Last year my daughter left primary school and we entered, like thousands before us, the maze that is school admissions. We were at various times confused, frightened and angry, feeling that if we put a foot wrong we would be wrecking our daughter's life for ever.
I have three pieces of advice:
- Firstly, take a look at the Kent County Council Secondary School Admissions Guidance - click on this bullet point to take you straight there;
- Secondly, go anywhere you have to, and pay any price for a copy of "HOW TO WIN YOUR SCHOOL APPEAL" by Ben Rooney - published by A & C Black, the ISBN number is 978-0-7136-8236-6, and the price at time of writing is £9.99. Again, click anywhere on this bullet to go straight to the Amazon page (although there are many other suppliers of the same book!)
- Thirdly, ask advice from your Kent County Councillor - we all regularly get dozens of calls at this time of year from parents in the same situation you're in right now, and can advise and assist with the process, even though the Labour Government now won't allow us to represent parents at admission appeals... To find your local Kent County Councillor, click on this bullet to jump to the KCC website and find your local Member by party, area or postcode.
I hope within these three points, you find something of help. Remember, when you get to put your case at an appeal, don't argue as to why your child won't like the school you've been given; argue as to why he or she will positively bloom at the school for which you're appealing.
Remember in your preparation to ask the school admissions staff for the PAN (Published Admissions Number) for the last five years or so, as well as the number the school actually admitted - if the latter is higher, this will allow you to demolish the argument that to take extra "will prejudice the efficient delivery of education" as they've already set a precedent.
Ask also whether there is any 'fall out' during the school year. Most schools lose the odd one or two pupils during the course of a year or two because the family moves, or the school doesn't always suit. If this is the case, you could argue that admitting your will only push numbers up for a few months.
Don't lose heart - and good luck!