and you would need to consult a solicitor. But it is the only other route open to you.

friendlyflicka Sat 14-Jul-18 11:08:00

PRh47bridge, thanks for your explanation. I think that is probably the case.

It is just unfortunate for me that in every way we require a faith school and in every way the faith school prioritises faith. I think even at appeal spiritual requirements are probably more important than medical needs. I will never know because the system is in no way transparent.

There are always going to be losers with oversubscribed schools, it is just that in this particular case it has brought untold hardship on my family.

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admission Sat 14-Jul-18 18:01:09

I think PRH is correct. However I am intrigued by the ESFA response: 'You state irrelevant evidence distorted the panel decision, specifically, the school’s experience of sister. This is not a breach of the Schools Admission Appeals Code (SAAC). The code allows the panel to consider all evidence and points presented.

The ESFA are correct to say the panel will consider all evidence and points raised and I would make the point that it is impossible as a panel member to stop anybody raising a subject and as Chair I have to allow them to make the point. However if you go back to the admission regs para 1.9G, it says that "admission arrangements must not take account of reports from previous schools about children's past behaviour, attendance, attitude or achievement, or that of any other children in the family."

That means that any reference to another sibling should not have been given any weight by the panel, which is the point i think that you were making not that they particularly talked about the elder sibling. As such what you do not know is whether the panel gave any weight to this discussion or not when they were deliberating. If they did then you have some level of valid argument, if however in their notes they said we did not give any weight to this or did not even mention it, then you have no case. It is difficult to know from what the reply says whether the ESFA considered this point or not.
As the ESFA have effectively said that the decision made, taking into consideration the medical information (which was your strongest argument), was reasonable (within the legal definition of reasonable and fair) then I am not sure you do have any where to go on this now.

friendlyflicka Sat 14-Jul-18 18:24:39

@admission, I have not mentioned this because the clerk is lovely but she basically hinted on the phone that that was the reason they though younger daughter might be too demanding on resources. She also said 'I have no say in what goes on, sometimes I think they are on a different planet from some of their decisions.'

I will try quoting that to the ESFA but I am not holding out hope. I haven't told my younger daughter I have done any of this because I want her to get used to the idea she is not going to this school.

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Baumederose Sat 14-Jul-18 18:36:37

Without sounding unsympathetic, pp bridge is correct.

Medical reasons tend to get upheld in instances where that school is the only and I mean the only one that can meet those needs.

A very simple example being a wheelchair users application for a school thats the only one in the county on a single storey or with a lift. And all others not being accessible. It's that narrow.

Good luck

friendlyflicka Sat 14-Jul-18 18:36:41

I didn't mean quoting the clerk, I meant your reference to admission regs

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friendlyflicka Sat 14-Jul-18 19:17:06

Thanks, Baumederose.

I had always thought panel's decision was final etc. Just seeing the other thread made me think maybe it was worth questioning.

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