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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:38 am
Posts: 13
Location: Lincolnshire
I have just received notification of our grammar school appeal and I really don't know where to start with my preparation. Really regret not looking for legal representation at the moment!
Our appeal is based solely on underperformance. The pass mark here was 220 and my son scored 217. This was made up of 113 in the verbal and 104 in the non verbal. In practice papers he was consistently better in the non verbal (although I have no evidence to support this) so I was shocked when we saw the score breakdown.
I submitted a glowing letter from the head, who has offered his full support, and his year 5 school report which was wonderful, with the original appeal submission but wonder if I should have submitted more evidence of his work?
In the appeal guidance received today I notice that the school have already supplied a standard form to the appeal stating his predicted KS2 SATs levels as 5 in English and Science and 5a in Maths. They have also stated that 'the 11+ score does not accurately reflect his ability and he was expected to achieve a higher score comfortably.'
As a side note, my daughter is at the same grammar school, having gained admission on a head teachers appeal. She has done incredibly well and is predicted great things in the GCSEs she's just sat (fingers firmly crossed!). Is this relevant to the current appeal?
In the pack received today, it also states that there are 232 places in the school year in question and yet says that 391 were tested, and yet the total number of offers made was 122. We had heard on the local grapevine that they had fallen short on admissions but surely this cannot be correct.
Sorry for the length of this initial post. Would greatly appreciate your guidance.
Many thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Hi Jabber

Good luck with this appeal - there are plenty of people with experience :shock: on here who can advise. In particular Alex and Sallyj have recent knowledge of the Lincolnshire schools - though I am sure there are more ..
Which school is it you are appealing for - some people may be able to cast some light on the figures - does seem a low number of offers.
Herman


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:55 pm
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Sounds like Boston.

In the letter from LCC does it say how many candidates scored 219, 218 and 217.

If so, is the total number of candidates between 217 and 219 more or less than the number of available places.

If the total number of candidates between 217 and 219 is less than the number of available places (and with those sats predictions,) I would bet that your appeal will succeed.

Capability is part of the story. Capacity is the other part.

At Spalding there were 30 odd available places and successful appeals went to 217.

Best of luck anyway.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Lincolnshire
Dear jabber,

Don't panic! You have the elements for a strong non-qualification appeal and you do not have to worry at all about oversubscription as the school has many spare places.

I am not sure from what you have written above whether you simply submitted the evidence from the school with no written "Reasons for Appeal" from yourselves or whether you have written "Reasons for Appeal" but are worried that you have not said enough.

I would recommend writing out what you want to say so that you do not "dry up" in the appeal - if you have not already sent in "Reasons for Appeal" you could still do this at this point. If you have and simply want to elaborate on what you have already written, it will be fine to do that at the appeal itself. It would also be perfectly in order for you to bring along school books on the day if you wish to - you could contact the clerk beforehand to let them know that you will be doing this but the panel would not refuse to look at them even if you had not done this. Having said that, many people do not submit their child's work.

Your essential task is to convince the panel that your child is of the required ability despite the 11 plus test score and to present enough evidence to substantiate this. You have a fairly near miss, certainly within the range where an appeal has a fair chance of success. Most importantly you appear to have good academic evidence with good predicted SATS scores and very strong backing from the school. You could mention any mitigating circumstances which affected your son on the days in question but do not worry if you do not have anything.

It would not really be relevant to mention your older daughter. At the very most you could give a passing mention to the fact that your children seem to find 11 plus hard but actually perform very well in normal schooling and your daughter is flying high.

You definitely do not need legal representation. The vast majority of parents do the appeal on their own and I would say that there was no advantage whatsoever in having a legal representative speak for you. You are the best possible advocate for your own child.

The Boston schools, as you know, are amalgamating so the figures relate to the two schools joined together - this intake will be the first realy co-ed one and based at the High School.

Do come back if there are further questions.


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 Post subject: Thank you
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:38 am
Posts: 13
Location: Lincolnshire
Thanks for the quick & positive responses! Have made me feel much better!
It is indeed Boston we're appealing for. I was concerned that beacause of the amalgamation, there could be a shortage of places but the LEA letter seems to go against that.

The numbers just missing the pass mark are
219 - 5
218 - 5
217 - 10

so, potentially there are 20 likely to appeal. Obviously that still seems to leave a huge shortfall in numbers.
I will go into school this week and sort out some school work - school have said I can take whatever I need, and I wondered if they had records of his attempts at NVR as maybe these could demonstrate that it was purely that test that wasn't a true reflection.
Once again, thanks for the advice. I feel a lot more confident about our case.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
jabber wrote:
Really regret not looking for legal representation at the moment!

Hi,

Legal representation is rare. Very rare. OK, let's put it this way - in 4 years of appeals in Gloucestershire I've not heard one where there has been legal representation. Some parents do bring a friend or relative to support them, and prompt them if they dry up or forget.

