Very long story, very Buckinghamshire specific and we should really wait until we receive the formal letter, but for anyone in our situation, you may want to know some details.
DD failed 11+, then we failed to overturn at local review (SRP). We won at IAP, where the admissions authority could not prove the SRP was FCO (fair, consistent and objective) (largely because they didn’t appear to have properly considered DD’s Dyslexia). The IAP then also overturned the academic decision as well, but they weren’t able to offer a place, as the school was oversubscribed by then and they were not allowed in the process to extend the offer to other Grammar schools. Back to square one, almost.
At our oversubscription appeal today for our preferred and catchment school, we heard the school’s case in the morning and at the end of that we asked whether the admissions process had been correctly arrived at and applied. We suggested that any children in our DD’s position were not catered for in the school’s Admissions Process. This says ‘After places have been allocated, parents will be entitled to make representations to an IAP if their child has been refused admission because the school is full.’ Ours had not at that time been refused admission – we were still trying to overturn the SRP! We believe the school had not considered this possibility in their process, especially what to do with children whose SRP was deemed not FCO. I.e. if that SRP had been fair, they would have been offered a place at the first round of allocations.
They asked the three families and the school rep and LEA rep to step outside, while they considered the case. The LEA rep was supporting the school rep. The clerk was a barrister, which may also have helped. They called us in again about 40 minutes later and explained that they had sought legal advice from outside. The school had demonstrated that there would be prejudice to the school and the admissions arrangements were lawful, but the panel had reservations about the application of the arrangements and would like to meet us individually in Stage 2 sessions.
The first family went in for their Stage 2 session and came out after no more than 5 minutes.
We then went in and the chair asked the LEA rep whether our DD would have received a place if she had qualified through the local review before 1st March? He said ‘Yes’ and they then told us that they upheld our appeal – just like that!
Still reeling. DD is beaming. Presumably the first family were also successful, as they were in the same boat we think, so good luck to them. And to the third family, whatever their circumstances.
Once we get our letter next week, I will post any new and non-specific elements, but if anyone is in the same position, I hope this helps for now. Of course every IAP is different, but I have sensed for a while that the process is not right in Bucks this year, and so this might give some power back to any parents whose DC has been wronged. In my opinion of course! And I’m very happy to support any campaign to make changes before next year, even though we are technically too late to make changes. I’m sure there must be a way for both the parents and admissions authorities NOT to have to go through this kind of grief next year without re-writing the whole process, especially if there is a legality concern.