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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:57 am 
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Sorry this is a long first post - want to try to give as much info as possible.
We lived in Manchester LEA and post submission of school choices in October 2012 we moved to Stockport LEA in Dec 2012.
I have emails from both LEAs confirming the transfer of the application went fine - stockport confirmed receipt, eligibility and the choices I made.

The Stockport Policy is that they email the allocated school by 2pm on 1st March and also post out the letter.
I received no email - rang them up and they said to try on line. We then saw that the system didn't recognise my email address (probably as I registered to Manchester not Stockport). Initially they said there was nothing they could do but not to worry as the email is just a backup and the letter "would have" gone out (they could not confirm this).

I was panicked by 4pm as I figured that if we didnt receive the letter over the weekend we could nothing before Monday 4th and have little to no time to make any informed decision.
I eventually tracked down the email confirmed transfer between LEAs and rang them. After explaining the rationale of my panic (I continued to receive "IT will look into it and we will get back to you within 2 days) they eventually relented and send me an informal email stating which school DD was allocated to "so far".
This was our 6th choice school.
I am convinced (since we still have not received the letter of allocation) that our application has been lost or screwed up in the system meaning we are bottom of the pile hence 6th choice offer.

Now 1st choice was Altrincham Girls which DD had passed exam for.
Their procedure is they allocate places to anyone who has passed the exam (they don't weight it by what score was achieved - they are adamant about this even though DD passed "well") based on sibling at school etc etc and then it is simply distance from school - but you HAVE to have listed AGGS first place in the LEA application form.
The address we lived at prior to the AGGS cut-off of 15th October was 2.5 miles further away than the address we subsequently moved to. I was in contact with the school even before the exams were undertaken (since Aug 2012) once we knew we would be moving nearer. The plan was of course to complete before 15th Oct but Chain meant this was out of our hands even though we requested it all along with the vendor/seller etc.
I submitted EVERYTHING to the school all along the process including proof of move etc but they were very coy about whether they would consider DD based on new address or if we would have to appeal.
Friends who live a little further out than we do have offers.

Anyway DD has also passed all the other (fee-paying) Manchester/Stockport GS exams and do hold offers from these but of course Atli girls is excellent without having to find £10k a year.

1) I presume I have to appeal to AGGS directly. By this stage it will be over-subscribed. Given the continued dialogue I had with the school should I still resend ALL the documentation again as well?
What grounds would I basing the appeal on - non-qualification (due to distance)? Over-subscription?

2) What do I do about the lack of (formal) email or letter of offer from Stockport LEA and my suspicion that the way the process was handled has resulted in us being treated I am guessing as a "late" applicant whereas of course we applied on time.

I would value your advice.
Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:50 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
wigwam12 wrote:
but you HAVE to have listed AGGS first place in the LEA application form.
Having to place a school first is no longer a legal way of determining whether an offer is made. It used to be a fairly common practice, but The current Schools Admissions Code, which is legally binding on admissions authorities, enforces an "equal preference" policy wherby they cannot descriminate on the basis of where you have places ta school on your preference form. You can read more detail about this here.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:25 am 
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From my experience, the term "non-qualification" for appeals purposes refers only to academic qualification, i.e. reaching a required level in an exam, rather than other "qualifying" criteria such as distance. I think in this case your appeal would need to be based on oversubscription, as your daughter has qualified in the exam.

This looks suspiciously like a case of maladministration. Basically, if you can show that you have done everything according to the rules but that the admission authority has not followed its own published admission procedures (since it has allocated places to applicants living further away than you, for example) then an appeal should be straightforward, especially as you can produce correspondence and/or emails to show that you made every effort to keep the authorities informed about your move. I have also found in the past that LEAs don't always talk to each other as much as they should, so it may be that your application was indeed "mislaid" - which might explain the "informal" 6th choice allocation :shock: ...and, of course, the lack of proper communication with you on 1st March.

