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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:49 pm
Posts: 20
Hi,

My daughter didn't pass her 11+ but, even though we knew she couldn't be accepted, we put Highsted Grammar school as our first choice of school so we could appeal against their decision.

My daughter got the following scores in the Kent Test -

VR - 105
NVR - 121
MATHS - 117

VR is usually her strongest area and her teachers and us were all surprised at her lower than expected score. On the day of the VR test she had a little 'breakdown' during the test as the whole 11+ thing got to her and she'd built herself up and got upset. We're sure that this affected her score.

Her teachers are all behind us appealing, and have said that as VR is usually her strongest area then we'd be silly not to appeal as they think she'd do really well at Highsted.

We have a letter of support from both her form teacher and the assistant head at her primary school that we've handed in as addictional evidence, and her form teacher is coming to the appeal with us to support her application/appeal.

The basis of our appeal is that her score on the VR test doesn't show an accurate picture of her ability; she's working at levels 5C and 4A at the moment and is predicted straight 5C's in her SATS accross all subjects.

However, Highsted have informed us that out of 120 places they've filled 120 :(

They can accomodate up to 128 as an absolute maximum, but as it would mean a lot of "careful classroom planning", they don't like to fill to capacity unless they have no choice. To us, it sounds like they're being really negative and preparing us for a no. I know it isn't up to Highsted, but if the Independant Appeals Panel have the same view, then they're not going to look favourably upon letting my daughter in i wouldn't have thought?

Does anyone have any advice please? Even if it's just to prepare ourselves for the worst :(

(just to add - we're not being 'pushy parents'... our daughter desperately wants to attend Highsted. after attending the open day, she absolutely loved it!)


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:51 am
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Hi Beki
had a search around the forum for old posts about highstead and can only find 2, Im not much halp as I dont know the school. The only thing i would say is you will need a very strong academic case as your dc's scores dont add up to 360 or above, thats what i am lead to beleive, though will be happy for others to say otherwise. I am hoping someone else will come along with more knowledge than me :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:49 pm
Posts: 20
Hi, thank you for your reply :D

I don't really know what we can do about proving her academic ability, other than telling them her predicted SATS results and showing them the levels that she's working at, as the appeals panel is an independant one and they strongly suggest that you don't submit any of your child's work as they'll have nothing to compare it to :(

Here are the two letters of support we've included as evidence, along with a covering letter written by me. We've included her school reports from 2008 and 2009.

Would the proof of academic ability be covered by the following evidence do you think? :? (our covering letter takes up 1.5 A4 pages, and the two supporting latters each take up around 3/4 of an A4 page).

*************************************

Dear Sir/Madam

We are writing this letter to try and explain the reasons why we feel that ***** should be awarded a place at Highsted Grammar School in September 2010. As her parents we would obviously like ***** to be in a school which will push her to achieve her full potential. We believe that Highsted Grammar School is the right School for *****, and that she would benefit in so many ways from being a part of their community, alongside giving a lot back to the School itself.

Since she joined Eastchurch Primary School three years ago, we have seen her excel herself, and the school’s expectations, and go from strength to strength both in her formal education and with regard to a rich variety of extra curricular activities which ***** enjoys participating in.

She has been an enthusiastic member of Eastchurch School’s E-Team for over two and a half years, taking time out of her lunch break every day to help monitor the School’s energy usage. ***** is a valued member of the school and has a wide circle of friends, and is respected by both her peers and teachers alike. ***** is a prefect of Eastchurch School.

