The fallout from the allocation or in some cases the non-allocation of post primary school places remains headline news.
Recent figures indicate that the Education Authority received approximately 800 appeals, with more than 120 of these appeals being upheld. This has meant that the Education Authority has then had to allocate additional places for those children whose appeals were successful.
Louise McNally from our Family and Matrimonial Team successfully assisted a family whose appeal was upheld. The Child in this case was not allocated a place at his first preference grammar school. Louise advised the Child’s parents on the merits of an appeal and, the grounds on which they could challenge the School’s decision. This appeal was listed for hearing in late August, and heard by an Independent Tribunal some 4 days before the school term commenced. On appeal, the Tribunal held that the particular School applied its admissions criteria but did not apply it correctly.
This appeal centred upon a random alphabetical tiebreaker applied given the school was oversubscribed. The tiebreaker was on the basis of the initial letter of the surname identified on a Child’s Transfer Application. The order was determined by random selection and witnessed by members of the Admissions Committee for that particular school. The difficulty in this case was that the full admissions criteria to include the order of the randomised alphabetical tiebreaker was not published until the day after the Education Authority portal for Year 8 admissions closed for 2021/2022 intake.
The Tribunal in this case held that “failure to publish the tie-breaker in entirety prevented the parents from making a fully informed choice”. The appeal was successful.
Our clients and their son were delighted with the outcome, and the Child has now been able to take up a well-deserved place in his first preference grammar school. Our client added:
“MMW Legal provided us with much needed support through our Post Primary Appeal process to DE/EA. Their compassion and expertise within this area was undeniable and contributed to a successful outcome in what was a truly exceptional year.”
If you or your family require advice in relation to any matter relating to your child’s education then please contact Louise McNally in our Family and Matrimonial Team on 02890 200050.