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If at first you don’t succeed…

March 1, 2011 Speech Box

The 1st of March. Nominally the first day of spring. A time for optimism and looking forward to what’s ahead.

The 1st of March. National Offer Day. The day when the letters about secondary school places are sent out. Just how optimistic will you feel if your child does not receive a place at your school of first choice?

According to the Pan London Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme, just over 65% of children were allocated their first choice of school in 2010, and 88% received a place from their top three choices.  The stats look impressive.

But in real terms, for those 9,500 children across London who did not win a place at any of their top three schools of choice, things did not look so bright.

When that letter lands on your doormat, you need to be ready to take further action if you need to – after all making the right school choice for your child is one of the most important things you can do for them.

So what can you do?

It’s important to know that you have a legal right to appeal the decision if you are not happy with the school you have been allocated – and in fact the admissions letter will inform you about that. It will also spell out the deadline for getting your appeal in on time.

If you decide to appeal, do your homework. Be prepared. Try to show just why you believe the local authority has made an error in your application – and why your child should be awarded a place. Get to know the school inside out. It can be a very emotional time, but try to stick to the facts.

Your appeal will be heard by an independent panel of either three or five members of the public and their decision will be sent out within seven days.

And remember, you needn’t be alone when you’re going through this process. Our education team have helped many parents facing this situation – and would be more than happy to give you some guidance.

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