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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:35 pm
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Hello,
my DD missed the 11+ by one mark. I have approached her current Head for a letter of support. She has replied to say that it is a long-standing policy of the school not to provide specific references for pupils seeking places in selective schools.

The current school has given me copies of
- CAT and KS2 profiles (above average)
- Year 6 interim report (English 5C, Maths 4A)
- Year 5 Summary report
- Year 5 Annual School Report

No reference to her reading age or SATs predictions, which I had requested.

I am not sure how to go about collecting further evidence. Should I ask for reading age and SATs predictions in March? Should I write to the English and Maths teachers directly? Any other suggestions?

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Hi Windsor Castle,

Welcome to the forum.

The usual advice is to provide as much evidence as possible. The type of evidence which may impress http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b11.

You are in a good position being only one mark short, but you should press the school to provide any information that may strengthen your case.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Just to add to Mitasol's helpful advice.

Some schools have a policy of zero co-operation, so it's of some relief that you've been given a certain amount of information!
They may, of course, be mindful that you have a legal right to anything on your child's school record, if you want to insist (by quoting the Data Protection Act).
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b20

Quote:
I am not sure how to go about collecting further evidence. Should I ask for reading age and SATs predictions in March?
I doubt that you can insist on SATs predictions - unless they happen to be in the school record (but I would have thought 'targets' more likely - any teachers reading this might be better placed to advise you what information is usually recorded).

Quote:
Should I write to the English and Maths teachers directly?
The likelihood is that they will be aware of school 'policy', and could potentially be put in a difficult position. It might be better to have a quiet word with them to see how co-operative they might be! You could start, for example, by simply asking the English teacher whether any reading tests have been done. If so, ask for a copy of the test details and result (this is a request for factual information, not a request for 'support'). If met with a refusal, you can - if you wish to pursue the matter - then submit a formal request under the Data Protection Act to the headteacher (strictly speaking it should be to the chair of governors, but the headteacher will do!).

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:32 pm 
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Etienne wrote:
It might be better to have a quiet word with them to see how co-operative they might be!


Thank you both for your replies. It may seem trivial, but I am not sure how to do this. There is no contact with the teachers at drop off or pick up. To speak to a teacher you have to call the school office and wait for the teacher to call you back, but of course you have to give a reason for your call, and if the teacher feels there is no need to discuss it further, the secretary will call you back herself to say so. There are no partens evenings schedules for the next few months, either. Any suggestions?

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:56 pm 
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What happens if you drop them a note? At our school all correspondence is viewed by the head I think, so a note like this to the teacher would still be one to the head ..... if you don't think the head will give any more info with a normal plea then you're going to have to look at the school record as Etienne suggests and see if has what you want on it - of course you might see some stuff on it that doesn't help your case.

How do appeal panels know that the stuff that is being given to them is genuine? Does it have to be on school headed notepaper? If the OP reads something useful on the school file, how do they present it to the appeal panel in such a way that they will know that it is true if it didn't come in the letter from the head?

You could also try getting an Ed Psych report if you think it would shine up well.

I can't see for the life of me why some heads are like this but some are, even in areas peppered with state grammars.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Location: Gloucestershire
mystery wrote:
How do appeal panels know that the stuff that is being given to them is genuine? Does it have to be on school headed notepaper?

Panels look at all evidence submitted, but it's down to them to decide how much weight to give to any one item. A letter on plain paper could be from anyone, or indeed, forged. Therefore a letter on headed notepaper will carry a lot more weight, be it from the head or the class teacher.

Quote:
I can't see for the life of me why some heads are like this but some are, even in areas peppered with state grammars.

I can. If a head writes a letter of support for one child, but not for another, the parents who were not supported may well be angry. What if they have a younger child at the school? What if they're a parent governor and want to get their own back? Some schools have a policy of supporting all appeals, but the letter is exactly the same for each child, so will prove pointless. Others do almost the same letter, but a panel may read through the lines and notice that one has slightly different wording - but even then parents may compare their appeal docs (leading to the same possible angry parent problem). The other option is to write no letters of support.

Panels are very well aware that many heads take that route and do not favour appeals who have said letters. Most useful to the panel are CAT scores, SAT scores, Reading Age (although different schools have different tests, so you may have a top score possible of 12 1/2 where another schools top score possible may be 15 years), and any other academic evidence (rather than 'Johnny works very hard in class'!).

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Yes, I take your point entirely. I was really thinking of heads who don't supply useful data, rather than ones who won't write a specific reference.

Then of course there is always the problem of Panels not necessarily understanding fully what is put in front of them in the way of data and reaching the wrong conclusion e.g. your reading age example. Different tests give different reading ages as well. It might be better to ask for the centile that tests put your child in and quote that instead.

If the school won't give further info, maybe a way to do it could be to request the school file the official way, then extract the data you want, and ask the school to confirm that your data extract is correct? This way you have the info you want, and the panel can see that your are not lying.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:45 am 
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Hi Windsor Castle,

I originally got the same response from the head and because somewhere on this forum "good supporting letter from existing head" appears at the very top of a list for evidence of academic achievement I was initially rather annoyed to put it mildly. I've had time to reflect and don't think this should go against you (or me!) as it's policy. That's better than the head saying they don't actually think the child is up to standard or producing a standard letter. I got in touch with his Y5 teacher who's on maternity leave, asked nicely (I didn't mention the policy!) and she wrote a very supportive letter. Your luck with that approach could vary.

I also asked the school for his records which are defined in law here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1437/made. Your right to access these records is in addition to any rights conferred under the DPA. Our local primary assess the children twice yearly and record sublevels and have been very helpful in providing me with copies of reports from Y2 to the present. The Pupil Information Regulations only requires schools to record major levels (ie just the digit not the letter) at the end of each year so you may not get so much detail as I did. You could ask for any other personal details held under the provisions of the DPA but I'm not sure if you'd get anything useful.

Formally the request should be directed to go to the chair of governors and you should be able to get an email address from the school website. Copy in the head as they will actually do the leg work!

Finally plenty of sources suggest that 2b at the end of Y2 and 4b at the end of Y6 "meets expectations" but that's not much use if you're trying to figure out where they rank in any given cohort. Whose expectations are they meeting? There's an article here which sheds some light
http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00198655/gibb-thousands-of-children-behind-in-the-3rs-by-age-seven Although this concentrates on those who don't meet expectations there's a table which shows that 84-85% of children "meet expectations". Where this is all going is my son has consistently been 2 or so sublevels "above expectations". That always seemed really good to me but 1 sublevel above expectations would probably only take you up to the average point. My opinion of him has been over-inflated by politicians don't want to admit (the blindingly obvious) that "half the children are below average achievers".

Good luck. :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:35 pm
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Hello All,

we intend to appeal agaisnt non-qualifiation for our DD (one mark away from a pass). As some of you might remember for my previous post, her current school has not been particularly helpuful in providing supportive evidence (school policy), and we are trying to supplement what we have with other documentation.

Our DD is bilingual and our first choice grammar school specialises in foreing languages, albeit the one my DD speaks is not taught at the school. I wonder if some evidence of proficiency in a foreing language would help her case?

Getting a formal qualification at this point in time would not be feasible (it would take far too long) so it would be a case of having her assessed by a language teacher. I am a little concerned this might be considered biased as I expect we will have to pay for this service.

Has anybody done this before? Any thoughts and comments much appreciated.

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:43 am 
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Sorry, but if this is a case of a child being naturally bi-lingual, I can't see that it would carry much weight in an appeal against non-qualification.

If it were a child who has learned a language the hard way, from scratch - and has a recognised qualification (the higher, the better) - that might have helped.

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