Secondary School Appeals - Important
I am now close to my capacity for supporting secondary school appeals. I regret that I will need to take a deposit of ÂŁ80 (deducted from the final fee so no net cost) for any further clients so that I can estimate more clearly the numbers I shall be working with. If you wish to go ahead please provide as much detailed information about your situation as possible before making payment, and then I can confirm if I am able to support you and the fee involved. This does not apply to those who have already engaged me through a telephone consultation or to whom I have confirmed by email that I am prepared to support you. Shortly, I anticiapte I shall be unable to accept any more clients, except those appealing to the Chatham Grammar Schools who have suddenly, and through no fault of their own, found the alternative route of the Chatham Tests cancelled.
I am still available for in year appeals, and admissions advice.
last updated December 2012
Each Year I receive a number of enquiries about oversubscription appeals.These are where the school (it may be non-selective or grammar) is full. I am advising some parents to put in a holding appeal (simply writing "I am appealing for a place for my child (name) at (name) school. A more detailed letter will follow" on the form, which means you do not need to submit full details by deadline day). You can then leave submitting a detailed letter until after the first round of reallocations takes place. I am happy to delay taking on clients until that time, when you will know whether an appeal will be necessary. Also the pressure on myself is less, and so I am able to turn around an appeal letter more quickly. Please feel free to contact me if you wish clarification on this.
To make an appeal for a Kent school you should download an appeal form here.
- You will find the most recent appeal statistics for both Kent and Medway here.
- There is a new Code of Practice for School Appeals, issued by government, taking effect from March 2009. Some key issues are set out at Code.
- If your child is not allocated their first preference school in March, you may be able to secure a place at a school higher in your list through appeal.
- First piece of advice is â donât 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 âI am appealing forâŚ.... I will send in my detailed case when it is readyâ. This enables you to take advice or plan your appeal without additional pressure (it is already stressful enough!). If yours is one of the few Foundation schools that organises early appeals, you can still send in your case when you are notified of the date, without penalty.
- Appeals are always possible for non selective schools when the number of pupils applying for a school is larger than the approved number of admissions.
- Kent admission rules allow parents to apply to any school not on their original list after April 4th using the In Year Admission process. Use this to the full, as at the least you are placed on a waiting list and then have rights of appeal. Some children who did not originally apply for a school and who now apply after April 4th will be offered places ahead of others on the waiting list.
- You will be asked to submit a case and appear personally at the Panel hearing. The best grounds for appeal are where families can show that the admission of another pupil will not damage the education of those already admitted, where another child has been wrongly selected ahead of their own, or that the admission policy has been interpreted wrongly. Some Foundation & VA schools are keen to admit additional pupils, and in such cases the appeal is much easier, if you have a reasonable case, or your child appears to âfitâ the school ethos.
- Each oversubscribed school has its own character and approach to appeals for additional pupils.
- Grammar school oversubscription appeals can be very complex, as appellants may have children who have passed the eleven plus, others will not have, and the appeal panel has to balance competing claims.
- I advise on the expected appeal pattern for each school, and the best strategy to achieve success. I offer a range of services for parents, including writing the appeal letter & preparing the case for the appeal . I do not normally attend appeal hearings, as Panels are more interested in talking directly with parents. However, I am happy to represent parents where there is technical evidence to present, or where parents are not confident of making the case I will have prepared for them. Whichever package parents select, I ensure the best case is put forward and have a very good record of success.
- Remember, at the end of the day, if the school is genuinely full there may be no way to secure admission.
Kent County Council is experimenting with a new approach for some of its Appeal hearings this year, where schools are heavily oversubscribed. Schools where this process is being used for the first time include Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys and Simon Langton Grammar School for Girls. The Admission Code for School Appeals recommends that where a school is oversubscribed, appeals should be divided into two stages, although Kent County Council has not followed this recommendation in previous years. Where this happens, the first part is called the group stage, where all parents appealing are invited to a meeting at the start of proceedings. At this meeting, all the issues relating to oversubscription are debated between parents and the Admission Authority Presenting Officer in front of the Appeal Panel. No matters relating to individuals are considered. This enables the Appeal Panel to determine before hearing individual appeals how many children, if any, can be admitted before prejudice applies (see section on appeals). The second stage is the individual appeal where each parent puts the case for their individual child. In the second stage there is no discussion of oversubscription issues. The Panel then has to decide which children should be offered places, possibly accepting that for some, there will be prejudice, but their individual circumstances outweigh this. I have some experience of the system, as Medway Council has used it for many years with, in my view, mixed success. Many parents are inhibited at the Group meeting and find it difficult to put forward their points. At some meetings the meeting rapidly degenerated into an unpleasant verbal battle (I don't see this happening at the Kent appeals); at others very few parents turned up,few views were expressed and the meeting fizzled out (more likely). My advice is go to the meeting, at the very least you will see the Appeal Panel members in advance. Don't be afraid to speak out if you believe the school is capable of admitting extra children although this can be come quite a technical argument and school cases for not admitting additional children can be quite intimidating. You won't affect your individual chances by making the case that more children in general can be admitted. In Medway where Appeal Panel members were used to the process, they engaged in quite vigorous and challenging questioning of the Admission Authority. One would expect that KCC panellists will have been trained to carry out similar rigorous questioning. However, where there is no Group Appeal (all KCC Appeal Panels up to now), questioning on prejudice is required to take place in every appeal and can be quite perfunctory and formulaic, so there does need to be a change of approach. One of the strongest arguments year on year comes from looking at the numbers in older year groups. If the school can manage these, then why shouldn't it manage the same number again. -------- This is a new article on a new theme and I am very happy to accept suggestions and ideas to improve it.