***** participates in many extra curricular activities; many are held throughout the School, and some are outside of school. Outlined below are some of the activities that ***** has enjoyed taking part in. This is not an exhaustive list, but an example of some of the clubs/sports that she has been a member of in recent months;

• JoLi Martial Arts Karate; *****’s next grading is a full black belt
• Horse Riding
• E-team member
• Netball
• Gardening club
• Swimming lessons
• Maypole dancing
• Film club

As you can see by the Levels outlined below, ***** is a very capable student and we feel could do even better at Highsted, given the opportunity. Her Levels are set out below ;


Present Levels That ***** Is Working At -

Reading – 5C
Writing – 5C
Maths – 4A
Science – 4A


Predicted Levels For ***** At The End Of Year Six

Reading – 5C
Writing – 5C
Maths – 5C
Science – 5C

We understand that ***** didn’t pass her 11+, therefore does not automatically qualify for a Grammar School place. However, we hope that you will be able to take into account that on the day of her Verbal Reasoning test, ***** got a bit upset and was very worried that she wasn’t going to pass. She ended up crying and we believe that this contributed to her lower-than-anticipated score on that day. Her Teacher can verify this.

Verbal reasoning is usually her strongest area so both her teachers and ourselves feel that the score below doesn’t show an accurate picture of *****’s ability in this area.

Her test results are shown below ;

Verbal Reasoning – 105
Non Verbal Reasoning – 121
Maths – 117

Unfortunately the guidelines for the appeal prevent us from submitting pieces of *****’s School work, but we can assure you that it is of a high standard and very well presented.

We enclose *****’s School reports for the years 2008 (July) and 2009 (July). We hope you enjoy reading through them.


Yours Faithfully


******* ****** and **** *******
***** *******'s Mother and Father






Dear Sir/Madam

This letter is in response to the request for information about ***** ******* regarding her appeal for a grammar school placement.

***** is a very able, polite and kind pupil and her behaviour in class is never a problem. She is quiet generally but does get involved in class discussions and will help others around her when she is able to.

Within English, ***** is making superb progress and she is a confident Level 5 in both her reading and writing. With her writing she is always full of individual ideas and writes with her own personalised style which gives her writing conviction and strength. When reading she is able to fully understand the nuances of a text and answers questions with authority. She is a great asset to any Literacy Lessons.

In Numeracy, ***** works within the top set at School. Within this group she occasionally needs extra support but again she is very able and her understanding has improved significantly this year and she is making excellent progress. At the beginning of the year she was working at Level 4C but she is now a confident 4A and she is one of our borderline pupils to get a level 5 in the SATS.

Across all other subject ***** is keen to get involved. She is often one of the first in the class to come to accurate scientific conclusions within Science investigations and is able to transfer her Numeracy and Literacy skills to write detailed reports/results on a topic. Alongside this she is an able artist and musician, working for the most part at Level 4 within these creative subjects.

It is therefore my opinion that ***** would make a superb Grammar School pupil and that she would be able to cope with, and more importantly benefit from, the more intensive lessons that she would need to become accustomed to in a Grammar School.

Yours Faithfully

***** *****
Year 6 Class Teacher





And the letter from the assistant head -

Dear Sirs

I am writing this letter to support Mr and Mrs *******'s application that ***** ******* be considered for the opportunity of a Grammar School place.

I have known ***** since she joined our School in 2007. During the three years she has been at Eastchurch School, I have seen ***** develop into a well behaved, thoughtful and intelligent girl with a lovely personality.
Acedemically, ***** is a confident Level 5 in Literacy and although she does not find Numeracy so easy, she has worked hard and is a borderline Level 5 in this.

***** has demonstrated great maturity when working as part of a team. She has been a leading member of our E-Team for more than two and a half years - our E-Team is in charge of an 'energy watch' within our School.

She has represented the school on several occasions, accompanying many visitors, from various organisations, around the School and by talking to both the Press and local Television Presenters about our variety of energy saving initiatives.

***** was one of a very small group chosen to accompany the Eco-flag assessor around the School to support our successful application for the renewal of our status.

In my opinion, ***** is an ideal candidate for a Grammar School, she works hard at everything she does. She would be an asset to any School and I would dearly love to see her allowed the opportunity to fulfil her potential.

