late applications and appeals process for secondary schools

(28 Posts)
zane1 Wed 23-Dec-09 06:13:07

Hi, we are moving in the summer term to an area 500 miles from our current address. We have missed the deadline for applying for a secondary place for my eldest - currently year 6. We were advised to enter a late application so that he could take the 11+ for the local grammar school - which he has passed (no tutoring!). Unfortunately, since we've missed the deadline for applying he will be treated as late application and will be turned down for the school (since it's oversubscribed) We apparently have the right to appeal this once we have a valid address in the area. - Has anyone gone through the appeals process - how does it work? What are our chances?
Thanks - Zane1

PositivelyFestive Wed 23-Dec-09 07:46:27

Good morning!

Well done on DS getting the grade for grammar.

Unfortunately, LA s are not allowed to keep places open for people who move into an area after the deadline for applications. They are legally bound to fill a school if they have enough applications.
You can appeal and the appeal process is fairly straightforward. However, IME (appeal panel member - don't shoot me!!) the best chance you have is to get your DS on the waiting list as soon as you have a valid address near the school. There is a lot of movement with people moving away, so he may be lucky. I am not saying not to appeal, you have nothing to lose at all, so do everything you can. It is not either/or, just make sure he is on the waiting list as soon as possible.

Good luck! smile

roisin Wed 23-Dec-09 20:56:28

A friend looked on the internet and paid a small sum of money for a leaflet of hints and tips and what to argue at appeal. They won.

claig Wed 23-Dec-09 21:04:32

go to elevenplusexams.co.uk and look at the forum. There is an appeals section and they give fantastic free advice on appeals from very experienced people.

AMerryScot Wed 23-Dec-09 21:10:10

We were in this situation when DS1 was in Y6, although without the grammar option. We had no grounds for appeal because we didn't apply by the deadline date.

He would have been about 50th on the waiting list for a pretty poor comp., and that is living a 3minute walk away. The alternative offered by teh Lea was a total sink school, and they freely admitted that we wouldn't want to send DS there.

We ended up putting him in a 13+ prep school.

natsmum100 Sat 26-Dec-09 23:42:37

Went through this last year. Moved after deadline for school places and were offered 3rd choice. We appealed. We had to fill in a form outlining reasons for wanting our first choice school - nearest to home, DS not familiar with local area and we were not keen for him to travel alone by bus in area that he doesn't know. Our appeal was successful. But chances of success depend on where you live. Of the 29 appeals for places at our first choice school, 14 were successful. Good luck to you.

MadBadandCoveredinTinsel Sat 26-Dec-09 23:53:49

Another appeal panel member here. (Please don't shoot me either).

A lot will depend on how your preferred school's admission criteria are defined and where your ds is on the waiting list. Unless you can demonstrate that the criteria have been mis-applied, you are maybe not likely to win an appeal: not having another school offer - or not liking the offer you've received - usually aren't winning grounds for appeal. However, if you can demonstrate that the school could accommodate your child "without prejudice" or that there are very compelling reasons why he should go there, things may be more promising.

Find the website of the Advisory Centre for Education - lots of helpful information there. Also look at the admissions information on the DCSF website.

PositivelyFestive Sun 27-Dec-09 08:04:54

Hi MadBadandCoveredinTinsel I thought i was the only panel member brave enough to admit it on here! grin I don't feel like a hated pompous, out of touch beaurocrat Billy-no-mates any more! grin

MadBadandCoveredinTinsel Sun 27-Dec-09 21:56:17

<<High-fives PositivelyFestive>>

Hi, PositivelyFestive. I'm a bit wary about declaring that I'm a panel member, but I'm guessing and hoping that on threads like this it might be helpful for the OP to hear from people who have been through the appeal process - either as an appellant or as a panel member. Are we supposed to be hated, pompous, out of touch, bureaucratic and friendless, then? There I was, thinking that we were trying to bring a bit of common sense and perspective and MN wisdom to the process! grin blush

zane1 Mon 28-Dec-09 08:10:24

Thankyou for all the help. I hope you all had a good Christmas. To the 2 very brave and totally non-pompous etc panel members(!). Am I right in thinking I have to wait until we have an address in the area before we can appeal? Does this also apply to getting his name on the list for the grammar?
Obviously we'd prefer him to go to the grammar, but if not we just DON'T want him to go the only undersubscribed school in the area - which I'm assuming is the one we'll get offered since it's undersubscribed - and for good reasons from the research I've done.
We currently live in an area where all schools are excellent and you automatically go to the local village college - never realised how lucky we were until now!

zane1 Mon 28-Dec-09 08:26:38

Another question - is the appeals process only at one time of year - what is we don't have a valid address until the summer holidays - what happens then?

