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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:45 am 
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I have just been reading last years review/appeal messages and threads.

Am I right in saying that last year the non qualification appeals were separate from the over subscription appeals and held before them? Did each school therefore have two potential appeals per child?

This year is a merged appeal, which may result in a long delay in finding out if the qualification part was successful, not the five days of last year, but until all the appeals have been heard and a decision has been made on each case. I hope to think they will break fown the two elements in the decision letter....but who knows as imo it is all a bit blurry.

This will sound daft, but surely this does not account for people who just wish to appeal on non qualification and go on the waiting list as soon as possible if successful. Also it puts those appealing just on oversubscription at a big advantage, as they are already on waiting lists whilst they are waiting for all hearings to be completed.

I feel that I will be asking questions about this in our personal appeal, that I should have the answers to beforehand.

Is there someone somewhere I could write to, ring, or e mail to get answers now?

I know there are very few who needed to go to an iap without submitting a review....mostly those who were seeking clarification of medical conditions or who felt they really needed to speak to someone, but I do feel we are being given a bit of a dud hand, by not having separate qualification appeals.

I sincerely apologise if this sounds v grumpy, I have got a tummy upset and a splitting headache (dehydration) so probably should not be seen, heard or read in public at the moment. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:11 am 
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Hi SB3,

It is frustrating isn't it and the waiting makes it all the harder to deal with. I share your frustration that those already on the waiting list may get a place in subsequent allocation rounds whilst we are still waiting for the appeals to go through.

I have consoled myself, however, by thinking that whilst disagreeable it is fair that those who have passed the 11 plus (or selection review) should be put in a better position compared to those of us still trying to prove qualification. (They may have their own extenuating circumstances but have managed to pass anyway.)

I can imagine how aggrieved I would feel if I had been told that dd had passed but because we didn't live close to the school I'd have to wait for a place until decisions had been made about applications from those who had not passed the 11 plus.

I'm also imagining that many people waiting for places on the list are also appealing as well (that was certainly the case last year). If they get a place in the meantime then they withdraw their appeal and the balancing argument for oversubscription gets a little bit easier for those still appealing.

I agree that the procedure is unfair this year, but then again it was unfair last year (for those on the waiting list) and there will always be an element of injustice while there is more demand than there are available places.

Chin up - you're on the home straight now. Wishing you success!


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:32 am 
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Quote:
I can imagine how aggrieved I would feel if I had been told that dd had passed but because we didn't live close to the school I'd have to wait for a place until decisions had been made about applications from those who had not passed the 11 plus.


Not really, as all of those in catchment have been allocated their local grammar school.
All those that put a viable option on their caf have been allocated a place.
All the grammars are great schools, there is very little to choose between them once you have logistics out of the way.

Allowing waiting lists to go past the fourth round whilst people are still waiting to appeal on non qualification almost feels like they have made the administrational assumption there will be no other children wanting to join the list following success at proving academic ability. The paperwork did not say you had the right to request an iap for non qualification but the outcome would not be known until all normal places at the school had been fully allocated!

Anyway, all hypothetical, as we have a long journey ahead to prove academic ability in the first place.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:37 am 
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Hi SB3

I'm at work at the moment, but I will try and help later in the day.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 12:39 pm 
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purplerabbit wrote:
The paperwork did not say you had the right to request an iap for non qualification but the outcome would not be known until all normal places at the school had been fully allocated!



The Buckinghamshire slide presentation Moving up to Secondary School in September 2014 did say, in bullet point format, " - possible to go straight to appeal, - appeal still heard after 3 March, - You would have to prove academic potential AND (their emphasis not mine) why a place should be offered above number, - Most schools will already be full by then."

Also, the admission Policy for SWBGS says something similar. It says "After all places have been allocated, parents will be entitled to make representations to an Independent Appeal Panel if their child has been refused admission because the school is full. " It goes on to say "An Independent Appeal Panel hearing will not ordinarily carry out a full review of pupil's capacity to pass the selection test as that process should take place at the Selection Review."

