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Appeals

 Introduction

If you apply for a place for your child at Stisted Primary Academy and your child is refused admission, this can be disappointing. In the first instance you may wish to discuss why admission was refused with the Headteacher. It is likely that a place has been refused because the year group you have applied for is full. You may decide that you wish to appeal against this decision.

 

We understand that going through the appeal process can be a worrying and anxious time for you and we hope that the information contained in this guide will simplify the process for you. It will take you through the process and explain what happens at each point and what you need to do.

 

Your Rights

You have the right to appeal for places at all schools for which you have applied and been refused a place. There is no cost to a parent although there is a cost to the school. The cost of administration and arranging an independent panel comes directly out of the school budget.

 

We therefore urge parents to consider very carefully before making an appeal and consider the limited grounds on which an appeal can be made.

 

This right of appeal does not apply if your child has been permanently excluded from two schools. If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs o Education Health Care Plan and the school is named,your appeal needs to be directed to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). Please visit their website at: www.sendist.gov.uk

 

You can only appeal once in every academic year unless there has been a significant change in your circumstances. If this is the case you need to reapply for a place at the school and be refused before you can appeal. You can only appeal for the year group for which you have been refused.

 

Appeal Form

You will need to complete an Appeal Form. This can be downloaded from this website at the bottom of this page.  Please note Essex County Council will not process or handle appeals from parents appealing against the decision to refuse a place at Stisted Primary Academy.

 

This is because Stisted Primary Academy Trust is its own Admission Authority and is responsible for arranging appeals. This sometimes causes confusion because Essex County Council coordinates admissions on the Academy’s behalf but not appeals on our behalf.

 

All appeal applications should be directed through the Academy. The Academy will then arrange for an appeal hearing to take place.

 

All appeal hearings are heard by an independent panel who are unconnected with the school.

 

Where to send your appeal form

 

Your completed form should be marked “Private and Confidential” and returned to:

 

Admissions Appeal Hearings

c/o The Headteacher

Stisted CofE Primary Academy

The Street

Stisted

Essex

CM778AN

 

Please do not assume that a first class stamp will ensure delivery the following day. If you are close to a published closing date consider using a guaranteed next day means of delivery – ask at your Post Office.

 

Types of Appeal

 

Normal Admission Round

These are where your child is starting school and entering:

  • Reception year  and where we have received your appeal form on or prior to the published closing date in January.

 

Late Intake or Transfer Appeals

These are where your child is entering:

  • Reception year and where we have received your appeal form after the published closing date.

 

Mid Year Appeals

These are where you wish your child to move schools during other times in the academic year, i.e. because the family has moved house. These appeals have no published closing date and are heard throughout the year.

 

Infant Class Size Appeals

This type of appeal can apply to applications for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (Key Stage 1), i.e. any class in which the majority of children reach the age of 5, 6 or 7 during the school year. Such classes cannot contain more than 30 pupils with a single qualified teacher. Not all appeals involving these year groups are Infant Class Size. Your refusal letter from the admission authority will tell you whether or not your application has been turned down because of Infant Class Size legislation.

 

There are very limited chances of success for Infant Class Size appeals. The panel can only offer a place where it is satisfied that:

 

a. The admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size; or

 

b. The admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or

 

c. The decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

 

In order to determine whether it was “unreasonable” to refuse admission to your child, it must be satisfied that the decision was “perverse in the light of the admission arrangements”.

 

For example – it was “beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker” or “a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it”.

 

Important Deadlines

 

Normal Primary Admission Round or Transfer Appeals For The Primary  Round

 

The published closing date for on-time intake or transfer appeals is Friday 12th May 2017. Appeals received on or before this date will be heard within 40 school days. The date set for appeal hearings for the normal admission round is Wednesday 28th June 2017.

 

 

Late Intake or Transfer Appeals For The Primary Round

If you miss the published closing date, we will try to hear your appeal with the on-time appeals for that school. If this is not possible, it will be heard at a later date.

 

Mid-Year Appeals

All mid-year appeal applications will be heard within 30 school days of the form being received by us. 

 

Completing the Appeal Form

 

If you are appealing for more than one school, you must complete separate forms.

 

Please take the following information into account when you complete the form:

 

  • Complete the form clearly and ensure that you provide the information requested. If you fail to do so, it may result in delay in processing your application.

 

  • Your “grounds for appeal” are very important as this tells the Panel about your child’s case. This section must be completed. If it is not, the form will be returned to you. Explain, as fully as you can, the reasons why you want your child to attend the school that you have been refused. If you think your application for a place at the school has not been treated correctly or in accordance with the admissions criteria, then you should explain why you think this is the case.

