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School rapped over rejection of pupil

PUBLISHED: 16:19 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:42 12 August 2010

A SCHOOL has been criticised by the local ombudsman over its handling of an appeal by parents of an 11-year-old boy refused a place. The Ravensbourne School, in Hayes Lane, Bromley, was rapped for the way it dealt with complaints by the parents of the c

A SCHOOL has been criticised by the local ombudsman over its handling of an appeal by parents of an 11-year-old boy refused a place.

The Ravensbourne School, in Hayes Lane, Bromley, was rapped for the way it dealt with complaints by the parents of the child, who was refused entry in 2008.

The local ombudsman found the school had fallen short of its legal requirements. A report published on Tuesday found it guilty of maladministration leading to injustice.

The child, who has not been named but is given a pseudonym of Edward Stirling in the report, suffers from a medical condition which his parents believed should have influenced the school's decision in his favour.

His parents had applied to six schools, which included Ravensbourne, but he had not been accepted BY any of the preferred choices and was, at the time of the initial appeal in June 2008, travelling six miles to school, which he was finding stressful.

The boy's parents claimed that The Ravensbourne School should admit him, but it was felt he lived too far away.

The school maintained it was already over its capacity and had received 1,360 applications for 240 places that academic year.

The Ravensbourne has foundation status and therefore administers its own admission procedure but the ombudsman found several errors by the clerk, whose duty was to direct the appeal panel and inform it of the legal decisions it was required to make.

It was found that the clerk haDnot been trained properly and one member of the appeal panel had received no training whatsoever.

The school was criticised for not making a compelling case that by admitting a further pupil it would prejudice the education and resources at Ravensbourne.

In addition, the clerk had failed to record the appeal panel's decision properly and its decision letter had not explained why it refused the complainants' appeal.

The school was ordered to pay £250 compensation to the parents and to review its arrangements and conduct of appeals.

The youngster was offered another place at a different school, which his parents accepted.

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