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School appeals again

(26 Posts)
gillybob Wed 11-Oct-17 11:30:42

Sorry to bore everyone but we have another 2 sets of school appeals coming up in the next week.

After the recent (unbelievable) success of our secondary school appeal for the eldest DGD, we have another round of appeals for the youngest 2 DGC (9 and 7) coming up next week. They have (yet again) been turned down for their local primaries and DDiL and I are set to do 2 sets of 2 appeals (4) over 2 days. I think our chances of winning are about zero (if last time is anything to go by) as unlike the secondary appeal, the schools are in LA control and they are always on the side of the schools and don't give a monkeys toot how far the children have to travel every day. Their way of thinking seems to be that they have a school, its miles away, tough, but heaven help you if they are late ! Reading through their paperwork last night it is apparent they have copied and pasted every word throughout the 4 appeals.

I really don't need this additional stress.

Luckygirl Wed 11-Oct-17 11:34:13

What is the reason for the LA allocating these children to a school other than their local primary? It seems a bit bonkers. I thought that their first tranche of children had to come from the locality, then they could open it to all-comers.

gillybob Wed 11-Oct-17 11:43:08

The children moved to a new area just under 2 years ago Luckygirl and the 3 local primaries (2 of which had places before they moved) were full after the move. We have already had one round of unsuccessful appeals and feel that this round won't be any different.

Anyone can go to any school these days, distance really doesn't come into it (unless they become full ). There are children in these primaries who travel several miles to get to them as they are feeders for one of the best secondaries in the area.

paddyann Wed 11-Oct-17 12:08:49

I dont think that howit works here ,children go to the scholl closest to them and only if they want to go to somewhere outwith the area do they have to apply for a place.For instance some children local to me wanted to go to a school ( in a so called "better area ") that was abut 15 miles away ,they have to have a good reason for moving and not just the area or the schools results.The two I know who got in was because their mother worked in that area so it was easier for her to take them and collect them without it affecting her employment .Of course we dont have the overcrowding in schools the England has ,my grandchildren are at a state school where classes are between 10 and 18 pupils although secondaries are busier as the intake area is much wider with some children travelling over 20 miles each way to a local catholic school .

gillybob Wed 11-Oct-17 12:29:25

It seems a much fairer/better system paddyann smile

In their existing primary my 9 year old DGD is in a class of 31 and my DGS (7) is in a class of 29.

It is an Ofsted rated "Good" school (having made vast improvements over the last few years). The only problem is the distance they have to travel every day. The schools close to home (one literally across the road) are not better schools but they feed into a very popular "outstanding" secondary school so they are hugely popular. The thing that upsets me the most is that the children are often forced to use public transport to and from school (2 buses each way) and are often late if the first bus runs late. They have had several threatening letters of court action for being late for school which makes me so angry.

eazybee Wed 11-Oct-17 18:28:31

It is very annoying when children in the neighbourhood cannot get places in their local schools, which are occupied by children from miles away. Were you aware that the schools were over subscribed when you moved? It seems odd that no places have become available in the past two years, or is there a very long waiting list?

cornergran Thu 12-Oct-17 11:43:53

I do understand how stressful these processes are gilly, wishing you all well with the appeals, hold onto some hope.

BBbevan Fri 13-Oct-17 14:26:15

gillybob Now your eldest GD has got into the secondary school you wanted, will the other two automatically be accepted when their time comes?
All these appeal must be so draining for you and your family. I hope all goes well for you all

Anya Fri 13-Oct-17 15:12:01

Have you got the children’s names ‘down’ with the preferred school just in case. Families move out of areas too and it might be worth, if you haven’t already done so, to get yourselves on the waiting list should places become available.

Norah Fri 13-Oct-17 15:43:55

Pray for the best. You did accomplish to the very best last appeal. Such wishes of good luck from me to you and yours.

gillybob Mon 16-Oct-17 12:36:42

Sorry missed the last few posts.

Yes BBbevan assuming the admission criteria does not change the youngest 2 should get into eldest GD's secondary school on "sibling link" which is judged at the same level as coming from a feeder. If there is an oversubscription they go to distance so wouldn't have any worries there as they live very close.
This is all very draining. I have worked on this all weekend again and still feel we have very little chance of success. We have 2 appeals tomorrow (deliberately timed perfectly to make it even harder for us to get the youngest to school) and then another 2 on Wednesday. Angry doesn't cover it !

The schools close to where they live do not have waiting lists Anya . Many of the children at these schools don't even live in the area as they are placed there in order to get into the much sought after secondary school. Very rare for a place to become available as parent travel miles to get there as it stands.

Thank you Norah I very much appreciate your good wishes. Very different this time as we have been here before and we are effectively taking on the LEA (not nice) and they really don't play fair.

Can anyone possibly explain in the most basic of terms how the Net capacity assessment works please? I have 2 very different schools with very different amounts of calculated workplaces etc. and yet they both have exactly the same Net capacities? Am I missing something? confused

Desperate doesn't cover it !

grannyqueenie Mon 16-Oct-17 14:14:42

Sorry no helpful advice to offer, gilly, just wanted to wish you luck as you go into the Lion’s Den once again. x

Norah Mon 16-Oct-17 14:33:38

BBbevan Mon 16-Oct-17 16:37:05

Please, when you have rested, let us know how it went today.