Regarding order of preference - it's true that schools can no longer insist on being put first on the application form, but for popular schools this is often necessary anyway because of the way the preference system works. You could qualify for a grammar school, but if your first preference is for a different school that has places available, then that's the one that will be allocated, despite the grammar qualification (lots of misunderstandings about this in our area, and a flurry of last-minute changes to application forms!) In theory, the highest placed school which has places available and for which the child is qualified will be allocated, in the order of preference stated by the school's oversubscription criteria. This also makes the 6th place allocation look very strange indeed!

I expect someone with more experience of allocations and appeals will come along soon with some suggestions. Best of luck! :)

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Marylou


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:43 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi wigwam12

A bit of thinking out loud here, because I am not entirely clear on a few points, but I'll have a go anyway!

wigwam12 wrote:
my suspicion that the way the process was handled has resulted in us being treated I am guessing as a "late" applicant whereas of course we applied on time.

I think the key to the situation lies in that statement. Although you were a "timely applicant" in Manchester, you became a "late applicant" in Stockport because of the house move.

It is unfortunate that this was compounded by the non-appearance of the official email on Friday, but beyond that I don't think there has been any maladministration, as such. There has certainly been a failure of communication though, because Stockport should have made it clear to you that you would be treated as a late applicant and go to the bottom of the pile. The school being "coy" is very poor as well.

One interesting point is that it appears that your daughter would have been allocated a place from the previous address, and therefore your new classification as a late applicant has disadvantaged you for no good reason other than that you moved house after the cut-off date? I am basing that on the fact that she has a sibling at the school? And that even if you had moved next door, rather than 2.5 miles closer, your application would have been considered to be "late" as a result? On which criterion was the place for her older sibling allocated? Has the school's Admissions Policy changed since then? Were you in catchment before? Are you in catchment now?

For the benefit of anyone else wishing to try to untangle this situation, the oversubscription criteria for AGGS are as follows:

Quote:
5.1 Children who are Looked After, regardless of their place of residence;

5.2 Applicants residing within the School’s catchment area who will have a sister who will be a pupil of the School at the time of the Applicant’s proposed admission;

5.3 Applicants residing within the School’s catchment area. Where the number of applicants qualifying for admission under this category exceeds the number of places available, then priority shall be given to those applicants residing closer to the School (see ‘distance’ in the definitions);

5.4 Applicants residing outside the School’s catchment area who will have a sister who will be a pupil of the School at the time of the Applicant’s proposed admission. Where the number of applicants qualifying for admission under this category exceeds the number of places available, then priority shall be given to those applicants residing closer to the School (see ‘distance’ in the definitions);

5.5 Applicants residing outside the School’s catchment area. Where the number of Applicants qualifying for admission under this category exceeds the number of places available, then priority shall be given to those applicants residing closer to the School (see ‘distance’ in the definitions);


Re: Okanagan's point, above, the confusion on that clearly emanates from this statement on the AGGS website - all perfectly correct, but the last line is open to misinterpretation by anyone who simply glances at it:

Quote:
The Department of Education and Skills brought in a significant change to the Admissions Code in September 2008. No school or Local Education Authority may practice ‘first preference only’. This in effect allows parents to choose their preference order without prejudice or compromise of their right to a local school should their first preference be a school further from their home address than their local school.

An example would be that if parents preferred AGGS in preference to their local school X, they could put AGGS down as their first preference and school X as second preference. Should their daughter for any reason not be offered a place at AGGS then AGGS slips off as their first preference and school X is then treated as their first choice along with all other parental preferences who have put school X as their first choice.

Parents need to put AGGS first if AGGS is their first preference.


