Nottinghamshire School Admissions – Second Appeal
On 20 February at County Hall the County Council unanimously passed a recommendation on the Nottinghamshire school admissions criteria. This followed a decision from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, who applied education law, that a change to the criteria had created unfairness and was unsupported by evidence.
As a result, from the intake for 2018 the school admissions criteria will revert to the criteria pre-2016. A fourth criteria will be re-instated, giving preference to children out of catchment who have a sibling at the relevant school.
Second Appeal for 2016 School Admissions
The Council has decided that the Adjudicator’s decision has given rise to exceptional circumstances permitting those parents who appealed a decision with a relevant sibling to have a second appeal. Those who chose not to appeal will be able to lodge a first appeal out of time.
The council has said that the Education Appeals Team will contact those affected by 24 February. If a parent feels they should have been contacted and haven’t been then they should contact email@example.com or call 0300 500 80 80 to request the appeal pack.
Appeals need to be registered by Monday 6 March.
Although the Council might be content for parents to rely on their previous appeal documentation, parents should take the opportunity to update their appeal to stress the fact that the original determination took place under criteria that were found to be unfair. Updates can also be made to the personal effect of the decision – by now parents will have the evidence of the difficulties that they endure on a daily basis.
Infant Class Size
Parents may well be confused about how the appeals will work bearing in mind class sizes may already be at the limit of 30 imposed by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and the School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 2012.
As a result, parents will wish to seek information as to the current number of pupils admitted by the school. Once the deadline of 6 March has passed they will want to know how many appeals are due to be heard for their preferred school.
Limited Grounds of Appeal
This information will inform whether the parents will have to argue under more limited grounds of appeal to admit their child where such admission would result in a class size of over 30.
The findings of the Schools Adjudicator in relation to Nottinghamshire school admissions criteria will be key in these arguments. The appeal panel will be able to admit a pupil if satisfied that a child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been lawful or where the the admission authority’s decision was unlawful.
Parents could also usefully request additional information that may assist in cases where the class size is at 30, such as
- the attendance record for the school
- number of exclusions and disciplinary record
- number of children with SEN
- number of children for whom English is not their first language
All of these enquiries will help build up a picture of how often the classes are really full; whether the school has the benefit of additional funding, and; whether the classes are an ‘easy’ teach in terms of discipline and language.
A final, and useful enquiry, will be to ask the number of children (if any) who were admitted 2016/2017 who were out of catchment and who did not have a sibling at the school.
Contact Us About Nottinghamshire School Admissions
If you are affected by these issues surrounding Nottinghamshire school admissions for the year 2016/2017 then please contact us by email here or telephone Andrew Wesley on 0115 9599550 to discuss steps that you can take and whether we are able to help with this issue of education law.