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Help with Secondary School appeal

(23 Posts)
kjj3 Tue 05-Mar-19 14:34:46

I would be really grateful for some advice. This is a repost as I mistakenly,( (in all my distress) added this to someone else's thread so I am really grateful to any one that is able to give me some help.

My son didn't get any of the school choices we made. He was given a school that is, as the crow flies, the closest to us, but is RI. It is also a Catholic school and we are not Catholic.

We are on all of the waiting lists for the schools we did name, but we are going to appeal also.
My son plays academy and district level football and the given school does not enter any cups, and plays in the B league. Two of the schools we applied for play in local and regional cups and have a strong sporting ethos.
I am grateful for the advice given on the other thread that said that we should accept the place at the school we were given, but it makes me feel so panicked to think that is name is on their list and that Croydon could say, "Well, you accepted a school, so he has to go there."
My older son has autism and goes to a special school but would have gotten a place last year at both of our top two choice schools, according to their catchment from last year.
I feel that as my SEN son can't go to the local school, his younger brother is being penalised as he would have gotten in on the sibling rule.
I just really would like to know what would happen if I didn't accept the place given and if the football and SEN sibling would help us in our appeal.
I am very grateful for any advice and thank you if you advised in the other thread.

OP’s posts: |
myrtleWilson Tue 05-Mar-19 16:28:42

The problem you face is what happens if you decline the school and don't get in on appeal? Are you able to homeschool or go private? If you decline the space your LA has discharged its duty and isn't required to find another space - although most will but that may be a school also in R.I. but further away. Admissions experts on here have said previously that panels don't like feeling that they're being forced to accept an appeal because the child has no allocated school.
I think the sporting element is good for appeal but I don't think the SEN sibling "would have been at this school" link works - sorry.
Have you looked at the curriculum alongside sport to see if there's anything else that particularly "fits" your son?

kjj3 Tue 05-Mar-19 16:51:16

Oh thank you, and what you are saying makes sense. We will have to look at homeschooling if our appeal fails. I will look into other curriculum areas, do you know if the fact it's RI would be taken into consideration. I doesn't seem fair that he can be given a failing school. I really appreciate your advice and will sadly accept the place. Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Janleverton Tue 05-Mar-19 16:58:59

RI is satisfactory in old money (the previous ofsted gradings).

The appeal panel would be highly unlikely to take that into account - the argument being along the lines that if the RI inspection meant that the school was unfit for children, how on earth can they justify any children going there?

Would it be worth visiting the school and seeing how you feel about it generally, while carrying on with waiting lists and appeal(s). Check out when it was inspected, on what basis it was rated as RI and what the school is doing to address this.

This relates to primary - but dcs primary school (2 have left there to go to secondary and 1 still attends) was satisfactory when eldest started, Good when second child started, RI a few years later and now outstanding. All in a 12 year period. All three are thriving and doing very well regardless, just means that it’s become more of a destination school. Local secondary was outstanding and is now good - dip in GCSE results triggered an inspection, first in 10 years because they tend not to inspect outstanding schools with any frequency (which can hide a slump).

YogaDrone Tue 05-Mar-19 17:00:36

Others far more qualified will answer I'm sure but you need to remember that you are not appealing against the school you have been allocated but for the school you want.

You absolutely need to accept the school you've been offered unless you are absolutely sure you have a non state school alternative. I would accept it anyway - you can always refuse later.

I'd say the sport angle is the best for the appeal. I don't think SEN sibling is relevant to an appeal.

Janleverton Tue 05-Mar-19 17:01:16

And dd is at a different secondary that is apparently outstanding. Or at least it was when it was inspected about 9 years ago! While ds is at a good secondary which was RI but seems to me as good if not better in terms of pupil experience and teaching than dd’s outstanding one.

Janleverton Tue 05-Mar-19 17:02:06

Yes, I’d say the sports angle is your best bet - providing evidence of the sporting emphasis of the schools you want.

myrtleWilson Tue 05-Mar-19 17:02:19

I can understand the apprehension about a school that has been graded RI but you can't really make an argument that your son shouldn't go to that school but others can cope. I know that's not exactly what you are saying but the result is there or there abouts. The other thing about R.I. schools is quite often with the right resources and staff team they can be turned around - there are threads on here detailing how school x was the over subscribed, excellent school and no one wanted school y, but due to effective interventions school y improves and school x coasts and the situation has changed.
Am not obviously saying this is guaranteed in your case but perhaps in looking at the school again ask questions about the R.I. plans - they may give you a bit more confidence...

prh47bridge Tue 05-Mar-19 17:33:15

Your appeal will not be refused because you accept the offered school. If anything, it could be the other way round. If you reject the offered school it may feel to the appeal panel like you are trying to blackmail them. Accept the offered school. You can always reject it later if you have an alternative.

