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 Post subject: Thank you...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:02 pm 
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...Etienne for that update to the Qs and As - very helpful!

I have a question relating to the ombudsman process which you mentioned. We are considering taking our case - independently of the appeal process - to the LGO. Our claim would not be against the appeal panel, but against the council on the basis of its failure to keep its promises (apparently this is considered to be reasonable grounds for a complaint to the LGO). Our DD has been refused a place at the school attended by her elder sister according to the current oversubscription criteria which, though giving preference to siblings, do not extend this preference to applicants with siblings about to enter the sixth form of the school being applied for. However, we consider that the failure to consider DD2 as DD1's sibling was based on a flawed administrative process - i.e. discussed in secret and imposed despite written assurances that the proposal to drop the sibling link would not affect siblings of pupils who joined before 2005. This clearly did not happen in our case (DD1 joined the school in 2004), and the lack of transitional arrangements as promised has inevitably impacted on our application for DD2. I have the necessary evidence to support these claims and have requested further information under the FAO, together with an explanation as to why the change was not phased in. (Such an explanation has not received yet, or at any time over the last 4 years.) :roll:

We have been advised by the LGO to await the outcome of our appeal so that we can show that we have gone through the entire process and have suffered an injustice only now on the basis of that decision several years ago. My question is this - how much of this needs to be included in our evidence to the appeals panel? After all, the rules as they are now were indeed properly applied...it's just that those rules were, I feel, based on a flawed process and that this issue has never been addressed to my satisfaction.

Should our evidence include the relevant extracts from the consultation document stating that siblings of children who started pre-2005 would not be affected by the changes imposed in the 2005 round? And should we include correspondence with BCC on this matter, showing that the issue has never been properly addressed? We do, of course, have other material to support our appeal including evidence from the school indicating that DD1 is fully expected to stay on into 6th form, a letter from DD2's current teacher supporting her aptitude for the school's specialist subject, and comparative figures highlighting the greater focus on science and MFL at the school being appealed for. Your sample case mentioned a younger sibling - our DD has two younger siblings at primary school making logistics difficult, especially since I have to do all the school runs etc. on my own as my husband works away from home a lot. Would this be relevant? Is there anything else we can do?

Any further ideas welcome!

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 Post subject: Re: Thank you...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Posts: 7061
Quote:
Thank you ...Etienne for that update to the Qs and As - very helpful!
:D

We usually update the Q&As once or twice a year, but I wondered if some of the "pending items" might be of interest.

Quote:
We have been advised by the LGO to await the outcome of our appeal so that we can show that we have gone through the entire process and have suffered an injustice only now on the basis of that decision several years ago.
Yes, I believe this is their standard response.

Quote:
My question is this - how much of this needs to be included in our evidence to the appeals panel? After all, the rules as they are now were indeed properly applied...it's just that those rules were, I feel, based on a flawed process and that this issue has never been addressed to my satisfaction.
I think you're quite right that the IAP will have no choice but to conclude that the admission arrangements were correctly applied.

Quote:
Should our evidence include the relevant extracts from the consultation document stating that siblings of children who started pre-2005 would not be affected by the changes imposed in the 2005 round? And should we include correspondence with BCC on this matter, showing that the issue has never been properly addressed?
My advice would be to include this - just in the hope that you get a sympathetic panel who might take the view you've been hard done by.

I suggest you make it "easy" for the panel, however.
    1.Include only a brief paragraph in your letter of appeal about this matter.
    2. Attach all the evidence as numbered appendices at the very end of your submission (in order of interest/priority).
Quote:
We do, of course, have other material to support our appeal including evidence from the school indicating that DD1 is fully expected to stay on into 6th form, a letter from DD2's current teacher supporting her aptitude for the school's specialist subject, and comparative figures highlighting the greater focus on science and MFL at the school being appealed for.
Good!

Quote:
Your sample case mentioned a younger sibling - our DD has two younger siblings at primary school making logistics difficult, especially since I have to do all the school runs etc. on my own as my husband works away from home a lot. Would this be relevant? Is there anything else we can do?
Explain in detail the logistical problem, and whether public transport is a factor. Provide some evidence:
    1. Availability of public transport (if relevant)
    2. Draw up a schedule, with times and places, showing what you would have to do to get the children to school and fit in any other commitments you have.
    3. Draw up a week-by-week record of your husband's business trips, so that the panel can see how often he is away from home, and/or get a letter from his employer confirming that he is expected to travel frequently on business.

Include the evidence as numbered appendices at the back of your submission (the most important items at the top).

Hope this helps.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Many thanks for that advice, Etienne. I'll get my teeth into those evidence-gathering tasks - as you say, anything to make it easy for the panel. :)

I just have two more questions relating to our appeal - another reason we have given is that the two girls have a very close relationship despite there being a four year gap in their ages. But how to prove this? As far as the panel are concerned we might just be saying that while in reality they could fight like cat and dog! :lol:
However, DD1 chose (totally unprompted) to feature her sister in her mock GCSE art project in which she had to choose a person she knew well and portray them in a way that reflected their personality. I've got a copy of her initial brainstorming work with a mind map showing all her sister's characteristics, interests, hobbies, etc. It's quite detailed and accurate, and I don't think she could have done it without knowing her sister really well. Could I use this? I can't think how else to prove that they are close as it's not really something a teacher could comment on with them being at different schools.

