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Admissions Appeal(8 Posts)
I'm sure this topic has been often discussed but I was hoping to get a bit of advice. We have just moved to the UK so this whole process is very new to us!
My daughter has just started year 8. We moved here about a month ago but before we got here we had already started the school process (beginning of July, so after the placings had already been done). The excellent school in our area is very close to us - about a mile as the crow flies - so we immediately put in an application at the school, which was denied (as expected) but we immediately started the appeals process, hoping to get it in before the term ended.
In this area (in most? not sure!) most school applications are done through the county council, but the specific school we wanted is done through them directly. So that was done, but in the meantime we also put in requests through the council so she would have at least one school to go to. She was given a placement at our second choice which is good, but we still have the appeals hearing next week for our first choice.
SO all that to say... I have a ton of questions I can't find answers to if anyone can please help!
We obviously have never seen anything like this process in Canada, so we put in our appeals arguments before we even lived here, and going off the assumption that she would be in the catchment school for our house we were moving to.
1) we have recently got the letter saying the appeals hearing was set for next week, but our original essay we wrote is not as applicable now. She is not in the school we talked about in our appeal, so I should change our paper and arguments? We have re-written it, but what do I do now? Just bring a different one? Send them the new one? Can I introduce new information at the hearing?
2) we had talked about why the catchment school was not a good fit for her - not as good grades, lower rating etc. Is that ok? Should we be comparing the current school, or only talking about the desired school?
3) My husband has also since started working at our desired school. Would that help us? Can we bring that up as an argument? He is worried the headmaster will be angry at him for trying to jam our child in this oversubscribed school - is that valid? We have no idea how schools view this process here... do they dislike it? is it just normal process? He doesn't want to go to the appeals hearing because his boss will be there...
4) and finally, what sorts of arguments are considered more valid by the board? The school she is in is good - this one is just better.
Our main arguments are proximity (about 1.5 miles vs over 5 miles, but the desired school says they don't have a catchment), the desired school has a large international population which is good for a child newly to the uk (but we didn't put that in our original appeal, so it's also a new argument we would like to bring in) and the high academic achievement is desirable.
Are these typically successful arguments? Are there better/worse things to say?
Sorry for such a long first post! And the million questions!
This was a very complicated introduction to UK systems for us haha!, and it seems very hard to get any answers. Based on other threads on this topic I'm also afraid we will be woefully underprepared! Do I need square footage research and so on??
Thanks so very much
What you need to show is that the prejudice to her of not attending is greater than the prejudice to the school of taking another child.
You need to remember you are not appealing against a school, but for one. Arguments around a school having poor grades, ratings, OFSTEDs etc are not relevant (and might backfire, you never know if panelists might know the school, or even have had children there!). I sit on appeals panels and most of the time the school the child is already at isn't really relevant, unless it's 2 hours away over muddy fields with no transport...
You need to figure out what the desired school offers her specifically - subjects/clubs she really enjoys, for example. Also, push back on the schools arguments about being full - it will probably say something about small classrooms, small corridors, lack of equipment etc; you could ask if they have had any reportable accidents as a result of overcrowding. It would be useful to know how many children there are in each year - if other years are over PAN (admission numbers) that helps you argue that they could cope.
Travel/proximity arguments are rarely relevant, unless she has an absolute tortuous journey to school, and your husband working there isn't really relevant either. Standard "its a better school" arguments won't work either.
Appeals are a standard thing, no-one is going to hold it against him that you've appealed. I can understand him not wanting to face the Head at Panel though, but most Heads are pretty accepting of the appeals process (and lets face it, people only appeal if they really like a school so it's flattering really)
If you want to resubmit your letter, do it in advance; a panel doesn't have to take evidence submitted on the day (many do, but they don't have to).
Unless the school has a separate admissions category giving priority to staff children then the fact that your DP works at the school makes no difference. Even if there is this admission category then usually there is a qualifying period for this to apply. (Most schools don't have this).
You can't appeal for a school on the basis of academic results, OFSTED rating etc.
Think about what you want to say now in terms of what you now know and that you are appealing for a school not against a school. Then get it down in writing and get it to the clerk for the appeal panel as soon as possible. It would be preferable if the original document did not get to the appeal panel as it will just cause confusion.
You need to emphasise the positives of the school, with the first obvious one being that it has a large international population, which will better suit your child.
I would agree with husband in not wanting to be at the appeal, you can never tell what way the school's rep may respond or for that matter the panel if too much mention is made of the job and the obvious connection. If it comes up I would say to whoever says it that this appeal is about my child and not what my husband's employment is.
Thanks for all the advice! I am reworking the paperwork to email in today. I will make sure to focus more on what the new school has to offer, and less on the downsides of the current school
Think in terms of what is a downside at the one school is likely to be considered a positive at the other wanted school, which may help your thought pattern for positive reasons for the school
Well I've learnt something new here today - I had no idea you could appeal for a place in Y8 (assumed you could only go on a waiting list and get a place if someone in that year left).
Waspnest, you can appeal for a place in any year. Years R,1 and 2 tend to be very hard to win thanks to legislation restricting class sizes, but anyone can appeal for a place in any year at any time.
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