“Before I begin, could I just clarify whether the success of my appeal rests solely on me justifying to the panel that both criterion laid out at 3.13(a) of the School Admissions Appeals Code are satisfied as, if so, I don’t want to waste the panel’s time by referring to matters not appertaining to those two points?”
That doesn't seem unreasonable - but it all hinges on the one word "solely", and on what the clerk might record in the official notes at this point.
I'm not sure what the response would be. Personally I think the correct answer should be "Those two criteria must
be met, but the panel will consider any relevant matters you wish to bring to their attention."
In the light of the headteacher's email, another possibility would be to say that you're a bit confused by what he's written about extenuating circumstances. (Admittedly, he uses the word "usually" and doesn't go so far as to state that extenuating circumstances count "more than anything else".)
As you can see, I would draw a very clear distinction between extenuating circumstances counting "more than anything else", and extenuating circumstances as a 'relevant matter'.
It's arguably a relevant matter because, if the child is indeed bright and academically suitable, it begs the question why he underperformed on the day - and the further away from the qualifying score he is, the more justified a panel could be in posing this question.
I also have another quick question not relevant to the above. I have prepared a table for myself of the questions I want to ask the panel, leaving a blank box under each question where I can make a note of the response. As I understand it, only the clerk takes notes and I was wondering whether it would be helpful to give him a copy of this question list. Some of my questions contain pertinent points and I think that if I was to do this, I could be sure that when the panel reviews the notes these points are accurately re-iterated. What do you think?
It's actually very helpful if you give the clerk a copy of your questions and presentation (although I appreciate you may have to keep your options open with regard to the presentation).
However, I think the panel will refer to their own notes at the decision making stage - I doubt they will refer to what you give the clerk.
The advantage of providing the clerk with a copy is that, in the event of your wanting to make a complaint at a later date, you're not wholly dependent on the clerk's notes - there will be alternative evidence of some of what was said.
the net capacity for the year was 126
Net capacity is a measurement of how many pupils the whole school can accommodate, so I don't quite understand "net capacity for the year". There is an 'indicated admission number' (IAN) for the year, which is derived from the net capacity assessment.
The school said that when they converted to an academy in January 2011, the net capacity was set at 828
It sounds as if this could have been the capacity figure in the funding agreement with the DfE (as opposed to the net capacity).
If I ring the DfE, do you think they will be able to give me the info?
You ought to be able to get the information from the LA and/or the school. Start with a polite request to the LA. If necessary, you could then put in writing that you're making this request under the Freedom of Information Act.