Infant Class Size Appeal?
Parents submitting a second appeal as a result of the adjudication that the 2016 admissions criteria were unfair will need to check whether they will be involved in an Infant Class Size appeal (ICS). This will occur where no classes in the admission year have a class size of less than 30 pupils. The process is governed by education law relating to this particular issue.
This short article gives some advice as to how best to approach Part A of the fresh appeals.
Part A of the School Admissions Appeal
In Part A of the appeal process the Appeal Panel will have to consider whether:
- admitting one extra child would breach the Infant Class Size limit of 30
- whether the admission arrangements were lawful
- if so, whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied to your child
- was the decision to refuse admission reasonable in the circumstances of the case
In an Infant Class Size appeal, the panel can find in your favour at Part A if:
- there isn’t in fact an Infant Class Size issue e.g. one class has less than 30
- the arrangements in place were unlawful or incorrectly applied AND the child would have been offered a place otherwise
- the original decision was legally unreasonable
The panel can find against you in Part A where:
- the admissions arrangements were lawful and correctly applied or
- the admission arrangements were unlawful and incorrectly applied BUT you child wouldn’t have been offered a place even if properly applies, and
- the original decision to refuse you a place was not legally unreasonable
Writing Your Appeal Statement
As a result, when drafting your written statement of appeal, you will need to bear in mind the following:
- It will be best that you draft a new appeal document rather than rely upon your old statement. This will allow you to structure your argument to take into account the facts of the decision of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator which answers the second of the Part A questions in your favour.
- Proceed on the basis that you will have to pursue an Infant Class Size Appeal unless told otherwise.
- Although the council representative ought to accept the criteria were unlawful, that concession hasn’t yet been made. As a result, you will wish to make reference to the key features of the Adjudicator’s report including the admission codes that have been breached. You will also want to stress that although the report applies to a single school it is of application across Nottinghamshire.
- You may wish to rehearse the failure in the consultation process by the council that has led to this situation arising.
- Although you may not have this information yet, you will wish to set out a belief that your child would have received a place at your desired school under the fair criteria. If you know this as a fact at this stage then you ought to set it out in the statement. This will arise, for example, where you know that a child out of catchment without a sibling in the school has been admitted in preference to your child.
Documents In Support
Documents that could usefully be attached in support are:
- the Adjudicator’s decision
- a timeline (and Fairness for Siblings will no doubt be able to help) as to the failure to consult
- the relevant Codes of Practice with the codes said to have been breached highlighted
The deadline for submission of an indication of a wish to appeal is 6 March 2017. The deadline for submission of the paperwork is 20 March. Any further information can be submitted up to 5 working days before the appeal is to be heard.
The response should contain additional information from the council that will either support or undermine your arguments. You will have an opportunity to decide how best to deal with that material then.
Contact Us About Nottinghamshire School Admissions
If you are affected by these issues surrounding Nottinghamshire school admissions and how to prepare and Infant Class Size appeal 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 area of education law.