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Secondary school appeal update

(84 Posts)
gillybob Wed 07-Jun-17 13:00:51

Hi All many of you may recall that we are in the process of going through a traumatic secondary school appeal for my granddaughter.

The school concerned have been completely inflexible by saying that any appeal date given cannot be changed for whatever reason and the appeal will go ahead on the day/time whether you are there or not.

The appeal is being heard in an area notoriously hard to get to in morning traffic.

Yesterday an updated letter arrived to my DDiL stating that the appeal will now be heard over 2 days and if you wish to be present at the appeal you must be available from 09.00 - 16.30 on both days. The school will make their address on day one and they are not able to say exactly when you will be called in front of the panel on day two.

Is it just me? is this totally unreasonable? how can they be allowed to get away with this?

Are they hoping that by making things so awkward you will withdraw your appeal or not turn up?

I am fuming angry

Rigby46 Wed 07-Jun-17 13:33:40

gb I am beyond angry on your behalf. Who is actually organising the appeal? Is it a la school or an academy?

gillybob Wed 07-Jun-17 13:41:42

Sadly it is an academy Rigby46 so they are a law unto themselves and can dictate the terms of the appeal procedure. just like they can manipulate their admissions criteria to suit.

Rigby46 Wed 07-Jun-17 14:18:04

I only have experience of the two appeals my niece attended. In both cases, she was given a specific time for each. Academies are supposed to follow the same code. Making someone be available for two whole days ( with all the anxiety that must entail whilst waiting) sounds like an abuse of process to me - I'll pm you

Norah Wed 07-Jun-17 14:57:38

I'm sorry this has not yet resolved, gillybob.

gillybob Wed 07-Jun-17 15:03:18

Thanks Rigby46 I have just spoken to the appeals secretary (she is from the next town?) who tells me that the reason for the appeal being strung over 2 days is that there are too many to be heard in one day. I asked her whether it would not be a fairer system to hear a few appeals per day over 2 or 3 days and each appellant could be given at least a day slot. Apparently not possible. I didn't want to say any more to her (or what I thought of their system) for fear of further jeopardising my granddaughters chances.

gillybob Wed 07-Jun-17 15:05:32

Me too Norah it's getting us all down. My poor little granddaughter is so stressed she is making herself ill with worry.

Welshwife Wed 07-Jun-17 15:19:54

This sort of thing needs to be publicised and stopped - and also the distance and problems there are with getting your DGD to school safely on a daily basis. I assume you have discussed all this with the local MP?
The whole thing stinks!

gillybob Wed 07-Jun-17 15:45:03

It does Welshwife this is what happens when schools turn into academies and are allowed to write their own admissions criteria.

I have said to my DDiL just this morning that if/when we lose (I don't mean to sound so defeatist) I feel that I will have to take this somewhere. It won't help my little GD at all but this really needs to be brought to the attention of people in high places.

vampirequeen Wed 07-Jun-17 21:00:00

This is appalling.

BBbevan Wed 07-Jun-17 21:24:57

I have been wondering for ages how things were for you and your GD. I really hope things will be resolved soon and in your favour. One wonders if some of these people just enjoy making things difficult. Good luck and remember that many here on GN are rooting for you.

Penstemmon Wed 07-Jun-17 21:36:06

gillybob I was talking about you today, did your ears burn? I was with an old friend (sadly attending a funeral ) but she was talking about her efforts to get her daughter into primary school (11 years ago) and I was reminded of your DGD and wondered if the appeal had happened.

It is inequitable: families who can afford/ are able to take 2 days to sit around and wait are advantaged over those who could not afford, or be allowed, time off work. That does need to be made clear..though I understand your worry about disadvantaging the appeal by being seen (in their eyes) as a nuisance. I hope you can find a way for someone to be there.

morethan2 Wed 07-Jun-17 21:56:29

I'm furious on your behalf. It's a perfect case of filibustering. The sort of behaviour that makes you spit feathers or cry with sheer frustration. It's not helpful but I'd write it my M.P after the event. At the very least it will let you vent your feelings. I do hope things go well . Good luck

Penstemmon Wed 07-Jun-17 22:20:40

I find it more frustrating as I understand it is church school, behaving in a not very thoughtful way.
Maybe a letter to the bishop?

gillybob Thu 08-Jun-17 10:09:19

The actual appeal is not until the end of the month. We have been given a short window of opportunity to email the Chair of the Panel with any other relevant information to "our" appeal. I was thinking about saying that I would like it to be put on record that we feel that the appeal process stretching over 2 days (most of which will undoubtedly be spent waiting around) is quite unreasonable as it requires the parents to take 2 days unpaid leave from work in order to attend. It also does not take into any account that the child (and indeed any siblings) will have to be cared for by a third party in order for the parents to attend the hearing (in another town).

