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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:07 am 
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I'm posting really so I can share what we are going through with others and hopefully get advice along the way. My son has just missed out on a place at Bourne Grammar and is 4th on the waiting list so these are nervous times waiting to see if anyone drops out or if we can win an appeal. I've been through an appeal before with my step-son although I didn't get involved in the paperwork then, I was just taken along by his mother because she was too stressed to do the talking and I ended up doing most of it! We were successful that time but it was for a comprehensive school and not a grammar school and I think it was more that they decided to add more places anyway due to the number of appeals. This time I am the mum and the stressy one!

My older son goes to Deeping and has done very well there. He was a "plodder" until a couple of years ago and now he is flying, I cannot recommend the school enough, but he is business focussed and that is also the school's specialism.

The son who wants to go to Bourne Grammar School loves drama, making films, and plays the keyboard very well, and drama is Bourne's focus. He also gets very easily distracted by his peers and would benefit from a stricter regime.

I'm trying to get some understanding of how different the drama studies are at Bourne compared to Deeping and also the potential for playing ensemble with his keyboard. It's actually quite difficult to get information from the schools although I am trying. I wondered if anyone is reading that has a child at Bourne who plays the keyboard, and whether they know what the opportunities are in respect of that?

If anyone is reading this and considering a move to Deeping hoping for a place at Bourne Grammar School. The Deepings comprehensive school is excellent, the Head Teacher has also recently been involved in supporting our Primary School when the head suddenly left and he really cares about the children and their education. I really feel very fortunate that we have the option of both schools living in this area. Last year the offers for Bourne went out as far as Peterborough I am told but some years they don't even reach as far as Deeping. This year they have reached Deeping but unfortunately the next street to us!

I feel that if it goes to appeal and we don't win, then it means that school was not right for my son anyway, but it doesn't make the uncertainty any easier. So for anyone else going through this, I feel your pain!! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:16 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
Welcome pinklion,
4th on the waiting list is encouraging. I am afraid I don't know the schools intimately enough to say what the differences are for keyboards etc. Of course the performing arts are Bourne's specialism but Deepings also has a really good reputation for drama, and music is well catered for too. Bourne certainly does have a number of music groups going on - not all are listed on the website - for example the local strings group meets there after school but is run through the county music service rather than the school. A trawl through the old newsletters on the school's website might throw up something. It might be worth your while looking closely at the other curriculum details to see what each school offers.
Good luck; hope someone else may know in more detail the sort of things you are looking at.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:16 am 
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Thanks for your help. I spoke to the head of drama at Deeping and I found quite a lot of differences in what is on offer from the two schools, he knew Bourne as well so he could give me quite a good comparison.
We also went to Bourne's school musical this week and saw for ourselves just how good the drama is.
I'm busy getting references and paperwork together, and my son has written his own review of the musical. The main reason for our appeal will be that my son will have better opportunity to meet his full potential with a Performing Arts focussed school.

One of my relatives used to sit on a school appeals panel and she said I should take in information about our Family Tree which I was a bit unsure about. We've had stage performers in every generation of our family since the 1800s and the last one (my cousin) has performed for the Royal family and several famous Americans and I have a book of his work and photos of his mother (my aunt) on the stage in Cambridge. Do you think this is more likely to get up the appeal panel's noses or is it proof that performing runs strongly through our family and relevant?

When we went to the last two open evenings for the school, my son spent hours in the drama department getting involved with all the acting activities going on and the drama teachers approached my husband and I and said they hoped he got into the school because he was a natural. It's partly their comments that is driving me on to push to get him in there. As a mother there is a part of me that would be happier to see him at the local comprehensive school with his brother and sister where he doesn't have to get on a bus each day! But I also have to do what is right for him and Bourne feels right, and he wants to go there.

The good news is that he is still 4th on the waiting list, fingers crossed we won't need to go to appeal!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:49 am 
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I don't think it would do any harm to say very briefly "We've had stage performers in every generation of our family since the 1800s and the last one (my cousin) has performed for the Royal family and several famous Americans, and I have a book of his work and photos of his mother (my aunt) on the stage in Cambridge." Have the book with you, hold it up for a second, but don't hand it over unless asked.

Any more than that - unless prompted by the panel - would, in my view, be unwise!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:51 pm 
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Thanks. I have not mentioned it in my formal appeal because my gut feeling was that it just makes me look like a pushy parent who wants her child on the stage, and that isn't my reason at all for appealing, if I wanted that then I'd be sending him to Stagecoach and everything else as well. I just want him to have the chance to fulfill his potential naturally throughout his Secondary School years and I believe there are more opportunities for that at Bourne. Thanks for the advice, I will keep it subtle.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:39 pm 
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My older son is applying to go into Sixth Form at Deeping next year and he mentioned they are dropping the Travel & Tourism course they offered in their prospectus. I emailed them today and asked if there were any other subjects affected by undersubscription. I now have it in writing that several subjects will now not be offered due to not enough take-up and for September 2011 intake that definitely includes Music. Drama is also struggling at the moment to get enough students but could still go ahead as numbers are increasing slightly.

I am assuming that if my younger son ends up at Deeping, that it would be difficult to get him into Bourne Grammar Sixth Form later. At Bourne Sixth form, drama students have the opportunity to take part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August which is a great opportunity for them.

My questions are:

Is Bourne Grammar Sixth Form usually over-subscribed as well?
Is it a valid argument to be discussing as far ahead as Sixth Form?

Thanks again for your help.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:54 am 
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Quote:
Is it a valid argument to be discussing as far ahead as Sixth Form?
It seems a bit speculative as entry to the 6th form is presumably dependent on GCSE results.

I'm a bit doubtful about this, but you certainly shouldn't proceed without doing some research first. I see that on their website they mention "Penny Hawkins, Manager of UCAS and Sixth Form" as the person to approach regarding 6th form admissions. Why not try ringing her? - to establish:
1. What is their 6th form PAN? (This number would relate specifically to external applicants)
2. How many qualified external applicants have they had in recent years?
3. How many of these were admitted?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:18 pm 
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Thanks, will do that. Things could be completely changing again now because the primary school has now decided to approach their SEN co-ordinator about issues with my son's organisational skills and I feel completely muddled as to where I am going with this appeal.

He has very poor short term memory and has real trouble establishing routines. Like he forgets to bring his homework home every week, forgets to complete entries in his homeschool diary, he will go out with his bike and completely forget to bring it home. He looks so sad when he gets punished (no tv, computer, playing out, etc.) and nothing seems to work. His homework is messy and rushed (unless I stand over him until it is done right) and then during exams he pulls amazing marks out of the hat. So now it could come down to which school has the best support for him in this way, which of course is the right decision, but now it just feels like things are more up in the air than ever. My husband is not being very supportive and saying that it is just a boy thing and the school is wasting tax payer's money involving SEN. My head hurts!!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
Good luck with your decision making. Your DS would certainly not be the first child with organisational problems to go to Grammar school!! There are techniques and methods for helping with these problems. You do need to look at your particular Grammar but, in general terms, I have not found the Grammars worse at dealing with such issues than other schools.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:11 pm 
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Just wanted to let you know that we don't have to go to appeal. My son has received an offer today in the second round of admissions. We are so happy. Thank you for your support.


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