As soon as I received the school offer letter, I knew I was going to appeal.
My friends say I only put 1000% into something and joked that I would have a portfolio going, I had more than that, I had a blooming great file on the school. I knew everthing about it, I would have won "Mastermind" if it was my chosen subject!
So Point 1 - RESEARCH. I googled the school and others nearby, I read the ofsted reports, I visited all the education database sites, I used this forum, I read the schools prospectus, I read the schools web site - every single word on every single page.
Point 2 - RESOURCES. I used every resource available to me. I sat down with the HT and the ClassT, 2 County Councillors, my best friend, mum and sister, spoke to other people who had been to appeals in previous years, books from the library.
Point 3 - CONCISE & EVIDENCE. I wrote and re-wrote my appeal a number of times until it was word perfect. The appeal documents I sent in, consisted of: a covering letter, a front page with 7 major bullet points, a further 2 page document of clear and concise paragraphs of no more than 3 sentences fitting my child to the school, a page of extracts from my childs' school report, covering letters from the HT, Class T and a T from an outside club my child has attended for 4 years. Everything I wrote could be substantiated with evidence, even weak areas can be worded well.
Point 4 - PREPARATION. By the time I sent my appeal in, (we had been given 3 weeks to prepare) I was totally confident with what I had written and that I had left no stone unturned. I was fully prepared and waiting for a date for the appeal.
I had asked the HT to read my finished appeal. The HT said "It's amazing, how can they not take your child", the County Councillor said "This is the best appeal I have ever read", even the Chairman during the appeal said "Your presentation of your case is excellent".
Point 5 - PRESENTATION. As my appeal was so concise, I spent the waiting time writing a 2 page presentation painting a more personal side of my child but still relating everything to the school. I wrote about the books read, my childs achievements - not just academically, use of ICT (the schools' specialism), using words such as tenacity, dedication, totally committed etc. (referring to evidence).
The appeal went just as it should. The prejuctice was: Class sizes too large, (extra pupils taken on before and excellent results always maintained), Crowded corridors, (no mention on Health & Safety issues in ofsted, also prospectus said some new buildings with ample space), Classes furnished for 31 pupils, (web site said 3 ICT suites equipped with 32 work stations), Teachers' marking-load is increased, (ofsted said T marking is excellent).
I gave the panel a copy of my presentation and read it through to them.
I was asked about school homework, then no further questions were asked as they said I had supplied them with all the necessary information.
It was all over in 20 mins.
10 days later I received a letter stating that a place should be made available for my child at the school. That the case I had put forward, including the school specialism and good provisions of the school, demonstrated that my child would be well placed at the school.
Do your research, use all your resources, write a clear and concise report and presentation, fit your child to the school.
Wishing you every success, hope this will help you, it's something I would have liked to have read to help me.