We have lodged a non-qual appeal for our DC, are we able to find out if there are still places available at the school? If so, do/can we ask the school for this information? Presumably if there are places available at the time of our appeal we are only(!) appealing on the grounds of non-qualification and not over subscription too (which would be even harder). Forgive me if its a daft question...
Not at all. You could be right if, for example, the school is 8 below PAN, and there are only 4 appeals.
The problem is that, if the school is 4 below PAN, for example, and there are 10 appeals, the total number of successful non-qualification appeals might potentially take the school above PAN. Oversubscription may not have been an issue at the beginning, but it could become an issue during
the appeals process. Because of this, decisions on individual cases are not taken until the very end.
Except in Bucks [see below], which has a separate appeal against non-qualification, it would be wise always to include reasons for wanting a place at the school
See the Q&As, C2b:http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c2
b. Stage 2 is sometimes called the “balancing stage”. The panel weighs up the problem that the admission of an extra child would cause the school, and compares that with the strength of the parental case. The side with the stronger case wins. You could have a strong case but lose the appeal because the panel decides the school case is even stronger! You could have a weak case but win your appeal because the school case is even weaker!
Another factor that might influence the result is the number of appeals being heard at the same time. If you are appealing for a very popular school immediately after what is known as “National Allocations Day” (allocation letters are posted on 1st March, or the first working day thereafter), there could be 20, 30 or even 40+ cases to be heard. These are often arranged as “multiple appeals”, and no decision is taken on any individual case until all the timely appeals have been heard. After hearing the timely appeals, the panel (and it has to be the same panel!) has to decide in each case whether the parental case outweighs the prejudice to the school.
Panel members then have to consider whether the school could cope with that number of (potentially) successful appeals. If they decide the school could not cope, they are obliged to move away from "each case is considered purely on its own merits," and they have to start comparing cases. They put all the cases in what they judge to be order of merit, and starting with the strongest they work their way down the list asking the question: where does the greater prejudice lie? If they think the prejudice to the child would be greater than the prejudice to the school, then a place is offered. (Each time they admit an extra pupil, of course, the prejudice to the school has become greater, and they will be conscious of this as they move on to take their decision on the next case.)
It makes no difference whether your case is heard first, last, or in the middle! Panel members and the clerk take careful notes of the key points of each case as the appeals proceed.[Buckinghamshire selection appeals are different - they allow appeals solely on the issue of qualified status before 1st March, with no specific school being mentioned, and decisions in this situation are made immediately.]