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 Post subject: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:49 pm 
Hi,

Having failed the appeal for our local Girls Grammar School we are considering contacting the Ombudsman on maladministration grounds. The panel, stated that their decisions would not be quick and that none would be made until all cases had been heared. This would be at least 4 working days due to the sheer volume of cases (very high with 2 extra days awarded for hearings). Our friends (who thankfully passed) were told at their hearing on the last day that it would take at least 7 working days until they would recieve the news. However as if by majic they decided within a day and a half ! We are certain that they simply passed those nearest to the 11+ required scores to fill the schools available places, which is not the purpose of appeals as a computer could do that. We believe that they did not allow for the evidence from our Primary school Headteacher. He stated in his supporting letter that our daughter's 11+ results were a disappointment, did not reflect her true ability, that she is working to the required standard with level 5's in all SATS revision papers, and would make good use of a place at the school.However we know that children have passed the appeal with level 4's and 5's. We also believe the mitigating circumstances were dismissed entirely as they weren't prepared to take the time or effort to fully appreciate their value in our case or how and why they affected our daughters performance over the 11+ period. The types of questions they asked in regard to this were very basic, not allowing for proper explanation and this is because in reality they weren't interested.Whilst answering questions raised we also noticed panel members reading information in our submitted evidence (pages not relevant to the question we were answering) and this means that at times they were clearly not listening to important evidence. We were very disheartened by our meeting with them particularly as the LEA and the Grammar School have treated us with the utmost respect and courtesy at all times. We expected full attention to our case by the panel both during the hearing and in their decision making process and this clearly did not happen. We would appreciate any views on this. Many Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Ronnie wrote:
Our friends (who thankfully passed) were told at their hearing on the last day that it would take at least 7 working days until they would recieve the news. However as if by majic they decided within a day and a half!


What happens with our appeals is that we discuss each case after the parents leave, and decide roughly 'yes, no or maybe'. We then go through and reconsider all the appeals again after the last one, and then remove the 'no''s, and just filter down until we have a list that we are all happy (or at least, 2 out of 3 happy in extreme cases) with. And that may be more or less than the previous year or the number of 'unallocated' places.

We say that parents should hear by 'the end of the week or early next week' if we've heard the appeals on the Monday & Tuesday. And then maybe we've decided by 7pm on Tuesday (if the last appeal was at 2pm), and the results get posted Wednesday first class. We say a longer time to allow for slow postmen.

Quote:
We are certain that they simply passed those nearest to the 11+ required scores to fill the schools available places, which is not the purpose of appeals as a computer could do that.


I'd be quite surprised if this was the case, although if there were lots of children with low marks who had not very strong appeal cases, it could coincide.

Quote:
We believe that they did not allow for the evidence from our Primary school Headteacher. He stated in his supporting letter that our daughter's 11+ results were a disappointment, did not reflect her true ability, that she is working to the required standard with level 5's in all SATS revision papers, and would make good use of a place at the school.However we know that children have passed the appeal with level 4's and 5's.


The report from a headteacher is only one thing we look at. At least 50% of our appeals do not have a letter or reference from the school (even though all are asked to provide one direct to the panel).

Quote:
We also believe the mitigating circumstances were dismissed entirely as they weren't prepared to take the time or effort to fully appreciate their value in our case or how and why they affected our daughters performance over the 11+ period.


What were your reasons for appeal? If you want to privately mail me, should they be personal, please feel free - I'll give an honest view of how I'd view them.

Quote:
Whilst answering questions raised we also noticed panel members reading information in our submitted evidence (pages not relevant to the question we were answering) and this means that at times they were clearly not listening to important evidence.


I do that! I am also listening at the same time. I do so to refresh my memory, as we do not get time before you walk in to re-read the whole document - half the time before you come in will have been spent discussing the case who just exited (I spend a lot of evenings reading through them win the days before the appeals). You might be referring to something someone has said, and I'll want to read that in context. I find that I'll be reading whilst my 2 colleagues are listening (and the clerk is taking notes).

Quote:
We expected full attention to our case by the panel both during the hearing and in their decision making process and this clearly did not happen.


But if they were reading the documents, they were giving attention to the case. It's no use checking something in the documents after you've walked out, as there may be some matter that needs questioning or discussing. Some parents come in and read out either exactly what they'd written or a precis thereof (or even longer vesrion padded with no new facts).

I should add that no, I wasn't on your panel (which part of the country are you in)?

After we've decided whose appeals to allow I've often noticed that they do include a lot of the children with higher scores - it's often a case that we feel that a child with a lower score didn't have enough reasons given to make that up to an acceptable score (ie - be up with the passes who were in the top 150 or whatever). Some children do have good reasons and they will normally be towards the top of our list, and some with high marks don't have a good reason why they didn't do well on the day of the exam. I remember at least twice that the top scoring appellant didn't get allowed because of this.

Sorry if this sounds a bit depressing, and sorry that your daughter didn't get allowed in.

Ask for the panels notes - it's your right to see them. See what they say.

And do private mail me.

Capers

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Capers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:03 pm 
Hi Capers. Thanks so much for replying to us on our worries about our failed appeal. We are concerned that the closeness of the scores to the 11+ pass was the panels main concern not just because of their quick decisions on the cases but also because during the hearing our daughters scores were ranked according to the results of other appellants by the presenting officer. We were not aware that this would happen and having spoken with appellants from previous years and the LEA, it appears that this is not normal practice. Is this evidence usually available to the panel but parents are not always told , or is this unusual?


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