Any tips for primary school appeals?

(947 Posts)

This is my first time doing this, and I want to do this right. My son didn't get into any of the preferred schools that we listed? Has anyone done an appeal before?

Fleebabes Sun 28-Apr-13 20:19:19

Thank you, I had a feeling I was clutching at straws. I don't want to waste my time and the appeal panel's and go through the stress if we're not likely to have a chance.

We've already told our son where he's likely to be going, and the school we've been given does have up sides. It is close, so hopefully his friends will live nearby and our next door neighbour is a TA there in reception.

I'm hoping that school has taken it's Ofsted report seriously (it was pretty ropey!) and that we can give him any extra support he needs at home if the teaching standards haven't improved. I guess I'll just have to get used to the religious element.

Thanks again for your help!

prh47bridge Sun 28-Apr-13 22:29:35

uneedme - The letter you got telling you that you did not get in should state the reasons. If it was a question of distance it should include the distance they used for you and the distance for the last child admitted. If you are unclear tell us what the letter says and you will get an explanation. With the children that live further there could be several reasons why they got in ahead of you but it depends on the school's admission criteria. Without knowing which school we are talking about it is impossible to list the reasons in detail. One obvious point is the way distances are measured. For example, they may have further to walk to school than you but if they use straight line distance for admissions purposes these other children may be closer to the school than you.

hinkyhonk Mon 29-Apr-13 15:16:49

Hi we've just submitted an appeal and we are (or were last week) number 1 on the waiting list. But reading all this I'm rather confused at the reason we've been turned down. We had to put in a late application as we've just moved into the area but our first choice was refused just with n/a under infant class size. The school takes 16 children in reception as they have mixed year classes. I thought it was because the max class size had been reached but that wouldn't seem right with an admission number of 16.

tiggytape Mon 29-Apr-13 16:08:01

hinky - the class size rules apply to mixed classes too so they cannot exceed a total of 30 children made up of YR-Y2 age groups. A class of 16 YR mixed with 14 Y1 children is classed as being full.

If there is a class with just 16 YR children (not mixed with others), future prejudice may apply i.e. those children will be mixed next year with 14 current Year 1 children to form a class of 30 so again the maximum will apply even if it doesn't right now. This means it is still an ICS case.

Or if the class size is genuinely 16 and won't exceed this before Year 3 then this isn't an ICS appeal and is the kind that is easier to win i.e. you do not need to prove an admissions error.

prh47bridge Mon 29-Apr-13 18:09:43

The other point to make is that they don't have to get to the maximum class size before stopping admissions. They only have to get to the admission number - 16 in this case. With that admission number they could, for example, run two mixed classes of 24. That would be enough places for all three years in Infants. That would mean the school is full but it is not an infant class size case.

amandastan Mon 29-Apr-13 18:54:13

Hi, Just wanted a little advice on my situation
My son is 4 and has been attending a very good school nursery, he is my 2nd child (my daughter is 19)
In Oct I noticed a poster about registering your child for places and promptly went into the school office and spoke to the receptionist asking her how to register my son for a place at the school. I was informed that I didn't have to do anything as all children that were in nursery would automatically be registered.
Obviously this is not the case and my son went completely unregistered until allocation day, when i started seeing people's status's on f/b about schools. I phoned the school-who told me to speak to the local council and was told that i should have registered him before 31st Jan.
I registered him that day and have since been offered a place at a school that would have been my 2nd choice as the school we wanted was full. I do intend to appeal on the grounds that
1. I was given the wrong information (being 45 I had no reason to think that the information was wrong or that the system had changed since my daughter (19) went to school)
2, I live well within the catchment area of said school
3 My son has suffered with a lac of confidence and has only just started to communicate with the teachers,this has been an ongoing problem since play school and both the teachers and I have worked hard to build up this relationship.
4. I feel it would be detrimental for his development to change schools at this time and question why he should have to do so when a misstake was made by the school's office staff .... (I have notified head teacher who was very unhappy and said she would speak to the staff member in question and also change the policy for letting people know about the registration proses....
No letter or information about registering for places at schools was ever presented.
I would be very grateful for any advice or your thoughts!
Sometimes it sucks to be an older mum! :0/

prh47bridge Mon 29-Apr-13 21:34:36

If you are in England everything you have been told is wrong I'm afraid. You had to apply for places by 15th January. And the receptionist was quite wrong to say that children in the nursery would automatically be registered. You always have to apply for a place.

