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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 11:37 am 
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Hello everyone,

We are appealing against over-subscription for a place at a GS which has a PAN well below capacity. It is an academy so I understand they can set their own PAN. However in the school's finance agreement, it states that the expected final size of the academy is 1027 while there are less than 850 on the roll now and there is no way of reaching this size if the PAN stays as it is.

In addition the school admits extra students into the sixth form and I have information to show that the school is trying to attract larger sixth form numbers to support finances.

Their main case is that any extra child would reduce the available one-to-one time for all the other children in the year group, which is obviously true.

I have read all the fantastic advice on here and I understand that it is generally not recommended to attack the school's case in stage 1.

So my questions, if anyone can offer opinions are:

In the above circumstances, should I accept their case for being full or should I try to question them a bit more robustly?

Also should I submit the evidence about increasing the size of the 6th form along with our additional evidence?

We know that we must also present our own case for wanting the school as well but the school normally only allows a couple of appeals, so I am not confident at all.

Thank you very much.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:34 pm 
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Fire&ice wrote:
Their main case is that any extra child would reduce the available one-to-one time for all the other children in the year group, which is obviously true.
Hello.
I am not an expert on appeals at all but that strikes me as jolly odd. I am not aware of schools offering much in the way of 1-1 time for students, and can't really see how that could be used as an argument unless the school prides itself on some kind of individual teaching method? If what they mean is that every term or so every child gets 5 minutes to discuss their targets or their misdemeanours or whatever I can hardly see that one extra is going to make much difference.

In terms of the technicalities of the appeal, I haven't a clue sorry...but if you maybe say which area you are in and give more information about things like catchments and pass marks I am sure someone who knows will come and offer advice.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:31 pm
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Hi Amber,

Thanks for the reply. The pass mark was 521 this year for the school but we are not appealing against non-qualification.

Regarding catchment area, after the pass mark, they award places as follows:

1. Looked after children, 2. SEN children, 3. Siblings, 4. Children who attend, or have a sibling who attends a school within the Academy Trust. 5. Children of staff 6. Children with 2 miles of the school. 7. children from named parishes, 8. Any other eligible child on distance.

We are in group 8 but in the last few years, all eligible children have been accepted. Sadly for us this year is the exception we are also well down the waiting list.

As you say, the school is talking about the one-to-one time each child gets per term. They say that the form group has 1 hour per term for this, which works out at 2 mins per child, and this would obviously be less if they had more children!

They also say that there is less chance of group work with larger classes which will cause some children an ordeal, because they are not confident in presenting their ideas to the whole class.

Of course, I understand these reasons and accept they are true but they do seem a bit odd if the school has LOTS of capacity. They reduced their PAN by 30 as soon as they became an Academy, because 'it did not offer value for money to continue with the higher PAN.'

Thanks again for the help.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:39 pm 
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Fire&ice wrote:

As you say, the school is talking about the one-to-one time each child gets per term. They say that the form group has 1 hour per term for this, which works out at 2 mins per child, and this would obviously be less if they had more children!

They also say that there is less chance of group work with larger classes which will cause some children an ordeal, because they are not confident in presenting their ideas to the whole class.

Of course, I understand these reasons and accept they are true but they do seem a bit odd if the school has LOTS of capacity. .
Well my instinct is that that is all nonsense - 2 mins per child per term and they are going to argue over it? So that would become what, 1 minute 58 seconds if your child joined the school? And unless your child is domineering in the extreme I can't imagine that the group work of an entire year would be derailed by his or her presence.

I will butt out now as this is not at all an area of expertise for me but personally I think it all sounds very strange. I hope someone better than me is on hand to help. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:40 pm 
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Capacity tells us the amount of students the 'space' in the school can accommodate - their argument sounds strange to me. Every other academy has tended to increase pupils for economic reasons.

How big are the classes? If they've just reduced the number of classes in a cohort then the argument makes no sense at all.

Is the appeal being heard by a panel appointed by the school or the LA?


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8199
Location: Buckinghamshire
I am curious to see the school's case for this one because it does sound pretty bizarre. Please could you email it over to us? You need to remove the brackets, of course: appealsbox[@]elevenplusexams.co.uk


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Our local grammar schools have increased PAN by 30 places each in the past couple of years, because it is financially advantageous to them and as far as I am aware, this is generally 0if way that it works.

Unless the school has actually knocked down a building, or leased part of the site out on a long term contract, I don't see how the appeals panel would accept that the school was not physically able to admit one (or two, or a whole classful for that matter) extra. As for the '1 to 1 time, if it's only one hour per class per term, I'm sure it would be possible to organise this. And group work? How do they cope when there is a pupil off sick and the teacher has to organise one prime number below 30 into groups? Would organising the prime number above really ad beyond their wit and invention?

_________________
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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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8199
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi

Email safely received thank you, but the photos are just a little bit too blurred for me to be able to decipher them. (It's not my eyes, ho no, not at all ... :oops: )

If you could get someone to scan the document, that would be great.

S-A


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:31 pm
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Hi everyone and thanks for the help.

Sally-Anne, sorry about the photos, probably my shaky hand! I'll get someone to scan them over ASAP, but in the mean time, I'll try sending them in a larger format, just in case that helps? :D

Guest55, class sizes are 4 classes of 30 except in the 6th form when there are 5 groups because PAN rises to 145. The appeal is being heard by 'an independent statutory body' at the school, with all documentation to be sent to the school.

There have been no demolitions but 2 mobile classes are no longer in use and some classes inter-connect which limits the use for fire regs reasons. Even so, they are under capacity - they assess the new capacity as being 'about 850' and there are 826 on the roll.

Thanks again everyone.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I can read and print those now, thank you.

I've never seen a school defend its case in quite those sort of terms, and it all reads very oddly. There's a lot of "touchy-feely" stuff in there, when most schools focus on real practicalities such as the number of loos or the number of children with physical disabilities.

There's also a lot of stuff that has been derived from elsewhere, and "extrapolated upon", i.e. used to fit the case, rather than being directly related to the school's own issues.

As you seem to be pretty adept at researching such things, as a starting point, I suggest that you take a look at the external references mentioned - I can find links if you can't.

If I didn't know better, I would think that this was a school setting out to lose their case (which I have known to happen), and yet I'm sure they are trying to win!

When is your appeal?

Although you shouldn't get too hung up on the school's case, and you must focus on your own case against oversubscription for your child, there is plenty of interim therapy to be gained from looking at ways to politely challenge their assertions!


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