HELP _ Primary school appeal - friday march 1st!

(46 Posts)
DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:23:17

Hi there
I have my appeal hearing this Friday
Due to our family relocating,
Daughter in y5, son in y3
Have turned down school offered, there are 2 schools much closer
I have current school roll numbers
Y3 93
Y4 90
Y5 91
Y6 91
LA believes predujice will occur by admitting my children to the school.
Net capacity of school is 360, they are currently on 364
School have detailed crowding problems in their impact statement
Playgrounds bumps & minor accidents
Hot & stuffy & packed assembly hall
Only enough tables & space for 30 children
Corridors are packed during changeover time
Year 3- 4 on school action, 8 on school action plus
Year 5 - 6 on school action, 1 school action plus

My grounds of appeal ....
School holds sports mark- my son g&t in this area
Links for my daughter in y5 with secondary school (short time to establish friends)
School has a large music influence, choir 170 children... My daughter needs to continue with her music activities
School advertises a strong community feel (same as current school)
We are moving 200 miles away from all friends & current school, my son has recently met a few friends from school we are appealing for, he needs to see a familiar face, will help settle etc....

Could you help, is there anything I can add? How can I challenge the LA?

Thank you in advance for any help!

lougle Mon 25-Feb-13 14:29:54

Well for starters, those figures are wrong somewhere. You can't have year sizes of 93,90,91,91 and an on-roll number of 364 - that's 365.

It looks like your biggest challenge will be your y3 DD. 93 already in the year with a year size of 90. Although only 13% SEN vs national average of 20%.

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 15:03:19

lougle, correct, figures do not add up! How strange
I dont think i will bring that up though, as its better if they have 364 in their minds at the appeal!
YES my Son y3 is the problem, must of been a baby boom year, I have been offered a school for both of them, but even in this school my son will send that school 1 over on their current numbers!
How does the SEN 13% to average of 20% help me?

lougle Mon 25-Feb-13 16:04:14

Actually, I'm not sure it will. These statistics show that School Action + accounts for 6.24% of the children on roll in schools in England.

From the figures you give, the number of children on School Action + in year 3 (8) represents 8.6% - so they could argue that they have a higher proportion of children with significant additional needs in that year, which means that the fact that they are already significantly over number, increases the prejudice.

lougle Mon 25-Feb-13 16:06:18

However, they have far lower levels of School Action than the national figures for that group.

You really need the admissions experts to help you here.

MrBloomsCherry Mon 25-Feb-13 16:11:49

Unless you can prove the la made a mistake by not letting your children in, I'm afraid it doesn't look hopeful.

You need to prove a mistake has been made (if it has), not give reasons why your dc should go there.

What is their admissions code/requirements?

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 17:13:27

mrbloomscherry

they havent made a mistake but this isn't an infants class its juniors
I thought it was different in these circumstances?

Bramshott Mon 25-Feb-13 17:27:15

Does the school have particularly small classrooms? I thought Junior classes were usually allowed to be 32-34ish unless there was a particular reason why they shouldn't be?

Bramshott Mon 25-Feb-13 17:28:38

Although all the DFE website says is that there's no maximum.

MrBloomsCherry Mon 25-Feb-13 17:34:01

If the net capacity is 360 an they ready have 364 they are already over subscribed though. They have to draw the line somewhere.

I hope you're successful in your appeal. You could definitely do without the hassle with the move and everything.

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:04:45

Thank you everyone
I am not sure of the m2 on the classrooms, I have been provided with a class layout, however not the actual dimensions. Am I being picky if I call and ask for this?
I know anything above about 52m2 are able to take more than 30 children?