Also - is it OK to provide figures comparing the take-up of single-science GCSEs and modern language GCSEs of the school appealed for and the school offered? This is not to put down the school offered - simply to show that we feel DD's aptitude for science will be better catered for at the school appealed for, and our wish (I am a professional linguist) that she should have as much opportunity in the MFL area as possible. A foreign language GCSE is compulsory at the school appealed for but not at the school offered where, unfortunately, this subject does not enjoy a high priority much to the understandable annoyance of the MFL staff! For example, this is the second year that I've heard of that they are not able to run a French A-level course! :shock: :shock: )

Thanks again for all your help!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Quote:
I've got a copy of her initial brainstorming work with a mind map showing all her sister's characteristics, interests, hobbies, etc. It's quite detailed and accurate, and I don't think she could have done it without knowing her sister really well. Could I use this?
My reservation is that it's not going to be really compelling evidence, and you're already giving the panel rather a lot of information. In this situation it might not be wise to make a big deal out of a minor point. Personally I'd just mention the close relationship, and leave it at that. (You could take the evidence with you, and produce it if you get any questions about the close relationship.)

Quote:
Also - is it OK to provide figures comparing the take-up of single-science GCSEs and modern language GCSEs of the school appealed for and the school offered? This is not to put down the school offered - simply to show that we feel DD's aptitude for science will be better catered for at the school appealed for
Yes. I particularly like the approach "We're not here to criticise the school allocated."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:33 pm 
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Thanks again - this is useful to know. I don't want to overwhelm the panel with paper so will leave this out but take it along "just in case"!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:30 pm 
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Etienne wrote:
Explain in detail the logistical problem, and whether public transport is a factor. Provide some evidence:
    1. Availability of public transport (if relevant)
    2. Draw up a schedule, with times and places, showing what you would have to do to get the children to school and fit in any other commitments you have.
    3. Draw up a week-by-week record of your husband's business trips, so that the panel can see how often he is away from home, and/or get a letter from his employer confirming that he is expected to travel frequently on business.
Include the evidence as numbered appendices at the back of your submission (the most important items at the top).


Hi Etienne,

Regarding the above
1. I've got the bus timetables - basically there are very few, and none at the time DD would need them! (No surprises there as we live in a village.)

2. I've done this. To be perfectly honest the mornings would not present too much of a problem as there is a school bus available - the real difficulty would arise at the end of the afternoon, since the school DD2 has been offered has a very short day and runs quite a few activities after school because the lunch break is so limited. It even expects children to stay behind for some curricular sessions. So the sort of things that DD would be able to do during the course of the day at the school being appealed for, she would have to stay behind for at the school offered and therefore miss the return bus. And this would create logistical problems since I would have to factor in yet another pick-up in an already complicated scenario, with all of the children participating in various activities outside school - which they have been involved in for a number of years - and needing to be picked up and ferried around (I know this is quite common in families but many parents are :shock: at the amount of driving around I do!)! The schedule I've drawn up is based on our current movements, as we have no way of knowing exact days and times of the various activities next year - however I've emphasized the fact that their primary school is on the route to DD1's school - i.e. the school being appealed for - which invariably makes things easier.

3. DH has supplied his schedule for last month showing several overseas trips and quite a few late meetings. He's rarely home before 8pm anyway, even when not travelling.

I'm reasonably happy with the above, just a bit concerned that someone might try to pick holes in the logistical argument - perhaps suggesting that the younger ones should give up their after-school activities to accommodate their sister's need for transport? The fact is that the whole after-school thing is complicated enough at the moment, but being able to pick up DD2 at the same time as DD1 would inevitably be easier than having to drive to two schools in different directions when there are other children to be considered. The trouble is that on paper it looks quite straightforward, but in reality it's exhausting!

I would welcome any comments on the above - in particular, is it sufficient to provide a schedule of our movements for this year on the basis that, even if the details vary slightly next year, it's likely to be no less complicated (but will be so if DD1 and DD2 are at different schools?)
And would the panel give any credence to the argument that families build up a "relationship" with a school over the years, which would be diluted if they then have to devote time and energy to supporting children at several different establishments?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:57 pm 
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Think the pick up times after school problem is rather tenuous and presumably the extra curricular stuff would actually facilitate pick up. Lots of families, probably one in two, have children at different schools although 3 rather than two does complicate it but not if there is a bus available. Closeness of siblings - hmm. How about saying that you envisaged your eldest being able to take her sibling to school at this stage and that was your expectation when you accepted her place, not to have to juggle 3 schools in the future? At this rate you could end up with 4 schools!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:06 pm 
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Reader wrote:
How about saying that you envisaged your eldest being able to take her sibling to school at this stage and that was your expectation when you accepted her place, not to have to juggle 3 schools in the future?


Thanks for this suggestion - I certainly did envisage DD2 being able to go to school with DD1 (if not actually take her there), especially as all the information available at the time indicated that this would be the case.

I've sent you a PM. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:20 pm 
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The rules should be applied correctly according to the criteria when your eldest joined. It is unfair (think of a stronger more legal word!) that the goalposts are moved to disadvantage (key lingo) your younger one.


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 Post subject: Another thought...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:46 pm 
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Are there others in a similar position? Presumably 'exceptions can be made but floodgates will not opened'. If you were the only one (unlikely, I assume)
presumably that point would be beneficial. One place as opposed to several
or more.


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