Places in secondary schools: did you not get what you desired?

Later this year, hundreds of thousands of parents in England will learn which secondary school their children will attend. There are other options available to you in case the offered school isn’t suitable.

Consider carefully
First, carefully read the letter you received from your local government.

If you decide not to accept the offered school, it will give you guidance on what to do next.

However, keep in mind that you do not have the authority to force your child to attend a school of your choosing before behaving rashly and dismissing a school out of hand.

Rather, your right is limited to expressing a set of preferences.

In the event that your first choice is not fulfilled—typically due to other students living nearby or better qualifying than your family—the local authority will assign your child to a different school, in the order of your desire.

However, there are a few instances where this can be a school that you did not choose.

However, it is highly recommended that you visit the school you have been assigned and speak with the head teacher about any worries you may have.

Accepting a spot at the school is also a smart move, since it gives you a fallback option in case things do not turn out as planned.

Lists of waiting
Waiting lists are maintained by all schools, and there is usually some movement following the initial round of offers.

For example, some families may choose to go private, which could open up a spot at the school of your choice.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you ascertain if your desired institution has a waiting list for you.

Although it might occur automatically, it is always a good idea to double-check that it has.

This may be up to the individual school or the local government, depending on whether the institution manages its own admissions.

You can find out by giving the admissions team of the institution a brief call.

The school’s admissions authority is required to maintain a waiting list for a minimum of one term, and spots are typically distributed based on the admissions requirements of the school.

Prior to the start of the term, it is a good idea to find out where you are on the waiting list and how quickly spots move.

The admission authority will send you a written offer if the school extends a spot to you while your child is on the waiting list.

Even if your child has begun attending another school already, you are still able to accept the offer.

Do I have to file an appeal?

Winning an appeal against a decision to deny a child admission to a particular school is a challenging task.

There will be many more parents vying for spots if the school is highly attended and oversubscribed.

Every local government must give parents 20 days to file an appeal.

Three criteria are available for an appeal to be successful:

The admission policies of the school are illegal, and your child would have received a place offer if they had
There was an error in your kid’s application; if it had been processed correctly, your child would have received an offer of admission.
Considering the admissions arrangements, the refusal of a spot was irrational.

Choosing to file an appeal
Be advised that it will not be simple to convince the local government, or a school that serves as its own admissions authority, that an error has been committed.

It is advisable to gather as much data and supporting documentation as you can before making this decision.

Your choice to appeal must be communicated in writing to the local authorities.

A date for your appeal hearing will then be assigned to you, at least ten days beforehand.

Prepare your remarks and be familiar with your points.

Legal counsel can be obtained, and in certain cases, doing so might be wise.

On appeals, the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) provides some free guidance.

Explaining why this school would be the greatest fit for your child is necessary; focus on this rather than the reasons why attending a different school would be detrimental.

What is it about this specific school that your child finds so appealing?

What ought an appeal to contain?
ACE advises you to divide your appeal case into three parts:

  1. An explanation of your child and the reasons this school is a good fit for them.

Give your health and social needs top priority.

Are they in need of special education services (SEN)? Do they have pals at this school? Do they require a location where they can start over?

The school’s proximity to your place of employment or ease of travel are unlikely to be factors unless there is a very specific reason why you must be close by.

  1. Why is this particular school important for your child? Is it a single-sex school where your youngster would feel less awkward?

Are they experts in handling your child’s special education needs? Do they perform exceptionally well in any academic subject where your child truly shines, such as math, music, or languages?

  1. The reasons why sending your child to the school of their choice would be counterproductive.

Speaking poorly of the school’s performance here, or at any other stage of the appeals process, is not a good idea.

Instead, pay more attention to social and practical factors like the distance from home and academic requirements—especially if your child has actual trouble using public transportation.

What occurs during a hearing on an appeal?

Your case will be evaluated by an appeal panel consisting of three to five members of the public.

The panel will be informed during the hearing of the reasons your application was denied.

They will verify that the admission policies of the school adhere to the Schools Admissions Code.

You will then have the opportunity to explain your appeal of the verdict.

You must include justification for your belief that this school is the greatest fit for your child as well as any supporting documentation for your application. Provide documentation to support this.

The panel must determine whose side’s case is stronger—the school’s or yours—after the appeal has been heard.

Within seven days, the outcome will be mailed to you. The ruling has legal force behind it.

Your child will be assigned to the school if your appeal is accepted.

You have the option to add your child’s name to the waiting list of the school in the event that your appeal is denied.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *