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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:21 pm 
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Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:14 pm Post subject: Interaction of waiting list with appeals

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If a school say admits 180 pupils and is full and 2 appeals are upheld and the number increased to 182 is it correct that places will then not be offered to people on the waiting list until the numbers are back below 180.

If this is correct is it justified to question the panel on the movement in the waiting list that normally occurs between when the appeals are decided and the start of term?

The schools arguement is bascically that it is full and that to admit extra pupils would prejudice those pupils who already have places. Given that the appeals upheld from this school are only 1 or 2 in past years my feeling is that those pupils getting in on appeal are only replacing those that would ordinarily have got in from the waiting list and would not lead to excess numbers.

Also what happensif I ask a question of the schools representative in the appeal such as the above and they do not know the answer?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:13 pm 
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Quote:
If a school say admits 180 pupils and is full and 2 appeals are upheld and the number increased to 182 is it correct that places will then not be offered to people on the waiting list until the numbers are back below 180.
That is correct. Nothing can be offered from the waiting list until the number drops to 179.

Quote:
If this is correct is it justified to question the panel on the movement in the waiting list that normally occurs between when the appeals are decided and the start of term?
You can't question the panel, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the authority's representative about pupil movement.

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The schools arguement is bascically that it is full and that to admit extra pupils would prejudice those pupils who already have places. Given that the appeals upheld from this school are only 1 or 2 in past years my feeling is that those pupils getting in on appeal are only replacing those that would ordinarily have got in from the waiting list and would not lead to excess numbers.
Panels are unlikely to get involved in anything to do with the waiting list, unless there's been maladministration, or to speculate about future pupil movement. The issues for them are whether the admission number has been reached, whether the admission of an additional pupil will cause prejudice, and whether the appellant's reasons for wanting a place outweigh the prejudice to the school.

A panel should not be told where you are on the waiting list:
Quote:
When hearing appeals, panels must not take account of where the admission authority has placed a child on the waiting list, or of the fact that appeals have not been made in respect of other children on the waiting list.


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Also what happens if I ask a question of the schools representative in the appeal such as the above and they do not know the answer?
The Code states:
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The presenting officer will need to be prepared to answer detailed questions about the case being heard, the school (including its admission arrangements) and local coordinated admission arrangements

I think it would depend on how significant the missing information is. You could try asking the panel for an adjournment so that the representative can come back with an answer. (This might entail a short break for a telephone call to be made - or it might mean postponing the hearing to a later date.)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:58 pm 
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Parent1965 wrote:
my feeling is that those pupils getting in on appeal are only replacing those that would ordinarily have got in from the waiting list and would not lead to excess numbers.


Waiting list = none of our business.

You say 'would not lead to excess numbers' - however, you can't guarantee that some other pupils are going to drop out later to bring the numbers back down to 180 after the appeals. The panel certainly are not fortune tellers.

The children at the top of the waiting list may be at a slight disadvantage after the appeals, but the appeals are there to hear exceptional circumstances that can't be dealt with by rules or a computer. Dead granny 1 year ago or 1 week ago - you can't write a rule to say how that will affect a child and of course each child is different. It's a bit fuzzy!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:25 pm 
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At my hearing, the presenting officer from the LEA told the panel where my DS was on the waiting list and this seemed of interest to them.
Will this have an effect on my appeal as he is pretty close on the waiting list.
Should he not have discussed this?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:49 pm 
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Quote:
When hearing appeals, panels must not take account of where the admission authority has placed a child on the waiting list, or of the fact that appeals have not been made in respect of other children on the waiting list.

The panel shouldn't really have been told, in case it should influence them.

It's difficult at the moment to say whether it affected the decision.

The clerk's notes might reveal whether the panel took the Waiting List position into account when they made their decision.

If they were influenced, one way or the other, it would clearly be a breach of the Code.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:02 pm 
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How would one prove either way?
Does the clerk make notes whilst the panel are discussing each case?If not it would almost be impossible to prove that this knowledge affected their decision in any way. He also told them how many other people had the same score as him (one point away)
The representative was also happy to discuss other appeals with me, where the previous and next people appealing were on the waiting list etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:17 pm 
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In addition to notes taken during appeals to assist the panel’s decision-making process, the clerk must keep brief notes of the proceedings, attendance, voting and decisions (together with the reasons for these decisions)
Yes, the clerk does take notes during the decision making, although the detail will vary from clerk to clerk.

I would have thought it very inappropriate for the representative to be discussing other people's cases with you.

Telling the panel "how many other people had the same score" is not a problem, however.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:41 am 
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Thanks for your answers, I would take slight issue Capers123 reply, it seems to me that each year at least one appeal has been successful and that in no year has the admission number been increased as a result - statistically it is highly probable it will be the same again, this does seem relevant to me i.e. the panel should be looking at the likelyhood also that if the appeal is upheld it will lead to prejudice to the education of others and comparing this to the likelyhood of any prejudice to the education of the appellant.

Clearly no one has a crystal ball and can say what will happen or indeed what might have been had circumstances been different, all one can expect of a panel is for them to form a judjment based on their experience and common sense, and facts provided.

Incidently the waiting list is an issue as I believe it is not being operated in accordance with the schools published criteria although it is my understanding that the published criteria conflicts with what the school is required to do under government guidelines (I have yet to decide whether to raise this as an issue)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:37 am 
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Parent1965 wrote:
Incidently the waiting list is an issue as I believe it is not being operated in accordance with the schools published criteria although it is my understanding that the published criteria conflicts with what the school is required to do under government guidelines (I have yet to decide whether to raise this as an issue)


If you think that the waiting list is not being operated in accordance with the school admissions code and this is to your detriment, then I would raise the matter immediately with the LEA/Admissions authority.

I think waiting list procedures across the country appear to breach the code but they may be using legitimate methods. I do think this area of admissions requires far more clarity.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:49 am 
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Quote:
In all cases, the panel must refer immediately to the Schools Adjudicator any unlawful admission arrangements they identify in the natural course of their deliberations on a specific appeal.

To win an appeal on the basis of unlawful admission arrangements, however, is more complicated.
1. It would have to be shown that the child would have been admitted but for the fact the admission arrangements were unlawful.
2. And if a significant number of children are affected in this way, and admitting them all would cause serious prejudice, then the panel has to consider the overall merits of the individual cases and decide which ones outweigh the prejudice to the school.
Quote:
3.2 The panel must consider the following issues.
a) Whether the relevant oversubscription criteria for the school and coordinated admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied to the child concerned. If not, whether the child would have been offered a place had the arrangements been properly applied or did not contravene mandatory provisions in the School Admissions Code or the SSFA 1998. The latter scenario may clearly be the case – for example, where the admission authority refused admission on the basis of poor reports from primary school, and the child would have been offered a place had the offending criterion not been applied; or made an error in calculating distance from the school. If so, the panel must uphold the appeal at this stage, except where a significant number of children are affected and admitting them all would cause serious prejudice.

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