Appeals are a legal process. However, we try to keep them as informal as possible within the 'legal' framework, so we try to be as friendly as possible and relaxed. If legal representation is there, they may well find it goes against what they're used to in a court or normal legal setting, and try and formalise the process - which could even lead to it getting a little aggressive in nature; that would not help your case!

Now, looking at your case, it certainly seems reasonable to me. Take along some text books (not just copies of the good bits) and offer them on the day - don't be surprised if they're just glanced at, as we can't make educational assessments of your child - they'll just confirm what the school head has said. Mention that your daughter is at the school and flying, and how difficult it would be for you to get them to two different schools (if that's the case) - although don't necessarily mention that she got in by informal review.

There is still time to send in more written evidence should you decide to, but have a look at the Q&A's for appeals.

And good luck!

_________________
Capers


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 3758
Location: Berkshire
Not helping probably, but if I had my chance all over again, I would bring in legal representation. Our panel walked all over us. and we were stupid enough to believe they were being kind and listening to us. Definitely not so. If you can afford it, why not, at least then you know that the legalities of the process were being followed, and there would be no need to go to the ombudsman.
Just my opinion

LFH


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:45 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
Hi jabber,I'm with capers on this one(sorry LFH !) we've been through three Lincolnshire appeals-two were for Grammars-& I really don't believe having legal representation would have helped at all. That said,I think you would definately be best off having someone with you-partner,close friend... My hubby really didn't say much at all-I'm well known for being the big mouth that does all the talking-but just having his very reasuring presence there made a huge difference to me.
We found both Grammar appeal panels extremely friendly. All seemed very interested in what we had to say & asked plenty of questions.
Like you our son was just below the required mark(2points out) & although we had strong medical evidence both panels were far more interested in the academic evidence we had to offer.Our head wasn't the most helpful & left it to the class teacher to write a glowing report. That along with all 5's predicted for SATs & an outstanding reading age may just have been what swung it in our favour.
We did take along some of our son's books on the day,but didn't end up using them. It may be a good idea to have them with you in case & introduce them if you feel the need. Don't cherry pick & photocopy certain perfect pages though,as they will be seen as exactly that & may be taken out of context. No-one expects perfection,just a good overall picture. A book with lots of ticks & well done comments,but with the odd not so fab bit is normal :D
You still have plenty of time to submit more written evidence if you feel the need,& you can even do so on the day. If you have something you feel the panel really should see, ensure you have at least 6 copies(one for each panel member,one for the clerk,one for you to refer back to etc)& hand them over with an apology & a smile when the clerk comes out to meet you.
3 points out really isn't much.Even if the twenty you think might appeal do go ahead,it does sound like there are places enough to go round,& with strong academic evidence & the heads support it is definately worth giving it your best shot. No-one can second guess how an appeal will go,I was hopeful at one & sure we had failed at the second,yet we won both !
Don't be tempted into a drawn out explanation of why the school you have been offered is not suitable,other than snippets such as 'doesn't have a sixth form' etc,instead you have to point out why the Grammar school would be the best 'fit' ! What are your sons strengths ! Does the Grammar offer a specialist subject that isn't offered elsewhere ?
I hope this helps :)
I wish you & your son all the best :) Sallyj x


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
The system was designed so that lawyers shouldn't be needed. The Code of Practice states:
Quote:
Appellants are free to have legal representation at admission appeal hearings if they wish, but this ought not to be necessary. It is important to bear in mind that the hearing is not intended to be a platform for a debate on the law.

LFH is right that a lawyer (one specialising in education, anyway) is going to ensure that the procedures are in order. However, the vast majority of successful appeals are won on the basis of what I view as being rather subjective judgements.
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... rs.php#b30

My experience of lawyers at appeals was that the appellant was no better off. Indeed, I suggest the appellant may have been worse off. As Capers says, the atmosphere becomes much more formal, much more business like. IMHO, appellants presenting their own cases are more likely to win the sympathy of the panel, which can be important when these rather subjective judgements are being made.

[Most appeals do not succeed, irrespective of sympathy and lawyers! :(]

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:23 pm
Posts: 435
Just a point on your daughter's performance, - because I have appealed for all three of my children, I had age standardised scores for them all from Primary school and could show that my DD (5 marks off) had higher scores than my DS who had been awarded a place at GS on appeal (2 marks off), - I could also then show them that DS attained 2 level 7s and 1 level 8 in KS3 SATs, showing that if he could do it, then she should be able to also. So if you had her figures, then perhaps you could do the same.
Having said all that, I didn't dwell on it, and it doesn't always work! - DD1 had much much higher scores than both of them, and it didn't make any difference for her. However, we were appealing for a severely oversubscribed place, and from what you have said, yours has plenty of places. That seems more promising.
All the best
Sorry you have to wait so long - when do you find out the outcome?
Bougalou


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