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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:42 pm 
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I would really appreciate any help anybody can offer.

I am trying to help a friend who is appealing for a place in year 9 on the grounds that her daughter was badly bullied at a neighbouring grammar school.

We are fine on "qualification" but have an uphill struggle with over subscription.

It transpires that the school's most recent Net Capacity Asessment was two years before they built a major new classroom block. This means that although the PAN has been exceeded by 2 (appeals which the school had to accept) the Net Capacity Assessment, if carried out today, would almost undoubtedly result in a high enough PAN to allow my friend's appeal.

How do we go about putting this to the appeal panel and at what stage in the appeal process do we mention it?

We have the relevant planning application number, plans and documents and the school themselves boast about their lovely new classroom block in their new prospectus.

Any help as to how legalistic we need to be would be much appreciated as this child is suffering badly.

Thank you very much


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:40 pm 
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I don't think the approach should be legalistic, because the new net capacity (when assessed) would be there to guide the PAN rather than to fix it. The formula delivers an Indicated Admission Number, which is a factor taken into account when the PAN is proposed, but there could be other factors too. Moreover, even if a new and higher PAN were to be introduced at the earliest opportunity, it is not retrospective. According to the Code, there is an 'expectation' that the original PAN will continue for existing year groups.

An appeal panel can certainly take new building into account if extra workplaces have been created, but I suspect the school will have plenty of reasons to offer for not running an extra class in year 9, or not wanting to see class sizes increase.

After the presentation of the case for the school at stage 1 of the hearing, questions will be invited, and this is the point at which the issue of the new block should be raised.

I would suggest asking questions along the lines:
How many extra workplaces have been created?
What impact is this likely to have on the Indicated Admission Number?
Doesn't it at least make it easier to cope with an additional pupil?
Is there any evidence of prejudice resulting from the admission of extra pupils in the past?


It's rare for a school to lose at stage 1. You may succeed in denting their case a bit, but I would have thought the best chance of counteracting 'oversubscription' is with the bullying issue - by arguing that the child's need for a place outweighs any prejudice to the school. The more evidence your friend has about the bullying and its effect, the better.

Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:35 am 
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It does indeed help a great deal. Thank you very much indeed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:55 pm 
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I would be very grateful for any help on this one - I am helping another mother with an appeal for year 9 at a grammar school(the school is currently one pupil over in each of its classes in this year group. The child concerned is being very badly bullied at its current grammar school (there is police involvement) and the bullying has been going on for the whole academic year resulting in the child's work going downhill.
The child originally passed the county 11+ with a good enough score for automatic admission to the current school but was only on the waiting list for the desired school. The LEA have told me that the appeal is NOT for non-qualification but they have put all the scores in their submission and are going to submit a report from the current Head(this is unlikely to be very good as the school are furious that mother has made so much fuss and involved the police (******** assault- v. unpleasant).
Is there anything we can do to rebut the LEA's determination to raise the issue of non qualification at this stage?
Thank you


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:36 pm 
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Not sure I follow what they're doing, Magwich, but if they say qualification as such is not an issue, then the only justification I can immediately see for including the original scores is to confirm that point - although one would have thought attendance at an alternative local grammar school should be sufficient!

Do we know if the report from the current school is to be academic or related to the bullying?

I don't think it's possible to stop the LA at the moment, but it would be worth asking one or two questions at the hearing. For example, "Could we just check that academic ability is not an issue?" "If it isn't, is there any particular reason why scores have been included in the paperwork?"

When you say the child "was only on the waiting list for the desired school", was a place refused because pupils were being ranked by score, or was there some other criterion such as distance that was the problem?

Many appeal panels will understand that some schools seem to find it difficult to acknowledge unresolved bullying, and are distinctly unco-operative with regard to an appeal!

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:47 pm 
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Thank you Etienne.
The waiting list comprised a number of children with the same score so other info was taken into account to rank them and some then eventually got in. The other info was rankings suppliedby primary schools, SATs predictions et cetera.
The school's case is much a sone might expect - a lot of repetition about how bad it would be to have to move desks around etc etc.
Is it worth pointing out that nearly all the classrooms have those horrid desks that seat 2 anyway so if a class can contain 31 (as at present) then it can just as easily contain 32. Also - so much work in KS3 and KS4 is in groups or pairs that 32 would seem easier to manage than 31. We also have reports from current pupils that most classrooms have 32 seats and some have 34.
It really is difficult to know how to overcome the LEA's arguments.
Thanks again for yourhelp


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:45 pm 
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If ranking was a significant factor in the allocations, I can see a possible argument for saying that qualification is not an issue, but still looking at academic evidence. (I can sense the 'opposition' asking "Will she fit in to an even more academically intense environment?")

Your friend's case, of course, will be that bullying has affected performance. It might be a wise precaution to have some evidence of high achievement (prior to the bullying) available in case it's needed.
Quote:
Is it worth pointing out that nearly all the classrooms have those horrid desks that seat 2 anyway so if a class can contain 31 (as at present) then it can just as easily contain 32. Also - so much work in KS3 and KS4 is in groups or pairs that 32 would seem easier to manage than 31. We also have reports from current pupils that most classrooms have 32 seats and some have 34.
Yes - a few gentle but probing questions!
"Could we ask if you normally have double desks or single?"
"Double? So a class could just as easily have 32 pupils as 31?
"

Quote:
It really is difficult to know how to overcome the LEA's arguments.
If they know what they're doing, they really shouldn't lose their own case! Some appellants make the mistake of 'nitpicking' or being aggressive, neither of which goes down well with an appeal panel. If there are any serious weaknesses in the school's case, the panel should be more than capable of identifying them without assistance. It's fine to ask a few polite questions, but your friend should really focus on the case for the child. That's where the appeal is likely to be won or lost.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:55 pm 
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Truly sorry to hear the reason for your appeal. I probably sound very naive, but I thought, that children would be "nicer" at a grammar school. It sounds horrible - "police involvement".

Good luck to you with the appeal.

And most important, best wishes to the child. BE STRONG! ***


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Thank you both very much


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:34 am 
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I have been looking at the School Admissions Code 2.16 f) :
In setting oversuscription criteria authorities MUST NOT:
Take account of reports from previous schools about children's past behaviour, attendance,attitude or achievement.

Can we use this to prevent a report from the current grammar school being given to the Panel or does the code only apply to year 7?
There are no terrible issues we are trying to hide - just that academic work has gone downhill due to the bullying. My understanding of the code is that it applies to all school years.
Thank you for your help


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