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 Post subject: Bullying
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:51 am 
Hi,

Does anyone have any good information on the effects of bullying on a child, and how this would affect the childs learning?

My son suffered bullying for 1 year, starting 2 years before the 11+ and finishing 1 year before. He still affected by this trauma and being the youngest in his class was very vulnerable at the time We still have tears and upset to this day over what happened.

Despite this, because the bullying did not occur over the exam period, the panel seemed to dismiss the bullying as having any affect on his 11+ result. At best they seemed to consider the bullying as fairly lightweight in terms of an extenuating circumstance. That view to me is utterly ridiculous, naive and wholly miss-informed. A young boy who suffers bullying for ayear is OBVIOUSLY going to suffer.

We are going to the Ombudsman with this, however would like to have some hard statistics / facts / findings on this issue. His scores were 134 VR NVR 119 M 113. We've tried looking on the net but not found anything of note. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

Thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Bullying is a very frequently raised at appeals.

I've known one child who had moved school 6 months because of bullying before the exam, and saw his former bully when he went into the exam. Another had bones broken in the school playground 1 year before the exam, and moved school.

We were also told by parents that the school their child had been offered would have the bullies from their primary school going there - their child had not been bullied but they were scared of the bus journey (and didn't think that the school they were appealing for might also have bullies).

Your child did well in his VR tests, presumably during or after the bullying, so what the panel would be looking for would be reasons he didn't do well on the day of the test.

It could also be that they did think it a strong reason, but that there were other children (maybe some who were still being bullied) who had stronger reasons. May be a child was being abused by a parent during the time, or was recovering from (or sickening for) a very serious illness.

The thing you will find frustrating is that you will not find out why they panel chose to allow other appeals above yours. 90% of parents are convinced they have a strong case (10% may well put in appeals just in case they win - 'they always allow 6 appeals - what have we to loose?'). With so many appeals for so few places, the panels often have to be quite tough. I felt awful for a month or more after this years appeals, as there were quite a few really deserving cases I really wanted to allow, but had I done so, would have negatively affected the education of those who were already offered places (they would have had to sit on laps to fit into the classroom) - and the ones we did allow were even more deserving.

Sorry to sound negative.

_________________
Capers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:14 pm 
capers123 wrote:
Bullying is a very frequently raised at appeals.

I've known one child who had moved school 6 months because of bullying before the exam, and saw his former bully when he went into the exam. Another had bones broken in the school playground 1 year before the exam, and moved school.

We were also told by parents that the school their child had been offered would have the bullies from their primary school going there - their child had not been bullied but they were scared of the bus journey (and didn't think that the school they were appealing for might also have bullies).

Your child did well in his VR tests, presumably during or after the bullying, so what the panel would be looking for would be reasons he didn't do well on the day of the test.

It could also be that they did think it a strong reason, but that there were other children (maybe some who were still being bullied) who had stronger reasons. May be a child was being abused by a parent during the time, or was recovering from (or sickening for) a very serious illness.

The thing you will find frustrating is that you will not find out why they panel chose to allow other appeals above yours. 90% of parents are convinced they have a strong case (10% may well put in appeals just in case they win - 'they always allow 6 appeals - what have we to loose?'). With so many appeals for so few places, the panels often have to be quite tough. I felt awful for a month or more after this years appeals, as there were quite a few really deserving cases I really wanted to allow, but had I done so, would have negatively affected the education of those who were already offered places (they would have had to sit on laps to fit into the classroom) - and the ones we did allow were even more deserving.

Sorry to sound negative.


Thanks for that reply Capers.

Surely as a panel member, you would take each case in it's own merits, and not consider what went before you an hour earlier?

Would you not say to yourselves 'could this bullying of contributed to this child very narrowly missing a pass mark?' - then added together with other circumstances put before you, if the answer was 'Yes, this is likely', then surely the appeal should be deemed successful?

If you put through 6 or 46, that is surely not a matter for the panel?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Anonymous wrote:
Surely as a panel member, you would take each case in it's own merits, and not consider what went before you an hour earlier?

Would you not say to yourselves 'could this bullying of contributed to this child very narrowly missing a pass mark?' - then added together with other circumstances put before you, if the answer was 'Yes, this is likely', then surely the appeal should be deemed successful?

If you put through 6 or 46, that is surely not a matter for the panel?


No. We have to balance the needs of the children who passed the exam with those whose appeals we are hearing.

The way it is done is:

1) we hear the school / LEA case (which is either that the child did not reach the necessary standard, or they did pass, but the school is full).

2) We hear the parents side of the appeal.

3) We decide if the case is strong enough to allow in principle.

4) We balance the needs of the pupils in the school with those of the pupils appealing. For instance, we might know that there is physical space for 32 children in each classroom, but the LEA has only allocated 30 places. We could then allow up to 2 appeals per class. Say the school has an intake of 150, then we could allow 10 appeals.