Not sure if all of that gets us anywhere, but if you can add further clarification we will try to help further.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:05 am 
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Sally-Anne - I'm not sure if the OP actually does have a sibling at the school? I interpreted that part as a summary of the oversubscription criteria. Could be wrong, of course. I have to say that I hadn't spotted the bit about the cut-off date, but think the OP should have had the situation regarding late application more clearly explained at the time by the school. "Coyness" isn't good enough. Perhaps an appeal on "common-sense" grounds? :roll:

Edited to add - it seems strange that it was only the 6th-choice school that was offered in response to inquiries...possibly a knee-jerk reaction pending further investigations?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:19 am 
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Marylou wrote:
Sally-Anne - I'm not sure if the OP actually does have a sibling at the school? I interpreted that part as a summary of the oversubscription criteria. Could be wrong, of course.

You may be right, marylou. Hopefully wigwam will be able to clarify shortly.

If there is no sibling, then it is clear-cut case of being treated as a late applicant. It is very unfortunate, and the communication could have been clearer, but the only possibility is to appeal against oversubscription.

Quote:
Edited to add - it seems strange that it was only the 6th-choice school that was offered in response to inquiries...possibly a knee-jerk reaction pending further investigations?

Impossible to tell, because we don't know what the other school choices were or the Admissions criteria.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:44 am 
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Thanks.
Hopefully I can clarify a little further.
DD is oldest child so no siblings at the school.

I had dialogue with the Admissions at AGGS throughout. To be fair they did say (in late 2012) that if we were not offered a based on old address we could of course appeal.
I wrote a fairly impassioned letter asking them to effectively use the appeal criteria from the outset as otherwise I could face the situation (as I have done) that girls who (now) live a little further away and have an offer of a place but we who live nearer do not and of course the places are now "full". I received no response to this.
Along with the letter I sent EVERYTHING from my earliest letter to solicitor in Aug stating I wanted completion by Oct 2012, all the emails I sent to AGGS, and as well as confirmation of sale etc etc etc
I made it clear I would jump through any and every hoop (sic) to aid my daughter's application as I am mindful the house move at such a critical time appears to be impacting her school at such a vital time.

I also explicitly repeated asked Manchester and Stockport to ensure and clarify that as a result of the move we would not be treated as "late applicant" in Stockport. Manchester said we would not, Stockport merely confirmed the transfer but repeatedly refused to comment on that point. I made the same point about a girl not being penalised by the vagary of the timing of a move when otherwise we did everything by the book.

It is not just the absence of the official email Sally-Anne it is also the lack of receipt of the formal letter of offer. Technically I have nothing formal outlining the offer. The email sent at 16.50 from a Stockport LEA employee says "I have checked with our records and at present DD has been allocated a place at The Kingsway" (6th Choice school).
It is this "at present" comment that strikes me as extremely odd and as alluded to above possibly a holding coment.

My shortlist was:
1. AGGS
2. Stretford GS (no-one who lived nearly at our old address was offered a place here from what I can see either)
3. William Hulme GS (Academy)
4. Priestnall School (based in Stockport LEA - popular school)
5. Cheadle Hulme School (the non-grammar school)
6. Kingsway School

I greatly appreciate the input - please let me know if I can add anything else.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:46 am 
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In the meantime we hold offers from Stockport GS, Withington and Manchester High School for Girls.
I am going to accept MHSG in the morning.
If we are unsuccessful at appeal at least DD will not lose out and her efforts will be rewarded with an excellent schooling - I will just have to find a way to fund it!!

And just to clarify Sally-Anne we would not have qualified due to distance from old address as dd's friends also didn't get in. But new place is nearer and indeed friends who live slightly further out than we now do have a place (7.5 v 5 v 5.5 miles)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Just as an aside about putting a school first i am pretty sure we were told on open day we needed to do this as well


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:12 pm 
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wigwam12 wrote:
Just as an aside about putting a school first i am pretty sure we were told on open day we needed to do this as well



Does happen, people put the school they really want second and the safe bet first - can be disaster - ..

so what the school really means is "that if you put us second, we would love to have had you here, but you have been allocated you first place school so sorry no place".


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