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School admission appeal

(9 Posts)
Ginger00 Mon 29-Jul-19 12:57:47

Hi everyone,

Please can you help. I am looking for advice on appealing a school admission.

A little background - my son (now aged 13yrs) was at school until the end of Yr7. He was very unhappy in that particular school and begged to be taken out. Eventually, we removed him and for Yr8 and he was homeschooled with a tutor.

He is now ready to return to school in September. However, the preferred school , which is our catchment school , has no places. We have been offered a place in an unsuitable school.

How do I go about appealing? What is your best advice please?
What do I need to know to handle this situation!

Thank you for your time.

OP’s posts: |
Theworldisfullofgs Mon 29-Jul-19 13:03:47

When you appeal you have to focus on why this school would be so much better for him than elsewhere. Don't focus on why the other school is unsuitable.

There are some brilliant people on here who are real experts and will hopefully come along and help.

What are your grounds for appeal?

stucknoue Mon 29-Jul-19 13:10:21

Unfortunately if it's full then unless you have a particular reason as to why ONLY that school is suitable there's nothing you can do. You can go on the wait list, there's always kids who fail to turn up in September (parents failed to tell the school they are moving, or it was sudden)

MarchingFrogs Mon 29-Jul-19 20:27:11

Unfortunately if it's full then unless you have a particular reason as to why ONLY that school is suitable there's nothing you can do

Appeal panel members understand that people may be appealing for more than one school - it is a parent's legal right to appeal for any school to which they have applied and been turned down.. Any individual panel is there to examine firstly whether the school being appealed for on that occasion, in presenting its case for not admitting any child above the number of currently has in the year group, has demonstrated prejudice. And secondly, if the decision is that the school has demonstrated this, whether the prejudice to the child in question actually outweighs the prejudice to the school. This applies, completely individually, to each appeal the parent lodges. (It does help if the parent doesn't do a total 'cut and paste job' on multiple appeal submissions, though).

In the OP's case, it sounds as if there is only one school they consider can meet their DS's needs, however.

OP, the big question is, Why this school?. (Hopefully the strongest reason isn't something like 'Because I can drop him off on my way to work'smile). In practical terms, presumably you have investigated whether it is the school itself or the local authority that organises its appeals? Nothing is going to happen now until after the beginning of term unfortunately, whichever it is.

prh47bridge Mon 29-Jul-19 20:52:09

It is often said on here that you have to show that the appeal school is the only school for your child. That simply isn't true. You have to show that it is better for your child to go to the appeal school than the offered school. The fact that there may be other schools in the area that are even better for your child is irrelevant, even if it is true.

Fundamentally, to win your appeal you need to show that the disadvantage to your son from not attending this school outweighs any issues the school will face from having to cope with an additional pupil. Things like transport difficulties don't win appeals. You need to highlight things this school can offer your son that are missing from the allocated school and are particularly relevant to him. So, for example, if he is musical and the appeal school has more extracurricular musical activities, you should bring that up.

Remember you are appealing for the school you want, not against the school you have been offered. In general it is not a good idea to suggest that the allocated school is unsuitable unless the case is very clearcut (e.g. your child is confined to a wheelchair and the school is not fully accessible).

In terms of process, the letter refusing entry will have told you how to start off the appeal process. You don't need to send in your full written case immediately. Some people submit with just a few bullet points, or even with a simple statement that their written case will be submitted later.

Before the hearing, the panel will read your written case and any evidence you submit. During the hearing you will be asked to present your case. Don't simply read out your written case. That won't help the panel. Use it to highlight the strong points in your case. You also need to be ready to give a short summary at the end of the hearing.

You will receive the case to refuse entry before the hearing. Look for weaknesses that you can raise, either during your spoken case or by questioning the admission authority's representative. If you share their case on here when you get it you will get advice on challenging them.

If you need any information from the school or the LA to help you prepare for the hearing you should ask. They are required to answer any reasonable question you ask.

Ginger00 Wed 31-Jul-19 22:18:54

Thank you. The school is best for him because his friends are there. When he left primary he went to a different school than everyone else. He had a tough time, struggled with anxiety and in the end we removed to be home ed for a year. Sending him back to a school where he doesn't know anyone would be difficult for him.

OP’s posts: |
Ginger00 Wed 31-Jul-19 22:22:20

Thank you very much prh47bridge. That clarified and ordered everything thats been running around in my head.

It came as a shock, I had always assumed that children go to the school in their catchment area, so to be put in one outside that area was jarring.

I have emailed and called to school to start the appeal process.

Much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
HeadintheiClouds Thu 01-Aug-19 02:45:07

Your case is based on his friends being at the school... Doesn’t the fact that he previously attended the school and was so unhappy that you took him out somewhat undermine this?

prh47bridge Thu 01-Aug-19 08:07:53

I'm afraid his friends being there won't carry any weight at appeal unless you have professional evidence that he has a greater need than other children to be with his friends.

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