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Secondary school appeal-please help

(9 Posts)
leosmummy2010 Mon 01-Apr-19 16:04:38

Hi there,
I have submitted my appeal to an academy and awaiting a hearing date. I have sent the school a number of questions to prepare my case and they have refused to send them stating that ' all of these matters will be dealt with at the appeal hearing itself, where the school will provide information and answer any questions you may have as a result.'

I am certain that they have an obligation under the freedom of information act or appeals code to answer these. Can anyone advise please? x

OP’s posts: |
prh47bridge Mon 01-Apr-19 18:00:34

The Admission Appeals Code is clear that they must answer any reasonable questions you ask to help you prepare for your appeal. Paragraph 2.8 of the Code. Point this out to them. If they still refuse, start your case at the hearing by stating clearly that you have been hampered in preparing for your appeal by the school's refusal to comply with its obligations under the Appeals Code. It won't win your appeal for you but the panel will not be impressed.

leosmummy2010 Mon 01-Apr-19 19:29:45

Thanks so much for your reply! Exactly what I was looking for. I’m wondering if I should not ask again and just mention it the day of the appeal? Im Arguing on medical grounds...

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Tupps Mon 01-Apr-19 22:01:53

Leosmummy2010

My day job is as a Clerk to the Admission Appeals Panel - I'd like to help if I can:

Paperwork - stay organised and make sure your own papers are relevant to the grounds of your appeal. Don't worry about submitting examples of work or school reports, these don't help and you will waste valuable time at the hearing. Do ensure that you have all your evidence, e.g., letter from GP, hospital etc. The schools papers should be issued a minimum of 10 days before the hearing. A well organised school should be able to provide you with the information rather than fob you off. I would notify the Clerk (independent of the school) direct, and that you put your request on record with them, so that they are aware of the difficulties. This way you may have grounds for maladministration, if there is evidence of non-compliance and a clear audit trail of your actions.

Admissions Criteria - make sure you understand the schools admissions criteria. Most parents think they comply under med/soc reasons - find out what the threshold is - they should be able to tell you this if it is part of their admissions criteria. If they are not in the admissions criteria then, this may sound harsh, but med/social grounds only really succeed if you manage to gain the sympathy and support of the panel - so if the strength of your arguments outweigh any prejudice to the provision of efficient education and use of resources.

At the hearing - focus on why you want this particular school. Make sure you do your research and are able to fully explain why this school would suit your child. It won't help you to use arguments such as you like the school's ethos and values; or, its convenient, or his / her friends are going. You need to be very focused as to why this particular school can meet your child's needs better than any other school.

Some dos and donts:
Do talk about your own case and your child, not anyone else (e.g. ignore the fact that you know someone who lied to get in)
Do take your time, and stay calm. Its easy to get emotional, try to think of this as objectively as you can.
Do think of questions to ask the school, once you have read their case papers. You can ask as many questions as you want at the hearing, after the school representative has presented the case.
Don't not turn up or arrive late (believe me, this happens a lot)!
Dont try to "attack" the school verbally - if they are above the published admissions number, then they are able to refuse and its not personal

Finally, don't forget that parents have a right to express a preference, not a right to a specific school. Panels can be unpredictable - if they genuinely feel sympathetic to your case, they will do what they can to support you. They are supposed to be trained, and independent of the school so you should get a fair hearing.

Sorry, appreciate the above is long but hope it helps and good luck.

leosmummy2010 Tue 02-Apr-19 07:16:56

Thanks very much for writing. I’ve aleeady submitted all of my papers. The school Has no medical criteria on its admissions policy but I feel that not admitting my child would cause a great deal of hardship compared to what the school would suffer ( I have 4 supporting letters). Do you know if they are allowed to ask me if I am appealing for other schools and if I have to answer? Thanks so much for writing- it was super helpful!!

OP’s posts: |
Lougle Tue 02-Apr-19 07:39:08

@leosmummy2010

"I feel that not admitting my child would cause a great deal of hardship compared to what the school would suffer ( I have 4 supporting letters). Do you know if they are allowed to ask me if I am appealing for other schools and if I have to answer?"

This is ringing a few alarm bells for me, tbh. You say you have 4 supporting letters, but then indicate that you may be appealing for other schools. Do these 4 letters state that only this school is suitable for your child, or do they contain more vague statements about the sort of school your child needs?

Generally speaking, supportive letters are only helpful/convincing if they are very specific and contain recommendations from the professional themselves, rather than "leosmummy has informed me that....she feels that...I support her in her appeal for a school and hope you can consider this."

The other thing is that if the school has no medical/social criteria, then they were not wrong in denying you a place on those grounds, so you'll need to be very clear in your own mind that you are not appealing on the grounds that they were 'unreasonable', but that you are appealing on prejudice grounds.

Remember that you can argue a number of points, so you don't just have to give your medical/social justification, you can add in things about after school clubs, curriculum offerings, etc.

leosmummy2010 Tue 02-Apr-19 08:40:53

Points taken. I’m only appealing to the one school. The consultant wouldn’t specifically name the school ao I know I’m fighting on prejudicial grounds. Thanks so much for your advice. I will keep you posted but am anticipating the school being difficult. Hope they will tell me who the appeals clerk is!!

OP’s posts: |
Lougle Tue 02-Apr-19 09:31:02

Just as an aside, if your Consultant wrote something that only one school could provide, it isn't necessary that the school is named. For example, if there are 3 schools within reasonable travel distance (under 75 minutes) and 2 of them are on hills, but the other has level ground, then a statement such as 'As X is a wheelchair user, he should attend a school on level ground to enable independence around the school site.' would be just as valid as saying 'he must attend X school.'

leosmummy2010 Tue 02-Apr-19 10:03:41

Thanks! There are actually 2 suitable schools ( the one I’m appealing being one of them due to distance and mobility problems. I’m worried that they may ask me why I can’t go to the other one ( which ironically has amazing results ) but is not a well rounded school or has the activities that this school does. X

OP’s posts: |

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