We have on occasion allowed a couple more, in the hopes that some people holding on to places are appealing for a different school. We have also allowed less than 10 when we've had appeals where the children were not bright enough, even though they had good reasons for not doing well on the day - it's not fair on the rest of the school to pull the average class ability down. In the latter case, I think that the school may then allow some children on the waiting list in, as long as they passed the exam, to make up 32 per class.

But say there were 25 appeals, 20 were worthy. It would be unfair on the children in the school to force an extra 4 pupils per class.

In other words, we're juggling your appeal, the other children and the admission authority / school.

Many of the appeals seem to have lots of irrelevant items in the docs - we're not interested in the fact that the parents want a single sex school, that they want a school with good discipline, their child is the national football, knitting or music team. We also get many reasons the child didn't do well. So an arm broken the day before the exam could be a major reason for not doing well, 1 month before might still be causing pain during the exam but on broken 6 months before hand would be of little influence on the day (but I've seen that as the basis of an appeal) - unless we had strong medical evidence to prove that it was such a complex break that he was still on painkillers at that time.

If you'd come up before us, I would expect to hear why your child was suffering on the day, why the exam results differed from the scores you give, a letter from the school regarding the bullying and how it affected work in the classroom and under stress, and possibly a note from a GP / child phychologist, for if your child is still affected by the bullying, you'll probably have at least spoken to your GP about it - and if they said that you first saw them during the bullying / 6 months / 3 months before the exam, all the better (not 1 week after the exam, or just before the appeal).

We do get some harrowing cases. We have to be able to see that they are exceptional.

Finally, what people forget, is that probably quite a few of the children who did pass also had problems around the exam - some probably had parents splitting up, others felt ill. All felt nervous! Yet they passed.

_________________
Capers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:15 pm 
capers123 wrote:
Anonymous wrote:
Surely as a panel member, you would take each case in it's own merits, and not consider what went before you an hour earlier?

Would you not say to yourselves 'could this bullying of contributed to this child very narrowly missing a pass mark?' - then added together with other circumstances put before you, if the answer was 'Yes, this is likely', then surely the appeal should be deemed successful?

If you put through 6 or 46, that is surely not a matter for the panel?


No. We have to balance the needs of the children who passed the exam with those whose appeals we are hearing.

The way it is done is:

1) we hear the school / LEA case (which is either that the child did not reach the necessary standard, or they did pass, but the school is full).

2) We hear the parents side of the appeal.

3) We decide if the case is strong enough to allow in principle.

4) We balance the needs of the pupils in the school with those of the pupils appealing. For instance, we might know that there is physical space for 32 children in each classroom, but the LEA has only allocated 30 places. We could then allow up to 2 appeals per class. Say the school has an intake of 150, then we could allow 10 appeals.

We have on occasion allowed a couple more, in the hopes that some people holding on to places are appealing for a different school. We have also allowed less than 10 when we've had appeals where the children were not bright enough, even though they had good reasons for not doing well on the day - it's not fair on the rest of the school to pull the average class ability down. In the latter case, I think that the school may then allow some children on the waiting list in, as long as they passed the exam, to make up 32 per class.

But say there were 25 appeals, 20 were worthy. It would be unfair on the children in the school to force an extra 4 pupils per class.

In other words, we're juggling your appeal, the other children and the admission authority / school.

Many of the appeals seem to have lots of irrelevant items in the docs - we're not interested in the fact that the parents want a single gender school, that they want a school with good discipline, their child is the national football, knitting or music team. We also get many reasons the child didn't do well. So an arm broken the day before the exam could be a major reason for not doing well, 1 month before might still be causing pain during the exam but on broken 6 months before hand would be of little influence on the day (but I've seen that as the basis of an appeal) - unless we had strong medical evidence to prove that it was such a complex break that he was still on painkillers at that time.

If you'd come up before us, I would expect to hear why your child was suffering on the day, why the exam results differed from the scores you give, a letter from the school regarding the bullying and how it affected work in the classroom and under stress, and possibly a note from a GP / child phychologist, for if your child is still affected by the bullying, you'll probably have at least spoken to your GP about it - and if they said that you first saw them during the bullying / 6 months / 3 months before the exam, all the better (not 1 week after the exam, or just before the appeal).

We do get some harrowing cases. We have to be able to see that they are exceptional.

Finally, what people forget, is that probably quite a few of the children who did pass also had problems around the exam - some probably had parents splitting up, others felt ill. All felt nervous! Yet they passed.




