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 Post subject: In year appeals for 11+
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:23 pm 
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Location: Gloucestershire
At the recent appeals training session, an interesting point was raise by a school governor (who happens to be on appeals panels for other schools).

A school has a PAN of 120, but often ends up with 128 pupils in the year (by the school saying during appeals that they can take up to 128 without prejudicing the other pupils). They have a waiting list that children who have passed the 11+ but for whom there isn't space are added. After the 'post 11+' appeals have been heard, and once the new school year has started, the waiting list is still in operation. There is often some movement with two or three moving out from the school for various reasons, but the school can not offer the now vacant places to those on it until the school roll is back down to 120.

The places can only be filled by appeal. Parents can appeal at any time, but only once per school year unless they have new information to give to the panel. Therefore children who'd appeals post 11+ would not be able to appeal for these places, but children on the waiting list (or not even on the list) may appeal for them - IF they knew there were vacant spaces!

The question posed by the governor was 'Is there any way we can tell the parents still waiting for a place that it would do them no harm to appeal'. The correct answer is 'No', but the LEA are looking in to ways round it.

A question arising from that would be would they tell all the parents that there's a spare space, just the top of the list? If more than one appealed for one space, then they'd not be able to appeal again in that year - yet if the school only told one parent, why should the others not be told as well?

The moral to this story is "If you've not got a place at the school you want and didn't appeal, 'phone the school once a week to ask if there are any changes in the school roll - and the launch an appeal when there is (hoping no other parent is doing so)". This applies just as much come year 8 as year 7...

Other news is that appeals panels seem to be doing things correctly in Gloucestershire - at least for all Grammars (LEA & GM) and all other Community / LEA schools - of the very very few cases referred by parents to the Ombudsman, none were found in favour of the parents. In other words, the Clerks to the appeals panels, and Democratic Services at the LEA (who handle appeals) do a very good job keeping the panels in line with the appeals code. We may decide how cases go, but they make sure we do it fairly and legally.

Finally, there was some dismay at the lack of information given out to this years Y6 parents (and pre Reception parents) - just the folded A3 leaflet referring them to the web site for more information. I'd be surprised if it didn't cause an increase in appeals for all schools - a lot of parents need the information in their hands, and won't look online or go to the library to find a computer - and that's if they even have English as a first language! And as for changing the 11+ timescale for next year - 5 days to get the papers marked and letters in the post! Though a bit of a red herring about those who take the exam late due to sickness - if they would have been in the top 120 if they'd taken the test on time, their ranking may be lower down as the 120 would have been filled by those taking the test on time: They shouldn't worry, as if they're at (say) 121, they'll still get in. It will be interesting to see what happens!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Am I right in assuming that the school wants the extra pupils, Capers?

It seems ridiculous that they are able to accommodate them and yet they have to remain on a waiting list. Very unfair on those children whose parents don't know their way around the system so don't think to appeal. Why won't the council allow them to increase their admission number?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Tolstoy wrote:
Am I right in assuming that the school wants the extra pupils, Capers?

That's certainly the impression I got. Some schools are happy to have 32 in a class, others prefer 30.

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It seems ridiculous that they are able to accommodate them and yet they have to remain on a waiting list. Very unfair on those children whose parents don't know their way around the system so don't think to appeal. Why won't the council allow them to increase their admission number?


Because the school roll numbers will have been assessed on a county-wide basis by the Schools Admissions Panel(?) so that there are not spare places in the county.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:31 pm 
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is the PAN for Tommy's then, set at 108 (27 a class, rather than the more normal 30) a by product of it being a boys' school, or is it a space issue??

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:12 pm 
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Because the school roll numbers will have been assessed on a county-wide basis by the Schools Admissions Panel(?) so that there are not spare places in the county


Political then, that's what I thought. Primaries are in a similar situation. Perish the thought that parents should actually be allowed to put their children in the school of their choice if there is space in one they don't want to fill. :wink:

Re Tommy's I got the impression from the head's speech that he prefers to keep the classes smaller. That said they had a bigger intake this year so the appeal panels think there is room for more and that's fine by me :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:22 pm 
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Milla wrote:
is the PAN for Tommy's then, set at 108 (27 a class, rather than the more normal 30) a by product of it being a boys' school, or is it a space issue??


The PAN is also arrived at by looking at capacity of classrooms, corridors (I remember being told that some at Denmark Rd were very narrow in the older buildings), computers. Health & Safety also comes into it. I remember one parent (some time ago) trying to suggest that a school could fit 33 into all the classrooms, only for us all to go and look round the school - seeing that the only possible way of fitting 33 in would have been by putting one chair on top of another childs desk in several rooms...

Other schools have better sized classrooms, and have shewn by improving results that they can fit more than their PAN in without prejudice.

I wouldn't say that it's political particularly - but Shire Hall have to try & make sure enough spaces are available for all children in the county (along with those travelling in from outside), roughly in the right places. It's quite tricky, I think, to get right.

F'rinstance, thinking of some small villages near me, there are 4 or 5 primary schools covering them, mostly on old sites in the middle of the village, with no space to expand. Because of the reputation, young families have moved in to the area to get a place; new estates have been built along with a new school - which is full.

Because of the popularity, the schools are all full, with parents living between two schools unable to get places (even though 1/2 mile from either school). The schools can't expand, appeals turned down, children having to travel 4 or 5 miles to the school with spaces. Unsatisfactory, but what is the answer?

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