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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 11:30 am 
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Posts: 530
BIG CONGRATS to everyone who won their Appeal :D

I am confused as to how so many appeals are upheld in other areas but not Brum?! Do the schools always have places?

It's so rare to win an Appeal in Birmingham, that I'm beginning to think why we even bother ?! ( I haven't heard yet, but I'll be v v surprised if we win :shock: ). The Heads here insist entry of just one more pupil will put immense pressure on the already full schools, so I'm wondering why that doesn't happen I'm other areas?

Can anyone shed any light? :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 10:47 pm 
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I totally agree, we have lost an Appeal in the Birmingham area based on oversubscription and yet having taken advice from this forum and submitting a similar Appeal to many, we were also given the reason regarding admitting an extra child would put extra pressure on the School.
I too can't help wondering how or why this happens in our area, when we had so much evidence of academic ability and our child was high on the waiting list.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 11:07 pm 
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Very sorry to here that Hope&Faith.

Good luck to your DC, whatever school he/she ends up attending.

Reeyah


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 11:27 pm 
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I agree. Very disappointing. This is despite the fact that these schools' cases on prejudice based on health and safety etc do not appear to be subtantiated by any objective evidence. I am surprised that the appeal panels do not take a more robust stance towards these schools' unsubstantiated and generalised statements. Is there any mileage in the parents adopting a more inquisitorial approach towards the school's case? This site seems to advise against that. But is Birmingham an exception given that the vast, vast majority of oversubscription appeals lose?


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:26 am 
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There are considerable variations all over the country.

The last figures I looked at showed that the success rate for Birmingham maintained secondary school appeals was about half the national average.

Nationally, the success rate for own-admission authority school appeals has consistently been lower than for maintained schools.

I do think there might be a particular problem with some own-admission authority schools that organise their own appeals (especially if entry is very competitive and they are heavily oversubscribed).

The number of available panel members that own-admission authority schools can call on is likely to be quite small. In this situation I imagine it could be quite easy for a particular 'culture' to develop. What I mean by that is - when more or less the same panel hears the vast majority of appeals, there is a risk that it could become 'case hardened' and set in its ways.

Does the school have a group hearing for stage 1? To my mind, it's never a good sign if they opt for individual stage ones - I think parents are in a much stronger position if they can question the school case as a group rather than individually.

Quote:
Is there any mileage in the parents adopting a more inquisitorial approach towards the school's case? This site seems to advise against that. But is Birmingham an exception given that the vast, vast majority of oversubscription appeals lose?
Spartacus asks a valid question. I feel the advice we give is broadly speaking for the best in most instances, because (1) it shouldn't be difficult for a school to establish some sort of prejudice, (2) parents are usually better off focusing on their own case than worrying about the school's, and (3) a good panel really shouldn't have any difficulty in spotting weaknesses in the school case without the assistance of parents!

This begs the question - what is a good panel? It will, of course, be fair-minded and completely impartial, and ought to show an active interest in the proceedings. I wonder how effective procedures are in ensuring that those appointed to serve as panel members are truly independent? How often is membership changed? Ideally it should be as representative as possible of the local community.

If appeals are never or only rarely upheld, a different tactic at stage 1 might be needed - but you cannot by law challenge the panel's judgement as such, so you will still be dependent on a fair-minded and impartial panel to come to the 'right' conclusion.

I don't recall ever having seen a case for one of the own-admission authority schools being discussed here. If anyone would like to send a copy to the Appeals Box, I don't mind assessing the scope for a more inquisitorial approach .............

It would also be helpful to know exactly what questions the panel ask about the school case - this usually gives quite a good indication of how seriously they take their role and whether they know what they're doing!

Lastly, do we know whether anyone has tried asking for a copy of the clerk's notes under the Data Protection Act, and whether the schools concerned have co-operated? The clerk's notes can provide evidence whether or not the correct procedures have been followed.

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:54 am 
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We appealed to Colchester Royal Grammar in 2010. There was anecdotal evidence that appeals to this school were never succesful. The Essex grammars all use the same tests administered by the CSSE and other schools using the same tests seemed to grant appeals. In preparation for our appeal I wrote to all the Clerks to appeals panels of boys' schools which use the CSSE and compiled statistics demonstrating that all other schools had appeals granted most years and some had several. As part of this exercise I discovered that no appeals had ever been granted to CRGS in the memory of those involved which was ten years.

As part of our appeal we made the point to the panel that if the selection system worked perfectly then no appeals should be granted by any of the schools using it. The fact that appeals were granted to other schools demonstrated that some boys who merited places were slipping through the net. We also made the point that the statistics made us question whether there was an appeal process for CRGS at all as it couldn't be that no-one in ten years had merited a place.

We won but we did have a lot of very strong academic evidence and mitigating factors as well.

There are practical thing about this school that I think make appeals less likely to be won including the following:

1. The school genuinely wants to accommodate as may boys as it can and has three classes in years 7 and 8 of 32.
2. To give another chance to boys there is a 13 plus admission of 4 then four forms of 25 are created. It is not unusual for them to go over PAN at this point if they have more than 4 exceptional candidates.
3. The school has used as much available space as it has for additional classrooms and many existing rooms are in a lovely but old building and are only able to hold 32 boys and this is at a push.

All the other boys' grammars have smaller class sizes in years 7 and 8.

This may give you some ideas at the kinds of things to consider and may help you understand why appeals to some schools are more likely to succeed than to others.

Very good luck to all those still in the process.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:14 am 
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Location: Gloucestershire
I wonder if the root cause is Ancient History - harking back to the bad old days before the appeals & admissions codes were strictly adhered to by panel & admissions authority.

Parents going to an appeal will often ask for details of previous intakes. At some schools, this will show that the intake has been higher than the PAN (as a result of previous appeals), yet the schools results have been improving. The school will find it hard to argue that they can't take some extra pupils without prejudice, hence this years panel may allow some appeals - if, of course, the academic ability has been proven by the evidence submitted.

Other schools may well have had hardly any appeals allowed, so the intakes show that they have only ever had one or two above PAN. The school is then able to (probably quite genuinely) argue that they only have 30 computers, coat pegs, desks in a class... The panel will see this as strong evidence against allowing lots of appeals.

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:08 pm 
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Etienne, thanks for your helpful reply. Have sent school's case to appeals box and would greatly appreciate your views on the wisdom or otherwise of a more inquisitorial approach to it.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Etienne, I totally agree. Stage 1 should be with all the parents there. That way the head would only have to read out his bit about the 'full school' only once!

In our appeal, the chairperson from the panel asked the head if even one extra pupil would put pressure on the school, and of course he quickly nodded and said a loud 'YES'.

I think their minds are made up in Birmingham. It's all formality really :roll:


If we our appeal isn't upheld ( most likely ) , I think I will ask for the clerks notes!


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 10:44 pm 
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spartacus wrote:
Etienne, thanks for your helpful reply. Have sent school's case to appeals box.
Thanks, spartacus - I agree that a more questioning approach is probably justified in this case!

reeyah wrote:
In our appeal, the chairperson from the panel asked the head if even one extra pupil would put pressure on the school, and of course he quickly nodded and said a loud 'YES'.
He seems to have forgotten the obvious follow-up question - "Why, and what is the evidence?" :roll:

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