Couple put barrister in charge of school-entry appeals

The parents of a primary school boy refused his top three choices of secondary school have hired a barrister to fight appeals. This is from the Times…

Ian and Jacqueline Nichols had picked three secondary schools — all rated outstanding or good by Ofsted — within walking distance of their home in Christchurch, Dorset, but were told last month that 11-year-old Ruairidh had not been accepted at any of them as they were oversubscribed. He was given a place at The Grange, a 670-pupil school downgraded from “good” to “satisfactory” by Ofsted last year.

Ruairidh is one of 17,438 children — 3.5 per cent of the 499,968 applications to secondary schools in England in March this year — not offered any of their top three choices. The couple decided to seek legal advice and, rather than go through a local solicitor, hired a barrister. Direct access to barristers has been possible since 2004, but is rare — especially in cases of school admissions appeals.

Mr Nichols found a firm called Absolute Barrister. It put him in direct contact with a specialist barrister and three appeals were launched, the first of which will be heard next Monday.

The service costs about £700 rather than an average of £2,500 using solicitors, and the couple decided that it would be money well spent.

Mr Nichols said “Ruairidh needs to feel secure when he starts a new secondary and that means having friends.

More at:  Couple put barrister in charge of school-entry appeals (subscription required) 

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