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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:44 pm
Posts: 66
It is a bit unfortunate and very emotional to have my first post in this section.... I would firstly like to express my huge, huge thank you to this forum packed with invaluable information for parents who try to stay ‘out of the dark’ on the way to 11+ exams and beyond. I have been a dedicated reader since the decision was taken to go for 11plus more than a year back. Huge praises go to the efforts that all Moderators put into this cause, not to mention the people that ‘hide’ behind the few names that I admire for their true devotion: Sally-Anne, Patricia, Tree, Chad and many more (in the first stages).... and now especially for the last 10 days – Etienne. Thanks again and may the parents’ gratitude keep you going for years! You are a reason for huge admiration!

Back to 10 days ago, Friday, when the results envelope was opened with a huge optimism, expectations and nerves to find out DD had nearly scrapped the cut-off VRTS of 121. Have read every single piece of advice on this forum since then. Talked to very helpful and understanding HT who promised access to any academic evidence I may need and promised, as recent Head of our OoC School, to find out the LEA’s position and if she is allowed to support. Agreed to wait for the appeal pack and talk to HT again. No letter with appeal docs has arrived yet and I am requesting duplicates to be sent from Bucks admissions. I have heard from the school today that LEA response was between the lines ‘NO support is to be given for children going out-of-area as we have locally schools that challenge all abilities’. I wish our local school where DS went was a challenge enough for capable children...

I am worried now as to what position to take on Monday with the obviously willing to help HT? Considering above LEA statement do you think there is a way round to ask for HT Summary sheet completion? If not should I insist on getting just HT letter with all DDs academic achievements? Have talked to DDs teacher who did respond positive for writing a separate letter yesterday.

In summary DDs position:
-- Test1: 120, Test2: 120
-- Not sure if the word ‘support’ (in any variation) will appear on letter from HT or class Teacher.
-- DD is on the Maths G&T register and has developed strong aptitude for maths especially for the last 1-2 years.
-- I believe her SATs predictions are 5s for English, Maths, Science while maths is her stronger subject. Will confirm further. I understand children can obtain max. 5b on SAT papers they sit at end of Y6.
-- Higher groups in Maths and English.
School is within the top 25% in Milton Keynes if the ‘Aggregate of test pct for Level 4+’ is taken. If I look at ‘Aggregate of test pct for Level 5’ then results fluctuate/alternate from year to year – between 40% above national average and at average. Which one is more important?
-- End of year reports are not very academically specific, no end of year SAT levels mentioned. There is a rate of dozen sublevels in each core subjects in A,B,C (above ,average, below) manner. I believe they are overall very positive – especially in maths Y5 almost all ‘A’s and in English Y4 - Y5 almost all ‘A’s.
-- She is bilingual. Home language is not English ie English vocabulary not being developed/helped by home environment (apart reading at home)– last two bullets may be not an 'all win' combination for VR type exams... I believe about start of secondary school was the critical point for other child - DS (at Uni now) - to show eagerness in development of rich vocab.
-- HT mentioned
-- School doesn’t do CATs. No other NFER results from school.

Please help with comments. I will be coming back with more info as soon as I get it. Sometimes I have a feel that the primary school system in two neighbouring LAs is miles apart...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
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Sorry to hear that. Not surprised, though, to hear that MK council is unsupportive, as I don't think they approve of their brightest being creamed off by Bucks grammar schools! The deputy head at our local school (who looked after the 11+ applicants there) was wonderfully supportive of our oversubscription appeal a couple of years ago, even though I'm sure the response from our local council would have been the same as yours if she had contacted them to ask what the "official" position was!

You are, however, entitled to the information you need to support your appeal whether or not it is accompanied by a letter from the head. Appeal panels are also aware that the level of support provided by head teachers can vary greatly - this is also true within Bucks itself, I gather - so shouldn't hold this against you. Provided the factual evidence is there, the panel can draw its own conclusions. In any case, with a score of 2 x 120 you have very little to prove (and a fantastic result for a non-native speaker!) so I don't think this will be an issue.

I'm sure one of the appeal experts will be along soon to help with the details regarding academic evidence etc. Best of luck!

_________________
Marylou


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi mk123

Thank you for all your kind words about the site and the forum.

mk123 wrote:
I am worried now as to what position to take on Monday with the obviously willing to help HT?

