Gransnet forums


School appeal cancelled yet again

(21 Posts)
gillybob Fri 30-Sep-16 09:12:43

I have posted previously about the difficulty we are having getting the (grand) children into a primary school close to home. They were refused places back in April and we we lodged an appeal in May. The dates for appeals have been set twice and cancelled at the last minute (a day before) twice by the school, the latest reason being that they forgot they had an inspection on the same day. I spoke with the school secretary on Monday at 11.40 (no mention of an inspection) telephone call at 2pm canceling the appeal for the next day. New date set for late October now. All in all it will be over 6 months from date of refusal . HM Gov website say appeals should be heard within 40 days! We are so upset and frustrated. I am beginning to feel like telling them to stuff their school where the sun don't shine but the poor children have such a long journey to school it's ridiculous. Also eldest GD is year 6 and will need to get into secondary school near to home not in the next town which will be impossible if she is not in a feeder school. Does anyone have any idea what we can do? Any advice very gratefully received.

annodomini Fri 30-Sep-16 09:53:05

Are the schools still under LEA control or have they become part of an academy trust of some kind? If the LEA still has control, it would be worthwhile getting hold of a County Councillor and ask for some advice/support. If it's an academy or part of one, it's more difficult. Do they have a web site giving details of their governors? I don't know how much good that would do as all too often, the govs are under the thumb of the head teacher. You can but try.

gillybob Fri 30-Sep-16 09:57:50

Thank you for your reply anno have spoken to local counsellors but they are on the board of governors at the school . So will always side with the school . It is under LEA control ( who are useless btw) . I have my suspicions that there are some underhand dealings going on but can't prove it. Figures I have requested have been changed a few times etc. Don't know what to do next. Wish they could just stay where they are as their school has improved a great deal and is on par with the potential new one ( re ofsted) but it is just so far away it's very difficult to get there and back every day .

trisher Fri 30-Sep-16 10:31:35

gillybob had a brief look at this and as far as I can see the 40 days is a "must' in other words legally binding. On the other hand I have no idea what the action would be as the school has technically broken the law. I suggest you contact your MP and as them to look at the case. You might also like to contact the LEA directly and quietly express your concerns to someone high up in the dept (I always used to ask for the Director of Education- you never get them but their secretary often picks things up!) Something very strange is going on here. I know some schools are more efficient than others but this is ridiculous. So sorry you are going through this.

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 12:14:30

Contact the Local Government Ombudsman without delay. They won't be able to give you a place, but they will be able to ensure the school follows the law. Unfortunately, the remedy will be the appeal, not the place.

I contacted them years ago when I was unhappy about how a school appeal had been handled and my caseworker was very sympathetic.

As a matter of interest, what are your grounds for appeal? Have you had advice? You have to have very specific grounds for success -p not what you or I would consider common sense. There are some good people on Mumsnet, if you haven't already asked.

Good luck!

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 12:19:31

PS. Don't be too untrusting of the school secretary. These days, schools are only given a few hours' notice of inspections. It's not uncommon for schools to be given notice after the end of the previous school day.

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 12:24:14

PPS. As a Plan B, what will happen if the children don't get into this primary school and don't get places in the preferred secondary school? Have you looked at the secondary school they are likely to be allocated as an alternative? Is it that bad?

As for the current the school the children currently attend the nearest one with places? If it is, and it's over two miles, the local authority should be providing transport.

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 12:48:58

I hate to sound negative, but I think you should be prepared for the worst, especially if you live in London, the South or East. Very few appeals are decided in the parents' favour.

According to regulations, an appeal can be successful if the admission arrangements at a school were not properly followed, they were not "legal" in the first place, or the decision to refuse the child was "unreasonable".

I'm not an expert, but from what I've read, you don't have grounds for appeal. The LA is obliged to offer you a place and to fund transport, if it is the nearest school with places and is over 2 miles from home (3 miles for secondary).

Even if the children are offered places in the 'feeder primaries' there is no guarantee that they will be offered places in the preferred secondary school. In my area,only 75% are being offered places in the 'catchment' area. The rest are being bussed to a school another 2 miles (6 miles total) away.

What is the order of criteria in the secondary schools admissions policy? Feeder primaries? Siblings? Distance?

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 13:25:35

Website for LGO:

Nelliemoser Fri 30-Sep-16 20:05:16

daphnedill Gillybob does at least live up north.

Gillybob I would suggest getting onto the MP with your complaint.

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 22:02:44

I had no idea where she lives. The problem is that I can't see that she has grounds for appeal. Maybe a barrister or somebody with more experience of appeals than I've had can see a loophole, but I honestly can't.

MPs can't do anything. The appeals panel has to follow the law, which (as far as I can make out) hasn't been broken. The only redress she has is to the LGO, who can only rule whether procedures haven't been followed.

daphnedill Fri 30-Sep-16 22:07:47

In-year admissions to popular schools are always problematic, because schools can't reserve places for pupils who move into the area. They have a Published Admission Number (PAN) and can't keep places in reserve. They don't have to go over the PAN. Very few popular schools have in-year vacancies, especially for three children.

gillybob Sat 01-Oct-16 00:18:45

Hello Daphnedill thank you for your response(s) . Our grounds for appeal are as follows:

1) Distance. The children live within 0.5 km of the school. (7 km from current school, which is not on a direct bus route meaning a 1.5 hour journey to/from school) .
2) 40 day rule for appeal broken (twice over) by the school /Lea
3) there was a place available (29 head count at 11.40) which suddenly turned into a 30 head count at 2pm and appeal cancelled by the school on the grounds that they had an unforeseen inspection.
4) questioned inspection. Unable to tell me what the inspection was?...

