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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:37 pm
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Hello everybody,

Our appeal is tomorrow, school says that we did not inform them about our extenuating circumstances prior to the exam. DD's diagnosis confirmed in October, exams sat in September, have a letter of support from the psychologist stating the date of assessment as October 2010. Would that be enough to argue that we could not inform them on time since we did not have any confirmation to support it? Plus, if I believe that even if they would've been informed about our specific situation, I do not see HOW they could've accommodated for it. More info sent to the appeal box. Thank you very much in advance and also want to say that your site and advice have been invaluable during the last year!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:39 am 
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Thanks for the background information.

Could you tell us what written instructions you were given? Did the school ask to be notified of any extenuating circumstances, or did it simply state what to do if ill on the day, so that the test could be re-arranged?

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:19 am 
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Hi Etienne, thank you very much for your reply.

In the school's Governors' Appeal statement it states that "girls that are unwell on the day of the test should not be presented at the school......enrol for the later second test. Doctor's certificate must be provided". It also states that "school form asks if the applicant requires special arrangements to sit the test....e.g. particular disability, difficulty with mobility. In such cases, extra time or individual supervision can be arranged prior to the test." They also say that "CAF asks for any requests for special consideration for exceptional medical or social grounds and that it must be supported by the documentation from the professional." I do not believe that at that particular moment of time we were in a position to state it as a special circumstances. Firstly, because the exam was on 18 September and secondly the submission of CAF form, unfortunately, coincided with DD's assessment in the VERY early stages. (To avoid suggestion of the convenience of the referral, I have a proof that she was referred to CAMHS in July, but due to the fact that doctor did not send enough info to them and then sent it to the wrong address, the first appointment was delayed til late October. I could not advise them on our situation because I had absolutely no hard evidence and proof of the condition. These particular extenuating circumstances are very difficult to argue since every parent can claim it. We had to wait for the number of assessment to prove that she is overly affected by it.

Hope it helps.:)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:28 am 
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Quote:
"girls that are unwell on the day of the test should not be presented at the school......enrol for the later second test. Doctor's certificate must be provided".
Agreed - not applicable.

Quote:
It also states that "school form asks if the applicant requires special arrangements to sit the test....e.g. particular disability, difficulty with mobility. In such cases, extra time or individual supervision can be arranged prior to the test."
Agreed - not applicable.

Quote:
They also say that "CAF asks for any requests for special consideration for exceptional medical or social grounds and that it must be supported by the documentation from the professional."
My understanding is that this rule is usually applied very strictly, and that in effect you would have had to prove that only this school could meet your child's needs. Besides, this relates to school preference, not to the 11+ testing process.

It looks to me, then, that the school can only rely on the paragraph in the Code of Practice:
Quote:
the panel should consider ........ whether the family made the admission authority aware ........
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b31
It seems quite reasonable for the panel to consider this point, but I would hope that any fair-minded panel would accept that you had very good reasons for not raising any concerns at the time.

If you can, try to avoid going into too much detail in your presentation, lest the panel think "She doth protest too much!". To some extent, let the evidence speak for itself. Focus very concisely on the broad points you want to put across: e.g., "considerable academic potential", "significant new information that was not available at the time of the test". (Interestingly, if you had already had an unsuccessful appeal, the emergence of significant new information that was not - and could not have been - available at the time of the appeal would probably have entitled you to a fresh hearing!)

There are ways of avoiding too long a presentation:

1. When invited to put questions to the school representative, you have an opportunity to query politely anything in the school case. You should still avoid going into detail about your own case, which has yet to be heard, but you're on safe ground if you focus on what the school case is saying. For example, if they have referred to 'exceptional social/medical reasons', it would give you the opportunity to ask "Would you agree that this relates to school preferences rather than the 11+ testing process?" and "Would you agree that this rule is usually applied very strictly, and that it tends to be used in cases where no other school could meet the child's needs?" "So would you accept that it has no relevance to our particular case as we've never sought to argue that?"

2. If you can limit your presentation to the broad arguments, your specific points are usually much more effective if you let the panel draw them out of you in the question & answer session. There is always the worry that they may not ask you the 'right' questions, but you have two ways of dealing with this:
    (a) If you sense that the questions & answers are coming to an end, you can always say "Could I just add something which I think is important ........"
    (b) Secondly, you can always slip something into your summing up at the very end, if you feel it has not been covered.

Good luck!

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:37 pm
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Thank you very much, Etienne, your input is hugely appreciated. I am keeping my fingers crossed for tonight, will keep you posted.


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