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!

tiggytape Tue 26-Feb-13 15:53:35

and if you allow one you have to allow them all

Agree with lougle that this should not be the case. A panel should be able to decide, for example, that a school can admit 3 pupils and then choose the strongest 3 cases from all who have appealed. If the school's case is weak, these need not be extraordinary reasons for appeal at all.
Equally a panel can allow an appeal for reasons of education / social reasons for one child and not for another depending on circumstances.

The details of all appeals are confidential and never published so other parents would never know that they lost an appeal on grounds similar to ones that other parents won with.

prh47bridge Tue 26-Feb-13 16:22:18

Agree with tiggytape and lougle.

Every additional child admitted to the school increases the prejudice from admitting a further child. So it is quite possible to reject an appeal which is identical to a previous successful appeal simply because the number of children in the school is now higher.

DanielleG1980 Wed 27-Feb-13 14:23:02

Hello,
Thank you everybody for your responses.
I have been offline, we actually online trying to produce more evidence etc for the appeal.

Admissions, thank you, I will PM you......

I have found out that the school IAN number has not been updated since 2008, however they have had 2 passed planning applications to extend the schools buildings.... I'm hoping this might help?!

Where would I find out the size of the classrooms? school admissions?

Thank you

DanielleG1980 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:15:39

I've contacted the appeals secretary who told me to contact the school direct for classroom sizes, they checked with school bursar who had NO details on ACTUAL classroom sizes. Do I bring this up at appeal not knowing the sizes and risk shooting myself in the foot if the LA representative has this information? and they are infact small?

admission Wed 27-Feb-13 17:00:31

The Local Authority must have done a survey of the classrooms to have come to the PAN, so they do have the sizes of the rooms. I would also be surprised if the school does not have a copy of this survey as the head has to sign it off as being correct. My inclination is to say that if they are struggling to tell you the room sizes then the room sizes are OK and they just do not want to give you that data. If they do that at the appeal then you should ask them how they can justify the statements about the classroom sizes and point out to the panel that without sizes the statement is meaningless as you believe they are plenty big enough to take another pupil.
As far as planning applications are concerned you need to be sure that what building work has been done is to do with classrooms or rooms used for small group work or playground extensions. In other words something that you can say well that is there and as they have not taken it into consideration it would affect the net capacity of the school. Which is definitely an area to attack, over what the maximum net capacity figure is.
It might be worth just looking at the school prospectus and newsletters on their website for anything that says increased buildings or to prove how many clubs they have, which will benefit your children. Making a statement about actual clubs is always better than a general comment about your children will go to the clubs.

DanielleG1980 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:04:56

Thank you admission

I do definitely see your point, luckily I have a friend with a child in the school so I am aware of the clubs they are currently running, also they have a large choir which is the only school in the area with it..... I have a letter from my daughters school stating she is an important member of the school choir
Whether this will be worth anything I don't know.....

nennypops Wed 27-Feb-13 23:02:08

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

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

You're taking my comment out of context. I was writing about the sort of situation where a school is already full and there are a number of appeals for it (it's not the type of situation suggested by tiggytape where the panel thinks that actually the school can take three more and has to pick the best three cases). What tends to happen is that a lot of the appellants cite similar reasons to those put forward by the OP. Although the appeal panel may well sympathise, they are unlikely to decide that those factors outweigh the prejudice caused to the school, and one reason for that is that logically if you decide that those type of factors amount to prejudice outweighing prejudice to the school, then you should make the same finding in relation to all the other similar appeals. You can't find, say, that sporty child A has a greater need for the school's sports facilities than musical child B does for the school's music facilities - or at least not without having extensive specialist evidence which parents virtually never provide and the panel hasn't got time to go into anyway. And that is one of the factors which appeal panels are entitled to take into account when assessing the merits of each individual case, and in deciding this is not prejudice which outweighs prejudice to the school. If an appeal panel did find in favour of only one family which has put forward this type of argument whilst rejecting appeals from all the others in similar circumstances, then it is liable to find itself on the wrong end of a judicial review action by the school and/or the other parents.

prh47bridge Thu 28-Feb-13 00:46:04

I strongly disagree with your reasoning. You appear to be in breach of the procedure laid down by the Admission Appeals Code.

Paragraph 3.9 specifically states that you must not compare the individual cases when deciding whether an appellant's case outweighs the prejudice to the school. The words "must not" mean this is compulsory. By saying, "if we decide this case outweighs the prejudice to the school we will have to do the same for all the others" you are breaking this rule. This leaves you open to having your decisions overturned by the LGO or judicial review.

The correct procedure as laid out in the Appeals Code is that you look at each case in isolation without considering what your decision in this case means for other cases. The fact that allowing this one means you have to allow 99 other similar cases is immaterial. You must only compare the cases if you find you have more cases outweighing the prejudice to the school than the school can admit. In that case it is up to you to decide how many to admit and which appellants have the strongest case for admission. And if you decide that the school can admit 10 children, say, without causing prejudice (even though the school is already full - it must be or there wouldn't be an appeal!) the Appeals Code requires you to admit at least that many children. In that situation you must pick at least 10 even if all the appeal cases are identical.