There is so much I would like to say but am having to hold back.

Indeed Penstemmon not a very Christian way to treat people is it? I could laugh at the headmasters welcome on their webpage.

harrigran Thu 08-Jun-17 11:12:29

I am so sad for you and your family gilly. Oh that I could take your GD to the school that mine is going to attend but it would not solve the problem of travel. I was talking to GD yesterday and she was telling me all about her new classmates, she has already met them at weekly get to know you sessions. Her enthusiasm was heart-warming but I thought about your GD and what a different story she has to tell.
Shame on them doing that to a young child sad

gillybob Thu 08-Jun-17 11:23:27

A very different story indeed harri My DGD's class have all been given books (diaries I think) to fill in for their new teacher. 3 teachers from local secondaries have visited their primary and met with their new pupils. Needless to say my DGD did not meet her new teacher as she is the only child allocated a school miles away from both home and the primary and they probably though it wasn't worth sending anyone to meet and greet one kid!

She is distraught (yes that it the right word) and keeps saying things like "I just won't go" or "I might run away and then they can't make me go there" It is very worrying and terribly upsetting. She loves school, she is very bright and extremely sporty. Any school should feel privileged to have her. I'm feeling quite tearful as I type this. I think its a mixture of anger and frustration.

Penstemmon Thu 08-Jun-17 11:23:31

It should not be a postcode lottery! If all schools had equal admissions it would make it easier. We all need our youngsters to go to good local schools.

gillybob Thu 08-Jun-17 11:34:37

It all seemed to go wrong when parents were allowed to choose primaries way out of their area just to enable their child to be fed into the best secondaries at 11. There are loads of children who have got places at the academy who live miles away but their parents got them into the right feeders aged 4.

Academies are allowed to set their own admission criteria (this particular one seems to have chosen 4 primaries from the most affluent villages) back door selection?

Also why are they allowed to have 4 feeder primaries? which is almost the entire intake?

Riverwalk Thu 08-Jun-17 11:39:16

I didn't realise that your DGD was the only child!

How distressing for her that the other children are meeting their new teachers and she's left out.

Nandalot Thu 08-Jun-17 11:49:27

The whole situation seems iniquitous. I do hope for DGD that your appeal is successful.

gillybob Thu 08-Jun-17 11:52:31

Yes River she is the only child. This is because she lives several miles away from the primary school she attends (we failed appeals to get her into a local primary) and because the Academy on her doorstep is full from their own feeders they have had to pull a school out of a hat. No thought or consideration.

There's a kid, There's a school. Job done.

(I never refer to my DGD as "a kid" but I seriously think that the people from the LEA must do. Surely they wouldn't treat a child like this) sad

daphnedill Mon 26-Jun-17 12:44:24

I'm sure you know this already gillybob, but your DGD has almost no chance of being offered a place. A two day appeal process is relatively common for very oversubscribed schools.

The procedure is that the school will state its case just once, showing how it has applied admissions criteria correctly. Each parent is then given an opportunity to state their case. The panel will only be interested in whether the criteria have not been applied fairly in your case. One local school had over 40 appeals and the panel rejected them all.

All you can do is:

Make sure that your DGD remains on the waiting list
Get transport sorted
Build up DGD's confidence. You could arrange a visit to the school.

devongirl Mon 26-Jun-17 12:57:07

gilly, I can't help but think (apart from transport issues) that your DGD is better off not succeeding in the appeal - do you really want her to go to what sounds like an awful place? If this is how they behave over admissions, what are they going to be like with any other problems that might arise?

Norah Wed 28-Jun-17 15:04:09

gilly, good results??