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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:18 am 
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HI,
I plan to appeal for my DS for non-qualification for selective grammar school
I have read loads on forum and will be presenting academic evidence and supporting information from primary school as to his suitability for the school.
He narrowly missed the pass mark unexpectedly (no score breakdown given though)
Do I also need to evidence why I think that was?
My thoughts are
1. He had a bad cold that week and was off school but recovered enough ( I thought) for exam.
2. He was desperate to get into this school and the pressure got to him.
3. We had stress at home during exam time due to redundancy
4. My DS really struggles with any kind of change , so at the start of almost every new school year, his teacher calls me in in the 1st term as he hasn't settled into his work and doesn't focus, he settles by the 2nd term and works well. I feel as the exams were early in the school year he was not at his most settled! I'm not sure wether this would seem a negative to his case or a valid reason for the exam result, but his difficulty coping with change is also one of my concerns for him not getting a place at this school, as all his close friends are going, I worry he will have more problems settling at another school without the peer support. Should I raise this or not?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:41 am 
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I'll give you my own thoughts.

No. 1 is weak, although if you are asked specifically whether he was in good health, you should give a truthful reply ("he had been away from school with a cold, but we decided he was well enough" - you get credit for not going out of your way to use this argument, and for being honest in acknowledging that you took the decision to send him in!).
No. 2 - could you tell us why? Is there more to it than his friends?
No. 3 - is there any evidence that he was even more unsettled than usual, and would the school confirm this?
No. 4 - has he always been like this? Was it particularly difficult when he started primary school?

If he only narrowly missed the required mark, you haven't got much to explain away. In this situation it's best not to go into overdrive (and have them thinking "she doth protest too much"!), so you're very wise to consider carefully which arguments to deploy.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:25 pm 
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thanks etienne

I agree with point about 1 about the cold, although I think it prob did affect him.
2. he loved the school when he visited and also knew his best friends would probabally be going there
3. I don't know if he was especially unsettled as he is always unsettled at the start of the school year
4. Yes he has always found change difficult, when he was younger we always had to give him plenty of 'preparation' for any changes , such as routine, holidays, redecorating the house ! otherwise he would get very upset( and stil do now). Primary school started not too badly as his sister was there and he started with a friend he was already close to ( the one who has got into selective!) although we did get the usual call in from the teacher re being difficult to settle to work and focus.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:29 pm 
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3. If he appeared no more unsettled than usual, I think it'll be difficult to use this argument. Of course, if you were pressed ("And was there anything else that might have affected him?"), you could mention it, adding that it's difficult to know what effect it had because he's always unsettled anyway.

4. This appears to be your strongest argument, and it ought to be possible to get the primary school to substantiate it fully. You don't want it to look too much like a 'negative', however, so it would help if you are able to say that he is expected to grow out of it. (Isn't this likely, as he matures?)

2. - this is worth a mention, and links quite well with friends above. It does no harm at all to express genuine enthusiasm. (I'd like to see a bit more substance, though, about what exactly he loved about the school - you're almost certain to be pressed on this!)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Have spoken to school admissions team re the the independant appeal for some more details to prepare and they told me the school we are appealing for actually arrange the appeal, not the school admissions service, ie they will write to me for details of my appeal and evidence, and it is then to be held at the school itself with 3 independant panel members.
If the school arranges the appeal and not the LEA how is it an independant appeal, or does it just mean the school arranges dates and premises and the LEA provides the panel members?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:48 pm 
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An own-admission authority school can appoint an appeals clerk, and the clerk in turn can appoint suitable people as panel members. There are rules about who can and cannot serve as a panel member.
Quote:
1.4 Admission authorities must ensure that every appeal hearing consists of:
a) at least one lay member. Lay members are people without personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school (though it is permissible to use people who have experience as governors of other schools, or who have been involved in education in any other voluntary capacity); and
b) at least one person with experience in education, who is acquainted with educational conditions in the area, or who is the parent of a registered pupil at a school.
1.5 The following people are disqualified from membership of an appeal panel and admission authorities therefore must not allow them to sit on panels:
a) any member of the local authority which is making the arrangements or which maintains the school in question;
b) any member or former member of the governing body of the school in question;
c) any person employed by the local authority in a capacity connected with education, or the governing body of the school in question, other than a person employed as a teacher or as a teaching assistant;
d) any person who has, or at any time has had, any connection with the authority or the school, or with any person within sub-paragraph c), of a kind which might reasonably be taken to raise doubts about his ability to act impartially in relation to the authority or the school;
e) any person who does not satisfy the training requirements as set out in the Appeals Regulations.
Admission authorities must not allow a teacher or teaching assistant to sit on appeal panels considering appeals against decisions about admissions to their school. Admission authorities must not allow a person to sit on an appeal panel considering an appeal against a decision if they were among those who made the decision, or provided information which contributed to the decision.

Own-admission authority schools can request the LA to handle appeals on their behalf, which in my view is preferable.

See the Q&As:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a6

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:16 am 
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Thanks for that Etienne,

I feel somewhat disheartened now that I know the school itself appoints the appeal panel, I naively thought independant appeal meant it would be completely separate from the school!
With the rules you highlighted for me I'm not sure they would be enough to gaurantee impartiality of the panel. But I guess if they are the rules I just have to take my chances and give it a go.
We are highlighting to my DS all the positive aspects of the high school allocated and he does seem a bit more settled to the idea of going there ( but still wants me to appeal) and it is a very good school so not too bad if we fail!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:03 am 
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Hi Catmum

I think that this school will rely on appeals to boost their numbers. I personally know of 2 boys who have turned down a place at St A for MGS.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:27 pm 
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catmum wrote:
they told me the school we are appealing for actually arrange the appeal, not the school admissions service, ie they will write to me for details of my appeal and evidence, and it is then to be held at the school itself with 3 independant panel members.
Strictly speaking, the hearing should not take place at the school ......
Quote:
To ensure independence in the appeals process, a neutral venue other than the school concerned should be used for the appeal hearing wherever possible. Funding delegated to admission authorities for appeals can be used to cover any expenses incurred in hiring a venue, although local authorities may be able to provide a suitable venue.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:37 am 
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Not sure they if they would use appeals to fill places or not, I would guess there may be a number of boys ( who passed but were over and above oversubscription numbers eg out of area, non-catholic etc) who have gone on waiting list at allocation date who would be allocated places first before appeals are held. The primary head certainly wasn't over-optimistic and I guess he has the experience of likely success.
Etienne, Trafford admissions definitely said appeal would be heard at the school itself, I will check with authority again but wouldn't like to challenge it at this stage and 'rock the boat'.


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