You absolutely can say that child A has a greater need for the school's sports facilities than child B has for the school's music facilities. If you need to compare cases that is what you have to decide based on the evidence before you. You are perfectly entitled to say that the parents of child A have made a better case than the parents of child B and admit child A on those grounds.

If you follow the decision making process laid out in the Appeals Code you are most unlikely to be on the wrong end of a successful judicial review action.

You are, of course, entitled to look at each case individually and decide that none of them reach the required standard to be successful. But as soon as you say, "we can't allow this one or we would have to allow all the others" you have crossed the line and your decisions are open to challenge.

lougle Thu 28-Feb-13 06:58:07

Thank goodness for the voice of reason!

Listen, if I go to appeal as the OP and say 'yeah, my DD just loves music and this schools got some music group thingy....' that isn't as convincing as if I say 'The only school within a 10 mile radius of our home that has a choir is x school. DD was a member of her previous school's choir for 3 years and regularly sang at services and shopping centres. She hopes to pursue her musical interests including singing in the future.'

Similarly, as the OP, if I say 'oh my boy loves a bit of football...bend it like Beckham' that's not as convincing as 'within a 4 mile radius of our home, school x is the only one with a sports mark. DS is a keen sportsman and was a member of teams in football, rugby and swimming. Just before he left his last school, he had been promoted to the first team in football.'

Are you suggesting that both of those cases are equally strong and you couldn't decide between them if you had decided that the school could admit one child and there were two appellants?

lougle Thu 28-Feb-13 06:59:26

Thank goodness for the voice of reason!

Listen, if I go to appeal as the OP and say 'yeah, my DD just loves music and this schools got some music group thingy....' that isn't as convincing as if I say 'The only school within a 10 mile radius of our home that has a choir is x school. DD was a member of her previous school's choir for 3 years and regularly sang at services and shopping centres. She hopes to pursue her musical interests including singing in the future.'

Similarly, as the OP, if I say 'oh my boy loves a bit of football...bend it like Beckham' that's not as convincing as 'within a 4 mile radius of our home, school x is the only one with a sports mark. DS is a keen sportsman and was a member of teams in football, rugby and swimming. Just before he left his last school, he had been promoted to the first team in football.'

Are you suggesting that both of those cases are equally strong and you couldn't decide between them if you had decided that the school could admit one child and there were two appellants?

DanielleG1980 Thu 28-Feb-13 07:54:19

Another sleepless night for me.... The pad and pen by my bedside got a hammering at 2am last night, lots of other things that keep springing to mind!!!!!
1 more day and then this will all be over!

tiggytape Thu 28-Feb-13 08:57:54

Agree 100% with prh and am slightly concerned that appeal panel members are deciding in advance which type of cases to allow, comparing cases against each other, stating that they don't have time to 'go into' evidence provided and do not know that even in a 'full' school, an appeal panel is allowed to decide that the school is not in fact full at all and that another 3 or 10 or however many pupils can be admitted without prejudice.

Being full is not supposed to be something the panel blindly accept. They are supposed to decide whether, despite being officially full, the school can take more pupils (eg schools that haven't changed their PAN for 10 years despite building 4 new classrooms since then).
And as lougle says - there can be a world of differnce in cases that focus on the school's clubs or sports. Just because this forms the basis of several appeals doesn't make all those cases equal - some will still be stronger than others so it follows that some can be allowed and some will fail.

Sorry DanielleG - not trying to scare you. Very best of luck for tomorrow.

DanielleG1980 Thu 28-Feb-13 09:35:03

tiggytape, you are not scaring me. To be honest I prefer to have all the facts and as much info before going into something like this.

I will try to show doubt the school is full and then try to prove this is the only school for my children!

Let you all know how it goes, hopefully will have result mid next week the latest

MrBloomsCherry Thu 28-Feb-13 13:18:45

Good luck tomorrow op. hope it goes well for you and you're successful.

IllGetOverIt Fri 01-Mar-13 13:20:39

How did you get on?

DanielleG1980 Fri 01-Mar-13 17:32:59

Thank god that is over with!!!!!!!!!

It went as well as can be expected.... Not a very nice experience
The waiting game begins

Thank you for all the help with the preparation!

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 18:01:39

Glad it wasn't absolutely grim - well done for doing your best for your children smile

DanielleG1980 Fri 01-Mar-13 18:03:29

Thank you lougle

DanielleG1980 Fri 01-Mar-13 21:25:56

I was surprised how the panel or LA rep didn't challenge me with anything I said in my appeal statement!
I was expecting a grilling!

The panel did ask a few questions but more about our personnel circumstances, but nothing challenging?!?

IllGetOverIt Mon 04-Mar-13 13:02:55

Have you had the result of your appeal yet op?

DanielleG1980 Mon 04-Mar-13 16:48:03

No not yet?
Hopefully it would be sent today!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now