Hi. Can I ask a couple of questions, since it is the same topic?
Does the panel really have to consider the prejudice of admitting one additional child at Stage 1, or does it, in practice, consider the number who are appealing?
It considers whether any
further admissions would cause prejudice.
However, the issue of all
the children appealing arises if the panel is contemplating turning down stage one. It is then required to consider the following:
3.6 However, in multiple appeals where a number of children would have been offered a place, and to admit that number would seriously prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources, the panel must proceed to the second stage.
Similarly, at the balancing stage, the panel is required to consider the following:
3.9 In multiple appeals, the panel must not compare the individual cases when deciding whether an appellant’s case outweighs the prejudice to the school. However, where the panel finds there are more cases which outweigh prejudice than the school can admit, it must then compare the cases and uphold those with the strongest case for admission .......
If the school is already over PAN, can it use this to strengthen its prejudice argument?
Possibly - but it depends on the numbers. The panel might choose to give more weight to how classes are actually organised.
As Sally-Anne has indicated, there are a limited number of grounds whereby a school could be above PAN at this point in time - for example:
• Fair Access Protocol,
• maladministration (where the admission authority has already recognised a place should have been offered),
• a statement of special needs naming the school (after the allocations have been done).
Take for example a six-form entry school (PAN 180) which for some reason is already up to 184 (4 classes of 31 and 2 classes of 30). Although strictly speaking there are no 'vacancies' as such, at the balancing stage the panel might
(I don't say 'would
') take the view that, if the school is already having to manage with 4 classes of 31, it could in all probability cope with another couple of pupils - provided that those individual cases are sufficient on their merit to outweigh any prejudice to the school.
[The issue I'm discussing here the degree
of prejudice to the school.]
On the other hand, if a school already has (for example) 6 classes of 31, or even 6 classes of 32, there's a clear threshold to be crossed, and I suspect the school would have a very strong case for prejudice.
This would seem to be very unfair on those whose appeals were held later. Or are all oversubscription appeals held at the same time for a school as far as is possible?
As Sally-Anne has said, oversubscription appeals for a school must be heard as a single batch as far as possible.
It's not unknown for a smaller batch of hearings to take place in July or September for those who appealed too late and missed the main batch.