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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:05 pm
Posts: 17
Help, please.

My local LEA has made an administrative error, meaning my son has not been considered for the school of his choice. They notified me by phone before results were released on Monday, and then by letter. Because the school randomly allocated its places, they have said there is nothing that they can do until Apr/May. Then what they propose to do is consider my sons application along with any late applications. My worry is that the school in question has a randonly allocated waiting list in operation, which my son is not on, since they never had his app to consider, further more they can't simply add him to it, or re do the list since it was randomly allocated and those on the list have now been advised. The school say if anyone declines there place, they will go to the list and the first in line will be offered that place-- since my son isn't on it, I don't see how this is useful for me.


My son has been offered a place at a highly selective independent school, but since they have only offered partial funding, it looks unlikey that we can take that offer up. Also, we need to accept or decline this place next week, yet because of this error we are not in a position to do so. The school the county has allocated is a failing school, with a very bad reputation and poor academic results--not ideal or acceptable to us. The problem with accepting the ind. place, is that if we take the council to appeal due to their error and are successful, we would then be liable for a term fees at the ind. school, or we decline the place and worse case lose the appeal, and then are stuck with a place at a failing school!

The council has apologised for the distress caused, but this really does not solve our problem.Has anyone encountered a similar problem, or can anyone offer any advice? I have spoken to a solicitor who did say we would have strong grounds to sue for negligence, but I'm worried about legal costs and also the stress that this would entail. I'd much rather sort this out amicably, if at all possible.

**further info for moderators in the private section**


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi super worried mum

I am sorry to hear about this. Please could you let us know via the AppealsBox which area you are in? That may help us understand more easily how to sort this out.

Etienne is not around today, and she will be able to advise you far more comprehensively than I can. However, as time is of the essence I strongly recommend that you pick up the phone to the Local Government Ombudsman's Office on 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983.

Although they state that you must go through the Council's own complaints process first, I am sure that they will appreciate that you cannot be expected to sit around waiting for that to happen, and you need to pursue several options at once.

There are other things that you should do - complaining officially to the council, involving your County Councillor and possibly even your MP, but let's see what the Ombudsman's office has to say first.

Sally-Anne

Edited to add: If you have a scanner, please could you scan and email the letter confirming the error to the AppealsBox? Thank you.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Aha - I have just found the paragraph I was looking for on the LGO website http://www.lgo.org.uk/FAQs/#_25. (The bold type is mine):

Quote:
My complaint is urgent – can you give it priority?

The law does allow the Ombudsman to investigate some particularly urgent complaints without giving the council the opportunity to respond to the complaint first. We normally give priority to complaints where there is an immediate risk, such as the threat of eviction, a bailiff’s visit, or a school admissions complaint where a child has been refused a school place. (In the latter case, if the complaint were put through the council’s complaints procedure before the complaint is considered by the Ombudsman, the school term would probably have started before the investigation was completed and the interests of the child would be actively harmed.) Otherwise we will allocate complaints in the order in which they are received. If you think you have an urgent complaint, ring the LGO Advice Team to discuss it.


Get on the phone - today if possible!

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Posts: 1046
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi 'super anxious mum' ... just read your post, what an awful situation to be in. x x x

As 'Sally-Anne' has posted - you MUST get on that phone and start making those calls - this situation should NOT have happened and needs to be sorted out NOW and NOT in 2-3 months time as suggested to you!!! :evil:

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Heartmum x x x


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
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If the LEA have admitted fault then could you write to them stating that you have to accept the Indie offer pending the outcome of them sorting out their mess (perhaps less bluntly!) and if it turns out that you dont need the place at the Indie you will hold them liable for the first term fees?

Clearly it isn't a solution but having put it in writing (recorded delivery letter) it might give you more strength if you get to a position of trying to make a claim against them.

I don't think it needs to be a solicitor letter - as long as you out it in plain english so the meaning is very clear.

So sorry you are in this situation.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:05 pm
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Hello all,

Just a little update, I did call, the ombudsman (twice), and I quoted their own quotation about urgent cases, but still they tell me I have to wait until the outcome of an appeal. I will, as one of the posts suggest write a letter to the council advising them of my situation.

Many thanks for all of your support and ideas so far.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:19 pm
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Don't know where you are but have you thought about the local councillors etc . You should not have to go through the system all over again, because if I understand things correctly, it is THEIR error and THEY need to sort it out. You did nothing wrong.

As a last resort how about the local press?

Good luck to you and your DC whilst you sort out this awful situation.

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Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad !


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:05 pm
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I have written to my local concillor, but as of yet have not received a response. I will try a letter to the council tomorrow (email, actually), as the independent school can only hold my sons place until Monday! Time is really running out, and I am not getting very far. Such a headache!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:57 pm 
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How about phoning the Director of Education?? Sometimes it pays to go to the top.... If they won't put the call through just mutter about calling the press next.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:02 pm 
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Good idea Herman. Sort of completely differently it was amazing how quickly one of my problems got sorted when I went through to that organisation's Chairman's office - if you get his / her secretary don't worry because they can often be the "power behind the throne"!

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Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad !


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