I think my appeal will be completely down to pot luck on friday and if I get a nice appeal panel. I know I don;t have an exceptional circumstance etc etc

I hope my honesty and fact I have researched, they may be kind!
I will let you all know
x

kilmuir Mon 25-Feb-13 18:11:09

Sorry but will not depend on having a nice panel.they don't decide an appeal on whether they like you or not, you need good reasons, very good reasons.
Your year5 DD will need t make friends which ever school she goes to, does not have to be that particular school surely

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:18:50

Kilmuir
Yes my Y5 DD will need to meet friends at whatever school she goes to, but the one I am appealing for has a feeder secondary school which my daughter will be going to, but main point here is that if she gets the appeal school all of her new friends will also be in same secondary school.
I know it probably looks like I am clutching at straws
I think I need to concentrate on getting my point across as to why I need them to both go to this school.....

sparkle9 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:28:47

I write the impact statements for appeals to my over subscribed school. Your stated reasons would be rebuffed by my school and the decision not to admit would be upheld by the appeals panel. We only let in when there is a clear medical or social need supported by letters/reports from medical or similar professionals (or if we were to make an admissions mistake). And those must specify why our school is the most suitable. An over-subscribed school does have to draw the line somewhere.

Perhaps a letter from your child's previous school stating the g&t sports (and then you would need to make reference to no other local school having this mark - if that is the case)? It would be tenuous though.

Good luck!

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:52:21

Thank you sparkle9
I do have a letter from my sons football academy and also a letter from their current headteacher

Its annoying that they let the appeal go ahead if there is no chance of winning it. They know beforehand the grounds of appeal and if you are correct and its only medical / social need then they know prior to friday that this isn't the case.

I appreciate your comments, will go friday and see how it goes.

Thanks again

lougle Mon 25-Feb-13 18:58:05

OP, I wouldn't take these answers as weighty. Nobody can tell you if you'll be successful at appeal, especially without the documents.

You don't need exceptional social or medical needs at this point. You have to show that the prejudice to your child should they not be admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school should they be admitted.

From the data given, it might be that they use the high school action plus numbers to show that they are already coping with a demanding cohort without going over their numbers further.

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:11:45

Lougle, thank you,
so maybe worth making a point of mentioning this

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 19:36:30

After Year 2, there does not need to be evidence of an admin mistake to win an appeal. Nor does there have to be medical reasons. It is simply a balance of prejudice (harm).
The panel has to decide whether the prejudice (harm) caused to the school from being forced to admit one extra pupil outweighs the prejudice (harm) caused to the pupil by being refused a place.

Nobody can tell you what will win an appeal or that you will definitely lose it - it depends on the school's case and how well you explain yours.
Where the school has a very strong case eg it is very overcrowded already, it will be an uphill struggle to prove pupil prejudice outweighs school prejudice even if the pupil has medical reasons / other very strong reasons for wanting a place. A panel would need a lot of convincing.
Where the school's case is less strong (eg they have coped over numbers before with no ill effects or they aren't really crowded at all), the pupil's case need not be as strong in order to win. In fact it is possible (but rare) to win without even having much of a case at all if the school's case is very weak.

You need to focus on what this school offers that no other school can and which will benefit your children or meet their individual needs. Any evidence to back up your case will help.

Your stated reasons would be rebuffed by my school
Schools have a duty to challenge appeals where they feel it would be detrimental to take moe students so they present their case to the panel. Ultimately though, it isn't up to them to say who they rebuff. If an appeal panel allow the appeal, the school is forced to accept that pupil. The school have no say at all over which reasons can and cannot win an appeal - an appeal panel is not part of the school team who refuse the application.

DanielleG1980 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:45:43

tiggytape, thank you, I will go Friday and do my best to produce my case for my children , I will continue to think positive.
It does seem that this school is exceptionally oversubscribed and the school do state over crowded in their impact statement (but they would say this, they don't want any extra's)! The school secretary very politely told me this when I requested a show around!!!! sad

lougle Mon 25-Feb-13 21:51:10

There are a few things you can do, which tiggy has hinted at, or at least touched on:

-Ask for data for past years - have there been other years where the school is similarly oversubscribed.
-Ask for data for school action and school action + for other years - is it usual to have so many children with SEN in year groups.
-Do they have extra staffing due to the increased demand? It might reduce the impact of the high SA+ and/or over-subscription
-Ask for classroom sizes

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 22:19:20

It is totally usual for schools to say: the sky will fall in if they have to take another child. Well they actually say: the dining hall is overcrowded, there are only 30 desks, there's only enough computers to share 1 between 2, the corridors are too busy between lessons and the teachers don't want to have to write extra reports etc... all of those things are stated by just about every school at appeal.