All correspondence for the appeal is confidential and routed via you. If the Head teacher wants to support your DD without compromising the rules, she might consider writing a letter that does not refer to grammar schools at all. "To Whom It May Concern": DD is a very bright girl who has achieved the following outstanding results. She is a model pupil, and is expected to achieve these results in Year 6, etc. Past scores have been ... Would be very well placed in a high achieving school ..." After all, you could be leaving the country and need a reference for DD for a possible future school? The panel will know her recommendation is a 2:1 from the appeal pack they receive, and with the combination of those they will have almost everything that the panel would otherwise receive on the HT summary sheet.

Quote:
Have talked to DDs teacher who did respond positive for writing a separate letter yesterday.

Good. Possibly the same approach? You can explain the reason for the cloak and dagger bit in a single pithy sentence in your appeal letter. All your correspondence for the Appeal is covered by the Data Protection Act and can't be released to a 3rd party unless they have very specific and powerful reasons.

Quote:
Test1: 120, Test2: 120

You have so little to prove. You can't take success for granted by any means, but with good academic evidence you have every chance.

Quote:
DD is on the Maths G&T register and has developed strong aptitude for maths especially for the last 1-2 years.

She is stronger in maths than English, so a VR test might not reveal her true strengths.

Quote:
I believe her SATs predictions are 5s for English, Maths, Science while maths is her stronger subject. Will confirm further. I understand children can obtain max. 5b on SAT papers they sit at end of Y6.

So far, so good - keep us posted. 5a is the maximum in Year 6, but 5b across the board would be fine. (It sounds to me as though she should be a 5a in Maths.

Quote:
School is within the top 25% in Milton Keynes if the ‘Aggregate of test pct for Level 4+’ is taken. If I look at ‘Aggregate of test pct for Level 5’ then results fluctuate/alternate from year to year – between 40% above national average and at average. Which one is more important?

40% above national average is the better one to quote - MK is a very small area. You might like to try comparing it to Bucks if you can? That is the context panels will recognise.

Quote:
End of year reports are not very academically specific, no end of year SAT levels mentioned. There is a rate of dozen sublevels in each core subjects in A,B,C (above ,average, below) manner. I believe they are overall very positive – especially in maths Y5 almost all ‘A’s and in English Y4 - Y5 almost all ‘A’s.

Good.

Quote:
She is bilingual. Home language is not English ie English vocabulary not being developed/helped by home environment (apart reading at home)– last two bullets may be not an 'all win' combination for VR type exams... I believe about start of secondary school was the critical point for other child - DS (at Uni now) - to show eagerness in development of rich vocab.

An interesting point about your older child, and "worth a mention" at the hearing. Please search the Appeals "Cue"&A (sorry - a couple of keys on my keyboard have packed up this evening - the "Cue" key and the exclamation mark) for the word "language" for how to handle this point.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:44 pm
Posts: 66
Sally-Anne,

Thank you for sifting through the information and giving some wise guidance and ideas.
I will be posting back updates. I feel more confident in my approach on Monday at the school.
The hint for using 'question type' in the search was very useful as it picked up more relevant posts on language from what I had found before. Most of the discussions confirm the same that bilingualism should make no significant difference or are inconclusive for the purposes of the appeal evidence....

MK123


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Exactly - "worth a mention" on 120/120,but no more than that.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:44 pm
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Sally-Anne,

A quick note to say that I have now managed to get DDs predictions and recent test results. I have posted those to the appeals mailbox for some further guidance please....

Marylou,

Missed to say a big 'Thank you' for your kind words the other day.

mk123


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi mk123

I think you have made good progress, so let's see what happens from here.

Regarding the work in the second language, there is no particular harm in your suggestion, although it probably won't mean much to the panel. If the schoolbooks are good enough you might leave it out, because you don't want to detract from your main argument. If it helps to explain the slight shortfall in English writing, then put it in.

I wouldn't include the KS1 results because they don't lend an enormous amount to the argument.

The point about Level 5s may be some sort of "local rule", but it certainly doesn't apply nationally or in Bucks.

S-A


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:44 pm
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Sally-Anne,

Thanks very much for comments again. I now have a good idea and much more confidence in the shape of our appeal. Especially with what may have looked as a major problem - the lack of HT assessment letter.

I will be back soon to share further progress.

BTW Wanted to congratulate with the great new look of the website!

mk123


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Glad you are feeling more confident.
mk123 wrote:
BTW Wanted to congratulate with the great new look of the website!

I love it, and have done since the first moment I saw it, so I am glad that you like it too.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
Posts: 2125
Good to hear that it's all coming together!
:)

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Marylou


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