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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:57 pm 
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Hello,
I'm preparing an oversubscription appeal for our local GS. I've read the Q&As which are really very useful. I'm not optimistic as the success rate for the school in recent years seems to be zero, but I feel I have to try anyway.

My question relates specifically to whether or not I should include my Dd's Individual Education Plan as part of my evidence for educational need for a place at the school in question. The IEP was written specifically due to her level of ability making it difficult for her needs to be met within the general classroom. On the one hand I think it is useful for evidencing need for a selective environment - but my worry is whether the panel may take the alternative view that a selective school isn't particularly necessary if her needs can be met in any setting so long as she has an IEP.

I'd be very grateful for your thoughts!

(Btw I realise I need to go further than proving need for a GS and need to prove why this particular GS, it's just the IEP question I'm wondering about currently) Many thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:09 pm 
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I would include it. It gives evidence as to how reasonable adjustments are made for your child and how with them, they do well. Yours will unlikely be the only one at a grammar with an IEP.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:49 pm 
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Welcome to Appeals! :)

If this is to be part of the case against oversubscription, then I think you should only include the IEP if it is relevant to your reasons for wanting a place at the school.

Have you met the SENCO?

If so, would you be in a position to argue at your appeal: "I've met with the school's SENCO, discussed the IEP, and was encouraged and reassured by what the school can offer. Having looked into a number of schools, I feel this would be the right one for my child."
(You may have to go into more detail to explain why!)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:30 pm 
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Thanks for your replies Etienne & Atilla

If this is to be part of the case against oversubscription, then I think you should only include the IEP if it is relevant to your reasons for wanting a place at the school.


The IEP isn't central to my case, though it is of relevance in that it is another piece of evidence I'm hoping will show a need for a selective education - though perhaps more by inference than anything more conclusive. I suppose I was thinking of including it more as an additional piece of evidence to add to the rest in the hope of providing an overall totality of evidence that may be convincing as a whole. But then I started wondering whether I should maybe leave it out if it could actually work against my case. I'm having a hard time working out if it would help or hinder my argument as I think depending on the Panel's view it could strengthen or weaken my case.

Have you met the SENCO?

I did meet the SENCo and discuss the issues concerning my Dd, but only at a completely manic open evening 18 months ago when I was initially visiting schools to try to consider which school might be right for her (I visited 10 schools by myself when she was in year 5 so anxious was I to try to get an understanding of how the schools differed in what they could offer/how my Dd might be in each environment). I was reassurred by the SENCos responses to my questions, but really doubt she would remember me amongst all the other prospective parents. Do you think this matters so long as I can state what the school offers that I think meets her needs better than any others?

If so, would you be in a position to argue at your appeal: "[i]I've met with the school's SENCO, I discussed the IEP, and was encouraged and reassured by what the school can offer. Having looked into a number of schools, I feel this would be the right one for my child."
(You may have to go into more detail to explain why!)[/quote]
[/i]

I think I could argue this if I could get a grip on my nerves enough to actually list specifics rather than waffle on nervously!

I think I need to follow your advice in the Q&As to bullet point my argument - then maybe I'll be clearer on what the IEP adds to my case - or whether all of the same points can be made without reference to it.

Thank you so much for your comments


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:15 am 
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Quote:
The IEP isn't central to my case, though it is of relevance in that it is another piece of evidence I'm hoping will show a need for a selective education - though perhaps more by inference than anything more conclusive.
If your child has qualified, then you shouldn't be putting forward a case for selective education!

The only issue is "Why this particular school?"
You need to be absolutely clear about this!
Otherwise the arguments will be 'muddled'.

Quote:
I suppose I was thinking of including it more as an additional piece of evidence to add to the rest in the hope of providing an overall totality of evidence that may be convincing as a whole.
But what is it you're setting out to prove? :?
There is only one issue to be addressed, namely reasons for wanting a place at this school!
The "totality of the evidence" should support those specific reasons alone.

Quote:
I was reassurred by the SENCos responses to my questions, but really doubt she would remember me amongst all the other prospective parents. Do you think this matters so long as I can state what the school offers that I think meets her needs better than any others?
I can't see the SENCO being involved in the appeal, so it's unlikely to matter if she doesn't remember you.

I'm not sure that a hurried conversation at an open evening is ideal, though.
Did you really have time to show her the IEP and go through it?

It would be better to make an appointment with her to discuss it.
Then you could tell the appeal panel you've had two meetings! :)
And you could be in a position to show them the IEP and say "This is what we discussed - and I was reassured and encouraged by everything I heard."

Quote:
Do you think this matters so long as I can state what the school offers that I think meets her needs better than any others?
It probably depends how much substance there is to the arguments, and how well they stand up to scrutiny ......

One of our forum members had in-depth discussions with the SENCOs of at least three schools some years ago, and was well-prepared for an appeal:
      "When looking at schools I did a lot of research, met with the SENCO at each school, and asked a lot of questions. Our catchment [non-selective] school were not able to tell me they would be able to stretch him intellectually, while supporting his other needs. So there was no way he was going to go there! I then went to another secondary which is out of catchment but not far away and they were much better and more supportive. The Grammar school he is going to is the school that everyone told me I needed to get him into (apparently it has an excellent reputation with boys with AS) ........"

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:57 pm 
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Oh dear, I think I am getting muddled. It’s difficult to explain my reasoning without going into the background really. In essence, even though Dd has qualified, I thought including evidence re ability would help argue need as the evidence could reasonably suggest one would have expected her to score much more highly and thus gain a place automatically, and further, that she actually needs the more challenging learning environment. I’ve sent more details to the Appeals box – if there’s any chance you have the time / are willing to have a quick look I’d be really grateful for your thoughts on whether I’m going about this in completely the wrong way. Feeling rather hopeless at the moment. :(


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:17 pm 
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Thanks, semb - I now understand what it is you're setting out to prove.