 

  • If there are medical issues involved, it is important that these are supported by written evidence, i.e. doctor’s letter.

 

  • If your case is based on a house move, you should provide written evidence to confirm this. For example, a letter from your solicitor or a copy of your tenancy agreement.

 

  • You may also include other relevant letters, correspondence, reports or documents to support your case.

 

  • Please do not wait until you have all your supporting evidence before you send your form to us as this may delay the processing of your appeal. Supporting evidence can be sent in later.

 

  • If, for any reason, you do not attend the appeal hearing the Panel will make a decision based upon your written submission.

 

  • Please make sure you sign and date your form.

 

  • Please send the completed form to :

 

Admissions

c/o The Headteacher

Stisted CofE Primary Academy

The Street

Stisted

Essex

CM778AN

 

 

 

What happens next?

  • When your completed form is received by the School it is date-stamped.

 

  • We then acknowledge receipt of your form. This will be done by email if you have provided us with your email address, or by post.

 

  • If we have more than one appeal application for the school in question, we will timetable all those appeals to be heard at the same appeal hearing if possible.

 

  • Once we have a date agreed we have to organise an Independent Appeals Panel, a Clerk and a suitable venue.

 

  • We will write to you 10 school days before the hearing date to advise you of the date, time and venue of your appeal hearing. We try to take into account any days that you may have indicated are inconvenient, but given the numbers of appeals we receive and other factors this may not be possible. Our letter will give you a deadline by which we can accept additional supporting evidence in the office. A deadline is necessary because of our printing deadlines and the fact that we need to send paperwork out to all parties within a statutory timeframe. If you cannot get your additional supporting evidence to the office by this deadline date, you may take it with you to the appeal hearing - (please take 5 copies). However, please bear in mind that in these circumstances it is up to the Panel to decide whether any material not submitted by the specified deadline is considered. They will take into account its significance and the effect any possible adjournment may have on the hearing.

 

  • The admission authority (Stisted Primary Academy Trust) will be working to produce our case and this will be sent to us before our next letter to you.

 

  • All necessary paperwork is collated and printed.

 

  • We will write to you again approximately 7 days before the hearing date. Our letter will include all the paperwork necessary for the hearing to take place. It will include your form and any supporting evidence; the school’s case; a list of the panel members, clerk, presenting officer from the admission authority and possibly a representative from the school and other information. This paperwork is also sent to the independent panel and clerk. If you know any of the panel members listed there may be a conflict of interest, please contact the clerk immediately to discuss.

 

 

  • If you have indicated on your form that you will be attending the appeal hearing and you subsequently find that you cannot, please let the school know. If you fail to attend when you have indicated that you will and we have not heard from you, the Panel will consider your written case in your absence.

 

  • If you have indicated on your form that you will not be attending the appeal hearing and you subsequently find that you can, please let the school know so that we do not deviate from the agreed timetabling.

 

  • If you have agreed to waiver your rights to 10 school days’ notice of your appeal hearing date, this means that there may be a possibility of hearing your appeal earlier than otherwise possible. This is because timetables are constantly being amended due to appeals being withdrawn or settled and it may be possible to add other appellants to a timetable.

 

 

Who will be at the appeal hearing?

  • You and anybody else you have indicated you wish to bring along for support.
  • If you cannot attend, your representative if you have indicated you will send one
  • 3 Panel members
  • The clerk
  • A presenting officer from the admission authority  and the Headteacher (Stisted Primary Academy Trust).

 

On occasion there may be an observer at the hearing. This may be somebody who is in training as a clerk or panel member. They will take no part in the hearing or the decision making.

 

What happens on the day?

  • Please arrive at the venue promptly (and preferably 5-10 minutes early) and report to the reception area.

 

  • There may be other parents there appealing for the same school.

 

  • The Clerk will meet you and will explain what will happen during the appeal hearing. The Clerk will also answer any procedural questions you may have. If you have any additional supporting evidence that you wish the Panel to consider, please hand your 5 copies to the Clerk at this time.

 

  • All parents appealing for the school in question and the school’s representative(s) will be invited into the appeal room. The Chair of the Panel will introduce the Panel members and will try to put you at your ease.

