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 Post subject: Transfer Appeals
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:31 am 
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Dear Guest 1

This is in reply to guest under Kent section.....and of course for others in the same position.

You only have 14 days to request an appeal from the date of your allocation letter.

www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/get//assets/docs ... ations.pdf

Etienne may be able to help regards format of appeal.

Patricia


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:20 am 
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Patricia is right. Local authorities are entitled to state a deadline for the receipt of appeals, so that the necessary arrangements can be planned, and in Bucks this is 14 days from the receipt of the allocation letter. Of course, if you miss the deadline, and have good reasons for being late, you could explain the special circumstances to the Appeals Team and ask them if they would exercise their discretion.

I’ve been meaning to update my December posting on transfer appeals, and perhaps this might be a good time to do so.

As I’ve written with regard to selection appeals, appellants shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the more they write, the more impressed the panel will be. A maximum of one side of A4 (plus any supporting evidence) should be more than enough for a panel to understand the key points without drowning in unnecessary detail. Similarly a brief presentation at the appeal (say, up to 5 minutes) will have more impact than a longwinded presentation. If the panel want more detail, they will ask (during Questions).

At what is known as “Stage One” the admission authority has to present its case in front of the panel and parents. The panel has to be satisfied that the authority has a case (i.e. the school is full, and the admission of an extra pupil will be prejudicial). From the parents’ perspective, of course, the difference between 30 pupils in a class and 31 may not seem particularly significant, but the line has to be drawn somewhere! I think panels are likely to look very closely at cases where the class size is below 30, although this might well be justified by the physical constraints of the accommodation. More often than not, the local authority is able to satisfy the panel that it has a case, and the appeal moves on to “Stage 2” where the outcome will usually depend on the strength of the parents’ case relative to the strength of the school’s case.

At Stage 2 the panel will want to hear your reasons for the school in question, and why no other school would really do. Reasons will probably include one or more of the following:
1 It’s the catchment school.
2 Although not in catchment you live very close to the school.
3 Getting to any suitable alternative school would be logistically difficult (you would have to prove this, and I think the degree of inconvenience would have to be very considerable indeed).
4 There is a sibling already there.
5 Other family members are attending or have attended the school (perhaps not a strong point but worth a mention).
6 There are strong educational reasons (I don’t mean a preference for a type of school such as a grammar school - I mean something specific on offer at this particular school which is not available at any suitable alternative. You would need to prove why this is so crucial).
7 There are strong medical or social reasons why your child needs to attend this particular school. These are often the most compelling reasons, but you will need proof, and you will need to demonstrate convincingly why only this school is the solution.

Stage 2 is sometimes called the “balancing stage”. The panel weighs up the problem that the admission of an extra child would cause the school, and compares that with the prejudice that would be caused to the child if not admitted. The side with the stronger case wins. You could have a strong case but lose the appeal because the panel decides the school case is even stronger! You could have a weak case but win your appeal because the school case is even weaker!

Another factor that might influence the result is the number of appeals being heard at the same time. If you are appealing for a very popular school immediately after the 1st March allocations, there could be 20, 30 or even 40+ cases to be heard. These are called "multiple appeals", and no decision is taken on any individual case until all the timely appeals have been heard. After hearing the timely appeals, the panel (and it has to be the same panel!) put all the cases in what they judge to be order of merit, and starting with the strongest they work their way down the list asking the question: where does the greater prejudice lie? If they think the prejudice to the child would be greater than the prejudice to the school, then a place is offered. (Each time they admit an extra pupil, of course, the prejudice to the school has probably become greater, and they will be conscious of this as they move on to take their decision on the next case.)

One further point: at every transfer appeal the panel has to consider whether or not the authority has correctly applied the admission arrangements. Sometimes parents point to a mistake made by the authority and claim “maladministration”. This carries no weight, however, unless it can be shown that the family was therefore denied the school place to which they would otherwise have been entitled. This does not often happen! But, if there really has been “maladministration” on the part of the admission authority, then the appeal is automatically upheld and there is no balancing stage.

I hope these observations will be of some help to those embarking on transfer appeals.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:26 pm 
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Location: Berks,Bucks
Dear Patricia,

From your post in the Kent section, it appears that you believe that the 14 days rule applies to anyone who wants to appeal for a Bucks school, not only for Bucks residents. Is this right?
It could be important for a friend of mine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:54 pm 
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I shall be interested if Patricia has an answer to Catherine's question. I've never seen the paperwork now sent to out-county applicants, so I don't know.

If out-county applicants haven't been notified of the deadline, or haven't had a copy of the Bucks guide to secondary schools, then I think they would have a good reason for submitting their appeal late.

They musn't be too late, however, or they will miss the main batch of multiple appeals - and if it's a popular school, that will almost certainly be to their disadvantage.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:54 pm 
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Dear Catherine and Etienne

Not 100% sure of answer.......knew in county was 14 days...must assume out of county the same...in order to be considered with in county batch of appealers.

Worried that guest posting in Kent section would miss a possible/probable deadline.....therefore 'suggested' an immediate response.

The leaflet contained in the above weblink is sent to both in and out of county parents.

Patricia


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:16 am 
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Location: Berks,Bucks
Dear Etienne,

My friend who appealed, and live, in Slough is in quite a bit of trouble because her daughter's only offer is for a terrible school and she does not want her to go there.

Her daughter is on the waiting list for the Chalfonts Communauty College but considering her address, she can't rely on being offered a place this way. She is also appealing for this school.

Her grounds for appeal are that her child needs a stable environment because she had had very unsettling past few years (parents separation + dad not being allowed direct contact with her daughter), and she is currently attending a Bucks feeder school for Chalfonts where most of her friends will go.

I must add that Chalfonts is not first on her preference list, but fifth, because she listed grammar schools first.

The question is, do you think that these circumstances are the kind of social reasons that an appeal panel would be looking for?

The only other option she can think of is to move quickly into the catchment of a good school, but it is not an easy option.

Best regards

Catherine


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:23 pm 
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Dear Catherine

An appeal panel would certainly consider your friend's social reasons, but sadly the circumstances you describe are quite common.

I think your friend would need to demonstrate how seriously her daughter has been affected by the parental separation, and just how important the support of her peer group will be.

Is the daughter shy, nervous, and clearly needing the support of friends? Were the effects of the separation apparent to her present school or the GP? If so, the school and the GP should be asked if they would provide written evidence.

Sorry to say this, but the worse the circumstances surrounding the separation were, the stronger the case could be. (Panels are sometimes shown reports from police, social services, child guidance ......).

I wouldn't worry about grammar school preferences coming first on the list. Panels should understand this.

Moving into the catchment area before the appeal (as opposed to "we intend to move ....") should strengthen the appeal, but there's no guarantee of success, I'm afraid.

There's a certain amount of unpredictability about transfer appeals. A lot will depend on other factors: the strength of the school case, the number of appeals for the school in question, and the strength of the other cases.

Don't hesitate to let me know if I can be of any further help.

Kind regards

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:25 pm 
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Location: Berks,Bucks
Thank you very much for this, Etienne.

I have posted some questions about her appeal in Slough in the Bershire section. It is not too important, more for her peace of mind, but I would be grateful for your opinion.

Best regards

Catherine


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:10 am 
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Dear Etienne,

My friend has received an offer for Chalfonts via the second round of offers. She is so thrilled and relieved!
Thank you again for taking the time to reply to my queries, and your brilliant contribution to this site.

Kind regards

Catherine


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:48 pm 
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Really delighted to hear the good news, Catherine.

Thanks so much for letting us know.

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Etienne


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