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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:14 am
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Location: Gloucestershire
Hi! ------ just been notified by our local Grammar School that our Appeal was unsuccessful - obviously disappointed but rather than keep pointlessly banging my head against a brick wall I'd though I'd ask people who know far more about the whole scenario than me for some honest advice - ie should I give up!!

Firstly apologies if I go on a bit but the relevant facts are:

Our daughter passed the test - historically the School offers 120 places each year, goes through the Appeals process and then tops up from the waiting list to 128 places, however, the only publish 120 places in the LEA booklets etc.

Last Year some parent appealed to the Ombudsman that the topping up from the waiting list was prejudicial to the learning of his dear child (who is at the school) as the school said 30 in a class and actually had always admitted 32 - ombudsman ruled that this is bad practice so for now the school has offered 120 places.

We appealed due to location (she has a place at a Grammar 11 miles away, 2 buses, will mean that she can't get back for her dance school etc - her preferred choice is 2.5 miles away) siblings/family (sister is in the school 1 year above, brother is in the adjoining boys Grammar 2 years above and my other half is a teacher in the school) - we tried the whole ruining her/families life argument which I suspect doesn't hold much sway!

She is 5th on the waiting list (rank ordered).

Our Appeal was unsuccessful, however, 8 Appeals were successful so the school has coincidentally arrived at the magical 128 but rather than a couple of appeals and the rest from the waiting list it's now all Appeals.

I know that the school is looking at legal options to get their numbers raised to 128 but this will be too late for us.

I'd really appreciate any input on whether the end of the road is nigh!! - many thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
I've sent a PM, but thought afterwards...

nealut wrote:
She is 5th on the waiting list (rank ordered).


Well, she may be higher now, depending on who on the waiting list got offered places. There's also a chance that children offered places (by appeal or exam) are appealing elsewhere, so may take those places. It will be a fraustrating & tense wait, though. Make sure they also know that you want to reapply next year / stay on the waiting list.

Another ploy could be to take a place at the allocated grammar, then apply for a transfer next year. Not quite sure how that would work in practice, but worth looking into.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Hope you will be lucky with the waiting list.

Otherwise, you can appeal again in a year's time (you are allowed to appeal for the same school no more than once a year - unless there is really significant new information that strengthens your case and that was not available at the time of the previous appeal).

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:14 am
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Location: Gloucestershire
Hi,

Thanks for the good wishes, don't think that the school will be running a waiting list as their numbers are quoted as 120 and they have now after appeal admitted 128, therefore, before they are allowed to top up from the waiting list again numbers will have to drop below 120 which is highly unlikely.

The main gripe from our point of view is that even though the published number is 120 the school has effectively held out that it has 128 places (as historically it has always admitted this many) - now it fills 120 and different from every previous year then coincidentally lets 8 in on appeal ----- the poor kids that are 1,2 and 3 on the waiting list based on their performance in the test have therefore absolutely no chance of ever gaining a place as now it's only through appeals that you can get in - the appeals panel know that the school wants 128 so ranks the appeals and lets in the top 8 - in previous years there may only be 2 or 3 appeals granted and then the remainder are offered to the girls in rank order. Does anybody know how I could get hold of the Ombudsmans ruling that has led to this and if it is then possible to appeal this?!

Many Thanks ......... N


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
I think I can help with regard to getting hold of the investigation report you want.

In the unlikely event that you know the reference number of the report, you could request a free copy using their online order form.
Otherwise I would suggest putting in a request by letter or email, including the year of the investigation, the name and address of the school, whether it is a foundation school (and, if not, the name of the local authority), and adding that this is a request under the freedom of information act.
    How to request information from the Local Government Ombudsman

    If you wish to request material available under the Publication Scheme, please use the order form. If what you require is not available under the scheme, please apply in writing to:

    Hilary Pook
    Communications and Records Manager
    Commission for Local Administration
    10th Floor
    Millbank Tower
    Millbank
    LONDON SW1P 4QP

    Fax: 020 7217 4621
    Email: foi.officer@lgo.org.uk

    When requesting information, please include the following details:

    * your name and address;
    * the information or documents you would like; and
    * the way you would like the information sent to you (for example, as hard copy, via email or on a computer disk)

    When the information you want is readily available, for example, where it is listed in the Publication Scheme, we aim to provide it within a few days. There will be some cases where it takes a little longer. In such cases, we aim to supply the information within 20 working days.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
Posts: 490
Location: kent
This might be a completely rubbish suggestion, but is it worth going to a school transport appeal and trying to get a different form of assistance for the 11 mile journey than a bus pass for 2 slow buses. If the journey time was reduced, some of the disadvantages of this other school would be reduced.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:14 am
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Location: Gloucestershire
Thanks for the though re transport - Will check but thought that you can only get transport help if you have chosen your nearest school?[/quote]


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
Posts: 490
Location: kent
I think it depends on your LEA's rules; it's worth having a read of your local rules and there is also a DCSF booklet about home-school transport.

In Kent, you would be entitled to free transport in your situation as you have a grammar school assessment, and the closest grammar school has turned you down. But what I am not sure is if there is a maximum journey time that is considered appropriate.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
If I remember correctly, the following is guidance from the DCSF:
Best practice suggests that the maximum each way length of journey for a child of primary school age might be considered to be 45 minutes; whilst a child of secondary school age might be expected to travel up to 75 minutes each way Similarly, a child's special educational needs and/or disability might be such that it implies a shorter maximum journey time.
Decisions are actually made, as Perplexed points out, according to the LA's policy (which is normally expressed in terms of distance).

However, you could quote the guidance at an appeal.

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