Talk

Advanced search

Hertfordshire Secondary School Appeal

(16 Posts)
Virgo690 Tue 01-Sep-20 10:46:01

Hi all, I was hoping to get some advice about an appeal and my situation. We moved to Berkhamsted in Jan 2020 so missed the deadline to get into the local school for Year 7 . We qualify based on distance but because it's oversubscribed we didn't get in. I was waiting for some movement in the year 7 roll and thought being 2nd on the continuing interest list my son would get a place at some stage...even if it was later in the year. This year though, the school agreed to take on 25 students over their PAN because of local need, and even though that number has now reduced to 19 over, the council has said that the numbers need to reduce to the usual PAN of 239 for my son to be accepted, i.e. my son is now basically 21st on the list and will never get into it for the next few years even though he lives 5 minutes away. I think this is wrong. The process has changed from last year and if we had applied last year in the same situation he would have got a place. This situation is not in the admissions guidance on the council or schools website. It's like they're just making up the rules as they go along. I've appealed now but just had a letter back stating the situation and it looks like I've got no options. The school he's been put in is not local and travel is a problem. I wondered if anyone would have any advice. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Tue 01-Sep-20 12:24:12

Sorry, I'm a bit confused - so; you moved in Jan this year, so missed the application for the Year 7 that is starting now? Firstly, most LAs should take late applications with a good reason - when did you actually apply?

In March, when places were allocated, presumably they allocated the normal PAN and your child was given a place on the waiting list at 2.

When did they decide to take the next 25? At that point, they should have taken the next 25 on the waiting list, so your son should have been included. Have they explained how they allocated this other 25? This seems such an obvious mistake I think I must have misunderstood!

(if the situation is, however, that he is already in Year 7, moving into Year 8 now, then the addition of 25 to the PAN for the Year 7 now is irrelevant and he should remain at 2 on the waiting list).

PatriciaHolm Tue 01-Sep-20 12:29:14

….or is it that they allocated the 265 in March on allocation day, and your son is 2nd on that list after the 265 were offered? So you have to wait for the PAN to go down to 239. In which case that is correct.

Zodlebud Tue 01-Sep-20 15:04:00

If it is the main school in Berkhamsted then this year and last in particular have really suffered with a significant bulge created largely by an awful lot of siblings and a change in the catchment of Chesham Grammar. Last year, if you lived the wrong side of Northchurch then you wouldn't have got a place and likewise if you lived in Potten End.

I don't know about the appeal itself but I am guessing you might have been allocated the school that starts with "L". If so, please don't despair. I have a friend whose son started there last year and it has been brilliant. Class size of 18, great discipline and a school really tuning itself around. He was at a small prep school prior and his mum was devastated when he didn't get a place at "A". She is now adamant that he is in absolutely the best school for him. Travel there is problematic though.

I would put your name on the waiting lists for Tring, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley in the meantime though if travel is going to be a huge issue. All have direct transport links from Berkhamsted, are great schools, and have other children who travel from Berko.

Virgo690 Wed 02-Sep-20 08:04:48

Thanks for your help. Yes this is the case, the extra 25 was added on the first allocation day. He's moving to year 7 this year. My view is that if it's been identified that there is a need for those extra 25 in that year group then there should be an extra 25 places. Only 19 of those places have been filled now as 6 students must have chosen other schools, so my son should be eligible to take up a place. We live 5 minutes walk from the school and qualify under rule 6. The other issue I have is the council are saying the continued interest places were allocated in line with the published admissions arrangements, but there is no information published which states what happens if there has been an overallocation of spaces in the first round. It's not transparent and seems a bit mickey mouse to me. I was also told by the council in March that an appeal would probably not be successful but have since found at 99% of the kids from the primary that did appeal won. We're from NZ where the system is totally different so this experience has been a bit of an eye opener! Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Virgo690 Wed 02-Sep-20 08:07:45

I applied in October19 and moved on December 1st from NZ but because I didn't get a rental until January2020 we missed the deadline.

OP’s posts: |
Virgo690 Wed 02-Sep-20 08:17:11

Zodlebud

If it is the main school in Berkhamsted then this year and last in particular have really suffered with a significant bulge created largely by an awful lot of siblings and a change in the catchment of Chesham Grammar. Last year, if you lived the wrong side of Northchurch then you wouldn't have got a place and likewise if you lived in Potten End.

I don't know about the appeal itself but I am guessing you might have been allocated the school that starts with "L". If so, please don't despair. I have a friend whose son started there last year and it has been brilliant. Class size of 18, great discipline and a school really tuning itself around. He was at a small prep school prior and his mum was devastated when he didn't get a place at "A". She is now adamant that he is in absolutely the best school for him. Travel there is problematic though.

