Reception Class Appeal

(32 Posts)
Banana1982 Thu 25-Apr-13 12:47:25

We recently found out that our daughter did not get into any of our first choice schools. Our first choice school and the school we are thinking of appealing to, will be changing to an academy for September intake. The admissions for reception was 50 children. When we heard from the school that they had automatically transferred 30 children from the nursery to the reception. When we heard this we where very shocked and seems at odds with the admission code. Can anyone offer some advice if they think this is good grounds to appeal?

Banana1982 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:44:14

prh47bridge, I have PMd you and Admission, Thanks for you assistance everybody.

From what I can understand, if there was lots of appeals that where successful, they would only admit the strongest cases. Up to the limit of what they believe the school could admit with Prejudice to the existing pupils.

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 17:57:41

Pressed Post too soon! Before it gets that far the Secretary of State can direct them to comply with the Code.

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 17:53:41

Ultimately an academy that ignores the Admissions Code can have its funding withdrawn. That would, of course, be the final sanction if all else failed.

tiggytape Fri 26-Apr-13 17:49:12

I see - that makes sense Panel and prh.
It just seems very unfair if the school have totally ignored published admission criteria not to have any form of redress for those that lose out (assuming lots of other parents will feel similarly disadvantaged - they can't let them all in at appeal).

Would the admission authority be penalised in any way for doing this - assuming it is discovered that they have simply admitted the children they wanted and not the children who met the agreed criteria?

In Banana's case the authority would have done this (if this proves to be the case) presumably to be 'nice' and help children in the nursery have continuity but other schools could do the same thing - admit chosen children - with less generous motives (like selecting children from certain areas above others). I guess I am saying it might leave the door open to discrimination if there is no challenge other than parental appeals which cannot successfully remedy the situation due to the number potentially affected.

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 17:28:53

Argh. MN lost my post which said that offers already made can't be retracted, and if there are lots of appeals, the panel may have to decide how many more the school can admit and prioritise accordingly. As prh47bridge says, it could become very tricky.

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 16:32:56

Tiggy - They can't do the whole thing again as that would involve taking away offers to people who have already got them. If there are lots of appeals it puts the appeal panel in a difficult position.

Banana1982 - I am also happy to take a look if you would like to PM me the details.

Banana1982 Fri 26-Apr-13 15:20:22

PanelChair - some days I believe we have a good case, others I don't. I suppose I just need to get together as much information as possible and present it in the best possible way.

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 15:07:54

Tiggy - Given that admissions procedure not properly followed is one of the winnable grounds for an ICS appeal, I think it would be open to anyone in OP's situation to argue that the outcome of the admissions round can not be relied upon, they may well have got a place if published criteria had been followed and so on the balance of probabilities they should get a place on appeal. I could certainly (depending of course on all the evidence presented on either side) be persuaded of that.

Banana1982 Fri 26-Apr-13 14:09:19

Admission, I will PM you some further details Thanks

From what I understand, parents who have asked to go onto the waiting list will then be subject to another round of random allocation for any further places that arise.

tiggytape Fri 26-Apr-13 12:46:47

I wonder what would happen at appeal if the OP demonstrated that the admission process had not been followed at all (i.e. nursery children were granted automatic transfer to the school)?

She cannot prove that she would have got a place in a lottery system but it is definitely true that her chances have been vastly and unfairly reduced by the school ignoring the published criteria.
Random allocation was only used for 5 children instead of potentially upto 35 children.

Does it ever happen (in cases where the whole process has been so badly handled) that the whole lot is done again? If a school ignore the admission criteria to admit 30/50 places, that seems a very big breach that would be very hard to resolve.

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 12:30:08

Ah, that's what I was wondering about, whether there would be a mini-lottery to decide (say) between siblings if there was more than one on the waiting list.

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 11:00:15

Yes, there has to be a lottery every time a place becomes available so you don't have a position on the waiting list. That is even the case for LACs if there is more than one - they will be in a group at the head of the waiting list but a lottery would be needed to decide which one was admitted when a vacancy arose.

If this school has got it wrong there is no way of knowing what the outcome would have been. The lottery would have involved only those children who did not attend the nursery. If the nursery children had been included the outcome could have been completely different.