The sports points are the best ones you have at the moment. See if there is anything else the appeal school offers that is missing from the allocated school and is particularly relevant to your son. If there is, that will strengthen your case.

PanelChair Tue 05-Mar-19 19:14:22

The sports provision is by far your strongest argument at appeal. The appeal is about the school you want, not criticism of the school you’ve been offered, and the panel also can’t get drawn into speculation about whether your son would have got a sibling place if his sibling had been there. What else about the preferred school would meet your son’s needs in a way the allocated school can’t?

If you refuse the place at the allocated school, the LEA won’t offer an alternative so you may find yourself having to homeschool from September.

PercyGherkin Tue 05-Mar-19 19:53:51

I assume you mean a school starting with T? If so, they were judged RI in December 2016 and the last monitoring letter in July 2017 is very positive I’d say, definitely moving in the right direction. I’m surprised they haven’t been reinspected yet - I bet they will have been before your son starts (if he does!).

kjj3 Tue 05-Mar-19 20:36:38

Hi yes it probably that school. The issue isn't the OFSTED rating it's the fact that kids have to be pretty street wise to go there.

We know kids who have been beaten up tand people who have taught there have said our son can't go to the school. My son has said he's not prepared go anyway as he's regularly sees kids fighting on the high street as he comes home from school.

Therefore if he doesn't get another school on the waiting list or through an appeal we will have to try to get him into the local prep school until a space comes up.

On the plus side waiting lists normally move pretty quickly after April round here so hopefully we will get a space at another school in due course.

We will accept the place though in view of the fact it may affect an appeal

OP’s posts: |
kjj3 Tue 05-Mar-19 20:46:45

Regarding the appeal we are not sure of anything else we could argue. The school we are appealing for has more GCSE options and A level options but I assume these won't be relevant especially A level options as I assume schools only have to offer core subjects?

Are we likely to have little chance of success based on sports only?

Thank you all for the help so far

OP’s posts: |
gun33t1 Tue 05-Mar-19 20:50:30

I have just joined mumsnet and wanted some help on Secondary School Appeals please.
My daughter took the 11+ exams in September 2018. In October 2018 we received an email that my daughter had been assessed suitable for admission to a grammar school.
Then in November 2018 we got another email from admissions stating that there was a discrepancy with my daughters date of birth between her test registration and secondary school application.
I then confirmed my daughters date of birth on 21st November 2018, then another email came saying that I have mistakenly gave the wrong date of birth. Instead of giving April as the month of birth I gave May as the month of birth, My daughters result was deducted by 1 mark off her English test result. According to the grammar school threshold for a grammar assessment no single score below 107 in any subject is acceptable. This meant that due to the mistake of birth month my daughter score was 106, meaning that she did not meet the criteria for grammar school.
In her other subjects she scored 113 for Maths and 121 for reasoning.
My question is why was 1 mark deducted from English rather than the other subjects.
My elder daughter already goes to this grammar school which is a plus point for my younger daughter to go to the same grammar school.
Could someone please advise on how I can put this all down for the appeal.

myrtleWilson Tue 05-Mar-19 20:53:54

@gun33t1 you should start your own thread otherwise answers to you and answers to kjj3 are going to get confused. Go to secondary education and then "start new thread"

GU24Mum Tue 05-Mar-19 20:55:10

gun331t1 - you are better off starting your own thread - welcome to mumsnet though!

PanelChair Tue 05-Mar-19 21:34:12

Gun - Do start your own thread. I'm not based in a grammar school area, but it makes sense to me that English would be the one paper where marks would be age-adjusted and so, as your daughter is a month older than you at first stated, a mark would be deducted. Others with more grammer school experience may have more to say.

PanelChair Tue 05-Mar-19 21:35:53

Grammar, for shame

gun33t1 Tue 05-Mar-19 21:43:34

Thank you, have started new thread. Sorry for that, was not sure what to needs to be done.

