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Displaying items by tag: Ombudsman - Kent Independent Education Advice

Judd School Appeals have taken place this week, with Skinners at the end of the month.  This is for entry in September 2012.

But................

Published in Peter's Blog
Thursday, 29 December 2011 18:11

The Skinners School - a remarkable stand off

Following further problems at The Skinners School's admission appeals last summer for entry in Year Seven September 2011, as the Ombudsman has once again become involved and currently the Governors of the school are refusing to accept his recommendation. I initially commented on these appeals earlier in the year.  This is not the first time the Ombudsman has been involved with the Skinners School and he published a critical Report on the appeal proceedings in 2007, reporting on serious maladministration by the Governors of the school. In 2008, there were two successful complaints about the Governing Body and/or the Appeal Panel, in 2009 there were 4, and in 2010 there was one. Appeal Panels are organised by the Governing Body itself, which has strong representation from the Skinners Company of London. No other Kent or Medway School has had successful complaints upheld in more than two of these four years, the vast majority having none at all. You will find numbers of all successful complaints against Foundation or Voluntary Aided Schools here

However, ...........

Published in News Archive

That's right! I have won two thirds of all successful complaints about maladministration of admission appeal panels for academies  settled by 31st August! To be fair that is two complaints won on behalf of clients out of a total of three upheld across the country (actually they are all for Kent schools). The Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) resolves complaints on behalf of the  Department of Education, replacing the process operated for maintained school Appeal Panels by the Local Government Ombudsman..........

Published in News Archive

The Local Government Ombudsman has today (July 6th) published a highly critical report on the Independent Appeal Panel for Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls for entry last September (2010). Whilst no fault was found with the school's actions (apart from engaging a Kent County Council Panel), KCC itself comes in for heavy criticism on a variety of fronts:........

Published in News Archive

Regular browsers of this website will be be well aware of my concerns about the accountability of academies. I have just posted my initial advice and views on complaints about Independent Panels set up by academies to hear admission appeals. Sadly, I am very disappointed.......

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 02 June 2011 00:00

Complaints about Academies

The following table gives a breakdown of the data for complaints to the EFA about Academy and Free School Appeals for the past two years, 2015-2017. You will find an article expanding on these figures here.   

Complaints to the EFA about Academy
and Free School Appeals
  National  Kent Medway
   15-16 16-17 15-16 16-17  15-16  16-17
 Total
Complaints
 227  234  25  21  3 4
 Possible
Injustice
 14  6  o  o  0  0
Maladministration
without Injustice
 21  15  0  1  1  0
No
Maladministration
 133  164

 25

 18  2

3

Decision
Outstanding
 0  33   0  2  0  1

You can see that success rates have halved since my previous data collection in 2011, below. 

A. Maladministration that the YPLA considers may have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision a fresh appeal is required to be heard by a different panel.

B. Maladministration that the YPLA does not consider to have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision no fresh appeal is required

C. No maladministration.

OUTCOMES OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT ADMISSION APPEAL PANEL ADMINISTRATION MADE TO YPLA BEFORE 30 SEPTEMBER 2011

Total received

Decision Pending / Awaiting Further Info from parent or Clerk A* B* C* Parent Withdrew Complaint
National 107 16 7 3 78 3
Kent County Council Area 18 0 4 1 13 0
Medway Council Area 0 - - - - -

* Letters refer to decisions in previous paragraph.

Compared to Ombudsman decisions, there is a remarkably low proportion of successful complaints settled so far. Of course it may be that those where decisions are pending include a higher proportion of cases which may be settled in favour of the complainant.

By comparison, for 2010 entry, the Local Government Ombudsman heard 1403 school admission complaints nationally, fairly similar proportionately, given the number of schools involved. For Kent in 2010, there were 35 complaints to the Ombudsman about school admissions for county/community schools although the outcomes are not recorded. Kent foundation and voluntary aided schools produced 77 complaints of which 30 were the subject of local settlements (this means in general that the complaints were upheld with a fresh appeal or a recommendation to admit directly to the school), and in Medway, 6 out of 18 were upheld.

There thus appears to be a dramatic fall in the chances of success for complaints about academies, three possible reasons being as follows. Firstly, those still pending may produce a higher proportion of success, as they may be the subject of further investigation, but this would still leave the chances of success much lower. Secondly, the process of determining outcomes has significant differences. Normally in Ombudsman cases, there is discussion of the issues arising between the parties so that all have a chance to comment on the other's case. The complainant usually sees the appeal clerk's notes and the admission authority's comments on the case. he is then able to challenge any wrong information put forward. The Ombudsman issues a provisional view which either side can challenge and put forward further information. On the other hand, with the EFA, the academy gets to see the complaint, but the parent does not see their response - this is clearly unfair! There may be limited informal discussion, but the first real indication one has of the  outcome is the final decision. Thirdly, the Ombudsman website is packed with information and advice on complaints, backed up by a telephone support line. There is no such help available for complaints to the YPLA.  There is solely information on the address to send a complaint to. One of the massive frustrations reported by schools and parents alike, is the difficulty in contacting real people - telephone numbers all too often lead to message boards where no one answers!

I am happy to be corrected on any of the above views or information.

The Medway Tests for Entrance to Grammar School in September 2011 had problems in two Test Centres this year. Children from a number of primary schools who sat the test at Chatham Grammar School for Boys had their test papers collected in early and then they were given out again, causing disruption, and children at the other centre were the victims of disruptive behaviour by some of the candidates. My advice was to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman and he has recently concluded his investigation....

Published in News Archive
Friday, 10 December 2010 00:00

Ombudsman Reports and Statistics

You will find a more detailed article relating to 2016-17 decisions here. There has been a considerable fall in the number of Ombudsman complaints relating to school admissions. This is because most complaints in Kent and Medway are about grammar school appeals, and the large majority of grammars have now converted to become academies. Academy complaints are considered by the Education Funding Agency. As a result, the historical pattern has become irrelevant and I have deleted it.  

 

Kent and Medway Ombudsman
Complaints regarding Education 2016-17
 Number Closed  Upheld  Injustice
Kent
Admissions  22  21  1  0

Exclusions

 0  0  0  0
 Transport  4  2  2   2 
Special Needs  9  2  7  4
Medway 
Admissions  1  0  0  0
Exclusions
 0  0  0  0
Transport  1  0  0  0
Special Needs  1  0  1  0
 
 
Kent and Medway Ombudsman
Complaints regarding Education 2015-16
 Number Closed  Upheld  Injustice
Kent
Admissions 21 20 1 0

Exclusions

0 0 0 0
 Transport 5 5 0 0
Special Needs 7 5 2 1
Medway
Admissions  3  2  1 1
Exclusions
 0  0  0  0
Transport  2  0  0  0
Special Needs  2  0 2  2

 

Friday, 10 December 2010 19:39

Ombudsman (2)

Letter in East Kent Gazette: “We were thrown a lifeline when someone gave us the details of Peter Read, an Independent Education adviser from Gravesend. I would like you readers to know just what a saviour he was to us”. (Successful ombudsman complaint).
Published in Quotes
Friday, 10 December 2010 19:38

Ombudsman

"What can I say; thank you seems wholly inadequate? Your advice and wisdom proved invaluable to us and when we despaired of ever achieving a positive outcome there you were gently guiding us with logic, a level head and endless amounts of patience. Your knowledge of the Ombudsman and educational system was paramount in securing a place for our daughter and it was this knowledge that turned a maybe into a successful definitely"
Published in Quotes
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