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Please help - appealing for secondary place

(23 Posts)
jesslou Sat 02-Mar-19 09:40:08


My son has failed to be given any of our choice of schools and they have randomly selected a school 8 miles away from home, with no direct bus routes or school bus available, the shortest time we can find on google maps for him to get there during morning times is 55mins using a train, bus and walk. My son has never been on public transport alone, he is a very shy, nervous child as I just do not think it would be possible for him. I could drive him there but the traffic that way in a morning would take around 50 mins and I am due to have another baby in 5 weeks time. Trying to get everyone up and out would be near impossible and I when I go back to work things would get even worse.
Our first and second choice of school his friends are going and both have a school bus route right past our house, one is only 2 miles away and the other one 3. Our first choice of school is 5 minutes from where I work also.
My son is distraught as there's only him from his year group that hasn't got into one of the two schools. He's extremely academic and wants the best education for himself which I feel this school he's been selected really cannot provide.
This is our first child at secondary so feel completely out of my depth here and unsure as to what to state for our reasons of appeal apart from the obvious distance.
We live on a new build estate and are wondering if they even got our address wrong for the distance of the school provided!

Any advice would be greatly received.


OP’s posts: |
Hastag0417 Sat 02-Mar-19 09:46:55

Hi I can’t help but I’m watching for advice too as my first choice was declined. Was your child at the feeder school, it seems massively unfair for him not to have a place. I’d definitely appeal. Good luck smile

jesslou Sat 02-Mar-19 09:55:54

His primary school isn't a feeder school for any really, there's a broad mixture of schools around and some go on to the private school nearby. The two choices we put are popular with the children at the school, so they seemed obvious choices.

Sorry to hear you are in the same situation, it's extremely stressful, wish you the best of luck smile

OP’s posts: |
BarbarianMum Sat 02-Mar-19 09:55:57

Get on the waiting lists for all schools that youd prefer.
Think about an appeal. If you appeal do not mention that you dont think your ds can manage a journey of 55 min using public transport as this is quite normal for secondary and wont carry any weight (just because he cant do it now doesnt mean he couldnt learn to do it, esp if he's bright).

jesslou Sat 02-Mar-19 10:04:56

The council that we are in states that a child should be placed in a school within a 3 mile radius, ideally that they could walk to if needed. We live in quite a built up area so it isn't necessary for a child to travel so far.
To give more background my son has had to have therapy for his worries and anxieties and this is now bringing all of this back. I do have his reports from the therapy that I was hoping to bring along to support the appeal.

Automatically go onto waiting list for schools we did not get a place in.
It would also be an issue if I needed to get to school quickly if he was to become ill or have an accident.

OP’s posts: |
PotteryLady Sat 02-Mar-19 10:07:54

Did you put the 3 closest schools to you? If you didn't this is why you got the random one. You will have to go on the waiting lists.

jesslou Sat 02-Mar-19 10:12:00

We put two of the closest schools to us. I was told by a lady at the council that it wasn't necessary for me to put a third choice but I am really thinking now that she gave us terrible advice! There is one other school that is closer to us but there were strong reasons we didn't add that as a choice.

OP’s posts: |
BarbarianMum Sat 02-Mar-19 10:13:15

Again, unless hes likely to be ill or have an accident that doesnt carry much weight. Im not saying dont mention the distance, Im saying dont build your whole case around it.

YY to mentioning his anxiety at appeal though, that is relevant.

Was your catchment school one of the ones you were turned down for?

titchy Sat 02-Mar-19 10:27:31

Your council has to provide free transport for him to get to the school he's been allocated. Find out what that is likely to be. If it's a door to door taxi service you can hardly use that at appeal.

But find out why he wasn't admitted to your bearer schools. Check they got your distance right. And find out where you are on waiting lists. If a lot go private there's likely to be a lot of movement.

Check out the allocated school. It might be ok.

Any appeal is FOR a specific school, not against the allocated one. So Appeal High is the only school in the county with an orchestra and Jonny is grade 6 violin and needs strong music opportunities.

And scary as it seems others are right, an 11 year old should be able to manage public transport - so spend some time in the summer building up his confidence getting buses by himself.

prh47bridge Sat 02-Mar-19 10:35:12

Distance generally doesn't win an appeal unless it is unreasonable (i.e. the allocated school is over 75 minutes journey each way) or the child has mobility issues. Your appeal needs to be about why the appeal school is the right school for your son. Agree with titchy's advice.

jesslou Sat 02-Mar-19 11:12:16

Yes I've read that, obviously we are going to mention the distance and lack of transport to the school but we don't want to base our appeal on just this.