AornisHades Wed 06-Mar-19 00:07:00

kj if you have a strong case on the football aspect alone then yes you might convince a panel. Some people throw so much at the panel without any real focus but if you have a thing that they can weigh up it makes it easier for them. Make sure you have plenty of evidence of his club success, letters detailing his participation from clubs and ask his primary to confirm his history with them in a letter to submit.

kjj3 Thu 20-Jun-19 12:46:54

Hi we were wondering if we could get some more advice. We were due to attend an appeal for our sons first choice secondary school today but it was unfortunately postponed as the clerk had a family emergency.

The call we received was from the school in question and we asked if another clerk could be found. We were told though that the trust which school is part of appointed the clerk and she is the only clerk they have used for a number of years. They also advised that the clerk appoints the panel members who again have been the same for a number of years.

All the correspondence we have received has come from the academy even the clerk's letter advising of the time of the appeal and the details of the panel members which was sent c/o of the school.

We did not receive a bundle of all the papers before the hearing just a copy of the schools response as the school said they assumed we would have a copy of all the paper work we sent.

The above does not sound very independent as school has only had 1 successful appeal out of 40 in the last 5 years which is a surprise when the PAN is over 300.

Also we read that an appeal must be heard within 40 school days of the last day for receiving the appeal application but this would be next Wednesday and whilst our appeal was due today the second day of appeals is not till the 2 of July which is outside of this timescale as the closing date for appeals for the school was the 24 April 2019.

Does the above seem reasonable as it does not seem transparent and independent to us


OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Thu 20-Jun-19 13:57:13

Unfortunately, emergencies happen, and replacing a clerk with few hours notice is likely to be hard - they are specifically trained for appeals, they aren't just note takers.

It sounds like this academy runs their own appeals, which is perfectly legal, but as you have noted can lead to a perception (at least!) of impartiality especially if they run with a very limited panel. So all the detail and papers would have come from the school as they are organising.

One thing that may prove enlightening might be to research the panel members if you know their names - it sounds a bit stalkerish but if you realise they have other close connections to the school in question then their impartiality can be called into question. (I sit on panels but through my LEA, and am impartial and it always annoys the hell out of me when panels clearly aren't as it taints the rest of us!)

1/40 is a low success rate - the average across the country is 1/5 - but without seeing the case for the school I can't really tell if it's justified. That 1/5 success is of course an average and will include some schools where appeals are much easier to win (and in some cases where schools actually want the appeals to succeed because they want the pupils, but have been forced to take it to appeal, if for example they are not their own admissions authority)

I don't get the point re, the bundle though -were you expecting a copy back of everything you had submitted? I wouldn't expect the school to send a copy of all that, just their case.

In terms of timing, well, yes that's again unfortunate but very little can be done. Realistically they aren't going to be able to move the July 2 appeals up earlier now.

kjj3 Thu 20-Jun-19 14:50:09

Thank you for your response.

If the school is allowed to handle the appeal and appoint clerks and panels then fair enough.

It just does not seem transparent when the same person who tells you that you don't have grounds for appeal then provides the information for the appeal and then responds on behalf of the clerk and refers to the clerk and panel as our appeal panel.

We will though have to attend the hearing when rearranged see how independent it is!

Regarding the bundle we went to an appeal last week which was dealt with the LA independent appeals panel. A week before the hearing we received all the paperwork which had been received by the clerk from both parties and looking at the appeals code it suggests this is the procedure. I been to ECHP tribunals and DWP tribunals and these have also worked liked this. It simply confirms that all yours and the other parties documents have been received and will be available to panel on the day.

If I'm honest we found the appeal last week a strange experience. The schools rep just read their statement which had been previously sent word for word and didn't even include the part as to why my son could be accommodated at another school. When a panel member asked a question about this part she simply said she only had what she had been given and could not comment.

She could not comment on any of our questioned asked ie how they had dealt with going over PAN before, what evidence they had to support halls and corridors were overcrowded etc. She didn't ask us any questions or even sum up. She seemed confused that we were asking questions

Both schools have simply used the same generic arguments regarding overcrowding with no evidence to back it up. They seemed to have also made little effort to counter our prejudice arguments and its as if they feel they just have to turn up to win

OP’s posts: |

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