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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Happy New Year to everyone, especially the "regulars" and those who appeals are coming up.

I'm starting to get requests to check Bucks appeal presentations, and I'm afraid I have to say "No". If I do it for one, then I really have to do it for all, and it becomes time-consuming. If there are any specific questions, such as those that have appeared on the forum today, I'm happy to try and help.

The panel will obviously have read your written submission, but they will have had to read lots of other papers as well, so they need reminding about your case. Don't be afraid to take them through your letter of appeal. It's a good idea to refer to the supporting evidence as you go along, but make it easy for them to follow: "If you turn to such-and such document, the first page, second paragraph ......." (pause until you see that everyone has found the right place) "...... you'll see that ....."

If you cover all the points that were explained in the "Letter of Appeal for Mary", then you are very unlikely to have omitted anything that matters. If the panel do want any further details, they will ask you. If your presentation is short, they will probably breathe a sigh of relief!

I feel sure the clerk would appreciate a spare copy of your presentation at the start if you don’t mind bringing one. (The clerk will take brief notes during the hearing, but a copy of your presentation will ensure a full and accurate record of your case.)

Aim to arrive in good time. If you should have any problems such as parking (and the panel is running to schedule), you don’t want to arrive at your hearing breathless and flustered. If you’re too early, have a book or newspaper with you to pass the time. Relax with a flask of coffee.

Unfortunately Reception might be a bit too crowded for relaxation purposes! If the usual pattern is followed, there could be up to 8 panels a day working simultaneously (although I guess one of these is likely to be in Amersham). For hearings in Aylesbury you will be taken to one of the rooms in County Hall, or one of the buildings across the road, or to the Civic Centre.

Be prepared for the possibility of delays, and plan car parking time accordingly. The first case usually gets under way more or less on time, unless there's a major traffic jam somewhere, but unexpected delays can then build up. In a random survey a few years ago, 18 appellants were seen within 15 minutes, 10 within 15-30 minutes, 8 within 30-45 minutes, 4 within 45-60 minutes, and 2 after an hour or more.

It doesn’t matter if you’re nervous. The hearing is meant to be “as informal as possible” but, inevitably, when you walk into a strange room and sit down with three panel members, an LA representative and a clerk, it can still seem intimidating. Remember that panels are used to dealing with nervous and sometimes distraught parents. Much better to be nervous than overconfident.

Panel members will not intentionally seek to do anything to add to your stress. They have to assess the evidence rigorously, but they will do their best to put you at your ease, so that you can present your case properly. When it's all over, even if you disagree with the result, I hope you will feel that you have been treated considerately and given a fair hearing.

If you introduce any last-minute papers (other than schoolwork), please help by providing 6-7 copies, so that everyone present has their own copy (3 panel members, LA representative, clerk, 1-2 parents).

You may view the LA representative as the “opposition”, but he/she will not be confrontational. Basically all that’s going to be said on behalf of the LA is that your child did not score 121. Anything else is a matter for the panel.

Try not to be emotional. Be factual. Be truthful. Don't exaggerate. Avoid clichés (e.g. "We were shocked by the result. We're not pushy parents. We're only here because it's what Mary wants. We know our child better than anyone and she should be awarded the grammar school she so richly deserves. Her teachers agree with us and they should know." Etc., etc.)

When invited to sum up, do keep to the minute or two specified in the booklet. Just remind the panel very succinctly of your key points. Alternatively, you could simply respond "Thank you but there's nothing further I wish to say", and no one will mind.

Finally, although you will be hoping for a positive outcome, be prepared for anything. 2 x 120 is not necessarily a guarantee of success, whereas appeals with low scores are occasionally upheld. Some decisions are on a knife-edge and really could go either way.

Good luck!

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:14 pm
Posts: 14
thanks Ettiene, what would we do without you to keep us all sane! I guess what you are saying is, keep it simple stick to the academic facts and any clearly relevent extenuating factors, and as much as we want to let the panel know how fantastic and bright our lovely children are we really need to rein it in!!
Good luck to all of you in the next couple of weeks !
best wishes
Confused mum bucks


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 Post subject: Appeal questions
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 374
Location: Bucks
Happy New Year to you all, let's hope its a great 2007 for everyone - just back from a relaxing breakaway, tried not to think about our appeal next week but then arrived home and logged straight on to this site to get up to date with any new hints and tips!!!

