Confused Dad wrote:
We have now been informed that the panel have decided not to uphold our appeal, on the grounds that:
a) the school had correctly and impartially applied its admission criteria
b) the panel was satisfied that our daughter's admission would be 'incompatible' with its admission arrangements
c) the school's case for not offering a place was not outweighed by the information we presented at the appeal
The decision letter is interesting. It suggests that the panel considered three separate issues:
1. Were the admission arrangements correctly applied? (The answer is usually going to be "Yes" - see Q&As, C2, final paragraph.)
2. Should the pupil be deemed qualified? I assume the answer being given here is "No," and that this is a quote from the code of practice, page 31, para. 4.51, point 2 (see link in Q&As, A4). However, unless there is further information elsewhere in the letter, I think the wording here is obscure, and does not conform with best practice. The code of practice, page 41 para. 4.82 says: "The written decision ..... should be expressed clearly, using straightforward language that can readily be understood by a lay person." Would any lay person understand that "incompatible with the admission arrangements" implies "not deemed qualified for selective education"???
3. What was the balance of prejudice? If the answer to "Should the pupil be deemed qualified?" was "No," then I'm not sure why the panel needed to move on to decide the balance of prejudice. Again, unless there is further information elsewhere in the letter, it does not follow the requirements of the code of practice: "The decision letter should ....... indicate the establishment of prejudice by the admission authority" (i.e. Did the panel formally accept that the authority had a case?). "The letter should also explain in full why the panel decided that the individual circumstances of the parents' case were considered sufficient or insufficient to outweigh the prejudice arguments of the admission authority ...." (para. 4.81)
Confused Dad appeared most puzzled by the decision not to deem his daughter qualified.
The number of children who qualified but did not get a place should only become an issue if they appeal and have a strong case (as opposed to just being on the waiting list), and the issue should only be relevant at the "balance of prejudice" stage.
Not sure that I fully understand what goes on in Slough
, but those are my thoughts!