PositivelyFestive Mon 28-Dec-09 08:48:17

Hi Zane, As far as I am aware and certainly in this local authority you cannot appeal until you have signed contracts on a house in the area. However, you can appeal at any time, there is no deadline.
Take a look at the advice websites and be prepared. Remember that the panel are humans, too, although some seem to disguise this fact well. We are tied by rules, so you need to stick to facts, but work within the guidlines to put your case forward.

So glad to know that I am not hated, pompous, out of touch, bureaucratic and friendless! I am quite normal, have 5 dcs, hate beaurocracy and have some very good friends grin, but have not outed myself as a panel member on some threads where someone has been turned down and they disagree! wink

MadBadandCoveredinTinsel Mon 28-Dec-09 13:48:26

Hi again, Zane.

The difficulty is that almost all appeals turn on the school's admissions criteria - and distance to school is often the point at issue – so that without a confirmed address there's nothing the authority (or later the appeal panel) can do. Understandably, I think, authorities don't accept uncorroborated statements that “we are planning to move to 34 Railway Cuttings” because there are parents who are willing to lie to get a school place. Hence the need for firm evidence.

I can understand that you don’t want your son to go to the unpopular school, but I think there are separate issues here which you need to untangle:

As your son has passed the 11+, where is he on the waiting list? I assume that he’ll automatically move up the list once you have a confirmed address in the area but this is something you need to check. We don’t have grammar schools here, but I have learnt from MN that some set a different pass mark depending on whether you live in or out of catchment – check that too.

If your son is still too far down the list to get a place at the grammar school, you need to look carefully at what grounds you might have for appeal. Frankly, if everything has been done in accordance with published policies and criteria, your chances of a successful appeal aren’t high, but that isn’t to say that the situation is hopeless. Are there are, for instance, any compelling social, medical or compassionate reasons why he deserves a place? Ideally, you need to identify a reason which can be corroborated by (say) a doctor or social worker and which goes beyond the obvious disappointment of not getting the school place you want.

It’s sensible to have a back-up plan. Look at other nearby schools and identify those which you would accept. If you are offered a place at the school you don’t want, you are far more likely to succeed if you identify positive reasons for your son to attend the grammar or one of the other schools. This may entail more than one appeal (one for the grammar school and one for an alternative school).

Tactics that don’t generally succeed at appeals are

Rubbishing the school you have been allocated - This doesn’t really address the terms of the admissions code or the appeals code. The appeal has to address why (in the parent’s view) the decision not to allocate a place in the preferred school was wrong.

Threatening not to send the child to school unless a place is given in the preferred school – Of course, home education is an option open to everyone, and might be the solution until a place in the preferred school becomes available, but threatening that the child will truant unless given a place at the first choice school will probably not win an appeal.

PositivelyFestive – Yes, it is awkward when people feel that they haven’t had a fair hearing or that the appeal was weighted against them, but I feel comfortable that panels I have been on have worked very hard to put appellants at their ease and have really tested the school’s/LEA’s position. On threads about appeals there are also people pointing out that if panels allowed every appeal, without considering the school’s position as well as the family’s, some schools would be very overcrowded and none of the children would benefit from that.

Sorry, very long post (and a lot of it you know already) but hope this helps.

NMummy12e Wed 13-Jan-16 21:37:46

Hi I'm wondering if anyone can give me some advice please.
My friends daughter was abroad and their flight was missed to come back. So I let me daughter sit my friends daughters entrance exam for a school. Someone reported the situation to the council and both my daughters and my friends daughters application were withdrawn. Is there any possible way I could appeal/get her on a waiting list for the same school ?

I know I should have thought about the possibility that this would be the outcome. But please if anyone has any advice please respond.

titchy Wed 13-Jan-16 22:00:57

shock
Wow! Not an expert but I hope the answer is no.

TeenAndTween Wed 13-Jan-16 22:18:28

shock

NMummy12e Wed 13-Jan-16 22:27:33

Thanks for your feedback @TeenAndTween

NMummy12e Wed 13-Jan-16 22:32:15

Thanks for your feedback @titchy.
I made that dumb decision not my daughter so some helpfull advice would be appreciated.

titchy Wed 13-Jan-16 22:38:07

You cheated. The consequences are you lose any right to that place. You got caught. No sympathy here sorry.