It does rather imply, wrongly, that if you do not qualify you should go for Selection Review as you don't have a right of appeal unless the school is full anyway.

These were two of the reasons why we went for the Selection Review in the first place as I was afraid that we wouldn't have a chance at hearing even if we proved academic ability. I accept that I was wrong but I do feel a bit misled.

I totally agree that out of catchment is a real problem and it's difficult to accept children being bused in from miles away when you are likely to prove that you are eligible for a place and would have expected to get one.

I share your frustration completely, I'm just trying to find reasons to explain the process that I can live with :?


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 1:01 pm 
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Quote:
The Buckinghamshire slide presentation Moving up to Secondary School in September 2014 did say, in bullet point format, " - possible to go straight to appeal, - appeal still heard after 3 March, - You would have to prove academic potential AND (their emphasis not mine) why a place should be offered above number, - Most schools will already be full by then."



My head is going round in circles here, fine, it says, and we fully understood that the school would be "full" but my definition of "normal" places do become available in subsequent allocation rounds in some schools. That is the element that I cannot understand, why they cannot make the qualification decisions first and if successful stick you on a waiting list, whilst you and all the other appellants wait for the all the simple over subscription appeals to be completed for the school.

Thanks Etienne....earn your money, you will need to buy a jolly good drink by the time you have finished mopping all our whingeing brows, wish I could buy one for you. You are very patient and lovely.

Hey you never know....They may get the whole thing done and dusted in one day. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:45 pm 
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No easy answers, I'm afraid, SB3, but a few observations below.

southbucks3 wrote:
I have just been reading last years review/appeal messages and threads.

Am I right in saying that last year the non qualification appeals were separate from the over subscription appeals and held before them? Did each school therefore have two potential appeals per child?
Yes. They had to get over the first hurdle in order to attempt the second.

southbucks3 wrote:
This year is a merged appeal, which may result in a long delay in finding out if the qualification part was successful, not the five days of last year
In theory, yes - but not everything went smoothly last year. There were delays. I'll come back to this point.

southbucks3 wrote:
I hope to think they will break down the two elements in the decision letter....but who knows as imo it is all a bit blurry.
Having seen decision letters in other areas (where it is the norm for qualification and oversubscription to be dealt with at the same hearing), they do not release decisions until the very end of the process, and they do not always break down the two elements.
For example, see here.

However, my guess is that the Appeals Team will try and provide a clear breakdown.

What makes things even more complicated in Bucks is that the grammar schools have thrown FCO into the mix on top of everything else! (As far as I'm aware, they didn't have to do this - they could simply have declined to provide any evidence for FCO, as happens in other parts of the country.)

Last year it looks as if Appeals tried to circumvent some of the problems, but this led to other difficulties:

  • delays caused by the constant repetition of FCO arguments:
    Quote:
    We went for our IAP today and were told that because two cases in the morning had been ''extremely complicated', they had overrun to such a degree that our session (and others) would need to be postponed for 30 days!
    (See here.)

  • by having two separate appeals, the whole process spanned such a length of time that the Appeals Code was breached:
    Quote:
    I re-read the appeals code today and note that it says that appeals MUST be held within 40 days of the deadline for submission date. I called the appeals team to check if this is likely to happen and they confirmed that they will not meet that requirement.
    (See here.)

  • there has also to be a big question mark about whether the Code was breached with regard to:
    Quote:
    A panel hearing multiple appeals must not make decisions on any of those appeals until all the appeals have been heard.

So - not only does the Appeals system have to clear up the mess created by reviews - it has to do it within tight legal and practical constraints.

This 'overload' is what I was warning about as far back as 23rd March 2012:
      Etienne wrote:
      It seems likely that there will be a significant knock-on effect in the summer term - each statutory appeal for any particular grammar school might have to deal simultaneously with selection as well as oversubscription, and could take twice as long.
      (See here.)

southbucks3 wrote:
Is there someone somewhere I could write to, ring, or e mail to get answers now?
The authoritative source of information for how appeals are organised is the Appeals Team.