The problem you have is that it is up to you to apply on time. It is not up to the school or the LA to make sure you do so. The appeal panel may be sympathetic but equally they may feel that other parents from the nursery managed to apply on time despite any misinformation from the receptionist so there is no reason why you could not have done so.

The big question as always with a Reception appeal is whether or not this is an infant class size case. If the school has any classes with 30 children in Reception, Y1 or Y2 it will be an infant class size case. That means there are only limited grounds on which you can win. Those grounds have been repeated several times on this thread and elsewhere but basically you would need to show that a mistake has been made. Your best chance in that case would be to argue that you were misled by the receptionist and that you would have got a place if you had been given correct information. Personally I think that is a long shot but it is worth a try.

If it is not infant class size you need to show how your son will be disadvantaged through not attending this school so your third and fourth points come into play.

Waney Mon 29-Apr-13 21:39:46

I have messaged before but have another quick question.

My son was not allocated any Local Authority school but did get an offer at a free school with first intake this September (separate application). We have now accepted the free school offer as we have no other option. But we would still prefer the local authority school which is closer and, had the free school been on our list, it would have been a lower choice.

Will our son automatically be placed on the waiting lists of the schools we listed on the LA form or do I have to call to have him added to each waiting list?

Thanks again for all your expert advice!

prh47bridge Mon 29-Apr-13 23:33:51

The LA should put your son on the waiting list for your preferred schools but it doesn't always happen. I would call them and check.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 10:39:31

Great advice on this thread many thanks to those advising.

Our younger son didn't get a place at the primary school his brother attends (Yr2). We are appealing on medical/social grounds and I was hoping for some advice about our chances and how to argue our case but don't want to put our family's personal stuff out in the public, can anyone advise on whom I could ask privately? I realise I may have to pay for this but I need to get started somewhere. Thank you so much!!!

prh47bridge Tue 07-May-13 10:57:32

If you PM me the details I will advise.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 07-May-13 11:23:20

prh47bridge thank you so much!!! I'm sorry I'm afraid I don't know how to do that (to PM you)... blush Is it by clicking the "Message poster"? I will try this.

pleaseadvise1 Wed 08-May-13 21:28:51

Hello My daughter is due to start Reception in Sept, she is almost 5, we did not get first or second choice of schools but did get the 3rd. I have no wish to send her to the 3rd choice school as it is has had a very poor Ofsted report. We have submitted re-allocation forms and are in the process of appealing, in case reallocation is unsuccessful. My daughter is a bright little thing (I know we all say this) She can write well, spell out words and do simple sums. Looking at the previous posts has helped answer some questions but not all. How do you find out how far up a waiting list you are? Should I ring the LA and find get some advise? The school/s we would have like to send her to are in the neighbouring LA. All this is driving me mad! I never had any problems getting my older children into school. Please help! Thanks in advance

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 22:18:15

The LA can tell you where your daughter is on the waiting list. If the school is in a neighbouring LA you may need to contact them rather than your home LA.

pleaseadvise1 Wed 08-May-13 22:22:02

Thanks for the swift reply, will do that tomorrow, appeal a work in progress, not sure what to write. Offer letter does not state on what grounds she didn't get the places though, will LA tell me that too? Thanks

AnilGill Fri 17-May-13 22:45:52

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 22:18:15 : No they cant ! My LA cannot tell me as it is too much work and I have to wait until the second allocation to be made aware of where I am in the list ! Very rich council but pathetic attitude - S.B.D.Council - So the correct statement would be: "the LA can tell you but they dictate when and is almost always too late !"

prh47bridge Sat 18-May-13 01:42:17

Unfortunately we seem to be hearing more stories of LAs that seem to forget that parents are the customer. If they can't answer such a simple question it naturally raises questions as to whether or not the waiting list is being managed properly.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 21-May-13 15:53:20

If you have a long appeals letter with lots of points to make, would you structure it as:
1) Describing my child (all points)
2) Arguing my the aimed school is best for him (all points)
3) What could happen if he had to go to another school (all points)
although this will inevitably involve some repetition.

OR would you structure it so that it has each point separately with everything:
1) POINT A (including the description of the problem/reason/characteristic followed directy by why this school is best for THIS point and no other school)
2) POINT B (description of point, connection to this school, no other school)

and so on.

TwoSonsMummy Tue 21-May-13 15:53:56

/\ P.S. Not ICS.

prh47bridge Tue 21-May-13 16:38:43

I would go for the latter structure myself. You need to explain why this is the best school for your child. The second structure you suggest makes it easy for the appeal panel to join the dots.

heyheyheyhey Wed 29-May-13 12:16:31

Hello there,

I am hoping you all might be able to offer advice to me...this is my 1st time on a message board...I am dyslexic so please be gentle with me...

