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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 11:31 am 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 11:02 am
Posts: 11
Just found out we have lost our appeal. We were facing non-qualification and over subscription. Obviously very disappointed as we felt we had a strong case. We do feel that there were some procedural/admin errors relating to the appeal and would welcome some advice. The school is a Grammar School that has recently been granted Academy status. In the original statement of case there was no mention of net capacity and very little facts/evidence to support assertion of overcrowing. We questioned the Presenting Officer about this but he could not provide any more evidence on the day other than to gesture to the panel and say "You have seen how busy the corridors are". We feel that this contravenes the Appeal Code and questions the independence of the panel. The panel themselves asked for no evidence from the Presenting Officer and in fact asked no questions at all.

We presented our case which I feel was strong, only failed by 2 marks. We had evidence from other entrance exams, a strong supporting letter from Head teacher, vgood school report, level 5 predictions for SATS, practice Sats results (5a Maths, 5c Reading and writing).We also gave detailed reasons why we wanted the school and why our son was suitable. However this evidence was not deemed to be compelling enough. The panel again did not ask any questions.

In the decision letter it stated that the School had proved its case for prejudice and that our case was not sufficient to outweigh it. Again this letter was brief and although signed by the clerk was sent on the school's headed paper.

Do you think we have any chance of proving maladministration, with regard to failure to provide evidence and possible lack of independance of the panel? I would welcome any advice on this.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 11:37 am 
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Sounds odd. At our appeal the PAN info was i think provided with the appeal papers. Also the school went into great detail about no of children in each class, desks, SEN Children etc etc. Don't think a busy corridor quite cuts it???

I am sure someone with more experience with me will be able to quote all the codes.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Sorry to hear about this.

Academies & net capacity were discussed on the forum recently:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=20547
Although academies are not obliged to give a net capacity, one would have thought the old one could nevertheless have been mentioned (assuming it's not out of date because of new building work).

Irrespective of the net capacity figure, they ought to have provided sufficient factual evidence to support the argument that an extra pupil would cause prejudice.

It's certainly not a good sign when the panel have no questions to ask, although this doesn't in itself show maladministration.

It sounds as if you had a good case, but best not to argue this because:
    (a) there is no way in which you can challenge the panel's judgement
    (b) it's possible for even a good case not to succeed if there are other, even more compelling, cases under consideration. An appeal panel can only allow appeals up to the point where it feels the prejudice has become too great and the school could not cope with any more pupils.

Section C of the Q&As deals with complaints
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman
- but there are two important differences where academies are concerned:
    (1) You would have to complain to the Secretary of State, not to the ombudsman, and
    (2) You must complain first to the clerk or administrator dealing with the academy's appeals.

You yourself don't have to prove maladministration - maladministration is something that may or may not be established if your concerns are properly investigated.

All you need do at the moment is to raise your concerns:
    (a) Why was the 'factual stage' (stage 1) so lacking in facts?
    (b) Why did the panel ask no questions? Did they not notice the lack of factual information in the academy's case?
    (c) What evidence is there in the clerk's notes (including the notes of the decision-making) to show that each important point in your own case was properly considered?

If you are not happy with their response, you can then take the matter to the DfE.

I suggest you request a copy of the clerk's notes
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman#d4
- using the letter in D4b as a template.

Hope this helps.

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 11:02 am
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Thanks for your advice Etienne. In my previous post I forgot to say how useful the site and forum were in my preperation for the appeal. Thank you.

I have requested a copy of the clerk's notes and once I receive these I will decide whether or not to complain.

Since my first post I have been browsing the forum on complaints to the ombudsman and maladministration and discovered something interesting. However, I don't want to discuss it publicly as my comments may disclose my identity. It relates to an previous ombudsman investigation into the school I have had an appeal for.

Would it be appropriate to email you via the appeals box? I'm new to posting on this forum so would welcome guidance.


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
You are welcome to email the Appeals Box.

We can only reply on the forum, I'm afraid, but will do so with discretion, taking care not to mention anything that might identify anyone.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 11:02 am
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Thanks Etienne. Will send info via AppealsBox.


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Dear rog369

Interesting that the academy has 'form'! :roll:

I've tried sending an email to the member you wish to make contact with. (Not used the email address for a while, so can't be sure it's up-to-date.)

To be honest, though, even if the academy was still a school, and complaints could be referred to the ombudsman, it still wouldn't help to mention this. Any complaint, whether to the ombudsman or to the Secretary of State, will be looked at strictly on its own merits.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 11:02 am
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Thanks for your help Etienne.

I hope your email gets to the member concerned.

As well as the points I have already raised in connection to breaches of the Appeal Code I also feel that the decision letter is lacking in detail. I hope you don't mind me sending it to you via the AppealBox for your scrutiny.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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No problem. :)

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 12:02 am 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 11:02 am
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Thanks. I have sent letter to AppealsBox


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