      (Note that the Appeals Team are only responsible for BCC appeals. We know of two grammar schools which are running their own appeals - shamefully, in my view, in the light of what the chair of the AJTC (Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council) has written:
      "In the case of schools/academies that are their own admission authorities, it is unsatisfactory that Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools and academies run their own appeal panels. Full independence needs to be ensured, following the principle of natural justice that no-one should judge her/his own case.
      ")

Although you could ask the Appeals Team about the way in which BCC appeals are being organised, they of course have nothing to do with the waiting list. Nor are they to blame for the overlapping problems - as far as I can see, they are doing their level best to clear up the mess created by the grammar schools.

You could discuss waiting lists with Admissions - but they only handle administration on behalf of the grammar schools.

Meanwhile the grammar schools are well away from the firing line, with no local accountability.

I've written elsewhere about what happened last year when a forum member sent a policy query about the admissions process to Admissions. Weeks went by, and there was no response. When he chased up Admissions, he was told "Oh - we sent it on to the school. Haven't they replied?"

At least in the days when the LA was in charge, you knew where to go to - and you could complain to your county councillor if there was a problem!

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 7:26 am 
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Thank you for your very detailed response Etienne. I have to say I feel totally demoralised by the proposed procedure, also cross with myself for making the assumption the procedure would be the same as last year.

I shall now go away and think of every conceivable reason why we want him at his local catchment school with his bruv, there are many, some personal but I just thought them so trite I was not going to include them. I realise now I will have to pull out every stop. There is in my opinion no academic reason for wanting one of the bucks grammar schools over another and sport, like music or plays can easily be satiated outside of school so that is irrelevant too. I suppose I shall have to show how the school will suit him better than his local upper, something I wished to avoid to be honest.

Hey ho, meeting at the upper next week, hopefully good.


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 8:47 pm 
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Quote:
Thank you for your very detailed response Etienne. I have to say I feel totally demoralised by the proposed procedure, also cross with myself for making the assumption the procedure would be the same as last year.
It's perfectly understandable that one would think that.

We were a bit cautious on here - both in March 2013 and in March this year - because we knew it would be a nightmare, however the appeals were organised.

In March 2013 EmzMum was shocked to discover there would be two appeals! I replied:
Quote:
In fact, in section (d) at the beginning of this thread, we said that there will be three hurdles to overcome - 'fair, consistent & objective', selection, and (where applicable) oversubscription. See the summary in (d)11.

What we didn't know (until you told us!) is how in practice it would be organised. In theory, all three parts could have been heard separately - or they could have been heard at one and the same time (which is why we advised taking the precaution of addressing the possible issue of oversubscription by including reasons for wanting a place).
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=31030&p=373557#p373557

In March 2014, D11 became D10, but our advice remained the same:
Quote:
Last - but not least - you ought to give good reasons for wanting or needing a place at the school you're appealing for.
• See: Reasons for wanting a place.
• This may or may not prove to be necessary, but you ought to be prepared and to provide any relevant evidence in advance.
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=36418

Quote:
..... why we want him at his local catchment school with his bruv
Most of the other appellants are unlikely to have a sibling link! :)
I would make as much of this as you can .....

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 9:12 pm 
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Quote:
Most of the other appellants are unlikely to have a sibling link! :)
I would make as much of this as you can .....



They completely adore one another, his big brother supports him in every element of his life, he was devastated that his little brother would not be joining him, ds2 has been counting down the days to when he can be at school with his big bruv. etc etc bla bla :wink: (when they are not fighting, moaning, or scoring points off one another..Shhhhh!) :lol:

Seriously though, thank you for the heads up Etienne, I am sure we can think of some good reasons why the brothers should be at school with one another. Tbh I think having his little brother at school with him would bring out ds1's more mature caring side and help him bond a bit more with middle son, it would unquestionably benefit both of them.

I guess no appeal system will be perfect, the perfect solution would have been they achieved 121 back in October...but time does seem to drag at the moment.


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