UPDATING IN PROGRESS MAY 2013
- The Ombudsman is ony able ot consder comlaints agaisnt
- You have no chance of winning a complaint to the ombudsman simply because you disagree with an appeal panel decision. You have to show that the panel has not followed correct procedures in such a way that a wrong decision may have been taken.
- School appeals depend on a generally excellent group of unpaid but trained volunteers, with only one member on a panel of three required to have an educational background. Without them, the appeal system could not function and most appeals are conducted courteously and fairly. However, some go badly wrong and the local government ombudsman exists to consider complaints about process. Further details at ombudsman.
I am pleased to report that all five of my Ombudsman complaints last year were successful. Last year my successes included one primary school appeal. This brings my total in recent years to 34 successes out of 41 (however, I always advise on the chances of success, so that I do not take on cases that I consider unwinnable). Parents who use my services are saved the stress and work involved in the process and are kept fully informed of progress. I will often explore aspects of the complaint that are not obvious, but are likely to lead to a fresh appeal.
- Where grammar schools are full or nearly full, appeal cases are often fraught with difficulties for the appeal panel as the regulations are unclear, and often lead to successful complaints to the ombudsman.
- The most likely outcome of a successful admissions complaint to the ombudsman is a fresh appeal under a different panel, unless the fault is such that the complainant would have been entitled to a place if the panel had acted properly.
- In my experience, complaints generally take between two and six months to be resolved, but a recent one went on for eight months.
- Around 10 Reports a year are published annually on cases of special significance, although this number will fall as the proportion of academies rises, whose complaints are heard by the Education Funding Agency. The most recent Kent ones are here.
- Please note that if your child has now secured three Level Fives at SAT Level 2, this is not grounds to complain to the ombudsman for a grammar school appeal as the Panel did not know the results at the time. There have to be additional grounds of maladministration to win a fresh appeal.
- The Local Government Ombudsman publishes an annual letter to Local Authorities, reporting on complaints made to him. For Kent and Medway, details of these are recorded here.