Well, I found the info on appeals. Sadly the page about infant class size is missing – guess it must have been used last year and not returned to the pack! Not sure how useful the meeting was. The Head is adamant that there is no case for taking the child on, and she is right – the school is full, it’s an infant class and there is simply no space. Just hope that the appeals panel sees it that way!I did find a rather worrying thing in the Admissions Appeals Code – if there is no school place available ‘within reasonable distance’, then it seems that an exception can be made. Firstly, I don’t know what is classed as a reasonable distance and secondly, I have heard about children being sent by taxi and this being paid for by the education authority. This is only hear-say, and what I don’t know is how a parent goes about getting this paid for them (do they have to have an appeal refused first, for example?).It is rather frustrating, because we don’t know if the child concerned has a place in another school, or whether she is at home waiting for the appeal (in which case, I guess that the parent is either home educating or breaking the law?). The Education Authority is of little/no help because we are a foundation school. Apparently, this means that they can’t/won’t give us a list of schools with available places. Having this may just prove useful for us at the appeal as it would be good to know what has been offered and possibly refused. It could even be that the child is in another school and happy and that the appeal won’t need to go ahead. Having observed appeals from the point of view of the appellant, I am now beginning to see the process from a school’s point of view. It is really worrying that we could be forced to take a child when the school is full. It is also very annoying that we don’t seem to be able to get information that we may need to put our case together. Ho Hum!
I think that I now just have to wait until I hear about the date for the appeal and see if there is any more information to come from the appellant.
I went on a ‘walkabout’ today.
A lot of schools have them to promote positive behaviour management – It’s where (mostly) senior members of staff visit lessons to see how things are going.
I was particularly excited to be visiting Year 10 lessons because I can start to put names to faces of the 140 options forms that I processed. It’s nice to actually see the 10Q Geography group in action as I had to create it due to heavy demand for Geography (don’t ask me why!) and then had to negotiate staffing accordingly.
I think walkabouts help to raise your profile – I’ve been looking at the students’ planners and checking their books as I visit classrooms; a former mentor of mine called it ‘walking the job’ and it certainly helps me as a way of informal monitoring. If I spot anything I like or am worried about then I will pop back in a more formal setting.
I sometimes feel I don’t have time to do these things, they take me out of my office and away from the sickeningly huge pile of work but seeing the children enjoying their lessons and seeing the staff enjoying teaching (as it’s only the second week of term and they will have some energy) is rewarding and work-life affirming.
I cannot believe that the day before school started for the children, we received an appeal for a Year 2 pupil. Someone who has moved into the area from abroad. And we thought we had got away with it this year! (In fact, when she handed over the folder, the previous person in charge of appeals promised me faithfully that this would be very unlikely to happen.) I am now in a complete panic as I have to meet the Head tomorrow morning (with two children in tow) and have promised to bring the info that was handed over to me. What I haven’t admitted to is the fact that we are decorating the office in order to make it into a bedroom for the baby (the ‘baby’ is a year next week!) and that I have absolutely no idea which box I put the folders into. Hopefully not the ones that have been packed into the attic!I am assuming that this will need to move quickly – an appeals clerk is already sorting out a panel and accommodation – but it is really scary that before long I will be making the school’s case for why this child should not be taken on.On top of that, there is a Full Governors Meeting early next week and a phone book’s worth of bumph to read. And I thought I’d have more time for work once I had two children in school.