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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 10:52 am 
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Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 10:37 am
Posts: 19
Hi all, I'm new on here but some who have recommended this site will recognise the story.

Yesterday, I submitted our appeal to have a grammar school offer reinstated after it was withdrawn. My eldest daughter is in year 8 at the same school. It would seem that we have a very strong case. This is the background in brief:

Daughter was formally offered a place by telephone on Friday 26th April 2013 and by letter same date. The place was verbally accepted, LEA withdrew her place at 3rd choice school and appeal to her 2nd choice school. Written acceptance of the offer sent on 27th April.

Five days later (1st May) I had call later afternoon from our home LEA Admissions Director that the admissions authority had 'made an error' in offering the place. He was trying to get an explanation and was attempting to ensure the place was kept open and the matter quickly resolved. No mention of withdrawal of offer.

Six days later (2nd May) in the afternoon, another call from same admissions director that the actual admissions authority was withdrawing the offer; and he was to notify us to that effect. Incidentally, he has told the other LEA that should this go to appeal we have a v strong case (maladministration).

On 3rd May (by a letter of the same date) – a full week after the place was offered – we received formal notification of the withdrawal of the place. No explanation of the nature of the error has been given.

The physical/mental/emotional impact on our daughter is obvious – and hard to witness. She had a good 5 days of ‘legitimate expectation’ that this place was hers, that she was going to that school (for instance, trying on her sister’s uniform, talking about it with her, looking forward to induction evening etc etc).

It’s been suggested that the authority/school concerned will see the strength of our case and reinstate the offer/place without it going to appeal. Thoughts welcome!


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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 11:15 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm
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Location: caversham
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c16

C16. If the parental application was not fraudulent, can a LA withdraw a place it has offered in error?


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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 11:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Lincolnshire
Unfortunately, all the School Admissions code now says is:

An admission authority must not withdraw an offer unless it has been offered in error....

It sounds as though it is the school itself which is the admission authority in this case and that it is they who made the mistake?

As well as making an appeal it would be possible to write to the Governing Body and complain and ask them to reconsider their decision and say that you will take your complaint further if you have not received a satisfactory answer and explanation. The response may well be, though, that you will need to through with the appeal.

I have known schools to back out of appeals, often at the last minute :roll: because they have received legal advice from whoever is running the appeals that they are on dubious ground. This might depend, though, on whether the school appoints it's own Independent Panels and Clerk or delegates its appeals to the Local Authority Legal Department or a firm of solicitors.

Whilst the admission authority has acted within the Admission Code, clearly their mistakes have had an impact which have seriously affected your child, not only in regard to this particular school but with her other applications and any Independent Appeal Panel would be very mindful of this.


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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
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Nothing to add apart from wishing you all the best. IT sounds a horrible situation to be in.


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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 8:36 am 
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Has the wording for the admissions code changed then? How does this marry with the precedent of the Ombudsmans decision which granted places offered in error due to the time delay in withdrawal.

How does the position change where the admission authority is the local council?


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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
The old 2010 Admissions Code only allowed the withdrawal of a place offered in error when the error was made by the Local Authority not the admission authority.

If the admission authority had been the Local Authority, then, under the old Code, they could not have withdrawn a place offered in error.

I don't think Ombudsmen's decisions set legal precedent, as such, but one would hope that decision makers would take note of such previous cases.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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I'm not actually sure that I understand the opening post. People may be able to help a bit more with further clarification and detail.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8206
Location: Buckinghamshire
The Admission Authority (clearly the school itself), via it's own LEA, notified nicleah's LEA that her DD has a place at her 1st choice school. nicleah's own LEA then sent a letter to her to confirm the offer of the place.

nicleah accepted it immediately, and her DD's offer of a place at her 3rd choice school was automatically withdrawn, as was her appeal for the 2nd choice school.

A week later the school realised they had made a mistake (presumably by offering a place that took them over PAN) and withdrew the offer.

From the Appeal Q&As, B16:

Quote:
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.


Is that clearer now, mystery?


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 10:37 am
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Hi, it is complicated (to a lay person like me anyway!) The offer was made in error by the 'Admitting' Local Authority not the school. It was a LA authority error.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4605
Location: Essex
Assuming, then, that the school is not its own admissions authority, and the LA in the school's area passed on the information to your local LA that your DD was the next in line on the original ranking that the school had supplied - but she wasn't? I wonder if the error took so long to surface because no-one needed to revisit the list until another family gave up a place at the school, or there was a query from someone else on the waiting list wanting to know what position they were currently in?

Plenty of people at this stage in the year might have whizzed out and actually bought the new uniform on the strength of your offer, rather than just have DD try on her sibling's! Disappointment can feel like physical pain to an adult, let alone a child :(

Has your own LA reinstated your DD's original offer and appeal status in the meantime, or are you now in limbo?

_________________
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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