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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:54 am 
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Hi all,

We live in Milton Keynes and my son was initially offered a place to his second choice of Grammar school under Buckinghamshire CC, as we were not within the catchment of the first choice. We gracefully accepted this. Then on 18th of May I got a call, email and a letter on 19th May confirming a place at the first choice. Which made the whole family very happy. The offer was immediate accepeted on phone call and by email on 18th and as soon as letter was recieved on 19th the confimation was sent back immediately.

On 23rd May we recieved a letter from Buckinghamshire CC letting us know that the offer to first choice was made in error and hence has been withdrawn. The offer for second school stands. Also, have been given a choice to offer. When I tried to speak to them, I have been informed that Schools Admissions code allows them to withdraw offers made in error.

We as a family are shocked, stressed and disappointed by the nature of the law where a 10 year is made to suffer for no fault of his. I have tried to write to CEO of BCC and even his stand is law allows us to withdraw the offer and we are going to do it, please feel free to appeal.

Can you please advice if there is any expectation of Moral Responsibility while interpreting the law which allows the council to withdraw the offer and also what are our chances at the appeal.

Thanks


Last edited by sadparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:33 am 
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I'm afraid this, in practice, has more to do with correct procedure than morality.

A place offered in error can be withdrawn, but there is, I think, an expectation that the LA should act promptly.

You could try ringing the free ACE advice line to see what they think:
General advice line 0808 800 5793
http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/about-ace/

With regard to an appeal, see:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c20

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:01 am 
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Thanks Etienne.

I will call ACE and just to clarify this further, it was not until BCC recieved our confirmation letter that they realised their mistake(confirmed in writting by CEO of BCC). So it also not as if they did something proactively either.


Personal feelings Etienne, please do not take this as if I am having a go at anyone on the forum.

What I meant by moral responsibility was we often hear the same administrators talk about why people should not use loop holes and abide by law with a sense moral responsibility, I was expecting(unrealistically) the same from them.

Also, even in time when there was no written laws, it would never have been deemed fair for someone else to be punished for no fault of theirs.

Once again apologies, for venting out my frustration.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:02 am 
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Nothing useful to add except on a human level- that sounds very upsetting. Poor you. :(


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:59 am 
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Do you know if you are the only family this happened to? It is slightly more understandable that they would withdraw if they had made the same error with a significant number that would put severe pressure on the school if all accepted. That would not make it easier for you personally but would be slightly more understandable on a moral level than if the error affected just one family.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:08 pm 
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Location: Gloucester
Sad Parent
What an awful situation for you and your family (((hugs)))

I seemed to remember reading something in the Appeals section of a similar situation. Have just looked again and there are 2 examples quoted in section C16. In one case the offer was withdrawn same day, and the child didn't get the place. In the other case however it was withdrawn 3 days later and the Ombudsman cited maladministration saying 3 days was too long.

Keep fighting x


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:08 pm 
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Quote:
C.16 The following precedents may be of interest (but come without guarantees!):

R v Beatrix Potter School (1997)

The head offered a place in error, and the LA withdrew it the same day. Parents appealed to the High Court on grounds of ‘legitimate expectation’ of a place. High Court refused the appeal (and the place) as the offer was withdrawn the same day.

Ombudsman complaint 99/C/1876
Head offered five places. LEA withdrew them after three days.
Ombudsman decided in this case the delay was too long, and amounted to maladminstration. Places confirmed.
This is why I wrote in my reply to sadparent " ...... an expectation that the LA should act promptly" - and in C16 I wanted to draw attention to the fact that the precedents "come without guarantees".

I would just caution that the ombudsman makes recommendations in individual cases, not decisions that have the force of law.

I'm not sure where the error occurred in sadparent's case - it could have been with the LA, or it could have originated with the school (an academy over which the ombudsman has no jurisdiction).

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:08 pm 
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Hi all,

Thanks for your kind responses.

I have already quoted both the examples to the Buckingham CC and the CEO of BCC Mr. Chris Williams has responded by saying that as per the Schools Admission Code 2012 section 2.12 offer can be withdrawn if it was made in error.

Section 2.13 says, it cannot be withdrawn once the the child has started the school.

Also, regarding the where the error was made - the error was made by BCC. BCC send an email to Milton Keynes council informing them that my son has been offered a place at our first choice school.

Milton Keynes council then informed me , BCC only realised they had made a mistake when our confirmation response reached them.

BCC's current stand is that our first school is already full and there are no places available and even if one became available there are other kids ahead of us in the waiting list. I never had any intention to jump the queue and also never intended to appeal for it, but having offered the place and then taking is back does not seem fair.

Just imagine telling all your friends that you had got what you wanted and then having to go back few days and say, well actually I dont have a place at the first choice school. Not easy for adults to do that, let alone for a 10 year old.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:38 pm
Posts: 29
Hi,

Just curious to know if you managed to resolve this.

I do sympathise with your situation caused by no fault of your own.

The problem is that human errors do occasionally occur.

If BCC or the school are made to honour an erroneous offer made to your DS from the waiting list then I suppose the knock on effect may be that another child ahead of you is then denied a place and unhappy.

Is there still a chance that you may get a place through the waiting list?

Anyway best of luck 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:22 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:38 am
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No the issue is not resolved. We have been asked to go through the appeal process and we have been given a date in second week of July.

I appreciate your point that if my Son is given a place out of turn someone else will miss out, and I personally would not want that to happen either, but the ideal outcome would be to speak to the school and see if they can accomodate an addtional child in wake of what has happened. Also, the school(probably for a good reason) only has 29 students in class.

Also, there is a matter of mal administration which will go unnoticed and if appropriate measures are not put in place this can happen more often and lot more families will have to go through the pain in future. The whole thing will set a precdent that the LEA can pretty much getaway with anything and everything using this misinterpreted law which has been followed in the most immoral way.


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