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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:15 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
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Location: Birmingham
Etienne, Sally-Anne,

I have a not entirely hypothetical question relating to appeals in situations where an out-of-area LEA has a different (lower) number of preferences available on the LEA form.

In a situation where an LEA has say 6 preferences (e.g Birmingham) but but with a number of adjacent LEAs allowing only 3 preferences on the LEA list (Worcs, Staffs etc) - parents in those LEA can only really put down 2 Birmingham grammars as they need to put the local catchment comp down as 3rd choice for a backstop. In this situation, particularly where there are different exams and even pass marks for different grammar schools, parents in the neighbouring LEA are disadvantaged regarding choice.

My questions are:-

1. Does the appeal process cater for general appeals against the LEA rather than the school for restrictive practices? (ie I can only put down 2 grammars whereas Birmingham parents can put down 5)
2. Is it possible to make an appeal for a school that you didn't put down on your preference list (but would have, and passed the exam for, if you were given equality of choice)?
3. If it's not possible to use any of the above routes if there a process that can be used?

I should add that neighbouring LEAs that don't have grammar schools themselves tend to be disinterested regarding help or assistance to parents in this situation.

I suspect this may be relevant to other areas of the country. There are particular issues within the West Midlands area where a large proportion of children in Bimingham LEA Grammars or KE Foundation Grammar live outside the Birmingham LEA area, but with easy access to the schools.

When I completed a Worcs LEA form last year we decided not to include the local catchment Comprehensive on our list, to give us an extra grammar choice. However if my son had failed to a place in one of the grammars we would probably have been allocated a failing Comp about 20 miles away. Thankfully that didn't occur.

I think that a number of parents may be interested in you views on this.

Regards

Ken


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7063
KenR wrote:
My questions are:-
1. Does the appeal process cater for general appeals against the LEA rather than the school for restrictive practices? (ie I can only put down 2 grammars whereas Birmingham parents can put down 5)
2. Is it possible to make an appeal for a school that you didn't put down on your preference list (but would have, and passed the exam for, if you were given equality of choice)?
3. If it's not possible to use any of the above routes if there a process that can be used?

Hi, Ken

1. As far as I know, no.
Quote:
The right of appeal under the School Standards & Framework Act 1998 (as amended by the Education Act 2002)
2.3 Under section 94(1)(b) and (2) of the 1998 Act, parents have the right to appeal against an admission authority's decision refusing their child admission to a school. .........
2.4 LEAs must make arrangements for enabling a parent of a child to appeal against:
" any decision made by or on behalf of the LEA as to the school at which education is to be provided for the child (see section 94(1)(a)); and
" in the case of a community or voluntary controlled school maintained by the authority, any decision made by or on behalf of the governing body refusing the child admission to the school (see section 94(1)(b)).



Appeal panels are specifically warned in the code of practice not to get involved in general issues:
Quote:
The powers of appeal panels
2.18 Appeal panels cannot hear complaints or objections on wider aspects of local admission policies and practice ......... Panels ought not to get drawn into or allow general discussion about admission policies and practices at appeal hearings. They should, instead, focus on the case put forward by the admission authority for refusing to admit the child and the parents' case for admission.


2. I think so, but I assume it would be necessary to apply by means of a change of preference after 1st March. A letter of refusal to admit is what triggers the opportunity to appeal.

3. As far as I know, only the Adjudicator or a Judge might be in a position to consider wider issues.

Regards

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:29 pm 
This happens in the London Borough of Sutton who have 6 and Surrey who have 3. My friend in Surrey put a note on the form and said if they had 4 choices her 4th would be 'X' and she got a letter acknowledging her 4th choice!! Just shows if you have some front.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 9:12 pm 
This seems like discrimination against out of county applicants. Does anyone have a link to the transcript of the "Greenwich case" (out of county applicants treated same as in county applicants for admissions in terms of distance to school gate criteria ), so we can see if there are any useful precedents. Who fancies taking this one to the court?


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 6:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
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Location: Birmingham
Hi Etienne,

Many thanks for your usual informative advice.

It would appear that Surrey Guest's tactics of putting a 4th choice might be a viable option for those that don't mind taking a risk and having to appeal for the 4th choice local catchment Comprehensive!

Regards


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 7:19 am 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Certainly worth a try.

We had one appeal this year where the mum had put down 3 grammar schools and no secondary. She couldn't understand how, when her child didn't pass, she'd been allocated a school 40 miles away from her home.

The school rep did pass a comment along the lines of 'if you'd spoken to me before putting your options down, I would have counselled you to put a secondary', which while undoubtedly true, err, wasn't exactly helpful in the situation - after all, most parents will follow the instructions on the forms & not all think about a 'worst case scenario'.

I would recommend putting the comprehensive in 3rd place, and a grammar as a write-in. And make sure the 4th school knows you have put them down - that gives you an easier chance of appealing for it if you need to.

Capers

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Capers


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 9:22 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:23 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Dudley, West Midlands
capers123 wrote:
I would recommend putting the comprehensive in 3rd place, and a grammar as a write-in. And make sure the 4th school knows you have put them down - that gives you an easier chance of appealing for it if you need to.

Capers

Not sure where you're an appeal panel member Capers.

Over here in Dudley things are a bit of a mess. I can think of five out-of-borough selective schools people might want to put on their form for a girl (two less for a boy). Where I live a further four or five foundation and community schools would make sense too.

Dudley LEA recently increased the number of options to six but some children are still having their educational options narrowed , it seems to me, for no good reason.

If I had to apply via an LEA form with only three options, or Dudley had kept that system, I just don't know what I'd have done. Sympathies to those suffering that ridiculous restriction.

You can, technically, appeal to any school whether you've put them on your application list or not. Successful appeals are few and the initial schools waiting list is where you really want to be – and for that you need them on your application form.

Unfortunately writing to a Community school to tell them you'd've liked to have put them on your list couldn't possibly have influence here; the same letter to a foundation school would just be considered an insult – “Why didn't you put us first!”.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 12:03 pm 
I know someone appealing for her 6th choice school. Redbridge really are a mess. She had the grammar in first place, church school second, good comps in 3 and 4 and the school that her eldest attends in 5th (she is very unhappy with this school hence it being her 5th choice), but she got her 6th! Actually it wasn't even a realistic choice, she put it down because she thought you had to put 6 instead of reading 'up to 6'.


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