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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:25 pm 
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Hello

Long time lurker, first time poster, and I’d like to start by thanking you for running such a well-structured, level-headed and helpful forum. The advice I have gleaned over the last few months has been amazing.

Our family relocated from Bexley to Bucks at the end of June, and our DS joined his current Bucks LA school with just under 4 weeks of Year 5 to go. Then after the summer break he went straight into the new term, more new classmates (it’s a mixed Year 5/6 group), and the 11+.

He got his results last Friday and they were (obviously) not what we had hoped for.

His academic record is consistently well above average. We have his school reports going back to Reception class and they demonstrate this. His assessment at End of KS1 was all 3s, and by the end of Year 5 he was achieving High 4s/Low 5s.

We went to see his current Head yesterday, and she is supportive of our appeal. She has graded him a 2:1, and used phrases like ‘you can tell that he would flourish at a Grammar School’.

We have also been in touch with his Bexley Year 5 teacher and Head who have said they will provide letters to the effect that, in their opinion, he is academically very able and would be best suited to a Grammar.

So far, so positive.

My main concern at this time is how much or how little to make out of the ‘extenuating circumstances’ of the move. The Bucks Head seemed to think this wasn’t a ‘proper’ extenuating circumstance as ‘children move houses and schools all the time, and he’s settled in well’.

If we were talking about moving schools whilst living in the same house, or moving house while staying at the same school, I might be inclined to agree. But this was a move of 80 miles or so to a place where he knew no-one, which is pretty tough on a 10 year-old.

Also, as to settling-in well, although he has all the appearance of being very laid-back, he is a real worrier under the surface. The trouble is, of course, how do I prove that? His Bexley teacher wrote on his Year 5 report that ‘he sometimes becomes anxious in unfamiliar situations’ but other than that it’s the old, old story of “I know my child”.

So in your opinion, and in your experience, would it be better to try and make a case of the relocation? Or merely make mention of it in passing? Or not mention it at all?

Our fear, as with so many others in this area of the forum, is spoiling our 'best chance' by saying too much, or too little.

Any advice gratefully received. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:34 pm 
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Hi unappealing

What a glorious user name! We don't get many laughs on this section but you really made me shriek with laughter.

Scores, in order of 1st test/2nd test please? We can't help very much without them. If you are concerned about being identified, please use the Appeals Box facility viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9907

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:36 pm 
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111/116 - but just checking that is the right order? (I suspect it is.)

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:38 pm 
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Hi there. Thank you both for the swift replies!

Yes, the scores were indeed 111 and 116, and in that order.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:53 pm 
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Oh, and his birthday is early Feb, FWIW.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Ooops! :oops: I was so carried away with the username that I didn't see the scores!

They are going in the right direction, and that is encouraging. It might suggest that he was settling in, and beginning to feel more confident?

Quote:
(it’s a mixed Year 5/6 group)
That will have required some adaptation, and also maturity, at a stressful time. Not necessarily an argument to make in an appeal letter, but the fact is worth a mention.

Quote:
The Bucks Head seemed to think this wasn’t a ‘proper’ extenuating circumstance as ‘children move houses and schools all the time, and he’s settled in well’.

If we were talking about moving schools whilst living in the same house, or moving house while staying at the same school, I might be inclined to agree. But this was a move of 80 miles or so to a place where he knew no-one, which is pretty tough on a 10 year-old.
I agree that it is quite a tough call at that age. You must expect to be questioned quite closely on it though. Have you moved before? Do you have family and friends nearby? Did he show signs of unhappiness or isolation at home or school, either in the summer, before the test, or since?

Quote:
So in your opinion, and in your experience, would it be better to try and make a case of the relocation? Or merely make mention of it in passing? Or not mention it at all?
You must certainly mention it, but I would suggest a brief factual reference to the move, the difference in the schools, any absence of contact with his age group in the summer. Keep it very brief indeed.


Quote:
he is a real worrier under the surface. The trouble is, of course, how do I prove that? His Bexley teacher wrote on his Year 5 report that ‘he sometimes becomes anxious in unfamiliar situations’ but other than that it’s the old, old story of “I know my child”.
Should the panel question you on the move (and they will), you can draw their attention to this comment. That takes it somewhat out of the zone of "I know my child" and into "a professional has commented ..."

It sounds as though you have good support from both Heads, so please make sure that they provide you with every scrap of academic evidence that they have available to them.

Late edit for our cross-post: The late Feb birthday is "No Man's Land" when it comes to the 11+. You cannot argue anything either way for mid-school year birthdays.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:32 pm 
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Thanks Sally-Anne

The scores heading in the right direction is a thought that had occurred to me. In true 11+ style:
What's the next number in this sequence? 111... 116...?

The last time we moved house was before DS even started nursery, and was a 'local' move within Bexley. This move was primarily related to my work (Oh! The guilt!), but was also prompted by the death of my mother last September. She'd been seriously ill for several years, and even though I've been working on the Herts/Bucks borders for 3 years, I'd been commuting up from Bexley each day as she was a Bexley resident too. So all in all a pretty stressful year in the 'unappealing' household!

I'm not mentioning this because I feel it has any real bearing on the appeal, BTW, but just to give you a bit more background.

Thank you for the advice. I'm working on my first draft of the appeal letter and will tailor it accordingly. I must admit, in all the mayhem, absence of contact with his age group over the summer was a factor I hadn't even considered.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:50 pm 
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unappealing wrote:
In true 11+ style:
What's the next number in this sequence? 111... 116...?
I fear you know only too well that the next number in the sequence is ... 121 :| :roll:

All the personal background is worth keeping in reseve for the panel hearing, Let them drag it out of you, as Etienne says so often!

Quote:
She'd been seriously ill for several years, and even though I've been working on the Herts/Bucks borders for 3 years, I'd been commuting up from Bexley each day as she was a Bexley resident too. So all in all a pretty stressful year in the 'unappealing' household!
Not a bad point, when under pressure from the panel, but not really a mention before that stage.

Quote:
I must admit, in all the mayhem, absence of contact with his age group over the summer was a factor I hadn't even considered.
Again, don't overdo it! That is half a sentence at best. Prioritise the extentuating circumstances and decide what to mention at each step of the way, both in the letter and at the hearing.

S-A


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Hello again

We had our appeal hearing this week, and I've posted feedback here:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9205&p=285075#p285075

We don't know the outcome yet, but I was surprised (in a good way) about the relaxed-yet-professional nature of the whole experience.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
unappealing wrote:
We had our appeal hearing this week, and I've posted feedback here:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9205&p=285075#p285075

Many thanks for taking the time to do that, and especially this part of it:

unappealing wrote:
I am deliberately completing this feedback BEFORE the outcome is known, so that my impressions are genuinely of the hearing AS IT HAPPENED – and are not coloured by success (“they were all wonderful, warm, caring people”) or failure (“well, of course they made a pretence at being interested but in fact they’re a bunch of heartless etc, etc”).

It is always very helpful when people post their genuine reaction after coming out of the hearing rather than waiting for the result.

Fingers crossed for a positive outcome!

Sally-Anne


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