I am about to start writing an appeal letter as my son were not given any of our 3 preferred choices of Primary schools in Cambridge. We were instead offered a place at a new school that will exist in September 2013 but doesn't exist at the moment...so far the new school has 8 children who have accepted...

My 1st choice is Park Street Church of England Primary school. It has a PAN of 18 for the reception year as it is combined with year 1.

I wrote on my application in the additional information that my son and I attend a local Church of England church regularly and that The rev'd said he was happy to write a letter confirming this if required. However, despite also ticking the Anglican box, this was ignored by the admissions team and so being out of catchment for this small school we were not offered a place. We were put on the reserve list at 12.

I emailed the admissions who informed me as no letter had been received by the school my son was considered as being non religious under criterion E.

I went to see the CAB who suggested I contact the school and ask them why my son was not considered as being religious. I immediately went into the school and spoke to the admissions person who phoned the LA admissions team. The admissions team member said to me that I signed to say I had read the terms and conditions specifically page 29 relating to Park street and that the school informs the LA who is to be considered as being religious. I said to them that I also signed to say that my application was true and correct and that included the additional information and that it didn't state where to send such a letter and it didn't state that a letter needed to be sent directly to the school. The admissions person then said that if I could produce a letter asap that my son would be put on the list at number 1. I then went to the vicar's house and a letter was written and emailed to the LA, the school & a hard copy was taken back to the school that night.

I believe that this shows a mistake was made by the LA, as they did not initially act upon the additional information provided. I believe that my son would have been offered a place at the school if he was considered under the correct criterion in the first place.

Do I have good grounds for an appeal?

With my appeal letter do I just state that I believe a mistake has been made and that I will go into the mistake in depth at the appeal or do I lay out all the reasons I am appealing with from the outset?

We have in the past two weeks slipped down the reserve list from 1 to 2 and this morning I am informed we are now at number 3.

Many thanks in advance...

FadedSapphire Wed 29-May-13 12:53:47

Hi, hey,hey. I'm afraid I don't have any advice on your appeal but I wonder if you should give the new school opening in September 2013 a chance? You could play a huge part in its development. Just a thought...

NynaevesSister Wed 29-May-13 13:15:07

Hi HeyHey. What specifically does the admissions criteria say you have to do to be considered under religious grounds? Did you follow that criteria?

Someone will be along who knows the admissions process really well, but I know they'll need answers to those questions so I thought I'd ask. Good luck!

prh47bridge Wed 29-May-13 13:33:22

You say you spoke to the minister who said he was happy to write a letter if required. Did you actually get him to write a letter? The admission criteria are clear that you must send a letter from the minister with your application. It is not up to the LA or the school to contact your minister and get a letter. It is up to you to get the letter and submit it with your application. If you did not send a letter from the minister they were correct to place your son in category E.

If you believe a mistake has been made you need to say so when submitting your appeal. However, I'm afraid that if you did not supply a letter from the minister with your application there has been no mistake as far as I can see.

heyheyheyhey Wed 29-May-13 17:19:22

This is the first time I have had to do something like this and by the next level of schooling for my son I will know what I am doing....

I didn't supply a letter with my online application as it wasn't clear to me where to send the physical letter to. The school is a Church of England school but doesn't have any supplementary forms to fill out. Another Church of England school nearby wrote on the terms and conditions to send the faith letter directly to them (in bold at the top). Park street didn't specify this at all. It said that a letter needed to be supplied, and I wrote on the additional information that our vicar was happy to do so, if required...I named the vicar and contact details so this shouldn't have been a problem...I did fill the application out in good faith and believe that my additional information should not have been ignored by either the school or the admissions team. After contacting the school and then speaking to the admissions team our criterion was immediately changed putting my son into a category above that which they stated the criterion was allocated to...This implies to me that my son would have been offered a place if the additional information had been taken into account.

I went to the new schools first meeting last week with an open mind and they were all very nice. The school is situated on the grounds of a school with a not so great reputation and is on a really busy road. The school will only have the one class to start with and no older children which is something I would like my only child to experience as I won't be having any more children...The new school also isn't a Church of England school.

Park st is the safest walking/biking route from our place as there is only one small suburban road and the rest is across the commons (bike/walk path) All other routes to the local schools are on really busy road routes.

This appeals business is really difficult if you haven't gone through it before....

All the best...

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