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Secondary appeals - asking questions of the school

(5 Posts)
hollytree12 Tue 05-May-20 15:33:32

There's so much helpful advice on here and I've been looking through it and taking notes in preparation for my appeal.

In my LA, appeals this year are going to be 'heard' by submitted written evidence alone so no opportunity to ask or answer questions in front of a panel.

I'm obviously trying to gather all the information to make a strong case. However, while the admissions officer at my chosen school is polite she is not very forthcoming while another school's officer (we are on the waiting list for that one too) has been amazingly helpful. Looking at previous years' appeal rates the latter school has a much better success rate at winning appeals. 80% compared to 20%. Both schools - in the same town - are always oversubscribed and by a similar amount.

I am interested to learn what the second school is offering to the parents to help them with their appeals and while I think I could ask it the second officer, I feel a bit cheeky doing so.

In the meantime, is there a reason why a school and the admissions officer would not be helpful to a parent regarding the appeals process, and are there pertinent questions I could ask of the school that would help me strengthen my case?

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Tue 05-May-20 15:45:54

There are a number of reasons why a school might have more appeals won than other - for example, they could have a historically low PAN in relation to their available space/staffing etc; a more modern school with new buildings, well equipped science rooms, decent sized halls, for example, is going to find it harder to make the case that they are overcrowded compared to a school built in 1910 with little new development.

You need to know things that will help you make the case that the detriment to your child of not attending is greater than the detriment to the school of admitting. What are the key features of the school you are appealing for that show this? Are there specific strengths, specialisms, clubs that play to your childs strengths?

admission Tue 05-May-20 17:06:46

I think that the first question to ask of the school and the Local Authority is why the appeal is being carried out solely on papers. The amended regulation that came out just over a week ago was clear that the admission appeal panel had to make the decision on how to proceed at appeal. That should be via virtual hearings unless there was good reason why this was not possible, then telephone and then as last resort written papers would be used.
It seems that the admission authority are jumping to the wrong process here.

hollytree12 Tue 05-May-20 17:42:06

That's interesting re telephone as that was not mentioned. In the letter I received it said that they could only do it via video technology and as some of their panel members didn't have access to this, they would be conducting all appeals via written submissions.

OP’s posts: |
admission Tue 05-May-20 22:21:04

And I am afraid my response to that is to say that the LA should be making sure that the panel members can carry out appeals virtually. Only if the panel cannot access virtual hearing because their abode does not have internet connections should the panel be considering either a telephone appeal or paper appeal.
If they do go ahead and carry out paper appeal then it will become a long drawn affair. Because what is expected to happen is that you as appellant and the school exchange each of your cases and the panel get both cases. Then you will have a set period of time to submit all the questions you need to ask as will the presenting officer of your case and the panel members asking questions of all. There will then be a set period of time to answer the questions and return to the clerk after which the clerk will send out answers for all questions to relevant parties. Then the panel will have decide go through the appeal process, answer the questions they need to and then come to a decision. That will be then communicated to the clerk who will then inform all parties of decision.
In this process the really interesting bit is how are the panel going to make their decisions. They will not be meeting face to face, so how? By telephone or what?

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