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 09:32:09

As I understand it (no lotteries here), LAC and siblings will be in a fixed place on the waiting list, because it is held in admissions priority order (assuming the criteria include sibling priority). But for places decided on distance, there will be a lottery every time, so there will never be a waiting list as such, more a waiting pool from which pupils will be drawn.

I stand to be corrected on this.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 26-Apr-13 09:19:41

So you can never move up the waiting list in that system as your place will change each time?

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 09:14:05

As admission says, it's supposed to be a fresh draw every time, which is why oarent's can never prove, as such, that they would have got a place. The most they can do is question whether the arrangements were robust and fair and (as I see it) the onus is on the school/LEA to satisfy the appeal panel that they were.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 26-Apr-13 09:09:08

Ah, thanks.

admission Fri 26-Apr-13 08:59:39

A good question. There is a random draw for the available places initially. If there are then available places later on because of parents declining places then a new random draw has to take place, assuming none of the pupils on the waiting list have priority as a sibling etc as per the admission criteria order. One of the reasons for this is the need to incorporate any late applications or waiting list requests. If the random draw is just a continuation of the previous random draw none of those will be included and will therefore have been disadvantaged.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 26-Apr-13 07:07:59

If entry is randomised, wouldn't a ranking list be generated when the randomisation is done and then retained so it could be checked thereafter?

admission Thu 25-Apr-13 22:32:00

Panelchair,
I believe that nobody can prove whether somebody would have got in or would not have got in if the random allocation criteria was invoked, just by its very nature. There are 30 places at question here. I would assume that some of the 30 who are nursery children, will have siblings and could be even be looked after but the majority of the places should have been allocated by random selection based on the rules that have been specified.
The key question is what the admission criteria says and whether there is something tucked away in the admission criteria about the nursery or not. Questions also arise around the process of the random draw but lets sort out the key question first.

PanelChair Thu 25-Apr-13 21:50:21

I see your point, admission, but it seems to me that, for any school that runs an admission lottery, no parent will ever be able to prove that they would have been offered a place, because they can't know that their name would have come out of the proverbial hat. So, in those circumstances, it seems to me that parents (and appeal panels) need to think in terms of how confident they (or any reasonable onlooker) can be in the reasonableness/reliability/fairness of the process or whether there is overwhelming doubt about it.

admission Thu 25-Apr-13 21:38:16

I think that before answering this I would like to see a copy of the admission criteria for the school. Is it possible to PM me the school name and LA so that I can look it up.
Whilst it is clear that to win a case you need to prove a mistake was made and that you would have been offered a place, the problem for the appeal panel and the admission authority (which I think will be the LA still if the school has not converted to academy status yet) is knowing exactly which pupils would have got a place if they had done it correctly. That might take some working out, from what you have said.
50 is an awkward number for classes but the favoured one is to have 5 classes of 30 across reception, year 1 and year 2, which will obviously involved mixed age classes. As they clearly have a close relationship with the nursery it could be that they are operating a foundation stage mix of nursery and reception children. Again this I should be able to work out from the school website if I have the information on school and LA

Banana1982 Thu 25-Apr-13 15:21:31

Thanks guys, food for thought.

PanelChair Thu 25-Apr-13 14:41:15

Banana - I agree with prh47bridge here. If the school had said that nursery children would get automatic places that would not (as far as I can see) be unlawful because there's nothing now to prevent it. But what we are suggesting is that the difference between what the school says (in its published criteria) and what is actually dies puts it in breach if the Admissions Code and is gives you good grounds for appeal.

Banana1982 Thu 25-Apr-13 14:28:14

Surely the fact that the Admissions Code says, "Published admission arrangements must make clear to parents that a seperate application must be made"
This is nowhere to be seen in the admission criteria. The school in question is an transitioning to an academy, does this make a difference?

prh47bridge Thu 25-Apr-13 14:17:55

Agree with PanelChair.

The current Admissions Code simply says that it must be made clear to parents that a separate application must be made for transfers from nursery to primary school. There is no longer anything about whether or not children attending the nursery can be given priority, which I would interpret to mean they can. However, they certainly cannot give priority to children from the nursery if they don't say so in their published admission criteria. If they have simply transferred all 30 that is a clear breach of the Admissions Code. I would take the approach suggested by PanelChair.

As PanelChair says, a PAN of 50 is unusual but not unheard of - my local primary school has a PAN of 50. You need to find out how classes are organised as that will have a major bearing on how you approach this.

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