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The Appeal Panel

Friday 8th July Blog

So this is the week of meetings! This afternoon Charlie and I head to the local Council House Civic Suite to present our case at Lauren’s School Appeal. A friend came to sit with the girls while we went to the appeal. We had both been quite calm about the Appeal in the weeks leading up to it. We had constantly re-assured Lauren that whatever the outcome we would make it work as a family – whether that be taking her to a school further away or home-schooling her for one year until she started senior school.

As we left the house I turned to Charlie and told him how nervous I suddenly felt! He felt the same. We got on our way and in our usual style we arrived in plenty of time. As we sat and waited for our turn, I felt more nervous. Once the representative from the LEA arrived, the Clerk led us through to the Appeal Panel.

The Head of Panel introduced everyone and explained the format of the hearing. The Local Authority went first with a statement that said the school was full. The local authority proved that 1) they had complied with admission arrangements, 2) their admissions arrangements has been correctly and impartially applied and 3) the admission of Lauren would prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources.

After a couple of minor questions relating to distance of the school offered – clarifying that 2.2 miles as the crow flies was much further by actual road and paths, it was then our turn to present our case.

We had to present a reasoned argument of why it would be difficult to ensure Lauren gets to school on time 3 miles away – we had sent in advance independent supporting evidence to show this. We also had to demonstrate that with Alice’s complex needs, it would be difficult for them to be at different schools so far apart. We also had evidence that Lauren has a condition with her feet which would prevent her from walking long distances to and from school. Finally we had to show evidence of why we moved to this particular house, clarifying that with Charlie’s job we had no choice of location as the house came with the job.

We left the panel feeling really positive. We felt like the panel had heard and understood our case. and we felt like we had said everything we needed to, and what we hadn’t said was included in our supporting statement and evidence. So Lauren’s next year of education was in the hands of the Appeal Panel. We would now need to exercise some patience as the panel made their decision. We will not find out the result until Monday. It could be a very long weekend while we await the result…

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