I cannot believe how much of my time this appeal is taking up. It is not for another fortnight, but I am already feeling nervous to the point of tears about it. I can’t imagine how the poor mother of the child who needs the school place must be feeling.
I have this morning had a rather unnerving conversation with the appeals clerk. She is an extremely nice and very efficient lady, but her opening line was “I think you should be very prepared to lose this one, and I mean, VERY prepared.” Adding “But it won’t be your fault” didn’t really help, I have to admit.
She went into various reasons as to why we should be prepared to lose (vicinity of the school – about 200 meters! – Year 2 having places and other details that I don’t feel I should go into here). However, from all the paperwork I have ploughed through (and, trust me, it is a forest full), there is nothing that says that the child should be taken. There is a school a mile and a half away with a place, there are taxis and there are childcare options and Year 2 will have gone to junior school next year when we will have to cut our class sizes back down to 30.
Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that the family in question is in a very difficult situation. I do feel sorry for them, but what I don’t want is for the school to have to house a class of children in the library next year, or to employ another teacher at great cost.
I was doubly worried when the clerk told me to be prepared to respond should the panel ask how many children move out of the school each year. I knew that I had seen some paperwork on this that said that panels cannot consider possible movement from the school in making their decision. When I said this, the clerk said “if it isn’t in the Guide to the Law, it doesn’t count”. When I have just looked it up, I have found it in a DCFS document released this September. Presumably, that means it does count? I have forwarded the details to the clerk and hopefully she will inform the panel. As I say, she has been helpful and given me some good advice as, I assume, she is doing for the appellant.