 

Appeals Excluding Infant Class Size

  • The appeal hearing will begin with Stage One. If there is more than one appeal for the school in question, all parents will attend this part of the appeal hearing. The school representative is invited to explain to the Panel why they have had to refuse a place at the school. The panel will check whether a mistake was made in applying the admission arrangements and if the school could take extra pupils without prejudice to the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources. They will also consider whether the admission arrangements are lawful. The Panel then has the opportunity to question the school representative and will invite you (and any other parents) to do the same.
  • If you have any questions regarding the school’s case this is the time to address them. Any questions regarding your personal case wait until Stage Two.

 

  • When Stage One is complete, you (and any other parents) and the school representative(s) will be asked to leave the room.

 

  • The Clerk returns to the appeal room and the Panel has to decide whether or not the school has made its case.

 

  • Once a decision has been made, the Clerk will ask you (and any other parents) and the school representative(s) to return to the appeal room and the decision will be announced.

 

  • If the decision at Stage One is that the school has not made its case, it may be that you are offered a place at this point.

 

  • If the decision at Stage One is that the school has made its case, the appeal hearing goes to Stage Two.

 

  • Stage Two is your own personal and private meeting with the Panel. You will be asked to put your case forward in whichever way you find easiest. You may wish just to highlight the important points of your written case; you may wish to read out your written case or you may wish somebody else to read out your written case.

 

  • The Panel will ask you questions about your case and the school representative may also ask you questions.

 

  • The Chair will make sure that you have covered all points that you wanted to make and will ask you if you feel you have had the opportunity to fully put your case to the Panel.

 

  • At the end of Stage Two you and the school representative will be asked to leave the room. This is the end of your participation in the appeal hearing. You are now free to leave.

 

  • If there are other parents appealing for the school in question, they will have their Stage Two hearing.

 

  • When all parents have completed Stage Two, the Clerk returns to the appeal room and the Panel makes its decisions.

 

  • You are not told the outcome of your appeal on the day.

 

Single Infant Class Size Appeals

 

  • The appeal hearing will begin with the Admission Authority’s representative explaining the reasons why your child cannot be admitted to the school.

 

  • The Panel then has the opportunity to question the school representative and will invite you to do the same. If you have any questions regarding the school’s case this is the time to address them.

 

  • You then explain why you explain your case.

 

  • The Panel then has the opportunity to question you and will invite the Admission Authority’s representative to do the same.

 

  • You and the Admission Authority’s representative will then be asked to leave the room. This is the end of your participation in the appeal hearing. You are now free to leave.

 

  • The Clerk returns to the appeal room and the Panel will then make their decision.

 

  • You are not told the outcome of your appeal on the day.

 

Multiple Infant Class Size Appeals

 

  • The appeal hearing will begin with the Admission Authority’s representative explaining, to all parents appealing, the reasons why no more children can be admitted to the school.

 

  • The Panel then has the opportunity to question the Admission Authority’s representative and will invite you (and any other parents) to do the same. If you have any questions regarding the school’s case this is the time to address them.

 

  • You and any other parents and the Admission Authority’s representative then leave the appeal room while the Panel consider the school’s case.

 

  • You will then be invited back into the appeal room for your individual and private appointment with the Panel to explain your case.

 

  • The Panel then has the opportunity to ask you questions and will invite the Admission Authority’s representative to do the same.

 

 

 

  • You and the Admission Authority’s representative will then be asked to leave the room. This is the end of your participation in the appeal hearing. You are now free to leave.

 

  • The other parents will have their appeals heard in private.

 

  • When all parents have had their appeals heard, the Clerk returns to the appeal room and the Panel will then make their decisions.

 

  • You are not told the outcome of your appeal on the day.

 

 

What happens after the hearing?

 

  • The Clerk has 5 school days from the end of the appeal hearing in which to write to you with the Panel’s decision and reasons for their decision. A copy of this letter is sent to the school in question and the admission authority.

 

  • The Panel’s decision is binding on all parties and cannot be overturned except by a Court where the appellant or admission authority are successful in applying for Judicial Review of that decision

 

 

Further Advice and Complaints Information

 

For information regarding availability of school places and waiting lists, please contact Essex County Council School Admissions on 0845 6032200.

 

The internet is probably the best place to gather further information and we recommend that you begin by visiting the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) website at www.ace-ed.org.uk or by telephone on 0808 800 5793.

 

If you want to find out more about the Admission Appeals Code you can visit the Department for Children, Schools and Families website to view the code at www.dcsf.gov.uk.

 

The Education Funding Agency can investigate written complaints about maladministration on the part of a panel hearing appeals. This is not a right of appeal. Maladministration covers issues such as a failure to follow correct procedures or a failure to act independently or fairly – not complaints where a person simply feels that the decision taken is wrong.

