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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:02 am 
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It looks as though I'll have to appeal to get my son into our local comprehensive, and I'd be grateful for any advice. My husband is a Crown servant, and we have been living in Madrid for the past 3 years. We are due to return to the UK in August this year, when my son will be entering Year 8. Our local secondary school which is less than 5 mins walk from our house is oversubscribed, and we are 5th on the waiting list. Reasons for wanting him to go to this school include it's proximity to our home, he attented the feeder primary school from reception to year 4, it's language department offers Spanish at which he excels, all his friends go there. It's a mixed school, which is what he would prefer. There are many more reasons why I think he needs to go there, but I'm wondering if the above, in anyone's opinion, is enough to base an appeal on.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:56 am 
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Location: Gloucestershire
vonnyh wrote:
It looks as though I'll have to appeal to get my son into our local comprehensive, and I'd be grateful for any advice. My husband is a Crown servant, and we have been living in Madrid for the past 3 years. We are due to return to the UK in August this year, when my son will be entering Year 8. Our local secondary school which is less than 5 mins walk from our house is oversubscribed, and we are 5th on the waiting list. Reasons for wanting him to go to this school include it's proximity to our home, he attented the feeder primary school from reception to year 4, it's language department offers Spanish at which he excels, all his friends go there. It's a mixed school, which is what he would prefer. There are many more reasons why I think he needs to go there, but I'm wondering if the above, in anyone's opinion, is enough to base an appeal on.


That does sound like good evidence. Without knowing the 'other' side - the schools side - I'm loath to say 'yes, that will win an appeal'. It's certainly enough to base an appeal on, and indeed I have a friend who will probably be using very similar grounds for a local grammar oversubscription appeal (although that depends on Mondays letter).

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:22 pm 
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A couple of observations.

The problem with the friendship argument is that appeal panels hear this all the time – “His/her best friend is going there,â€

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:52 pm 
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I hope the Spanish argument will work for you. We have German heritage and appealed for our daughter to attend the only (comprehensive) school in the area to offer German last year. We were unsuccessful, as we were with the appeal to the Grammar school. We are lucky enough to be able to afford to send her to an independent school where she can study the language, and lo and behold she is now identified as a gifted linguist (specifically German but also French and Spanish.) If we had accepted the status quo and she had attended the local secondary modern school. that talent would never have been discovered, - only French is offered there. On a different point, DD's best friend does attend the comprehensive school, - lives six doors away, go figure!, and has told us that ironically many students left by Christmas, meaning that a space may come up during the school year. The waiting lists close in September, but I would imagine you could let the school know that you want to be considered for any places that do get freed up. In the mean time, you are close to the top of the list, keep hoping!
Do not give up, I think you have lots of good reasons for being successful at an appeal, but Capers is right. it doesn't always go your way. I think you also have the right to appeal once in each academic year.
All the best,
Bougalou


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:09 pm 
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It's possible that the panel sympathised with and accepted Bouga's language argument, but decided that it didn't outweigh the prejudice to the school (in the context of all the appeals being heard). It's a balancing exercise .......

The conventional wisdom is that it's better to be part of the main batch of appeals, so that your case is considered before further places are allocated by the panel (which increases the prejudice to the school at any future appeals).

There is a less well-known view, however, that it's better to have a later appeal when you're on your own. Although you may be disadvantaged by the fact that the number on roll could now be above PAN as a result of successful appeals, you might benefit because your case is not being overshadowed by other cases with really compelling medical/social reasons.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:57 pm 
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Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply. I know the friends argument alone is maybe not the strongest, but I hope that added to the proximity of our house to the school, along with the fact that he's not attended secondary school in the UK so far, and as such will (aguably) need the support of friends more than most, it will strenthen our case.. The other schools nearest to us are all full, one undersubscribed school in our borough is single sex, doesn't offer Spanish AND is 2 bus rides away from our home. Also our preferred school is rated "outstanding" in it's pastoral care, which again I think will be important for our son as he tries to resettle back in the UK. When we moved to Madrid, he had an awfu first year, we were called in by the headmistress who told us that he actually seemed depressed, and was finding it very hard to integrate.It's really worrying to think if he can't go to our local school, he's likely to go through the same again.

Thanks again for all the replies.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:00 pm 
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The co-ed argument is probably not a strong one (easy to assert, difficult to prove).

Quote:
When we moved to Madrid, he had an awful first year, we were called in by the headmistress who told us that he actually seemed depressed, and was finding it very hard to integrate.
If you could provide some written evidence to confirm this, it might really strengthen your case.

Good luck, and let us know if we can be of any further help.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:32 am 
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What kind of written evidence could Vonny supply? Letter from head or teacher that might show Spanish ability?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:03 am 
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I was thinking in particular of a letter from the headteacher in Spain, confirming the problems settling in. (If a doctor had been consulted about possible depression, then some medical evidence would be very useful too.) It might be worth going back to the primary school to ask for a letter confirming that it was a feeder school, and that this boy's friends all moved on to the secondary school in question.

To support the argument about Spanish, there should be school reports showing ability in the subject, and/or a letter from the current school. If this is not a British school, and the documents are in Spanish, then a certified translation ought to be provided.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:38 pm 
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I think that there might be provision for children of Crown servants in some mid-year admissions criteria which should bump him up the list unless there are siblings. It depends on your LEA but I think that you should look at the In Year Fair Access Protocol for your LEA which is a government guideline/requirement and is not just for 'challenging' children and may cover your situation. You need to talk to the Head of Admissions for the LEA and establish a good rapport and not just communicate with the team. Good luck and leave no stone unturned! IMO you have a strong case if you go about it the right way.


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