not happy with the school place given

(74 Posts)
123mon Fri 01-Mar-13 11:49:53

hi im really upset about my daughter not been accepted to the first school that i choose for her and i really don't want send her where she has been accepted (apparentely not good school at all), does anyone know what i can do to change the decision? really worry for my daughter education and im sure sending her to that school will make it worse...

I hope you're able to argue your case you both your boys shoppers and they can both get a place together at the school you hope for. But am just thinking at my DC's school they do emphasise that the sibling rule depends on having a sibling at the school at the time of application. So that could have some effect, though I hope it works out for DS2. Good luck !

PanelChair Sat 02-Mar-13 23:25:00

The panel will no doubt feel sympathy for you, but the panel cannot base its decision on feelings of sympathy.

Any panel will be interested in whether there has been an error by the LEA which has deprived your son of a place, because that is one of the criteria for allowing an appeal. However, although it is not clear-cut, it doesn't sound as if there has been an error here. As I read it - and as the LEA will no doubt argue it - they haven't done anything wrong in your older son's case but the bureaucratic wheels have turned very slowly. If you can convince the panel that the LEA has been in error, and that the sequence of errors has cost your younger son his place, they might be minded to allow the appeal.

But if you can't demonstrate that there has been an error, you will need (as with most appeals) to argue on the basis of the weight of 'prejudice'. You can point to the benefit to your younger son of being at school with his brother but (as I said before) the sibling link on its own won't win the appeal for you.

shoppers Sat 02-Mar-13 17:38:01

Thank you PanelChair.

I understand what you are saying. If our older DS is at the school when we get to the appeal for our younger son will they not be sympathetic to the difficulties we have had with the LA meeting their obligations for DS1 and that as a result of the basically unlawful inaction of the LA our younger son's chances have been compromised. i.e. if they had acted months ago to place our statemented child where we requested the appliction for our younger DS would have had a very different outcome.

Obviously we strongly believe that both boys have suffered emotionally by not being educated together for the last 4 years and how important it is for them to have the opportunity to be at the same school now. Whether that would be of any interest to an appeals panel I don't know.

PanelChair Sat 02-Mar-13 17:17:36

I assume the appeal is for your younger son, as the situation for your older son ought to be sorted out without going to appeal.

To be frank, I would be much happier at the appeal if either (a) your older son was at the school or (b) the LEA gave an unequivocal statement that he was going to be given a place. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who will argue that they hope child 1 will be moving to the school so child 2 ought to be considered as a sibling, and appeal panels need more clarity and more certainty than that.

Of course, if you arguing at appeal on the strength of the sibling link, you will still need to demonstrate that the 'prejudice' to your younger son in not being given a place is greater than the 'prejudice' to the school in admitting an additional pupil. Being a sibling won't be enough on its own to win the appeal - although it will propel the younger son up the waiting list - and you will still need to identify other features of the school that your son particularly needs (specialist provision for music, a GCSE option that he might want that is not available elsewhere etc etc).

shoppers Sat 02-Mar-13 17:01:27

Can anyone advise me regarding our rather unusual situation? My Year 8 Ds 1 is statemented and at an independent school funded by the LA.

We are currently battling with the LA to get him admitted to a mainstream state secondary who have agreed to take him but the LA need to instruct them to take him which will take that year group over numbers. The LA have dragged their feet for months but we are confident they will have no choice once they see we have a solicitor acting for us.

Meanwhile we applied for DS2 back in October for Secondary on the basis that he would get a place at the school his statemented older brother is at. He has been offered our 4th choice but it is very likely his older brother will have started at the desired school by the time we get to appeal or will be this academic year.

How will an appeals panel view this in that we will be stating the case for the unusual circumstances and that our 2nd son should get in as a sibling.

Sorry if this is confusing and longwinded!

Hope one of you well informed people can help.

tiggytape Sat 02-Mar-13 16:35:03

apatchylass - the fact that the schools are all in your own LA neither helps nor hinders your chances. LAs have no special loyalty to their 'own' children. Any distance criteria applies from the house to the school in metres - it doesn't matter if you hop over a LA boundary in the process. Many people's closest schools aren't in their own LA and they are not disadvantaged by this because it is only the measurement that counts.

You are right though, lists do move a lot and if you only narrowly missed out on an offer, the chances are you will get an place relatively quickly. It is still worth accepting your allocated school though because it does not alter your chances on any waiting list but it does give peace of mind that you have a definite place for September come what may.

apatchylass Sat 02-Mar-13 16:19:32

We listed 6 schools in our LEA and DS didn't get into any of them. (Very over subscribed area, and we did only put down the good schools. But not too worried. Waiting lists shift a lot and if we hang in there he's very likely to get a place at 1st choice eventually.

tiggytape Sat 02-Mar-13 16:11:47

That is correct Maud. If you felt it was 100% certain that your child would get a place at School A (you lived opposite the school gates for example), then you could list it as your only option and get offered it.
This however is nothing to do with not giving the council any other choice. It is because you meet the criteria for school A. It is still not recommended to do this though because it could be the year of the freakishly high sibling numbers that gobble up every available place!

If you fall in love with a school and are borderline in terms of catchment and you list it as your only option, you will only get an offer if the catchment extends as far as your house that year. The council won't make an exception for you just because you list no alternative

If you list a school you have zero chance of getting into and no other options, you will get a council allocated school place. These come from the pool of places left over after everyone who expressed a preference got an offer. So they will be places nobody asked for i.e. probably not great.

