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 Post subject: Advice Please ... Agony
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:56 pm
Posts: 16
Hi, would really value some advice - our child's appeal (along with around 60 others) was heard and we were advised by the panel that the letter would be received within 5 working days following the end of all appeals and their decision process - they gave that date as 16th May. So, 5 working/school days would mean by Wednesday 23rd latest. However, we are still waiting. Spoke with KCC today and was told that the letters had been prepared however they had lots of errors and had to be redone which was happening today and they will go in the post Monday to be received Tuesday. Naturally this time has been torture for everyone and continues to be so. I understand the school were told that it was due to sickness so I feel I don't have a clear picture. However, regardless we are unable to receive the decision until the letter is received by us. Given that the code states ...


A24. Decision letters
a. The Appeals Code states:

Notification of the decision

2.24 The panel must communicate the decision of each appeal, including the reasons for that decision, in writing to the appellant, the admission authority and the local authority. The clerk or chair must sign the decision letter and send it to the parties as soon as possible after the hearing but not later than five school days, unless there is good reason. In the case of applications outside the normal admissions round, the child must be admitted without unnecessary delay.

Is there anything to be done? Is it reasonable to hear two different reasons, neither of which in my opinion consitute truly a good reason?

Anyone know if we just have to accept this extra delay with grace or is there anything that can be done?

Appreciate informed input.


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
I do sympathise with you, but suspect that it could well be genuinely down to illness. It does happen at times of stress - just look at how many children are ill the week or night before the 11+ exam, for instance!

Its far better to get the letters out without error than correct them afterwards.

Five working days can be quite a short time to get the letters written and checked. Given that each of 60 has to have the correct reasons for acceptance or refusal in them, and that the panel may not have had chance to consider all the appeals after the last hearing on the final day. We've still been sitting deciding at 11pm at night, after a full day of appeal, in the past.

But that said, I know my clerk works like fury to get the appeal letters out on time, and has turned up ill to appeal hearings. I turned up to an appeal with a temperature of 102f rather than delay them or worse, have them all reheard at a later date (and it was on my birthday).

The code does state 'unless there is good reason', so I suspect that would apply. If you have evidence that that is not the case, you cold take it to the ombudsman. It would only result in an apology and a telling off for the clerk, but would NOT change the outcome of the appeals.

I wish that we could tell the parents to wait outside whilst we considered their appeal, then send the clerk out with the answer, but, of course, we have to hear all the appeals first.

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Capers


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:55 pm 
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This is really distressing for you, Biddendenmum, and all the other parents, but I agree with Capers' advice above.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:56 pm
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Sorry if I posted twice ... Capers & Etienne, thank you - I know with my sensible head that it must be reasonable as the whole process has been so fair. Having gone through the same process last year for my second child and experiencing no delays, I had the faith that it would arrive as explained and no idea that it could be delayed. I now just really feel that rather than leaving all the families in the dark at such a highly emotional and pivotal time, where there is a delay it would be so beneficial to have that information officially. Could possibly be available on a website or ideally a timely email of the outcome to be followed by a correctly worded letter (along the lines of the release of the 11+ results themselves)? I'm not worried about an apology and know it won't change the decision that has already been made. Just recognising that having received benefit from a system that has evolved over the years from strong parental input, this is perhaps one area where I can highlight the opportunity of a safety net that currently doesn't exist and in a way give something back to strengthen it a tiny bit further for future parents who have to walk this way! Capers, for being a panelist/chair, thank you. Etienne, et al, last year I couldn't have done it without this amazing resource and this year I wouldn't have left the appeal room feeling I'd done the best I could for my youngest.


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Thanks for writing that, Biddendenmum.

You put it so positively that I think KCC really ought to listen carefully to your concerns. I suggest you write to them formally about this - or, if you have a sympathetic county councillor, ask him or her to take the matter up (and investigate the real reason for the delay).

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:56 pm
Posts: 114
Quite agree, Biddendenmum - I wonder how many phone calls have been fielded today? One email could have saved most of those, yet nobody seems to see the whole picture and do something to change it.
I expect the people who answer the phone are fine with it, and the people plodding away rewriting the letters (if that is what they're doing - that's what I was told, there was no mention of illness) are quite happy doing that. It's US who are going up the wall! The clerk told us we would definitely hear "by Friday" yet everyone behaves as if it doesn't really matter, as if we haven't got our lives on hold until this is sorted out!!!

I feel a letter coming on, Etienne, definitely. But for now my life is on hold so I can't do anything except post on here. :)


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:56 pm
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BTW, we must be a different school to you Biddendenmum - very odd that so many errors should be made in the appeals of more than one school. I'm really intrigued now but don't know who to ask.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 8:27 am 
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MarbleRun....Hi !! I know that this is really hard but I am sure that they are just being very careful to make sure that they get it all right....there have been issues with appeal letters in previous years and I am wondering if they did them all and then had to get them double checked. If they found fault they would ask them to start again and I think that there are only a couple of people that do this job in Legal & Democratic services. Not good I know but better to wait for a correctly worded letter. Good Luck x


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 9:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm
Posts: 60
Hi all,

I really don't want to alarm everyone but have received my letter and now know what the error was!!! Mine still has the error! Both templates were used, the first paragraph implies appeal was declined, the second paragraph implies appeal was upheld....... I have tried phoning KCC and the school but no one is there :-( it doesn't actually mention the words upheld or declined in it at all so I really don't know!

I think I would rather have had no letter than this letter!!!! Now I'm very confused


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 10:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:56 pm
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Oh Mumabear, I can only begin to imagine how that feels - sending support x


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