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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:25 am
Posts: 229
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Oversubscription/

Hi,

I have created an e-petition to ask the government to revisit legislation affecting the School Admissions Appeals Code of Practice.

Please can you sign it and pass it to everyone you know?

Thank you

Katie


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Katie

A new Code has just been adopted, following lengthy consultation. - This is not good timing! :D

It's not just the Appeals Code that would need changing - other legislation states that schools have to admit up to their PAN - places cannot be reserved.

Good luck, all the same! - I know where you're coming from.

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:56 pm 
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Thank you Etienne,

The idea is to raise awareness of the issue. This topic is widely discussed on the forum, hopefully a petition may bring it to the attention of the wider community.

One can but try!

If it makes a difference to one child then it will be worth the effort.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
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Location: kent
Yes good luck. But unlike Etienne I'm not sure where you are coming from, so I don't know what awareness it will raise in the wider community. I did look at the online petition, but the background info was brief, and I have not read the relevant bits of the code to which I presume your issue relates, so I could not in all honesty sign such a petition.

The notion of holding back some places which then can be appealed for seems a bit alien to me as well. What is the point of that other than to make it look as though there are always some places which will definitely be available on appeal? It is surely more effective to fill up a school according to the stated admission policy, and then see if someone can squeeze themselves in on appeal?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:16 pm 
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I think it would be better to hold all 'non-qualification' appeals BEFORE allocation of places - this would be much fairer -


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:28 pm 
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Location: Wirral
I agree with Guest55.

That is the case in Bucks but unfortunately not here on Wirral.

It makes me think: Would my appeal have been successful had it not been an under subscribed year?

Although I am led to believe by the LEA this wouldn't have made a difference.

AM


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:52 am 
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Location: Berkshire
I also agree with Guest55.

Reading and Wokingham also hold appeals after the event, and you are left wondering if all places have already been filled, that you would stand very little chance of success.
Again, Bucks seems to have got it right.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:07 am 
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Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Katie,

At first sight, you seem to have a point, but speaking for myself, I would need a lot more evidence and precisions about the issue before I signed this kind of petition.
For example amongst other things, I would need to have some data about the appeal success rate for the schools or regions that are involved.
And I also make a difference between the acknowledgment that there is a problem and the suggested solution.
May be Guest55's suggestion would be a better option, and it should be the rule for all the schools. May be the schools should have to publish their appeal success rate for the previous years.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1300
Location: Birmingham
Hi Katie

I'm not sure which region you are from but the issue of using oversubscription as a reason for appeal rejection must be localised to a few LEAs.

In Birmingham just about all of the KE Grammars set the pass mark and offer places way beyond their PAN. The reason being a number of successful candidates accept places at local Independent Schools, plus the fact that there is always significant natural wastage due to families relocating to other parts of the country.

Having said that there are very few successful appeals in the KE Foundation as the admissions are handled by the Foundation themselves not Birmingham LEA.

I would be interested to understand how you LEA handles grammar places that become available due to natural and how the LEA decides whether grammar places should be offered to families that relocate into the area.

Regards


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:20 pm 
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Thank you to everyone who has replied.

A little clarification is indeed necessary. This school is a foundation school, however recent dfes reports suggest that their admissions policy is by no means unique. VA and foundation schools all over the country adopt their own entry procedures - not always to the benefit of the communities they are serving.

So - to enlighten you a little about this particular case and area and hopefull to answer some of the questions raised.........

This school is entered via a selection process - not every school in this LEA is selective.
The school we appealed against has upheld zero appeals in almost a decade.
They employ an "independent " chairman who manages their appeals and I reiterate - since he has been in post - no child's apppeal has ever been upheld.

How do we know this?

Good question - this school certainly doesn't advertise the fact that they never uphold any child's appeal, and until our complaint - the LEA allowed this.
Each year the LEA have shown in their "TIPS" booklet - the results of other selective and non-selective school appeals for the previous year - with the exception of this school.

The school's admissions policy is explicit when it says "the governors shall adhere strictly to the P.A.N." And rightly so.

During appeal hearings, the school's chairman and admissions officers are always legitimately able to claim that the governors have acted entirely within the school's advertised policy. The PAN has to be adhered to, the governors have acted within the policy - so no appeals can ever be upheld.

I have no problem with this in essence, schools have to have policies and there are only so many places. What I do object to is that some schools invite parents to launch appeals only to meet with government legislation.

It may be fairer to parents and children considering an appeal to have awareness of this information before they spend considerable time and effort putting together an appeal that can under no circumstances be successful and is in all honesty a futile exercise.

The school admissions governor told us on two separate occasions prior to our hearing that our appeal would fail. We asked how she could have this knowledge without having sight of the contents of our submission or reasons for appealing.

To give credit to the LEA, they did write to the school advising them that it was inappropriate to tell appellants that they were wasting their time, however valid the advice might be.
The Ombudsman said that advising appellants not to appeal and that their appeals would fail was acceptable.

We asked the admissions governor at the school review meeting (offered to all prospective appellants) what acceptable grounds for appeal might be, and the governor said "death of an immediate relative on the day of a test". Naturally this information might deter many prospective appellants, however we felt our case worthy of consideration and proceeded.

We provided: medical disability evidence, police evidence of traumatic circumstances, Head Teacher attended to represent the child, statistics obtained under f.o.i. act reflecting transitiional trends at the school and the remote likelihood of overscription actually being an issue. We also presented the selection test results showing that on RAW scores the child was a long way inside the PAN - due to excessively high VR results in both tests.
(SATs results were not available at the time: straight 5s which exceeded the scores of 65% of children who were selected)

The school's chairman decided not to verify the Police evidence prior to appeal hearing. (Codes of practice advise panels to validate evidence in advance if possible).
The Ombudsman said this was acceptable.

The school use their own marking system and do not make adjustmets for age on all tests. This may have been an issue with the child having an August birthday.

Interestingly, the child may not have ever been allocated "border zone" status had the primary school head teacher been aware of the school's criteria for Head Teacher support letters prior to allocation of places.

She questioned the school about this after the result was made known and was told that the wording of her letter of support was not "strong enough". She was told that had she used the word "vehemently" - the child may have been awarded a place.

This leads to yet another of the many items of maladministration which subsequently came to light. The admission policy of the school states that the head teachers of border zone children will be contacted for letters of advice on suitability. As stated earlier - this happened in our case. Again the governors adhered strictly to their policy.

When the Ombudsman reviewed the case - the school's chairman replied by stating that the child had not been border zone. We provided the evidence of this to the Ombudsman as we felt it constituted a direct lie. The Ombudsman supported the Chairman.

Ultimately it would be unlikely that schools ever agree to hear appeals before final allocation of places. But in that case - should schools who like this one stick rigidly to the .P.A.N. and never uphold an appeal be permitted to promote the idea that launching an appeal is an option when clearly it is not?

Any other suggestions which could alleviate this widespread problem would be welcome. It's certainly raised awareness of the issue if nothing else!

Thank you once again to all who replied and for your helpful suggestions.


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