 

Contact details as follows:

Address: Earlsdon Park, Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

 

For further enquiries ring the DfE switchboard 0370000228

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. Do I have to pay for the appeal?

A. There is no charge to parents for appeals.

 

Q. Can I ask the panel to contact anyone, such as my doctor or social worker, to confirm what I have said on my form or at the hearing?

A. No. You are responsible for making sure that the panel has any written supporting evidence at the hearing.

 

Q. How long will the hearing take?

A. This is difficult to say, however, generally for mid year appeals both Stage One and Stage Two take about half an hour each. In multiple intake or transfer appeals, Stage One could take 45 minutes to an hour and Stage Two about 30 minutes; but it really depends on the complexity of the cases being heard.

 

Q. Can I bring a friend to the appeal hearing?

A. Yes, you can bring somebody with you either to support you or to speak on your behalf.

 

Q. Do I have to bring my child with me?

A. No. We are unable to accomodate children at the appeal hearing. This may be an unauthorized absence from school and a possible distraction at the hearing.

 

Q. Where are appeals heard?

A. At Stisted Primary Academy

 

Q. I am appealing for other children. Will their appeals be heard on the same day?

A. We do our best to hear the appeals on the same day. However, this is not always possible.

 

Q. Can I change the date or time of my appeal?

A. We are not usually able to accommodate changes to timetabling for a variety of reasons including statutory timeframes or numbers of appeals.

 

Q. What should I do if I change my mind about appealing?

A. If you decide to withdraw your appeal, please contact Stisted Primary Academy on 01376 325116

 

Q. Do I need to instruct a solicitor to represent me at the appeal hearing?

A. There really is no need. All Panel Members are independent and fully trained. They are used to talking to parents and will do their best to put you at your ease. However, if you feel it necessary, you may be represented by a solicitor.

 

Q. Who will represent the school?

A. As Stisted Primary is an Academy Trust, the school provides its own representatives to the hearing. This is usually a Presenting Officer and the Headteacher.

 

Q. We are currently living abroad/outside of Essex. Can we send somebody to represent us?

A. Yes. Contact the school for further advice.

 

Q. My child’s name is on a waiting list. Will my appeal affect my child’s place on that list?

A. No. If your appeal is unsuccessful your child’s name will stay on the waiting list. If you win your appeal your child’s name will be removed from the list

 

Q. Why was my child refused admission?

 

The refusal to admit a child would have been made on the grounds that the school has reached the Published Admission Number for the relevant year group. This means the relevant year group is full and the school cannot accept any more children. The Published Admission Number is set at 15 to ensure our class sizes do not exceed 30 pupils.

 

Admitting your child would mean exceeding the Published Admission Number.

 

If your child was refused admission and there was fewer than 15 pupils in that year group, you would have very good grounds to appeal the decision.

 

The Published Admission Number has been set at 15 per year because the school combines two different year groups together to make classes of 30 children.

 

If you are applying for a Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 place, the law restricts class sizes to a maximum of 30 pupils. In order for your appeal to be upheld you will need to demonstrate that the decision to refuse admission was ‘perverse’ and ‘outrageoues’ in light of the admission arrangements.

 

 

The Admission Authority believes this is the maximum amount of pupils it can effectively teach in mixed age classes and exceeding this number would compromise the quality of education and attention each child receives.

 

Therefore, the Admission Authority for Stisted Primary Academy believes the admission of an additional child would prejudice the provision of efficient education and the efficient use of resources at the academy.

 

In accordance with the School Admissions Appeal Code (SAAC) 4.12, the Admission Authority for Stisted Academy is providing you with information on the limited circumstances in which an appeal can be upheld.

 

This should assist you with deciding on whether you wish to proceed and submit an appeal or on what grounds your appeal should be based in order to maximize the chances of your appeal being upheld.

 

 

Grounds for Appeal

 

The School Admissions Appeal Code has the force of law and the following information will help inform you of the evidence you would need to collect and submit. The grounds for appeal are :

 

  1. The Admission Authority in this case the Academy Trust has made a mistake and did not apply its own Admission Policy correctly.

 

  1. The case for sending your child to this particular school over another school outweighs the prejudice that may be caused to children at this school.

 

The Appeal Process

 

When hearing an appeal, an Appeal Panel must follow a two stage decision-making process.  During the initial stage the panel must consider all the following matters:

 

a) whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998; and

 

b) whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case in question.