It's a bit complicated, isn't it? :)
My only concern is the clarity of the case.

As far as possible, the evidence needs to speak for itself, so your written case should be as concise as possible, referring to the attached evidence.

The EP report sounds significant - I suggest you highlight the main points you want to draw the panel's attention to (by underlining, not by using a highlighter).

Any supporting evidence from the current school could also be very useful.

I'd be interested in whether you can distill your key points down to half-a-page, using bullet points (the fewer, the better)?
If you want to post them here, or send in via the Appeals Box, I'll have a look. Then we can review.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:58 pm 
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Thank you so much for reading the background Etienne - I find it hard to be concise about the whole history leading up to where we are currently.

I've tried to bullet point the key points (think it's just over half a page) and have sent it to the appeals box. I'm hoping I've understood what you meant.

On the one hand I can see it's a lot more succinct, but on the other I wonder if it needs any more detail / history / interpretation to put the arguments in context - I'm sorry I know this is a point you are asked to address again and again on the forum.

Or is the general idea to list the pure facts and evidence on the appeal form and then add the historical/emotional/human aspects in the Appeal hearing itself to contextualise the evidence? (presuming my area isn't one that only gives you 15 minutes for the whole hearing!)

Given all of the background do you still think I ought to try to talk with the SENCo and include the IEP or are these of lesser importance than the school letter and EP report?

I really am so very grateful for your input


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:57 pm 
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semb wrote:
I've tried to bullet point the key points (think it's just over half a page) and have sent it to the appeals box.
It looks fine to me!

There's no way of predicting the outcome
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c20
but - as I now read it - it's a case that deserves very serious consideration.

Quote:
On the one hand I can see it's a lot more succinct, but on the other I wonder if it needs any more detail / history / interpretation to put the arguments in context - I'm sorry I know this is a point you are asked to address again and again on the forum.
No - you're at great risk of drowning the panel in too much detail. Best not to alienate them!

Quote:
Or is the general idea to list the pure facts and evidence on the appeal form and then add the historical/emotional/human aspects in the Appeal hearing itself to contextualise the evidence? (presuming my area isn't one that only gives you 15 minutes for the whole hearing!)
Although your written submission is clear and concise (if you keep to it!), your written case as a whole is going to be very lengthy when all the evidence is included. The panel are already going to be exhausted from reading a case that is some 10 times longer than average.

If you really want my advice ..... [gulp] ..... spare the panel all the historical/emotional/human aspects, and just spend two or three minutes at the hearing reminding them of 5-10 essential bits of evidence that you've highlighted.

If they want to know more, they'll ask!

The way forward is:
      • Highlight the key points in the evidence. Don't overdo it - don't include any marginal or insignificant points.
      • Narrow down all your key points to no more than 10 essential points, and plan a 2-3 minute presentation accordingly.
      • Plan a short summing up:
      http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c32

Quote:
Given all of the background do you still think I ought to try to talk with the SENCo and include the IEP or are these of lesser importance than the school letter and EP report?
Not sure about the IEP - I'd probably need to see it.

I do think you should meet the SENCo as it might add even more weight to your case.
(You're allowed one more bullet point! :))

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:58 am 
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Quote:
There's no way of predicting the outcome but - as I now read it - it's a case that deserves very serious consideration.
Thank you Etienne, that comment really means a lot to me - I know our chances are extremely low given the school's dire appeal success rate but at least I can tell myself I've given it my best shot in trying to cover all the bases.

Quote:
No - you're at great risk of drowning the panel in too much detail. Best not to alienate them!
Oh dear, I fear this is what I do with people all the time- I think I'm giving a "full" answer when really I'm going overboard!

Quote:
Although your written submission is clear and concise (if you keep to it!), your written case as a whole is going to be very lengthy when all the evidence is included. The panel are already going to be exhausted from reading a case that is some 10 times longer than average.
Goodness, I had no idea mine was so much longer than average - I just assumed all appeals came with lots of evidence attached!

Quote:
If you really want my advice ..... [gulp] ..... spare the panel all the historical/emotional/human aspects, and just spend two or three minutes at the hearing reminding them of 5-10 essential bits of evidence that you've highlighted. If they want to know more, they'll ask!
Ok, I think I really will need to practise sticking to the key points and only embellishing if asked given my tendency to go the other way. The trouble is when I'm nervous I tend to ramble on and on. I suppose practising is the only way round this...and taking deep breaths...and maybe biting my tongue...

Quote:
The way forward is:
      • Highlight the key points in the evidence. Don't overdo it - don't include any marginal or insignificant points.
      • Narrow down all your key points to no more than 10 essential points, and plan a 2-3 minute presentation accordingly.
      • Plan a short summing up:
      http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... school#c32
Thank you for this - I shall really try to follow.

Quote:
Not sure about the IEP - I'd probably need to see it. I do think you should meet the SENCo as it might add even more weight to your case. (You're allowed one more bullet point! :))
I'm getting cold feet about the IEP as in truth it has made little difference, I think maybe I could just ask the school to include the fact one exists in their letter rather than submitting the document itself, and maybe taking a copy with me if they ask. Hmmm not sure though.

I rang the school this morning to request a meeting with the SENCo - I was expecting to be fobbed off but surprisingly this didn't happen. Am waiting on an email from the SENCo to see if at least a phonecall is possible of not a meeting. Maybe once I've had the conversation I'll be clearer about whether the IEP bit is of use.

Thank you again, I had no idea how stressful this would be - how anyone ever succeeds at appeal without additional help in preparing their case I don't know!


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