The school he's got into only seems to offer 5 GCSEs as an outcome, it's an academy school and the rest of the education is made up of a 'life programme' to which they don't actually get any qualifications.
I've heard looking into their extra curricular activities helps? Should I be comparing the two schools beforehand and try to pick out what the school he has been given doesn't offer?
Any other things I should be looking for?
I don't know anything about the school he's been given as I had never heard of it and never even been to the area. Upon reading it really hasn't helped my situation, the Ofsted needed it to improve whereas our first choice is rated as outstanding.
Thanks for all your replies so far, anything is so helpful as we really don't know what to say in there.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 02-Mar-19 11:17:17

If all pupils only take 5 GCSEs that's worth mentioning. But is that true though. Whilst common in specialist provision it would be very unusual in a mainstream school.

Again find out what the free transport is before mentioning it.

Remember though the bulk of your appeal is why Appeal High is the only suitable school for your child. Not why Faraway High isn't.

jesslou Sat 02-Mar-19 11:28:26

It is what their website states, I have contacted the school to ask if we can go and view it, also to ask questions about what they offer etc. As their website is not the best. I believe it was built as a temporary measure because of the need in the area.

Yes, I will base it all on what the school offers that my son needs. So he plays musical instruments, to say they offer this do I need proof that he plays those instruments?

OP’s posts: |
prh47bridge Sat 02-Mar-19 11:59:06

The appeal panel is likely to take your word on him playing instruments but a letter from someone else about his musical interests won't do any harm.

HuntIdeas Sat 02-Mar-19 20:17:00

Make sure you are on the waiting lists for all of the schools that are preferable to the one he’s been allocated, even if they weren’t on your original list

prh47bridge Sat 02-Mar-19 21:26:01

Make sure you are on the waiting lists for all of the schools that are preferable to the one he’s been allocated, even if they weren’t on your original list

That may not be possible. Some LAs limit the number of waiting lists you can be on.

BrimfulOfChocolate Sun 03-Mar-19 14:02:20

The school he's got into only seems to offer 5 GCSEs as an outcome, it's an academy school and the rest of the education is made up of a 'life programme' to which they don't actually get any qualifications.*

You have seen the website, not me, but for a mainstream school this is incredibly unusual/unlikely, not least because of the effect on the school’s data eg Progress 8. Worth going back and looking again?

BrimfulOfChocolate Sun 03-Mar-19 14:04:46

PS - also, you know they didn't "randomly select" it for your son, don't you? It will be the nearest school with unallocated spaces when all the applications had been processed.

eddiemairswife Sun 03-Mar-19 14:07:20

They might be the 5 core subjects that each pupil is required to take, then they choose various other options.

Babygrey7 Sun 03-Mar-19 14:10:16

Did you add your catchment school to the list?

Agree with others, base the appeal on specific things the school you want offers.

Being negative about the allocated school will achieve nothing.

BananaDaiquiri Sun 03-Mar-19 14:56:12

There is one other school that is closer to us

If you didn't apply to your closest school you may not (I believe) be eligible for free transport to the allocated school (I may have that wrong, and I'm still not clear if you didn't apply for your closest school or if the two you picked were the closest two and this third one is another nearby).

In the meantime, definitely check the council have the correct address and distance from your house to the chosen schools, it is possible there has been an error if it's a new build estate. Also, call and find where you are on the waiting list, if it's a high mobility area there may be a lot of movement over the next few months. Good luck.

prh47bridge Sun 03-Mar-19 18:12:56

If you didn't apply to your closest school you may not (I believe) be eligible for free transport to the allocated school

Broadly speaking that is correct. For most pupils, the entitlement to free transport only kicks in if the council cannot offer a place at a nearer school. For the main admissions round, that generally means that you aren't entitled to free transport if you didn't put your nearest school down as one of your preferences because the council can argue that you would have got a place there.

avocadochocolate Sun 03-Mar-19 19:32:02

Thank think that's true what @BananaDaiquiri says about the free transport. I'm a bit of an expert on this because I had a 6-month battle with my local council about paying for transport to school. You can look up the rules here:

OP, I think your case is quite weak, TBH. Sorry. I think the waiting lists are your best bet. There is usually a lot of movement in the waiting list, so good luck with that. My DD was on waiting list for primary. I think she was 7th and got a place eventually.

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