Appeals guide for Parents / Carers

    A guide for Parents / Carers of Secondary Transfer Pupils on the Admission Appeals Procedure for The Camden School for Girls 2017

    This guide provides information for parents/carers who may be considering whether to appeal against the decision by Camden School for Girls not to allocate a place for their child. The information given relates to appeals for entry to Year 7 in September 2017.

    1. Should I make an appeal?

    Before appealing you should carefully consider whether the problems your child will face, if they do not go to Camden School for Girls, would be greater than the problems caused for the school from the admittance of an extra pupil over roll (120).

    You should also consider what evidence you can produce to convince the Appeal Panel to award a place even though they may find that the school is full.

    When considering whether to appeal, it is important that you are aware that although the law allows you the opportunity to appeal against the admission decision, it does not give your child the right to a place at a particular school. There is no guarantee that your appeal will be successful. If you are appealing, you should make arrangements for a place at an alternative school in case your appeal is unsuccessful. Accepting a place at another school does not affect your right to appeal. Camden Local Authority is always willing to discuss alternative schools with vacancies at any stage in the process.                                                      

    2. How do I make an appeal?

    You should fill out the form available on the school’s website clearly setting out the reasons for your appeal. You may include any letters, correspondence, written reports or documents that support your case. Please include as much information as you can and enclose all the supporting documentation for your appeal. This is important because, if, for any reason, you do not attend the hearing then the panel will make a decision based on your written submission only.

    Your form should be returned to the Appeals Administrator. Her contact details are at the end of this guide. You should include any supporting documents which you wish the Appeal Panel to consider (e.g. medical reports) by Monday 10 April at the latest. It is possible, if absolutely necessary, to submit new additional evidence up to 3 days prior to the hearing for consideration by the panel. Short evidence (e.g. a doctor’s note) can be submitted at the hearing and must be considered by the panel. However, please note, that if significant information is received less than three working days before the hearing, it may be necessary to adjourn the hearing.

    3. When will the appeal be heard?

    Once your appeal has been received you will be given at least 14 days’ notice of the date, time and place where the appeal will be heard by the Appeal Panel. On days where there are numbers of appeals being heard, it may not be possible to keep to the time stated and you should be prepared for a delay.

    Appeals will be heard in the week commencing 15 May 2016.

    Wherever possible you should attend the hearing and present your case in person, but you may prefer not to attend and instead allow your appeal to be considered on the written statement you have submitted and that provided by the Camden School for Girls. If you do not attend, the appeal will be decided on the information available. On your appeal form you must let the Appeals Administrator know whether or not you will attend. 

    4. What is an appeal panel?

    The Independent Appeals’ Clerk, acting on behalf of the admission authority, will appoint three panel members from the following:

    • At least one person with experience in education who is acquainted with educational conditions in the area, or who is the parent of a registered pupil at a school.
    • At least one lay member. Lay members are people without personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school (though it is permissible to use people who have experience as governors of other schools, or who have been involved in education in any other voluntary capacity).

    5. What happens next?

    Before the hearing you will receive a written statement prepared by the Camden School for Girls, advising you how the admissions policy was applied in your case, and a general statement explaining the implications for the school of admitting pupils over roll. These statements will give the reasons why the school, on behalf of the Governors, has not given your child a place.

    These statements, together with copies of your submission, will be sent to you, to the Independent Appeals Clerk, to all Appeal Panel members, and to the School Representative.

    6. Who will attend the hearing?

    The following people will be present at the Appeal Hearing:

    • The Appeal Panel Members (see section 4)
    • The School’s Representative
    • The Child’s Representative(s)/witness(es)
    • The Independent Clerk

    If at all possible, parent(s)/carer(s) should attend personally, as the child’s representative, to put forward their child’s case. You know your child best and will be able to provide information which is essential to enable the Appeal Panel to make a balanced decision at the end of the appeal.

    You may, if you wish, bring a friend to support you or a representative who can present your case. This person can be a Choice Adviser, a locally elected politician, or an employee of the local education authority such as an educational social worker, SEN adviser or learning mentor, provided that this will not lead to a conflict of interest. You are not allowed to be accompanied by an employee or governor of this school. In addition you are also allowed to bring witnesses. In either case, you should let the Appeals Administrator know in advance who is accompanying you. If there are special arrangements you require enabling the hearing to proceed, for example you are disabled or require an interpreter, you should inform the Appeals Administrator.

    7. Will the hearing be private?

    Yes.

    8. What will happen at the hearing?

    The Chair of the Panel will introduce all of those present and try to ensure that the arrangements are as relaxed and informal as possible so that parents/carers are able to put forward their child’s case.

    The hearing will follow this order:

    1)      The Camden School for Girls’ case

    a.       The School’s Representative will explain how the Admissions Criteria were applied to your child’s application and why a place has not been allocated at Camden School for Girls.

    b.      Questioning of the School’s Representative by the parent(s)/carer(s)

    c.       Questioning of the School’s Representative by the Panel

                     2)      The Parent(s)/Carer(s) case

    a.       The parent(s)/carer(s)/student will explain why they believe the Camden School for Girls should have allocated a place at the school to their child and provide information to support their appeal.

    b.      Questioning of the parent(s)/carer(s) by the School’s Representative.

    c.       Questioning of the parent(s)/carer(s) by the Panel.

    3)      Summing up by the School’s Representative

    4)      Summing up by the Parent(s)/Carer(s)


    Members of the Appeal Panel may ask questions at any time if they require clarification of what is being said or if they need further information.

    9. The Decision

    There are two stages:

    Stage 1

    The Appeal Panel must first decide whether The Camden School for Girls’ published admissions arrangements:

    1)      Comply with the mandatory requirements of the School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the SSFA 1998.

    2)      Were correctly applied in the individual’s case, and whether “prejudice” would arise were the child to be admitted. If this is proved, the panel moves on to the second stage.

    Stage 2

    The panel now exercises its discretion, balancing the degree of prejudice to the school against the appellant’s case for the child being admitted to the school, before arriving at a decision.

    10. When will I hear about the outcome of the appeal?

    The Appeal Panel is required to hear all the appeals before making any decisions. Every effort will be made to let you know the outcome of your appeal within 5 working days of the final appeal.

    11. Further Guidance

    Parents needing further advice should contact either of the following:

    Camden Local Authority School Admissions Team             020 7974 1625   
    The Advisory Centre for Education                                           www.ace-ed.org.uk

    The above advice has been prepared with reference to the DfE’s School Admissions Appeals Code (2012).

    When you have read this guide, if you still wish to appeal, please send your form to:

    Ms Duska Cutler,
    Appeals Administrator
    Camden School for Girls
    Sandall Road
    London NW5 2DB

    Or email the completed form to: dcutler@csg.school