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Ravensbourne School, Bromley (08 014 474)

School admissions   Maladministration causing injustice

28 September 2009

There were “significant faults” in how a school admission appeal was conducted at the Ravensbourne School. The Ombudsman said: “The investigation … has identified a number of significant breaches of the [statutory School Admission Appeals] Code and has revealed wider areas of concern.”

‘Mr and Mrs Stirling’ (not their real name for legal reasons) complained about the way their appeal for a place for their son at the Ravensbourne School was considered. The Ravensbourne School is a Foundation High School responsible for its own admission arrangements. The investigation revealed a number of significant faults in how the appeal was conducted. These were:

  • The Clerk had not received appropriate training and consequently did not understand her role.
  • One panel member had not received appropriate training.
  • The Clerk’s recording of the Panel’s decision was inadequate.
  • There was no evidence that the Panel satisfied itself that the admission’s arrangements had been properly applied.
  • There was no evidence that the Panel satisfied itself that the School had made its case that the admission of a further pupil would prejudice the efficient use of education and resources at the School.
  • The Panel’s decision letter failed to explain why it refused the complainants’ appeal.

Remedy

The Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice and, in accordance with his recommendations the Governing Body:

  • paid compensation of £250 to Mr and Mrs Stirling; and
  • reviewed the arrangements for and conduct of Appeal Panels to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Code.

The Ombudsman said: “I recognise the difficulties faced by admission authorities in finding suitable members and clerks and to ensure they are trained … While I acknowledge these difficulties, admission authorities have a duty to ensure that they arrange and conduct appeals in accordance with the Code so appellants can be confident that proper process has been followed and that their appeals have been properly and fairly considered.”

LGO satisfied with School's response: 16 March 2010

Date Updated: 16/03/10