Thanks for that detailed reply, I think if I'd read that before I don't think I'd of appealed at all. Some of that seems incredibly harsh, especially regarding the bullying issue, which shows a severe lack of understanding of your part. I must say I find that quite worrying. Just goes to show, despite what is said on bullying in schools, the issue it's affects and the way it can sometimes manifest itself is stillis not understood or taken as seriously as it should. I do understand however that you guys do hear a lot of it in appeals and so I guess must become slightly numb to the subject unless it's clearly severe.

Oh well. Well done Bully. Being one of the brightest kids the County (One of the reasons how he managed to keep it under wraps for a whole year, the bullying was mental, not physical), he'll be Ok in his high flying selective school in Tunbridge Wells.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7064
Quote:
Surely as a panel member, you would take each case in it's own merits

Dear Kent Dad
My view would be rather different from Capers'. I would have thought a foundation school should be taking two separate decisions:
1. Should this child be deemed "qualified" in the light of the academic evidence and extenuating circumstances? (This part of the case would be considered entirely on its own merits.)
2. If so, do the parental reasons for wanting a place outweigh the prejudice to the school?

Regards

_________________
Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 6:12 pm
Posts: 11
Anonymous wrote:
[ Some of that seems incredibly harsh, especially regarding the bullying issue, which shows a severe lack of understanding of your part. I must say I find that quite worrying. Just goes to show, despite what is said on bullying in schools, the issue it's affects and the way it can sometimes manifest itself is stillis not understood or taken as seriously as it should. I do understand however that you guys do hear a lot of it in appeals and so I guess must become slightly numb to the subject unless it's clearly severe.



Appeals panels need evidence of everything you say, and Capers 123 is just telling it like it is. How could they possibly judge whether people were telling the truth or not without independent evidence, ideally from a professional? Capers seems to me to be a very fair-minded panellist who is generously giving the benefit of his/her experience to help people out. I was unable to get independent evidence for my appeal, for reasons that are not relevant here, but I knew that would probably damage my chance of winning it, and it did. Capers isn't saying that bullying isn't serious, but that appeals panels can't take it into account unless there is factual evidence that it has not only happened but of how it has affected the child's test performance


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:41 pm 
However, it always seems to be the case that those parents who knuckle down and get on with dealing with their childrens' issues to the best of their ability without resorting to jabbing away at GP, headteacher, social services, LEA (and others), will actually not have any hope of achieving what could be the right place for their child. The parents who whinge, embellish, look for a scapegoat, shout about what should be 'private' family matters, plan a campaign, will be given the benefit of the doubt. Shame.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:45 pm 
My child was bullied for nearly 4 years up to the 11+ plus (and beyond). Some of it was nasty stuff. It caused or magnified on-going, debilitating health problems which require medication. Our GP has said that the stress has been a major factor in this.

Said child passed Kent test with very high marks. Bullying is horrible. Watching its effects on one's child can be terrible. But it doesn't always affect their exam results. It MIGHT do so, but no-one can be sure without some evidence.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:02 pm 
unless there is factual evidence that it has not only happened but of how it has affected the child's test performance[/quote]



And how on earth does a parent gather 'evidence that bullying affected their childs test performance'? The head of the School accepts in writing that this bullying happened. To then go to a GP (Who would probably very annoyed at his time being wasted), or to get some sort of councelling thus causing even more upset to the boy, would to some of us not be a route that we wish to take.

If you consider this particular example, the child very narrowly missed the grade, the bullying took place for a whole year, during a crutial period of the childs run up to the 11+, the School accepts this happened in a letter that was provided by the parent at appeal. Surely, an appeal panel could/would come to a conclusion that the bullying could/would of made a 2/3 marks difference because his learning at a crutial period was hampered due to emotional distress.

There's only so many times a 9 year old boy can be called 'A stupid thicko' by the Schools star pupil quietly into his ear during class, break times and in the dinner queue, before he eventually starts to believe it. There's only so many times a 9 year old boy can be pinched and bitten then told if he squeeled he'd get thrown out of the School, before it starts to affect his learning and understanding in class. There's more but I won't go on.

By the way, I'm not criticising capers contribution to this at all, I'm very grateful indeed and do not envy that job one little bit, it must be very difficult, however I too am telling it how it is from my point of view. To simply dis-miss a case of bullying because it did not occur over the exam period is absolutely wrong, and should be challenged, like I said before it shows a total lack of understanding, in years to come when my son is old enough I look forward to explaining this to him and hearing his views and thoughts. I also find the consideration of other parents appeals on the day wrong. To hear that if the panel have a particular bad day in terms of worthy or harrowing cases means my own case is affected is, again, wholly wrong, and I have the right to challenge or discuss that on this forum (In my opinion).

There seem to be so many different rules, with different panels interpreting guidlines differently, in different areas, that the opportunity for inconsistency seems huge. I think it is this and the lack of transparency that is frustrating to parents. To some, it feels like a Kangeroo court.


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