Yours Faithfully

***** ******
Assistant Headteacher


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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I know nothing, absolutely nothing about appeals, but I do notice that those who do know on here tend to recommend avoiding the kind of information you have about what other activities your DD excels at and what an all round good child she is (martial arts, gardening etc) and just cutting to the chase about her academic ability. I think the idea is not to show how lucky the school would be to have her, but why she needs to go to that particular school. This would mean not focussing so much on her added attributes and things she has been chosen for and more on CATS scores and possibly SATS predictions, as well as supporting evidence from books etc that she is outstanding academically.

I hope that someone with more knowledge than me will come along and advise you soon!


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
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Location: london
I agree entirely with Amber, perhaps you could check the Q & A section which I believe addresses some of this?

_________________
mad?


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:33 am
Posts: 53
We are having a similar problem with our DS who failed his verbal reasoning by one mark.

Our strategy was to find a Chartered Educational Psychologist who would take DS through a Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) - this costs about 120-400 pounds. The results from such a test are more robust than the School test and more detailed.

They normally can give you the results on the day and should produce a report within a couple of days.

The BPS website has a list of Chartered Educational Psychologists with contact details.

If it's positive this will then give you additional ammunition to argue that the exam wasn't an accurate reflection of her abilities. If it's not positive then you can ignore it :)

You need to submit this to the panel before the meeting.

I also did some digging on the test anxiety issue for my DS

What we found proved that:

test anxiety is seen as having a detrimental effect on performance even though such individuals posses the necessary ability and intellect to succeed

Cassday, J, C., Johnson (2002) Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27 (2), pp. 270-295.

Good luck with your appeal.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:49 pm
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Amber wrote:
I know nothing, absolutely nothing about appeals, but I do notice that those who do know on here tend to recommend avoiding the kind of information you have about what other activities your DD excels at and what an all round good child she is (martial arts, gardening etc) and just cutting to the chase about her academic ability. I think the idea is not to show how lucky the school would be to have her, but why she needs to go to that particular school. This would mean not focussing so much on her added attributes and things she has been chosen for and more on CATS scores and possibly SATS predictions, as well as supporting evidence from books etc that she is outstanding academically.

I hope that someone with more knowledge than me will come along and advise you soon!


i think you're right, but i only just found this site, and i've already handed in the evidence as the appeal is on friday.

oh well. what's done is done. i can't change anything now :(


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
Look, remember I know nothing! Some of my friends think I ought to be appealing for my little lad, who 'failed' (don't like that word here, so in inverted commas it goes) by 1 mark. I am not appealing - what does that tell you? See, I know nothing.

Secondly, look at it like this. You have found the forum now! So spend a couple of hours reading back over other people's stuff and learn from it - you can re-think what you will actually say in your appeal to shift the emphasis towards the academic. Then you have all ports covered.

Thirdly, stay with us now and try and use your experience, however it turns out, to help others.

Fourth - good luck! And don't let people like me put you off - I am only another mother like you.
:)


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:33 am
Posts: 53
My impression is that your presentation in the panel meeting is equally important - just go for it - present your case and stress the elements which point to the fact that yout DD is of the same academic ability as those students that achieved a pass mark in the examination.

Don't give up now!

I would take in small selection of material with you - they can only refuse to see it.

Like Amber I am just a novice at this, however, the forum has been a lifeline - there is so much useful information here and the members of the forum are so supportive!


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:49 pm
Posts: 20
Amber wrote:
I am not appealing - what does that tell you?


That you're sane? :lol: :wink:

Amber wrote:
Secondly, look at it like this. You have found the forum now! So spend a couple of hours reading back over other people's stuff and learn from it - you can re-think what you will actually say in your appeal to shift the emphasis towards the academic. Then you have all ports covered.

Thirdly, stay with us now and try and use your experience, however it turns out, to help others.

Fourth - good luck! And don't let people like me put you off - I am only another mother like you.
:)


Thank you... hopefully the fact that her teacher will be with us will help to shift the focus to her academic ability somewhat :)

xx


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