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How Can We Make a Group Appeal for School Places?

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 22 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Question Appeals Support Group

Q.

We have been refused places for both of our daughters at age 4 and 11, and are looking to raise appeals for both. It seems that throughout our area, there are a lot of people who have been offered places where they do not want, and vice versa.

I am hoping to get an action group together to lobby the local council, have been in contact with local MP, council office etc.

Do you know anything about group appeals? Can this be where 2 or more people want to swap places? Is this possible?

Any help or guidance on this matter would be appreciated.

(C.B, 17 March 2009)

A.

Firstly, many thanks for your question - I’m really sorry to hear that the school application process hasn’t gone smoothly for you. I’m going to try to address your concerns about the appeals service and the possibility about a group appeal and creation of a lobby group here.

In the first instance, you are right to note that a lot of people are unhappy with the schools appeal service. This year thousands of parents from all across the country have started to get ready to lodge appeals against admissions services after their children were rejected from their top-choice schools.

There has been a lot of media coverage of parental discontent.

On to your questions; you ask first about making a group appeal - unfortunately this is not possible to do on behalf of both of your daughters at the same time. The appeals process is quite tightly organised and must be carried out in the way outlined by your local education authority.

Each LEA will organise their appeals process in a slightly different way, but on the whole the process involves you writing to your LEA to explain the problem, (for instance, why your child’s provided school place is inappropriate) in the first instance- and you will have to do this twice, once for each child. After you have written a formal letter, you might be asked to appear before the independent appeals panel to discuss the application further. This is a very ordered - dare I say it, bureaucratic process - and you will not normally be allowed to swap school places with another child - there is a central method and organisation to go through.

Your action group idea is a separate issue. It depends whether your aims are long term or short term. In the short term, the most likely way you will be able to impact your child’s school place is through the aforementioned appeals process. In the longer term, however, if you are interested in changing the appeals system, then certainly lobby the local council, and your local MP might well be able to help you out. Getting together with other parents to form a pressure group could well be effective, as the indication from government officials has already shown an intent to change the school application process.

To conclude, I hope this has been a helpful outline. Best of luck and I hope your children successfully find school places that they and you are happy with.

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