The thing to remember is admissions are very much 'computer says yes' or 'computer say no' There is no common sense, no council discretion, no priority for people who only give one option because it is the only one they want.
If you meet the criteria, you're in. If you don't, you won't get an offer even if you've made it clear you won't accept an alternative school.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 02-Mar-13 16:04:11

All LEAs consider all applications against the published admissions criteria. That is why it is wrong to think that, if you only list one school, you will automatically get a place there. You won't, if you fall outside the admissions criteria.

123mon Sat 02-Mar-13 10:35:46

i accepted an put her in a waiting list for the other school and see whats happend... thank you to all for your help

Also just to say our admissions team make it very clear that just putting one school in your list doesn't make it any more likely that you'll get it than including other choices beneath that one. They go through them in order here (and I'm sure in most other places too)
Having a determined approach and doing everything you can to get into a particular school probably accounts for the success in those cases where people have just put the one.
If you did and you and your DC's got what you wanted then I'm pleased for you - just wouldn't want others to be under any misapprehension.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Mar-13 08:07:24

Op, you have been given excellent advise here. I would second the suggestion that you look round the school for yourself.

There is a lot of movement on a waiting list between now and September but that may not mean you get offered a place before school starts in September.

In that scenario, your dd would have to attend your second choice school until a place did come up. In this case, it's a really good idea to have a realistic idea of what the school is like to try to abate some of the fears you have based on rumour. It may not be as awful as you have been led to believe.

We get students starting with us throughout years 7 and 8 as places become available.

To respond to montmarte about catchment areas, many people will put schools outside their catchment or like DD's (and now DS's !) a faith school with no catchment area on their list. Some children travel up to 100 miles a day by train ! The three schools we had on our list all had different styles of criteria for their admissions. One was simple catchment/ distance (plus other things like special needs provision), one used banding and you had to take a test as part of admissions but just to ensure breadth of ability, and another was faith with a small number of children also admitted via test or music audition.
Many people choose to put other schools above their "catchment" school, but are assured that including the catchment school in their choices will in many areas provide a guaranteed fall-back option (and often a good one too). Unfortunately though this isn't the case everywhere, I think especially in some cities where there are barely enough places in the system for all the children, and the catchment system may not work so well.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 02-Mar-13 08:00:46

Unhelpful comment Kenlee and also not true.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 02-Mar-13 01:58:54

In my area, you could log onto the County Council website at midnight to find out school allocation - I found out DS1's at 00:01.

Kenlee Sat 02-Mar-13 01:51:50

Go private...

most of the best schools are private

Bluelightsandsirens Fri 01-Mar-13 23:58:59

Oh I know Panel, I have many friends who have had 5 places declined but I may be lucky in the area we live in and have only ever put one for all of my children and been accepted.

I acknowledge it does feel a bigger risk now and not sure how confident i will be when DS3 is due to apply for a placement.

I wouldn't recommend it but it has worked for us and I wanted to add the point of email and letter received on the same day.

montmartre Fri 01-Mar-13 23:54:26

I don't understand why you'd apply for a school you are not in catchment for, and then complain when you don't get a place! confused
You need to move in catchment, or accept the other school- if youre not close to the school, you've no chance of a place from the waiting list.

PanelChair Fri 01-Mar-13 23:42:26

Bluelightsandsirens - I'm glad it worked out for you, but putting just one school on the application is a very risky strategy unless you can be absolutely sure of getting a place there. Generally (for the benefit of other readers) I would not recommend it, because if it backfires you will be allocated a place at whichever school still has places, which may be far less acceptable to you than other schools you might have listed.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:35:10

My point is, that an appeal can only be won if the admission criteria hasn't been followed, not just because a parent is disappointed.

No that isnt' the case at all - certainly not after Year 2 when class size laws cease to apply. A parent can definitely win an appeal by demonstrating a need or desire to attend a school for particular reasons and (as you say) leapfrog those on the waiting lists. That is in fact exactly how it works.

Mutteroo's point is valid too though. Visit the school. ask questions about things that worry you. Speak to staff, pupils and other parents. Reputations (good and bad) take years for a school to lose even long after they stop being accurate.

Bluelightsandsirens Fri 01-Mar-13 23:32:32

I received an email at 7.30am and a confirmation letter waiting for me when I returned home this afternoon.

I also only put the one and only school we wanted so count DD very lucky!

Mutteroo Fri 01-Mar-13 23:31:46

OP wouldn't it be a good idea to form your own opinion of the school your child has been given? If you haven't looked around, which I would think odd seeing as you put it as a second choice, make an appointment. We chose one of the weakest primary schools & it ended up being the best choice. Results are merely one aspect to take into account. If you visit the school & your instincts are telling you "RUN" then do the appeal.

PanelChair Fri 01-Mar-13 23:31:41

My point is, that an appeal can only be won if the admission criteria hasn't been followed

That's not the case, at least not the case beyond KS1 where the infant class size rules apply. An appeal for KS2 or secondary school can be won even if the admission criteria have been followed, if the parent can satisfy the panel that the 'prejudice' to their child in not having a place is greater than the 'prejudice' to the school in admitting an additional pupil.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 23:26:28

I know that Tiggy - I was answering the poster whose dc is in Yr5, so they need to get the application right, rather than the appeal of the original OP smile.
A school having more music groups would be a reason for a parent to express a preference for that school in my LA, but wouldn't allow you to leapfrog over others who are further up than you in the published admissions criteria. My point is, that an appeal can only be won if the admission criteria hasn't been followed, not just because a parent is disappointed.

tiggytape Fri 01-Mar-13 23:25:14

Meant to add BackforGood is right about evidence required. If you are going to rely on violin playing, social circumstances that mean staying with friends is crucial or benfits from a literacy unit - you have to back this up with evidence.

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