Sunday, 14 September 2014

And Just As Everything Looks to be Going Well, Something Comes and Kicks It In The Nads

I would actually have liked to end that title with "as fucking usual". But it wouldn't fit.

So, we've been in the new house since the end of May and all is well with it. We have halved our bills (having a boiler that isn't as old as me clearly helps), we have settled in nicely and we even found a very nice local pub just one street away.

Mini started school. Littlest didn't. However, considering, we thought, that we put in his appeal on July 8th, it must be coming soon to sort it all out.

Kick in the nads alert.

The law states that, all appeals must be done and dusted, from the parent's handing the forms in to request one, to the hearing, and the decision, within 30 school days. Which, by our 8th July, should mean it all being sorted by 25th September.

Yes, that was a bit pesky but it's those blasted school days they state. The whole, entire August did not count down to the holidays. But, that was fine. It would be sorted out sharpish after that.

The thing is, I don't really get the school days and how the holidays has such an impact. Its not the school that deals with the appeal. Its the council, or in our case, Diocese, as the school we feel is best for Littlest, and where Mini already goes, is Voluntary Aided. So, its not for the council to step in.

But the diocese is part of the church, right? And, I may not be a church goer save for weddings and christenings, but I'm pretty sure they don't also naff off during the summer holidays.

Except, the school admins decided, for reasons only known to themselves, to not send anything, at all. Not our appeal request, not our supporting evidence, nothing.

When they sent an acknowledgement on receipt, it took them 2 weeks. At which point, I gave them a polite call and asked when we would get an appeal date. I was told, by someone who really sounded like they didn't like being questioned about matters of a secretarial nature, (standard school/GP secretary behavior in my experience), that the date would be forwarded in the future as "its the school holidays in a week". Yes, but I asked, has the paperwork we gave in several weeks back been forwarded to the relevant people. You know, so as to not hold it up after their summer jollies?  I was told it had. So that was fine then.

On the first week back, I popped in and spoke to the same lady in person who looked really like she wanted me to piss off for asking about the appeal. I was told she'd phone later.

Not wanting to piss her off further, though not quite understanding how a polite and simple question could have pissed her off in the first place, I went home, and sat by the phone.

No phone call came.

Now, I don't like being fobbed off. Especially when I have a 6 year old, wanting to go to school, upset because his sister has gone off in her uniform. I felt, school days or no school days, we had waited long enough.

So, me being me, and not being that bothered about pissing anyone off (you might have noticed that readers?) I went in again.

To be told she had sent the paperwork that afternoon and was waiting to hear back.

Hold the freaking phone, people.

Those following will notice the deliberate cock up there. The paperwork, which I was told in July had already been sent, had now, suddenly not been sent until the 3rd September.

I was told I should hear by Friday.

Except, I still didn't.

So I went in again. I spoke to someone else this time. I would have preferred to phone, except despite there being 3 secretaries in that office, no one seems ever to answer a phone.

Lo and behold, I was told- you guessed it, she was sending the statements that day, so I should hear soon.

Again, hold the freaking phone.

So, this paperwork has now been sent on or around  the 8th July, the 3rd September and now the 5th September. That is one busy set of paperwork. No wonder they can't answer a phone eh?

This Secretary, not a dragon like the other one, even told me about the 30 day rule and agreed it was all taking far too long.

We finally got a date yesterday for the appeal hearing.

Is it prompt?

Is it bollocks.

Its for the 8th October, in Oxford (2 hours away by train).


That, that, is against the fucking law of appeals.

You can't bring the kids, so how they expect me to not just get all the way to Oxford, for 3 hours, at 2.30pm with one child with no school at all, and one child who will need picking up from the school at 3.20, I have no idea. Perhaps I should lock them in the shed for the afternoon?

The report from the Governors is laughable.

They still expect us to stump up what would be £300 a week to travel to school by taxi and train 5 days a week twice a day, to Maidenhead. And how I'm meant to also get Mini to school is anyone's guess. They make no mention of Littlest's illness, which I find bloody rude considering the amount of Consultant letters I sent with the appeal.

All they care about is that there wont be room for him down to the uptake of free school meals. How very dare we ask for one extra child to sit and have an education- I'll bring him home for lunch if it offends them that much.

We have no end in sight to this, no school for Littlest at all. What the hell are we meant to do? I have no doubt this appeal is a total waste of time on our part, they simply aren't interested. They go on about catchment, but we live 0.2 miles from the school, and there is only one school in the entire part of Earley we  live in that falls under the catchment. And there's no space there either. The ridiculous thing is they mention this 0.2 miles in their evidence as if that's a long way- the last house in their catchment at the furthest point from the school is 7.3 miles!

They also say they have too many in classes already, but the national accepted top amount for schools is 30. Not one of the three classes at the school in Year 2 has more than 25.

Reader, I leave you baffled, pissed off, and on the point of kicking off royally. I asked for advice on the previously very friendly school Facebook network and got properly told off for daring to even mention the school in a negative light (I didn't. I just said it was upsetting him not to be going anywhere at all).

As usual, there is always a fly in the ointment. I'm starting to think I'm fucking cursed.

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