Etienne, thank you so much for all your advice, I am very grateful.

We understand the best approach for the appeal vis-a-vis our presentation and will work on that during the next few days but....what sort of questions can we expect from the panel??

Our academic info (head's summary sheet) and our letter to the panel is all we have. The panel will have had that and we have very little else to add. I think it contains good, solid academic evidence but it doesn't knock you out or stand out and most of it appears to me self-explanatory???

On the negative side, he completed two NFER tests in May 2005 and May 2006 and got 115 (I believe the head based her 11+ rankings on these scores), I hope they will not question us on these?

Anyone who has been through an appeal and can remember any questions, I would be most interested and Etienne, anything you can add would of course be fab!!

Our son completed an old SATS paper just before the Xmas break and did very well in it, however, the school are not prepared to confirm the results in a letter but are more than happy for us to mention it verbally at the appeal (apparently it was for internal use only to give the school guidance) - is it worth a mention??

Masses of good luck for everyone appealing in the coming weeks, fingers and toes crossed to you all.

x


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:59 pm 
Hi Ambridge, I went through the Bucks appeal last year. The panel were very accomodating and put me at my ease. From memory (although it seems an age ago) the LEA only asked 1 question - why did i send my son to school if he wasnt well? (i hadnt, all i said in the appeal letter was that he was VERY nervous on both test days and he said he felt sick during the tests when he came home. Keeping him from going to school would, i felt have prolonged his nerves had he had to sit it at a later date). The panel asked why i felt his mark was lower in the 2nd test than the 1st, what book he was reading, what he wanted to do when he grew up - i genuinely cant remember anything else. My summary was about 30 seconds!!, i then left his books with the panel for about 3 minutes(although it seemed hours :D ) whilst i waited outside with the LEA, the clerk bought the books out to me and i was free to go. I believe the whole appeal took no more than 20-25 minutes. Hope this helps - any questions please ask.

Guest66


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 Post subject: Thank you
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:10 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 374
Location: Bucks
Thanks very much Guest 66, great to hear your feedback - I hope you were successful...?

Best wishes x


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:07 pm 
Ambridge, Thankfully we were successfull on a score of 116 - his academic record spoke for itself thank goodness. Good luck to you

Guest66


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 Post subject: questions at appeal
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:26 pm 
Hi,
I went through the appeal last year and although I haven't contributed before I remember the useful information I gained from this forum. Ambridge asked if any of us could remember any questions we were asked by the appeal panel, apart from the ones that were particular to my daughter's case here are few of the more general ones which after talking to other parents were not too dissimilar to what they were asked at their apeal;
. What does your daughter enjoy reading?
. What is her general aproach to homework?
. What does she want to do when she leaves school?
. How did she do in her practice tests?
. How did she react after each test?
The panel were friendly and tried to put my husband and myself at ease in fact one of them said he had been through the process himself.
Our appeal turned out to be succesful although we had know way of knowing this and by the time we had left Aylesbury my husband and i had convinced ourselves otherwise apparently a common feeling.
I wish all of you apealing the best of luck I know exactly how you feel just look on it as an opportunity to right a wrong!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:17 pm
Posts: 8
Location: bucks
Hi to All,

Thank you Etienne and all contributors for the advice and suggestions, my wife and I go before the Panel tomorrow.

Here's hoping and praying they look kindly on our plea and all the others they shall be hearing from fellow anxious parents.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 374
Location: Bucks
Best of luck Kam - fingers and toes crossed for a happy outcome. Do report back on how it went x


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 116
All the very best of luck tomorrow Kam, I will be thinking of you, and I hope you succeed. Im starting to get very nervous, and my appeal date is not until 22nd Jan. Thanks to the other guests for useful tips about the appeal and tyopes of questions that are asked.
Good luck Ambridge for your appeal too next week.
Best wishes
DP


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