Success in Primary School Admissions Appeal
Schools and Local Authorities sometimes get the admissions process wrong, and having a solicitor review the case can make a big difference. In this successful case, we saw the impact that identifying issues early can have on the outcome.
The client came to the firm with concerns that the primary school at which his child had been refused a place had failed to apply a fair and accurate distance calculation from the school to his home address, therefore denying the place wrongfully.
Louise O’Driscoll, our Education Solicitor, set about understanding the way the Local Authority determined the correct distance. In this case, the Local Authority had commissioned the use of GIS (Geographical Information System, a form of mapping). She spoke to a GIS expert and got the inside track on how these software packages work.
Using this insight, Louise was able to go to the Local Authority and ask the right questions, which brought about a full review of how the school places had been allocated. In this case, Louise had concerns as to the accuracy of the software, given that the local area was undergoing a number of significant changes to its footpaths and roads in light of a new estate being built. The Local Authority is obliged to follow guidelines set out in the Admissions Code, that admission criteria should be easy to understand and fair.
On the day before the appeal needed to be lodged with the Local Authority, a school place was offered to the child’s parents. They were overjoyed. Their child will now be able to attend the school that all his friends will be going to. Early identification of the key issues allowed the Local Authority to carry out a review of the situation and avoided the need for the case to go before the Independent Appeal Panel.
Writing after the resolution of the case, the client said, “I recently instructed Louise O’Driscoll to prepare our appeal against the decision of the local authority not to offer our son a place at our preferred school. At the outset, Louise listened empathetically to our concerns and provided reassurance with her knowledge and understanding of the appeal process. The representations prepared by Louise were excellent and our son was finally offered a place at our preferred school. An excellent service from start to finish.”
Louise O’Driscoll reflected, “Appealing against a decision to refuse your child a school place is never easy. Parents are emotionally invested, and the pressure can be overwhelming. As experienced lawyers, we can take that pressure from your shoulders, consider the legality of the decision and prepare a cogent, persuasive argument to support your appeal. Having us look at the decision making at an early stage may even bring about a successful challenge and avoid the need for a protracted appeal.”
Considerations in primary school admissions
Missing out on the first choice of Primary School can be upsetting and the process can seem very daunting, especially when schools and the local authority can be less than forthcoming with the reasons why. Instructing a solicitor can take the guess work out of it and we can get to the heart of the issue on your behalf.
Sometimes the local authority and schools can get things wrong when it comes to allocation of school places. Having this pointed out at an early stage can bring about a swift and favorable resolution and avoid the long delay awaiting the Independent Appeal Panel to convene and make a determination on your child’s case.
Find out more about how Richard Nelson LLP can help with primary school admissions appeals.