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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:20 pm 
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I am going blind reading through all the past guidance, and I just can't work out the answer to this question...

If the Panel decides that the school can admit additional children, how does it decide who should be admitted? Is it based on who was most persuasive at appeal, or who would be higher up the oversubscription criteria/waiting list?

I'm sure I'm just being stupid and/or unobservant but if anyone knows the answer please shout!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:22 pm 
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It would be the person who presents the best/most persuasive argument. Who would have the best reason to attend that particular school.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:21 pm 
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I think if an appeal against oversubscription is successful, the school has to admit the child regardless of how many other appeals are successful.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:47 pm 
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http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c1
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c2

Quote:
C2 (b). The balancing stage

Stage 2 is sometimes called the ‘balancing stage’. The panel weighs up the prejudice that the admission of an extra child would cause, and balances that against the strength of the parental case. The side with the stronger case wins. You could have a strong case but lose the appeal because the panel decides the school case is even stronger. You might even have a weak case but win your appeal because the school case is even weaker!

Another factor that might influence the result is the number of appeals being heard at the same time. If you are appealing for a very popular school immediately after ‘National Allocations Day’ (allocation letters are posted on 1st March, or the first working day thereafter), there could be 20, 30 or even 40+ cases to be heard. These are known as ‘multiple appeals’, and no decision is taken on any individual case until all the timely appeals have been heard.

After hearing all the timely appeals, the panel (and it must be the same panel) has to balance each parental case against the prejudice to the school. They must then consider whether the school could cope with the total number of (potentially) successful appeals. If they decide the school could not cope, they are obliged to move away from “each case is considered purely on its own merits,” and they have to start comparing cases. They prioritise all the cases, and decide which of them to allow (up to the point where they judge the prejudice to the school has become too great).

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:17 pm 
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Thanks all. I am still quite muddled but I'm glad I'm misreading the information rather than missing it altogether!

Best wishes to others appealing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:01 pm 
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Thank you very much for your post on the feedback thread. I was so sorry to hear your appeal wasn't successful.

It's not often that the panel will find absolutely no prejudice at stage one, but it sounds to me as if you did a very good job of challenging the school's case.

Quote:
when we asked the school's representative what prejudice there was to the school at current numbers (greater than the number which would have been reached by admitting DS) they twice stated there was no prejudice at those numbers and would be no prejudice at those numbers. Either I misunderstood what was said there, or it didn't reach the minutes by the time the panel were balancing.
Do you think the school representative was saying that there would be no prejudice whatsoever if another pupil were to be admitted, or was he/she talking about one particular aspect of the school case (e.g. overcrowding/health & safety)?

How did the school sum up its case at the end of stage one?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:10 pm 
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I can send the specific numbers to the inbox if you'd like, but:

The school has a PAN of n. Governors' case claims prejudice at n+1. They made around n+30 offers on 1 March, ending up with around n+10 acceptances. That meant they would have classes of 30/31 (instead of stated preferred 28/29) or add classes, and in any case would be forced to take an additional class for tech where they said they couldn't be flexible. This has been the same for some years, and in current Y9 and Y10 they took full bulge classes. The total capacity of the school in y7-11 is stated to be around 5×(n+12).

We asked why they make >PAN offers and they said it was because they always get some offers declined. We asked why they make so many extra offers, since they've had too many accept every year. They said that's what they do. I noted that they weren't obliged to do so and they confirmed.

We noted that they were already into non-ideal class sizes and asked if the classrooms were prepared for classes of 31. Yes they were. We asked why 2 classes of 31 is acceptable but 3 not: laughter but no answer. We noted that they would have known for some time that they would need additional tech staffing and asked if that was in hand. Yes it was. We asked if there had been any accidents or near misses due to overcrowding. No. We asked explicitly what prejudice to education was suffered by current "overcrowded" years and they very firmly said none. I said "So there would be no prejudice if you added up to x additional children in this cohort?" and they agreed there would be none.

In summing up the representative simply said last place went to a child with a score of 390 and ariadneDS scored less than that. They didn't restate any of their case.

(edited for typo)


Last edited by ariadne on Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:24 pm 
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So in their summing up the school appear to have defended the admission arrangements but not their case for prejudice.

Could you send me a copy of the decision letter so that I can see exactly how it was worded?
Email address is at the bottom of A62:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a62

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:57 pm 
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Yes, we didn't feel they defended their case at all. It felt like they agreed with all our objections, except where we said "you shouldn't offer so many more than PAN".

Sent to the Appeals box. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:25 pm 
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I think there may have been two breaches of the Appeals Code.

Quote:
2.19 Multiple appeals may be heard either individually or in groups. Hearing multiple
appeals individually means holding a series of consecutive appeal hearings. The panel must
ensure that the presenting officer does not produce new evidence in later appeals that was
not presented in earlier appeals as this would mean that appellants whose cases were heard
earlier in the process would not have the opportunity to consider and respond to the new
evidence. If material new evidence comes to light during the questioning of the presenting
officer, the clerk must ensure that the panel considers what bearing that evidence may have
on all appeals.

If the school representative accepted that there would be no prejudice, I would argue that this was "material new evidence" that should have been made available to all the appellants.

In this sort of situation there is a problem with individual stage ones (as opposed to a group hearing). Unless your appeal happened to be the very first, it can be difficult to make arrangements for other appellants to be brought back and given "the opportunity to consider and respond to the new evidence". It is likely to disrupt the timetable for the appeals - but that's no excuse for failing to comply with the Code.

Perhaps the panel decided with the clerk that "no prejudice" was not material new information?
It would seem difficult to justify such a decision!
- but what is the evidence that they even considered the matter as required by para. 2.19 of the Code?
There is no mention of it in the decision letter.

Quote:
2.25 The panel must ensure that the decision is easily comprehensible so that the parties can understand the basis on which the decision was made. The decision letter must contain a summary of relevant factors that were raised by the parties and considered by the panel. It must also give clear reasons for the panel’s decision, including how, and why, any issues of fact or law were decided by the panel during the hearing.

I suppose it is arguable that the panel were entitled to give weight to the governors' case for prejudice rather than the evidence of the school representative if they had reason to do so (although one would have thought that the latter completely undermined the former!).
Nevertheless, the evidence of the school representative was clearly a relevant factor which should have been mentioned in the decision letter. It should also have been made clear what view the panel took of the new evidence.

I think it would be worth trying a complaint to the ESFA on these two grounds, referring to paras. 2.19 and 2.25 of the Code.
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman#d6
If you need any help filling in the online form (see D6 point 25), please let me know.

It is possible that an explanation for these issues can be found in the clerk's notes (although that would not excuse a decision letter that does not comply with the Code).

You could consider trying to get hold of a copy of the clerk's notes, if you want to, before complaining to the ESFA.
See: https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman#d4
Alternatively, you could just leave it all to the ESFA - they will almost certainly want to check what the clerk's notes reveal.

The ESFA will either
• find no fault
or
• find fault and require the panel to improve its procedures
or
• find fault, require the panel to improve its procedures, and order a re-hearing with a different panel (but only if there has been a serious injustice).

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