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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:54 pm 
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I've seen two schools of thought on appeals. One which said go all out to bring down their argument for the school being full, ie check PAN, net capacity, teacher ratios, etc and the other thought which was just acknowledge that the school is full and attempt a strong argument in favour of your child.

Which worked for you?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:11 pm 
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I helped a friend appeal and we were successful but looking back it is difficult to say which of our points made a difference.
The child was qualified so we were only arguing about class numbers and the school was already 3 over PAN in the year .
We were very lucky in that the net capacity assessment was out of date and the school had built a large new classroom block in the intervening period. We obtained copies of the plans and the square footage and took advice from ACE who referred us to the DOE document setting out how the net capacity assessment has to be carried out. The LEA rep tried to bluff it out by saying the old classrooms had been made into kitchens and did not count but we read out the DOE guidelines and he ended up saying "I can't really argue with that" (!)
Having said that I am still not sure how much weight the panel gave it in the end .
I think we still have the appeal papers on file so if you want to PM me and I could send you a copy of what we submitted if it might help.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:12 pm 
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franticmum -

The school must be full in the relevant year group, or there'd be no need for an appeal! The issue, therefore, is whether the school can prove prejudice.

You have every right to question the school's case, but most panels are quite capable of weighing up the merits of the school case without assistance.

"Go all out to bring down their argument" is in my view very bad advice, and panels may not take kindly to this sort of approach. Trying to score points by nitpicking over the pupil teacher ratio is unlikely to lead anywhere! Rather than any 'whole school' issues, the decisive factor is probably going to be class size. If there are, for example, classes of 30 in the relevant year group, it shouldn't be too difficult for any authority to establish that a 31st child would cause some sort of prejudice. And the vast majority of admission authorities do in fact successfully prove their case at stage 1.

Appeals that succeed usually do so because the parents have put forward a strong case on behalf of their child - strong enough, that is, to outweigh any prejudice to the school.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:19 am 
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I believe about 5 years ago there was an instance at Chesham Grammar in Bucks when new buildings were not taken into account and consequently a group of well-informed parents were able to win an argument against the school for a re-assessment of PAN numbers - I'm sure Sally-Anne will know more about this than me.

But such situations are obviously exceptions to the norm.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:11 pm
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We won an appeal to Colchester Royal Grammar this summer having polished our case very thoroughly having gone though the trauma of an unsuccesful appeal at another super-selective.

The school has old buildings and in years 7 and 8 a class size of 32. When we received the school's case it described a learning environment which seemed to contradict the glowing picture painted in the school prospectus. If this is the case with the school you are appealing to try and see if there are any inconsistencies.

We did not go in hard on the school. We said right at the beginning that we believed that the school tried to accommodate as many boys as it reasonably could but that the system was not perfect. We established how many appeals had been granted by other grammars using the same exam and admissions system and said that, as appeals were granted in those schools then clearly the system was not faultless. We managed to establish that, despite appeals being granted none of these other grammar schools ever seemed to go above PAN so granting an appeal shouldn't in fact prejudice the school. We went in hard appealing for justice for our son.

Clearly, corroborating what Etienne said above, the major part of the appeal was to demonstrate first that our son's acadmic ability was such that he was reasonable expected to achive a high enough mark to gain an automatic place; second, that his underperformance was exraordinary and unforeseeable; third, that we had strong mitigating circumstances to explain that underperformance.

We won, in part because we had a strong case but also, because the school's case was undermined. The PO, probably for no fault of his own, as he was presenting the Governors' case, came across as a bit shifty and the panel didn't seem to take to him. We didn't undermine on the big stuff but on little bits of detail. For what it's worth we now know that a lot of the things they said in their case are not true which is a bit concerning and had we known in advance possibly could have undermined school's case further. I am not sure that this would have helped us though. We tried to be reasonable and respectful and coureoug througout and let the panel draw their own conclusions. Some moderate of facial expression at the comments made were definintely picked up by the panel. They are not stupid and can draw their own conclusions and I do think it is vital that they connect with you and like you and sound of your DC. If you can get a chuckle out of them I'd say that goes a long way.

Don't know if this helps at all, if you want any more specific info feel free to PM me.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:16 pm
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Thanks everyone - all most helpful thoughts.


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