 

Therefore in order to proceed to the next stage, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates that the Admission Authority did not comply with the School Admissions Code and Part 2 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, or provide evidence which demonstrates that the Admission Arrangements were not correctly and impartially applied.

 

The panel must then examine the evidence presented and decide whether the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

 

The panel can only  uphold the appeal at the first stage where:

 

 a) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or had not been correctly and impartially applied, and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or

 

b) it finds that the admission of additional children would not prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources.

 

The panel must proceed to the second stage where:

 

a) it finds that the admission arrangements did comply with admissions law and that they were correctly and impartially applied to the child; or

 

b) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied but that, if they had complied and had been correctly and impartially applied, the child would not have been offered a place;

 

If your case progresses to the second stage, the panel must then balance the prejudice to the school against your case for the child to be admitted to the school. The panel will take into account your reasons for expressing a preference for the school, including what that school can offer the child that the allocated or other schools cannot. If the panel does not consider that the your case outweighs the prejudice to the school it must dismiss the appeal

 

The Admission Authority will also have the opportunity to present reasons why admitting another child would prejudice the provision of efficient education and the efficient use of resources at the academy.

 

The code in full can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-admissions-appeals-code

.  

 

 

The refusal to admit a child would have been made on the grounds that the school has reached the Published Admission Number for the relevant year group. This means the relevant year group is full and the school cannot accept any more children. The Published Admission Number is set at 15 to ensure our class sizes do not exceed 30 pupils.

 

Admitting your child would mean exceeding the Published Admission Number.

 

If your child was refused admission and there was fewer than 15 pupils in that year group, you would have very good grounds to appeal the decision.

 

The Published Admission Number has been set at 15 per year because the school combines two different year groups together to make classes of 30 children.

 

If you are applying for a Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 place, the law restricts class sizes to a maximum of 30 pupils. In order for your appeal to be upheld you will need to demonstrate that the decision to refuse admission was ‘perverse’ and ‘outrageoues’ in light of the admission arrangements.

 

 

The Admission Authority believes this is the maximum amount of pupils it can effectively teach in mixed age classes and exceeding this number would compromise the quality of education and attention each child receives.

 

Therefore, the Admission Authority for Stisted Primary Academy believes the admission of an additional child would prejudice the provision of efficient education and the efficient use of resources at the academy.

 

In accordance with the School Admissions Appeal Code (SAAC) 4.12, the Admission Authority for Stisted Academy is providing you with information on the limited circumstances in which an appeal can be upheld.

 

This should assist you with deciding on whether you wish to proceed and submit an appeal or on what grounds your appeal should be based in order to maximize the chances of your appeal being upheld.

 

 

Grounds for Appeal

 

The School Admissions Appeal Code has the force of law and the following information will help inform you of the evidence you would need to collect and submit. The grounds for appeal are :

 

  1. The Admission Authority in this case the Academy Trust has made a mistake and did not apply its own Admission Policy correctly.

 

  1. The case for sending your child to this particular school over another school outweighs the prejudice that may be caused to children at this school.

 

The Appeal Process

 

When hearing an appeal, an Appeal Panel must follow a two stage decision-making process.  During the initial stage the panel must consider all the following matters:

 

a) whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998; and

 

b) whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in the case in question.

 

Therefore in order to proceed to the next stage, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates that the Admission Authority did not comply with the School Admissions Code and Part 2 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, or provide evidence which demonstrates that the Admission Arrangements were not correctly and impartially applied.

 

The panel must then examine the evidence presented and decide whether the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

 

The panel can only  uphold the appeal at the first stage where:

 

 a) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or had not been correctly and impartially applied, and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or

 

b) it finds that the admission of additional children would not prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources.

 

The panel must proceed to the second stage where:

 

a) it finds that the admission arrangements did comply with admissions law and that they were correctly and impartially applied to the child; or

 

b) it finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied but that, if they had complied and had been correctly and impartially applied, the child would not have been offered a place;

 

If your case progresses to the second stage, the panel must then balance the prejudice to the school against your case for the child to be admitted to the school. The panel will take into account your reasons for expressing a preference for the school, including what that school can offer the child that the allocated or other schools cannot. If the panel does not consider that the your case outweighs the prejudice to the school it must dismiss the appeal

 

The Admission Authority will also have the opportunity to present reasons why admitting another child would prejudice the provision of efficient education and the efficient use of resources at the academy.

 

The code in full can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-admissions-appeals-code

Appeal Form Stisted Primary Academy

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