I would put your name on the waiting lists for Tring, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley in the meantime though if travel is going to be a huge issue. All have direct transport links from Berkhamsted, are great schools, and have other children who travel from Berko.

Thanks for this - that's good to know it's been a good experience and I would be happy with the school in the most part if it was local, (and they gave it a coat of paint!). I like it's small and he was given some work to do over the holidays that really appealed to him. Travel is the problem as I'm a solo parent working full time so I would feel better if he was going to a school he could walk to. He will also struggle to take part in any after school activities. I had put his name down for those other schools but the waiting list is so long he wouldn't get in.

OP’s posts: |
prh47bridge Wed 02-Sep-20 10:09:23

If they allocate more spaces in the first round than PAN they must do so in line with their published admission criteria. The extra 25 offers should have gone to those who would have been the first 25 on time applicants on the waiting list. No more places will be offered until the number drops below PAN. That is normal. I understand why you think they should offer the 6 additional places that haven't been taken up but that isn't how it works, I'm afraid. They can offer those places if they want but they don't have to.

The figure of 99% successful appeals seems unlikely unless a mistake was made. Typically, 20-25% of secondary school appeals are successful.

Virgo690 Wed 02-Sep-20 11:40:03

Thanks for your help. I had that info about the number of successful appeals confirmed by the head of the primary school.

OP’s posts: |
lanthanum Wed 02-Sep-20 11:46:22

It might be within the rules, but it doesn't seem to fit with common sense. 25 extra places presumably means adding an extra class. If they've only got 19 extras, they'll probably still have to have the extra class, so class sizes will be small.
Maybe there's a good chance of appeals going through; the detriment to the school will be small as they will already have the extra class. If appealing, it might be worth finding out the total number they've got and the number of classes.

(It also seems at odds with the situation I knew where the PAN was temporarily exceeded - the numbers in the catchment were slightly over the PAN, and the number of families in the village was expected to increase during the year. So the PAN was lifted and they had an extra class with the expectation that there would then be space for anyone moving in.)

PatriciaHolm Wed 02-Sep-20 12:54:46

Hmm - with a PAN of 240, that suggests 8 forms of 30. Adding 25 (with the full knowledge that it wouldn't very likely be a full 25 in the end) could also suggest they were intending just to add 2-3 pupils to each form, rather than create another form. Possibly.

Any school that over offers with the intention of falling back does leave itself open slightly to appeals though, as they have to be capable of taking the full complement of offered places, even if they protest that it always falls back.

prh47bridge Wed 02-Sep-20 16:02:27

Agree with PatriciaHolm. As they have voluntarily gone 25 over PAN it is going to be hard for them to argue at appeal that they can't cope with that many pupils.

Virgo690 Wed 02-Sep-20 22:21:22

That's my thinking too. Thank you all for your advice.

OP’s posts: |
sroda Thu 03-Sep-20 16:20:17

Hi all. Need some advise on appeals. Secondary school in year place for year 8.
We moved from London to Corby in Northamptonshire and applied for a school place in July. The top 4 closest to home we chose are all full in his year group. We went a little further out about 20min drive to 3 schools and they are all at there PAN too. What are our chances of appealing.
One is a cof e school we prefer since we are active members. The first 3 which are the best schools within a short distance from home are all part of a trust and don't operate a waiting list so you have to keep applying or checking if there is space in the year group. Ds is really depressed about it as he is coming from an outstanding school and even though we haven't heard anything they say a school that requires improvement may be the only one that has spaces available.
Any ideas on how to proceed will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

prh47bridge Fri 04-Sep-20 00:13:49

@sroda - As it is a secondary school appeal you have a chance of success, but no-one can say for sure how good your chances are. It depends on the strength of your case and the strength of the school's case to refuse admission. Note that you will not win an appeal on the basis of distance of wanting an outstanding school or the only school with places being one that requires improvement. You will need to find things that your preferred school offers that are not available at the nearest school with places and that you can show are particularly relevant to your son.

BilberryBaggins Thu 10-Sep-20 16:22:49

Remember that in an appeal you are trying to show that your child's need for a place outweighs the negative effect on children already with places, should the school have to take another child. Basically, they make the case that they're full, and outline the impact that another child would have (eg crammed corridors, lack of resources), and you make the case for your child. Not having a school place is a good place to start; you might also look at ethos (if you want a faith ethos eg), subject choices, any SEN, or reasons for needing to be in that location (eg if he had a lot of medical appointments and it was near the site of the appointments). That sort of thing.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in