The only unusual point this school raises is the accidents in the playground as a result of overcrowding (do they actually say this as part of their overcrowding issue or do they just hint it could happen?) Bumps and minor accidents are normal in playgrounds even when they're not full but, whilst schools often hint darkly at all manner of dreadful outcomes should they be forced to take one more child, it is less normal for them to try to say that it is already causing accidents. You'd hope if that were true, they'd do staggered playtimes! Is the playground unusually tiny do you know? If so you might not want to push this point too much.

Your aim is mainly to prove how well this school meets your children's needs and abilities and interests. If you are able to also chip away at the case against you (the reasons the school use to admit more in Year 5 and Year 3) then so much the better but check your facts first. You don't for example want to ask a question about overcrowding and give the school the chance to really go to town about how tiny the playground is if you weren't aware of this fact in advance. Chip at their case but only where you know you are on firmish ground with facts gathered in advance.

It could go either way to be honest but I do hope you get a good outcome.

prh47bridge Mon 25-Feb-13 22:59:25

You also posted this on another thread. I have responded there.

To add to Tiggytapes comment, I am worried that sparkle9 is so certain of the decision that would be made by the appeals panel at her school. That suggests the appeals panel for that school is not properly independent and therefore its decisions could be challenged.

admission Mon 25-Feb-13 23:47:32

If you have not got a strong case for admission and from the information I do not think you have a very strong case, then you need to chip away at the level of prejudice to the school. The decision is a balancing act between the prejudice to the school in admitting and the prejudice to the pupils in not admitting. The more that you can reduce the height of the prejudice barrier the easier it is for the panel to come to a decision to admit both children.
One thing you do need to decide is whether you accept one place if offered as it is quite possible that the panel may decide to admit in year 5 but not year 3.
In term of chipping away at the LAs case. Ask them what the net capacity is. They have quoted a figure of 360 but there are actually three figures. The real net capacity from a set calculation, 90% of this figure and then the actual quoted figure. This is usually somewhere between the real capacity and the 90% figure. A net capacity of 360 is 12 X 30 and is a sensible capacity figure but possibly not the maximum figure it could be!
I would ask for the size of the classrooms in year 3 and 5, which would be 6 classrooms in total. If they are all in the 52sq metre region then you can argue that the classrooms are adequate to take an extra pupil.
I would ask if they only have 30 desks in a class what happens in the classes where there are more than 30 already, does somebody stand up all day. Actually answer is that this is just a bit of bulls**t
I would ask whether there have been any reportable accidents that are down to overcrowding. There will not have been any in 95% of cases, so again just window dressing of excuses not to admit.
It could be that there are other bits in the LAs case that can be attacked, so if you feel it appropriate I am quite happy for you to PM me their case and I will look at it for you.

nennypops Tue 26-Feb-13 13:22:37

You have to demonstrate that the prejudice to your children from being refused admission is greater than any prejudice which the school would suffer from admitting two more children. I sit on admissions appeals panels sometimes, and I'm afraid we constantly hear appeals based on similar grounds to yours and have to turn them down, no matter how much we sympathise with the families involved. The reality is that most appellants cite grounds like this, and if you allow one you have to allow them all, which usually would make the school in question impossibly crowded. We tend only to allow appeals where the parents can show particular prejudice, such as medical or social problems which are backed up by independent evidence.

That said, obviously every appeal panel is different, so I certainly wouldn't claim that every appeal panel would work on that basis.

lougle Tue 26-Feb-13 14:57:22

"and if you allow one you have to allow them all"

No you don't hmm You have to judge each case by its merits and decide on the prejudice to the school vs the child.

There is nothing to suggest that this is a mass hearing of appeals, so if another family came forward in 2 months, the numbers would be increased and that changes the situation again.

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