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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:07 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Essex
Both of my recent Essex appeals were unsuccessful. However I do know of 1 being successful, at one of the schools I appealed for, with the decision being given on the day. The circumstances around this and my own child's refusal of reasonable adjustments due to disability now have me wondering if our appeal was administered correctly.

I have emailed the 2 outcome letters. Please can I have your opinion? I am so disappointed.

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Clarabelle


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Hello, Clarabelle. Very sorry to hear your news.

We are dealing with a number of cases at the moment, but I will look at yours when I can find time.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:07 pm
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Location: Essex
Thank you Etienne, your input would be appreciated. I have emailed further information to the appeals inbox.

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Clarabelle


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:45 pm 
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Dear Clarabelle

First decision letter

The first letter fails to state whether the panel decided that the admission arrangements - including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements - comply with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

Appeal panels must have regard to the Equality Act. Although it is clear there was some discussion of reasonable adjustments, it is not entirely clear what decisions the panel took in this regard. Did they agree that your daughter is disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act, and, if so, did they decide that the admission authority fulfilled its obligation to make reasonable adjustments?

The reference to the YPLA is completely out of date. The EFA took over responsibility for academy complaints on 1st April.

Second decision letter

I agree with the panel's decision that they could not consider oral evidence about another child without consent and without verification.

Appeal panels must have regard to the Equality Act. Although it is clear there was some discussion of reasonable adjustments, it is not entirely clear what decisions the panel took in this regard. Did they agree that your daughter is disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act, and, if so, did they definitively decide that the admission authority fulfilled its obligation to make reasonable adjustments?

With regard to extra time for dyslexia, what was stated by the representative of the admission authority at the hearing does appear to be at variance with the published special access arrangements.

If the panel adjourned to consider a legal point, I think you should have been informed immediately on returning what exactly had been decided, so that you had the opportunity to comment. Whether this would be of any significance, I cannot say - it depends what was being discussed.

The second letter omits to 'signpost' that you have the right to complain to the EFA.


My advice

It is not possible to challenge the panel's judgement as such. The only grounds for complaint would be a significant failure to follow proper procedures.

Any advice I give is based on what I've seen - I cannot possibly know everything that took place, and there may be a perfectly good explanation for some of the points I've raised.

I think it would probably be worth complaining about the matters outlined above, if only to see what happens. (It might strengthen your case if you could get a letter from the parent of the other child to confirm the facts.)

Details of how to complain to the ombudsman (or EFA in the case of an academy) are in our Q&As:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman

In fairness, I must caution that, if you embark on this process, it is likely to take several months, and there can be no guarantee what the outcome will be. The stress levels by the time of a re-hearing (if indeed one were to be granted) will be extreme!

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Etienne


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