Baggs Mon 16-Oct-17 16:54:24

Threatening letters for being late when it's the bus that's late? This happened once that I'm aware of at Minibaggs's secondary school (13 miles away for the kid who got told off). Kid's dad wrote a strongly worded reply pointing out the total unreasonableness of getting at the kids or their parents for something over which they had no control.

I'd have blasted them to hell too (politely!) if I'd ever had such an experience. Parents don't have to put up with crap from schools or LAs.

Maybe if more and more kids start arriving late the school and the LA will get the idea.

Baggs Mon 16-Oct-17 16:58:49

I have a feeling that net capacity rules are somewhat fluid when it suits and LEA.

If your problems are widespread for local kids, gillybob, how about setting up a parent and local councillor campaign group to get things put right. It can work. We managed to keep open several schools that were threatened with closure in Argyll about six years ago.

gillybob Mon 16-Oct-17 21:29:57

I did telephone the department Baggs and was told that they "could not make exceptions for individual circumstances" which I told them was a load of rubbish. I explained that there was only 1 bus they could use (they need to make a connection to bus number 2) and if that was late there was nothing they could do. Their answer "again we cannot make exceptions for individual circumstances" I wrote a letter reiterating our telephone conversation and pointed out the flaw in their argument (of course they have to take into account circumstances) but DiL got a letter repeating the first threat to fine her and take her to court. As I said earlier angry doesn't cover it. More kids won't /shouldn't really arrive late because most of the kids live very close to the school.

I agree that capacity is very fluid when it suits. Sadly tomorrow we have the same representative from the LEA as we did last time.

Thank you for the link Norah very interesting reading.

grannyactivist Mon 16-Oct-17 23:41:21

gillybob in your shoes I would definitely make a formal complaint about the punitive response to lateness, which is outwith your control. The school complaints procedure should be published on the school’s website.

The usual steps are:
Complain in writing to the headteacher. If you are not happy with the head's response then: Complain in writing to the school’s governing body. If you are still not happy then you can complain to the Dept of Education, but in my experience a quick visit to your local MP surgery, in conjunction with the latter usually helps expedite matters. If you can bear to get the local paper involved that usually has an electrifying effect.

Hope the appeals process surprises you with a good decision. smile

gillybob Thu 19-Oct-17 11:37:19

Well that's 4 appeals ( over 2 days) done and dusted. DDiL just waiting for the dreaded letters.

2 very different panels over the 2 days . One set seemed quite understanding and gave us a "fair" hearing ( the LEA are as nasty as ever, reading from their script of hatred towards all children) the other panel were not so nice and seemed very biased towards the head teacher ( almost swooning in her presence).

I do think we gave it our best shot again and I'm not sure where we go next if/when we lose.

BBbevan Thu 19-Oct-17 13:01:45

Here's hoping then. Everyone please cross everything for luck. 😀

gillybob Thu 19-Oct-17 13:09:50

Just got a text from DDiL to say that the first appeal ( Tuesdays ) has been rejected. Not surprised in the slightest . Any appeal with the LEA is decided before you set foot in the door. Still one result to come but not confident as again it was an LEA appeal.

harrigran Thu 19-Oct-17 13:45:29

It is sickening when you jump through hoops and they still say no. Sorry to hear you are going through this again gilly.
The school, in the next street to us, is the best in town and children arrive in Chelsea tractors. I have only ever seen a handful walk to the school.

gillybob Thu 19-Oct-17 13:51:09

Exactly Harrigran I asked the head teacher of the ( refused appeal) school for an is she could give me an approximate percentage of children attending the school who actually live in the area and the witch from the LEA said I couldn't ask that question and demanded the question be removed from the minutes . It's fine I said I think I probably already know the answer.

gillybob Thu 19-Oct-17 14:01:34

Apologies for rubbish post . I hope you understood it !

The problem is the 2 schools on their doorsteps are feeders and golden tickets into the super secondary , the one that eldest DGD got into on appeal, (not LEA controlled or she would have had no chance) . Never mind we will just plod on I guess . sad

eazybee Fri 20-Oct-17 10:37:23

You are being unfair to the LEA; in my experience they were always on the side of the parents in appeals and did everything in their power to make the oversubscribed schools take extra pupils. But they cannot remove existing pupils to make space for your grandchildren, and in an overcrowded class one extra child is the equivalent of five.
Unlike Academies, LEA schools are not allowed to create extra classrooms to accommodate rising rolls, hence the lack of places.

I am assuming that your eldest grandchild has a place at an Academy school, where none of the restrictions apply; they are allowed to create extra classes according to demand . These schools are increasingly run by larger and larger Trusts, whose motive is profit, (witness Wakefield City Academies; all 21 schools handed back because they are failing.) Not all Academies are run like this, but an increasing number are.
We seem to be going round in circles; when I was due to start school in the early fifties, and having lived in the catchment area for a good school from birth, my parents were told that I would be sent to a school some miles away, not on a bus route, because I was an only child, therefore no sibling connection. My mother thwarted this by alerting the LEA to the number of children given places by using grandparents' addresses, when they lived outside the catchment area. Still happens today.