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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:08 pm 
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I am supporting friends whose grandchild has been refused a place at their closest school, which is partly selective.

The parents were tragically killed a year ago and the grandparents have brought up ever since. The boy is an only child. They were advised by a school support manager who works at both the son's primary and the preferred secondary that that secondary was the best one for the pastoral care he needs.

They were told by the County Council that there was no need to legally foster or adopt,as the council were happy that they raise him. However they now realise that if he were officially fostered, he would have obtained. Place as a looked-after child.

Appeal is next week.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:26 am 
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What a sad case! And it looks as though the law of unintended consequences is at work here. As I see it (and it's just my interpretation), because of sudden and tragic circumstances the boy is indeed being "looked after" by someone other than his parents, even if not in the official sense. He should therefore not be excluded from the extra protection allowed for such cases and the more suitable pastoral care provided by the local school, just because his carers are within the family. Appeal panels have the freedom to take all circumstances into account, so hopefully they will treat this case with sensitivity and sympathy. A letter from the school support manager and any other evidence the grandparents can gather (e.g. letter from a health professional) would make the panel's job easier! Best of luck.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:14 pm 
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Quote:
A 'looked after child' is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989) at the time of making an application to a school.

Quote:
Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order).


If none of the above applies in this case, then I agree with Marylou that the appeal panel should simply be asked to take the exceptional circumstances and social need into account (which they have the freedom to do).

Advice about oversubscription appeals can be found here:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... ed-school/

Please do let us know if we can be of any further help.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:30 pm 
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Thank you both. I think I was hoping that someone else would have been in a similar position! It doesn't help that the dead mother attended the school. It's become a valuable
link for the child.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:51 am 
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Quote:
I think I was hoping that someone else would have been in a similar position!
It's unlikely - there's not much we've not come across before, but we've never heard of a case where both parents have died, and the tragic event occurred so recently.

With regard to the recommendation from the school support manager, take care there's no suggestion that he/she is in any way acting as a representative of the school being appealed for:
      Quote:
      2.13 Panels must not allow representatives of schools to support individual appeals for places at their school at the hearing itself, or by providing letters of support for appellants. Such support could create conflicts of interest and unfairness to other appellants. [Appeals Code]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:22 am 
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Etienne wrote:
It's unlikely - there's not much we've not come across before, but we've never heard of a case where both parents have died, and the tragic event occurred so recently.



I think that it is because this is so rare (and so tragic) that most people are probably reading this thread and thinking

"of course this kid should go to the local school with its connections / pastoral care /location etc"

I hope that the panel feel the same but of course it isn't as simple as that and the grandparents still need to produce evidence as to why it is the right school.
I suspect that much of this should be down the pastoral line - letters from GP or anyone who has helped the kid since the deaths, highlighting the need for further support. (I know if I was doing one for a case like this it would be very strongly supporting the grandparents and child)

Also is the primary school normally a feeder school? Are many of his friends going there? (isn't normally a reason for appealing but in this case maybe some continuity and familiarity may be needed - kids who know what has happened etc.

Are the grandparents taking anyone with them for the appeal - are you going?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:35 am 
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I of course am one of those people going "this boy needs to be in this school"! Also you say it is partially selective - was he at a level previously that indicated he would have qualified, before this tragedy? As academic evidence showing good performance, followed by a decline would be explained by the event. Really truly offer this family all the help they can get on this one - please do let us know how they get on.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:43 am 
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Those who know the SW Herts system will have an idea what sort of school I am talking about. He is probably not quite bright enough to have gained an academic place. I have offered to support the grandparents as I have supported at appeal before.

It is a high achieving school, which is its own admissions authority. I think I will have to try the emotional appeal. As the grandmother said, 'I just hope one of the panel is themselves a granny'.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:48 am 
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hermanmunster wrote:
I hope that the panel feel the same but of course it isn't as simple as that and the grandparents still need to produce evidence as to why it is the right school.


What I meant by my comment about the law of unintended consequences - in this case, rules have been put in place to support children who have suffered traumatic experiences, but this particular child has slipped through the net because the circumstances of his current care arrangements are not exactly as described in the regulations. However, most LA oversubscription criteria appear to give a high level of priority to exceptional social or medical needs, and I think most would agree that it would be worth arguing on these grounds. I've seen cases - thankfully not tragic, like this one - where a child has missed out on a place because of rules designed to apply for the majority but which have ended up working against the individual in question. I'm sure the panel will be sympathetic, but the grandparents still need to present as much documentary evidence as they can in support of the child's pastoral needs etc. If the original advice from the welfare department advising them that they did not need to foster or adopt is in writing, that might help as it demonstrates logically how they have ended up in this situation. They need to make it easy for the panel to say yes!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:44 pm 
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Excellent advice from Herman:
hermanmunster wrote:
I think that it is because this is so rare (and so tragic) that most people are probably reading this thread and thinking
"of course this kid should go to the local school with its connections / pastoral care /location etc"
I hope that the panel feel the same but of course it isn't as simple as that and the grandparents still need to produce evidence as to why it is the right school.
I suspect that much of this should be down the pastoral line - letters from GP or anyone who has helped the kid since the deaths, highlighting the need for further support. (I know if I was doing one for a case like this it would be very strongly supporting the grandparents and child)

Also is the primary school normally a feeder school? Are many of his friends going there? (isn't normally a reason for appealing but in this case maybe some continuity and familiarity may be needed - kids who know what has happened etc.
and from Marylou:
Marylou wrote:
I'm sure the panel will be sympathetic, but the grandparents still need to present as much documentary evidence as they can in support of the child's pastoral needs etc. If the original advice from the welfare department advising them that they did not need to foster or adopt is in writing, that might help as it demonstrates logically how they have ended up in this situation. They need to make it easy for the panel to say yes!

Regarding the support of friends, see:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c11

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Etienne


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