Tips For Putting In A High School Appeal


 Last week was High School decision time, and when we went through this with Jack, he was allocated a School you would not send your worst enemy to. A school in special measures with chronic behaviour problems.

That is the downside of living in the middle of nowhere. We don’t have a catchment school. Or indeed a School near us. Thus, applying for schools is a lottery which depends on the birth rates of the current year.

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Getting The High School Decision

I never forget that moment five years ago when we pressed refresh; back then, it was 6 pm, not midnight. Jack just looked at me when he saw the decision and said but how will I protect myself there.

That sentence still haunts me, my little boy who was put on this earth for me to protect and care for, asking me how he would protect himself at the school he had been given. He would go from a loving village school to a huge under-subscribed school in special measures, that OFSTED sited had problems with behaviour.

School Days And Happy Memories With Marks & Spencer

Of course, it was never an option; we would never send him to a school that made him feel his safety was at risk. 

And as I watched FB Wednesday morning, I felt sad for all those mums watching the show. I knew how they felt. So, I didn’t post. Don’t get me wrong, I am not condemning anyone for sharing their joy. And if they knew how it felt to be at the other end, I am sure they would be far more sensitive. They are lovely people. But just haven’t experienced that fear for their child’s education and welfare.

The High School Appeal

And then ensued the appeal. A stressful sequence of proving your child is of good character. Getting references to prove your child is an upstanding citizen when, in fact, all children SHOULD have the right to a good education. It is a soul-destroying sequence of events. And to make it worse, Facebook was full of mums celebrating. Fluffing their feathers and shouting, that they have the school they wanted.

Have you any idea how this feels when you are considering selling your house and up-rooting your family to avoid a School that you actually feel will be detrimental to your child?

School Days And Happy Memories With Marks & Spencer

School Days And Happy Memories With Marks & Spencer

How We Structured Our Appeal, Our Tips For Putting In A High School Appeal

I just wanted to share what worked for us at appeal. It may not work for others, but if what we went through can help someone then I would be thrilled.

  1. Tell your child it will all be ok; we parents are resourceful beings. We didn’t want Jack worrying about this when he had SATS  and diabetes to worry about. He believed us, trusted us, it was now up to us to deliver.
  2. Contact the head teacher of your chosen school immediately, just a nice email stating why your family is so disappointed at the decision. Focus on the positives of the school and how it would benefit your child. Not too long, just a quick email with the facts. Do not mention the school you have bene given.
  3. Phone the school admissions officer as soon as School opens the next day to find out the correct appeals procedure and get your child on the waiting list. I did this a 9am and Jack went first on the list, and because of my email the school were already aware of us.
  4. Start to collect references, from cubs, guides, football teams, class teacher, current head teacher. Everything counts.
  5. Get a doctor’s letter if applicable. We were advised not to put Jack’s diabetes as a factor on his application. I was told afterwards that this was the wrong information.
  6. Look at other school’s you would consider and appeal for those too. You can appeal for any number of schools. I never did this. But a friend of mine did and was successful.
  7. Never at any point highlight the negatives the school you are allocated unless they are facts.
  8. Print of the OFSTED report for your chosen school and allocated school and highlight facts and comparisons i.e. behaviour, school ethos but do it on both. This is useful when asking  or answering any questions related to your decision or appeal.
  9. Remember all facts should relate to how your child will perform educationally.
  10. Keep calm and deal in fact, not emotion and save screaming until you are behind closed doors during school hours!
  11. Don’t give up! It is a scary, daunting process, and the stakes are high. But keep going.

It may not work for everyone, I am not sure if there are any hard and fast rules, but I hope it helps in some way. x

4 thoughts on “Tips For Putting In A High School Appeal”

  1. Oh Sarah I’m so glad you got a good school. You look at how horrendous some can be and it must be terrifying to hear that your child has to go to it. I have no idea yet about Z obviously but I may be picking your brains when the time comes 🙂

  2. Oh Sarah, what a nightmare! I’m glad everything worked out for you in the end. We’ve just been given our daughter’s third choice of school (which was actually my second choice and I would have been quite happy for her to go there as it’s a lovely school). She wanted to appeal as none of her friends would be going there and it didn’t offer one of the subjects she wanted to do so we started looking into the process of it all. And then it turns out there was a big mix up and she should have been offered her second choice school after all! So she’s happy and it’s all worked out ok in the end in her eyes, though I still think the third choice school would have been better for her. It’s all so complicated isn’t it? And when you just want your child to be happy nothing else matters. Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips.

    • Ah I know you are so right, in hindsight I made totally the wrong choice appealing for Joe the whole experience has been a nightmare, but i think the issue is that some parents think their kids can do no wrong and schools hands are tied, education is a total nightmare at the moment x


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