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 Post subject: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:44 am
Posts: 230
Our Appeal today was successful, 16 months after DD took the 11+

* First Appeal Failed

* Appeal was "investigated" by EFA, who spoke to the clerk and decided to take no action

* Complaint to EFA about their investigation was upheld and EFA agreed to re-open the case - This was a result of the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) compelling the school and clerk to release all the documentation associated with our case, using this information, we were able to proved that the proper proceedure had not been followed at the original case

* EFA found that the original appeal was not conducted correctly and ordered a new appeal

* Our Appeal was upheld today

The ultimate success was down to many factors, we had no professional advice, and put in a lot of work, however, this site did prove to be an invaluable source of information - and the recommendation to use the ICO so that we could obtain evidence was critical

The reason why we chose not to use any professional help was because "experts" were very familiar with the Ombudsman, however, as soon as it was apparent that the GS was an Academy and the EFA would handle the complaint, the general feedback was "you don't stand a chance".... actually you do stand a chance!

I will post a much long note describing how we dealt with the EFA, the ICO and the importance of knowing the School Admission Appeals Code 2012 (I could probably recite it now).

Today I am one very happy parent


Last edited by mattsurf on Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
Well done! It just shows what can be achieved by persistance.

When can your DD start at the school?


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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
Posts: 3445
Location: london
Congratulations mattsurf :D

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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:44 am
Posts: 230
Guest55 wrote:
When can your DD start at the school?


Immediately..... but logistically this is not practical, however, will be very soon


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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
That's great - let's hope the school bends over backwards to help her settle in :)


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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:44 am
Posts: 230
Guest55 wrote:
That's great - let's hope the school bends over backwards to help her settle in :)


Yes I am hoping that everyone is professional and is able to move on from this very difficult appeal; I am sure that the school found the process to be just as painful as we did


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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:44 am
Posts: 230
Lessons Learned - Part 1

I cannot stress how important it is to know the School Admission Appeals Code 2012.

No matter how strong you believe your case to be, you need present your case with direct reference to specific clauses in the appeal code. In our case, our DD became unwell during the 11+, there was no prior warning, but she did not tell the invigilating team. We followed the book on the day, we informed the school, we wrote a letter explaining the situation obtained a note from the doctor. Unfortunately, she failed the 11+ by 2 marks

In our original appeal, we did bring a letter from her school, together with predicted SATs, reading age, spelling age etc (we did not have and CATs). At the appeal, the school very effectively analysed DD's 11+ papers to demonstrate that she was not of sufficient academic ability - however, none of this forensic analysis had been provided to us ahead of the appeal (apparently they were contextualizing their case). The school also pointed out that there was lots of opportunity for DD to speak to a member of the invigilating team (There were specific reasons why this was not possible).

We were incredibly naive, we should have asked to stop the appeal when the school started to read out its "new" case - however, we did not and were therefore unable to question the school effectively about their case. At today's appeal we were much more effective in challenging the school's case. The appeal panel directed the questions exclusively towards the circumstances of the illness on the day; if we had known the code better we would have been able to point out that the current version of the code no longer refers to mitigating circumstances, however, the onus is to prove that there is sufficient academic evidence to demonstrate that the child is of grammar school ability. The original appeal panel did not want to talk about evidence of academic ability, even when we tried to engage them on the topic.

Ultimately, the reason given in the decision letter was that our DD had ample opportunity to talk to the invigilating staff, she did not demonstrate any particular strength in any subject (she missed the pass mark by 2 points), and that her 11+ mark indicated that she was not of a sufficient academic standard. Other evidence of academic ability, L5 and L6 predictions in SATs, L5 Sats at the end of yr5, reading age, spelling age etc, were all ignored.

Had we known the code, we would have raised a concern that the same panel had heard hearings for the school for many years (hence ceasing to be independent), we would have tied our case to specific sections of the code, we would have had it put on record that the panel did not follow the code by asking repeatedly about the illness and not about evidence of academic ability and we would have demanded more time to review the school's case.

One of the "Game Changers" that we missed was the examination timings. We did not ask for the event logs, or exam timings on the day; had we asked for these, we would have seen that the English paper had been stopped early by 1 to 2 minutes. Don't be embarrassed to ask to see details, no matter how strong you believe your case to be

Don't be bullied, if you are not comfortable with the way that the appeal is proceeding, ask for it to be adjourned or postponed, it is your right and the clerk must accommodate any reasonable request.

My final advice is possibly the most important. before you sit your appeal, contact the clerk with the following line:

"if the school intends to present or say anything that is not contained within the case that the school has already provided to us, please ensure that we have copies of the text or script ahead of the appeal"

We did this on our final appeal and were provided (very late) with some essential information


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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 2814
mattsurf,

It sounds like you have been through the mill and then some. I do hope that your DD is able to join her new school soon and settles quickly and successfully and you can all put this behind you.


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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Posts: 1046
Location: Buckinghamshire
mattsurf - great news, well done :)

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 Post subject: Re: Never Give Up
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8200
Location: Buckinghamshire
Congratulations, mattsurf! You really did take the system on here, and I am glad that you finally got justice for your daughter.

I hope you'll sort out the logistics soon and she will be very happy at her new school.


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