I don't often take on appeals, as Infant Class Legislation means success rates are very low and I Will only get involved if there is a chance. However I am always happy to give advice through my telephone consultation service. Please feel free to send me details of your dilemma, through the contact me page and I will: (a) tell you if I have no relevant advice; (b) come back with a succinct answer; or (c) suggest I can help.
For all problems, first piece of advice is don't panic. If you are going to appeal it is better to reflect what you are going to write in your appeal statement rather than dash something off in the hope it will be looked at early, or you will get priority in an appeal because you got in first. You won't. If you have been given none of your choices and have been allocated a school that does not make any sense, it may be worthwhile contacting KCC admissions to see if there is a better alternative that has vacancies. This will not include one of your choices as these will all be full.
- First piece of advice on Primary School appeals is – don’t panic. You will not get an earlier appeal or a better hearing by sending in your case early. If you are not ready, make sure you record your appeal by the closing date, using such words as “I am appealing for….... I will send in my detailed case when it is ready”. This enables you to take advice or plan your appeal without additional pressure (it is already stressful enough!). Following several queries on this - the rule is: "Parents should also be informed that there is no statutory time limit for submitting information about their appeal".
- Appeals for places at primary school are very difficult because of a government ruling that no infant class should have more than 30 pupils. However, I have secured success at primary school appeals, and ensure that parents make the best case possible. One of my recent clients won an appeal for his son to an infant class in a catholic primary school. His twin sister had already been offered a place initially. Another won a place after fraud by another parent was demonstrated. A third won a case after we demonstrated doubt over the distance measurement. Another is featured in a Report published by the Local Government Ombudsman here. Another was also taken to the Local Government Ombudsman where we secured a place after demonstrating that the Local Authority had made mistakes in applying the oversubscription criteria. Another won a place after we demonstrated that the Admission Criteria were unfair.
- Of the 541 appeals for Reception Classes for entry to Kent Primary Schools for September 2010, just 22 were successful where there were class sizes of 30 children or a multiple of this in the Planned Admission Number. Although this is a higher success rate than in previous years, the overwhelming majority are still likely to be children with very special circumstances (two of them my cases!). Another 47 places were won on appeal where the Planned Admission Number is not a multiple of 30. I am prepared to take on appeals where there is a chance of success, but if you can't see you have a special case, you are unlikely to have one. Remember, if you wish to appeal, all you need to do initially is to use a form of words nsimilar to "I am appealing for a place for my child.... in the Reception Class at ..... School. A more detailed letter will follow", and then submit your detailed case later.
- I am sorry to be so negative, but Infant Class Legislation is very tough. Parents often ask me what the point of an appeal is in such circumstances; quite simply it is your legal right. Sadly, for nearly all of the 768 Kent children who were offered none of their choices in 2011, your only chance is through the waiting list process. Schools should be in a position to advise you of this at the appropriate time; also of the distance from the school to the home of the furthest child accepted the previous year and the distance from the school to your own home.