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Secondary education

Help with an appeal

15 replies

Secondaryappealhelp · 01/03/2024 04:25

I am looking for advice on a possible secondary appeal. We applied as first choice to a school that was not catchment but about the same distance for us as catchment school. Reasons being there is a safe walking and cycling route which will allow child to get to school independently whereas there isn't for our catchment school or the school (not one of our choices) so it will require a lift daily which will impact my work. Additionally friends who live locally all go to first choice school so there would have been a cohort of children known to DC travelling together. Additionally first choice school has a lower and upper school, the upper is approx a 10 min walk from home which means it it by far our closest school despite catchment being calculated from the lower. Does anyone have any advice on whether I have grounds to appeal and advice on what to say. It is one of the reasons we picked this house as we hadn't realised that the lower school was elsewhere and then our catchment school moved locations so is now harder to get to!

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PragmaticWench · 01/03/2024 04:32

You will automatically be on the waiting list for your first choice school, I think you can check that list and your child's place on it from the 18th March. There's a chance you may not need to appeal but I'd read the school/local authority appeal documents as well. Our authority have a link on the offer email to the appeal info on their website.

Dontsparethehorses · 01/03/2024 04:38

I guess it would depend on when catchment school changed locations as this might be grounds for appeal if it was during the application window however I imagine there might be lots of other parents in same position as you and if you were successful for appeal for those reasons why should (potentially) 100s of other parents not also be - if the school is full there’s not much they can do about it…

Secondaryappealhelp · 01/03/2024 04:41

Thank you, no the move was some time ago. I can live with the decision but as most friends are going I know DC will be devastated. I've read the appeal info on the website and emailed to ask for a form but I don't see how I would find out that the criteria hasn't been fairly applied. I have also emailed to go on the waiting list for a few other schools. If I need to drive him to school and back then I might as well try and get into a better school, there's a chance there may be some movement I guess.

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Clearinguptheclutter · 01/03/2024 05:59

I think you will have better luck on the waiting list than via appeal. Are they privates nearby? Some parents will quickly turn down their place to take up a private place

SpringOfContentment · 01/03/2024 06:24

I'd check what school others around you have been offered today, if they had the same first choice as you. If everyone else has got the school you want, could a mistake have been made? Check it out.

Nothing in your message suggests grounds for appeal, but it's always worth a go.

Make sure you read the instructions about wait lists - not all areas operate in the same way - and get on the list for anywhere you'd prefer to the offered school. Accept the offered school or you risk having no school place in September.

FWIW, we are not in catchment for the school we can see from the end of the street. The catchment school has no safe walking route /distance and there is a free school bus. Is driving the only option?

LyndaLaHughes · 01/03/2024 08:40

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely you have grounds for an appeal. There were simply more children who lived closer than you who applied. The grounds you have mentioned would not be successful in an appeal. You will be on the waiting list, so don't lose hope as there is often movement after the initial offers are made.

TeenDivided · 01/03/2024 09:09

Travel is an unlikely reason for appeal (is it really impossible for your DC to do independently?)
However you can still perhaps find appeal worthy reasons such as extra curricular, or subjects offered.

prh47bridge · 01/03/2024 09:20

Travel issues generally don't win appeals. It doesn't sound like a mistake has been made. However, you can still win an appeal by showing that the disadvantage to your child from not being admitted outweighs any problems the school will face from having to cope with an additional pupil. Look at things the school offers that are missing from the allocated school and that are particularly relevant to your child. This could be subjects offered, extracurricular activities, etc.

meditrina · 01/03/2024 09:25

Travel isn't grounds for an appeal (unless the journey is excessively long or the pupil has mobility issues which make journey options unreasonable)

So you'd be looking at "balance of prejudice" - would the detriment/prejudice to your DC outweigh the detriment to the school and its other pupils by going over numbers? What is it about your preferred school (other than the journey) that makes it such a far-and-away good fit?

Arguments about friends won't win an appeal unless you have evidence to show why your DC cannot be expected to make new friends as pupils typically do at the start of secondary

DillDanding · 01/03/2024 09:26

I don’t think travel distances are a strong argument at appeal.

You would need to find things your preferred school offers that your offered one doesn’t. And argue why that’s important for your child.

usernother · 01/03/2024 09:32

Those are not grounds to win an appeal. But I can pretty much guarantee your child will make new friends at the new school so don't worry too much.

Lougle · 01/03/2024 12:12

Travel is not a good grounds for appeal. But you don't have to have one good ground for appeal - lots of smaller grounds can add up to tip the balance. So sit down and compare everything that school A offers vs what the school you'd prefer offers. When you have a list of 'good things' about your preferred school, write a list of why that would benefit your DS, and why it would be detrimental for him not to have it.

Don't go down the rabbit hole of 'all his friends go there'. No appeal panel will be swayed by that unless there is medical evidence to suggest that he needs existing friends to be there.

Secondaryappealhelp · 02/03/2024 08:54

Thank you, I don't think we have grounds and the school sounds full but I will try something as ultimately I will need to switch to part time work to facilitate getting both my children to school for a year so the impact is going to be significant for us. I'm not worried about friends etc. I've moved loads and feel being out of a primary group can be a real development opportunity, I'm just sad about it for him. I will look at the offers, it's swings and roundabouts as the offered school is less academic with fewer GCSE options and generally leavers go into the vocational college nearby rather than transferring to another 6th form for A levels but my son is academic and picked preferences with that in mind so there would be advantages in being somewhere with wider options. There's only 1 private nearby and we were one of only 2 families who considered it from our primary so we don't think that will cause much movement. Time is a great healer and DC is already starting to see the positives and I have a call with my manager next week to ask about the possibility of reducing my working pattern down so that I do shorter days in the office 3 days a week and working from home for the first fortnight in Sept to see if I can get my youngest into morning clubs. They start at 8 which means I could potentially get to work only 2 hours late. Thankfully last year I moved jobs so I only travel once every couple of months now and my parents may be able to support on those days, it will work itself out and I am hoping after the first year he can manage the public transport option which is better than they would have been for our catchment (hence not applying). I'm hoping that this will turn out to be a positive experience though!

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OneMoreTime23 · 02/03/2024 09:01

Presumably there will be other children from where you live going to the catchment secondary school? We lift share with another family which works well. Going part time seems a bit OTT.

(My high school was 4 miles from home. If I missed the bus I walked it, over fields in all weathers. I was also the only one to go there from my primary school.)

Secondaryappealhelp · 02/03/2024 17:14

There will hopefully be one or two others going from the primary. It's a school that our primary doesn't usually have anyone go to unless they already live in that village but the head has told me that there are an unusually high number of children this year who haven't been offered any of their 3 preferences so we're hoping that next week there may be someone this side of town who also got in. I've asked everyone I have the phone number for and DC confirmed on Friday they were the only person in their class going there but there is another class in the year, I just don't know many of them to ask! It is just for a year as next September my youngest will be Y6 and could get themselves to and from school. Have also found out that the secondary are trialling an 8am brekkie club this term so if that goes well that would mean oldest could be dropped off at 8 and all being well DH could then get back to the primary before youngest starts at 8.45 🤞 it's such a shame they can't cycle to school but I've driven it today and it's a narrow 40mph road with no paths so I really don't feel comfortable cycling it myself and don't want DC to. If I'd realised we may get allocated somewhere this far then I would have put down better schools further afield so that's something for anyone else going through this to be aware of

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