I could go on and on but frankly wish I had never started this.

gillybob Sat 01-Oct-16 00:19:55

Thank you Nelliemoser we do live in the North East . smile

gillybob Sat 01-Oct-16 00:21:08

Also have just learned that local councillor is chair of the board of governors, hmm

daphnedill Sat 01-Oct-16 02:18:04


I remember the trauma when I went to appeal for my own son, so I sympathise. I know how stressful it is.

At the time I thought I had a rock solid case, but I was still turned down. I really think you should think what will happen if it fails, because I know I didn't really think about it - I just blocked it out, because I was so convinced I would win.

The school's case will be that admitting another child would cause 'prejudice to the efficient use and access to resources', which it can prove if it's reached its PAN. You have to prove that your case is stronger, which is very difficult to do. You have to prove that this school can offer something which no other school can.

1) Is there a school nearer than the current school with places? This is crucial, because the panel will say that the children should be going there. If it is over 2 miles, the authority has a duty to provide transport, which knocks your argument on its head. If it's under 2 miles, the child is supposed to walk. I know that seems tough, but it's the law. From my experience, transport arrangements counted for nothing. If there is no other school than the current one, the authority must by law provide transport.

2) I don't think the appeal panel will consider whether the 40 day rule was broken. That's a matter for the Local Government Ombudsman and they will only take it up, if it affected the outcome of the appeal.

3) They will probably come up with some excuse and you'll need evidence they're lying and that it affected the offer of a place.

4) The inspection isn't really relevant.

It really shouldn't matter that the local councillor is a governor, because the council shouldn't influence appeals nor should governors. The people who matter are the panel and if you think any of them is prejudiced, you have the right to say so.

If there is a place available in another school, would the child be able to go to the preferred secondary school?

You might find it easier to get a secondary school place by going on the waiting list and hoping that somebody leaves. As your daughter lives so close to the school, the child should be towards the top of the waiting list.

jenpax Sat 01-Oct-16 09:01:32

Hi we had the same problem with the little ones going into Reception in Dorset and also launched appeals (I represented both children and 4 appeals each!) I would suggest contacting a charity called Coram legal centre they are a child law advice service and have an education law advice line gust google them they are very helpful!

gillybob Wed 12-Oct-16 08:18:49

Just a quick update to say that the appeals finally went ahead yesterday. My DDIL and I both feel like we were criminals in a court . They lasted from 11.15 until 3pm .

The panel of 3 plus 4 people from the LEA plus the head and secretary from the school, a note taker (all sitting in ine side like a jury) and me and Daughter in law on the other. The most rudest and impermanent questions were fired from the LEA and we had to sit and listen to our gorgeous, clever children being described as burdens on resources, statistics, parts of a percentage, a number over roll etc. but not once did they refer to them as children.

Half way through we were "allowed" a toilet break (I believe the panel were given sandwiches) and I said to DDIL "I feel like going back in and telling "her" to stuff her school right where the sun don't shine" .

Towards the end we were asked if we would like to make a brief conclusion and together with a few other bits I added "I am disgusted that not once have any of my grandchildren been referred to as a child or a person"

Truly a horrible experience. The LEA should be ashamed . I hold no hope whatsoever of winning the appeal for any of the thee children I believe it was cut and dry before hand and they were simply going through the motions.

SueinHull Sun 20-Nov-16 14:30:36

Sorry for your trauma gillybob. I was a School Appeal Officer working for our local LEA. At the time no more than 30 children could be admitted into primary classes. You can appeal but likely dismissed because of this. Whatever your grounds are....if you feel the school has broken the law then you MUST contact the Ombudsman. They will thoroughly check all the procedures. There is also no guarantee of "feeder school" admissions either for secondary schools. It is useful to have your local MP with you for support, but they cannot change the decision of the panel. However if you go through appeal you can request a place on the waiting list at your preferred school. In our LEA there was alot of movement of children and people left frequently. I have re-read your last post Gillybob, I hope you got the conclusion you wanted. But please please contact the Ombudsmen if you felt proceedings were not legal. Good luck.

MissAdventure Tue 11-Jul-17 19:39:46

Missing school due to parents illness.
Has anyone any inside knowledge which might help in this situation, please?
It seems that its perfectly ok for my grandson to miss days from school when his mum is too poorly to take him. The Senco officer (I think that's the name) said that they aren't worried, as they know he isn't playing truant, and the school are unable to help in any way.
I've checked online, and can only find info for if its the child who is poorly; nothing regarding the parent.
Would be so very grateful for some advice, or even sympathy!

MissAdventure Tue 11-Jul-17 19:40:55

Oh dear. I'm so sorry. I thought I had started a new thread! As you were, ladies. Sorry gillybob. blush