You cant say it was your decision and it's not fair that your child is penalised - everyone could come up with that one. You're responsible for your child, not the council.

admission Wed 13-Jan-16 22:47:43

By entrance exam are we talking about the 11+ for a state school?
As the places for schools are not allocated till 1st March, what should have happened is that daughter's friends exam results should have been withdrawn. That therefore means that they did not get a result for the 11+ and therefore will not be considered for a place at that school or any other grammar school. However her application form must be considered for other schools that were put down as preferences and also for waiting lists. The way you describe it, it is as though the application form has been completely withdrawn and that should not happen.

The situation surrounding your daughter is somewhat more open to question. She took the exam and presumably has achieved a score which allows them to be considered for a grammar school. One could argue that she should not be penalised for doing something stupid for somebody else but on the other hand she effectively had two opportunities to take the test and therefore could have gained an advantage.

The position here can be considered to be similar to the situation where somebody cheats via using an incorrect address. What happens there, given the time of year relative to the date when the allocations are made, is that the correct address will be used and they will or will not get in based on that address. Further down the time line if they get a place based on an incorrect address, they will have the place removed. The correct address will then be put into play and they might get a place based on the waiting list. They will also be allowed to go to appeal over losing the place but i have never know a panel be too sympathetic to any argument that they should get a place at the school in those circumstances.

The problem I have here is that by completely removing your daughter's application, as you describe it, the Council have stopped her from being considered in the normal round of allocations and then in any waiting list situation. I am not sure that I find this fair but on the other hand it was a very stupid thing to do and that you allowed it to happen.

prh47bridge Wed 13-Jan-16 22:52:09

You and your friend have the right to appeal once your daughters have been refused admission. I would expect the appeals to fail. Having said that you have a slightly better case for appeal than your friend in that your friend's application was clearly fraudulent whereas your actions did not affect your own application. I think you can therefore argue that they have overstepped the mark in withdrawing your application. There is a small chance that argument might work but I would regard it as a long shot.

As for the waiting list, that is an interesting question. My immediate reaction is that your daughters won't be allowed onto the waiting list. I suspect that will be the view taken by the school as well. However, you are legally allowed to apply for any school at any time. So there is an argument that if you apply again in September they should treat it as a new application and ignore what has happened. But I'm afraid I think this is also a long shot.

My gut feeling is that you have burned your bridges with this school and won't be able to get a place for your daughter. And I would rate your friend's chances even lower than yours.

NMummy12e Thu 14-Jan-16 00:43:37

@titchy-thanks. I wasnt asking for Sympathy, just advice. The exam could not be failed or passed. A paper just needed to be submitted even if it just had a name on and no questions were answered.

@admission-thanks alot for your advice. It wasnt a 11+ exam for a grammer sch, it was a non verbal reasoning test to put applicants into ability bands. So they choose a selection of children of all abilities each year. The test doesnt help your application with regards to be offered a place but if you dont sit the test you cannot be considered for a place.
Her application was only removed from that particular school and she can still be considered for other schools on her application.

@prh47bridge- thanks alot for your advice. I guessed that the Appeal would probably not be successful due to the circumstances but I am glad im still able to try. I will also try to re-apply in Sept and just see how it goes.

Blu Thu 14-Jan-16 07:59:12

So did your dd sit the test twice, once as herself and once in her friend's name?

NMummy12e Thu 14-Jan-16 08:32:44

@Blu yeah

prh47bridge Thu 14-Jan-16 08:34:10

I made the mistake of thinking you were talking about a grammar school. If this was a fair banding test rather than an entrance test that puts us into a different ball game.

Firstly I struggle to see any way your daughter has gained an advantage. Even if she has gained a higher score and ended up in a higher band as a result of your actions it won't have made any real difference to her chance of getting a place. The nearest the Admissions Code comes to dealing with this kind of situation is when it talks about fraudulent and misleading applications. The Code is clear that if such an application is found the council cannot simply reject it. They must consider it again using the correct information and award a place if the child qualifies. So while I can understand the council's desire to punish you for your actions I don't think they have the right to do so.

I would email the council pointing out that your daughter has not gained an advantage and asking them to reconsider their decision in light of the Admissions Code paragraph 2.12. If they refuse please come back here for further advice.

Your friend is in a weaker position because her daughter has not sat the test. However in my view they should be dealing with her in the same way as they handle other children who miss the test. Unfortunately that probably means she won't get a place.

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