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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:22 pm 
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Our daughters sat entrance exams in VR, NVR, English and Maths for St Michael’s just over a week ago.

Today we all received letters saying:

“A number of parents have expressed concerns about the possibility of some candidates having had prior access to the English and Verbal Reasoning papers. I can confidently assure you that we have investigated this in detail and have found no breach of the security of our testing regime. Nevertheless, in the light of concerns expressed by some candidates’ parents and to ensure confidence in the selection procedure, we have decided to use the results of only the Non-Verbal Reasoning and Mathematics papers to award places at St Michael’s for the forthcoming year.â€


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:31 pm 
I have followed your thread on the Herts forum and my first reaction is one of disbelief that SM would consider taking only 2 papers' scores to allocate places.

I'm not a professional or have any interest in SM but if it was my child sitting the tests, I would be very concerned.

You have a number of very valid concerns and the only fair way would be to push for a whole set of tests. The school has to bear the expense. It is bad enough there is all this extra stress for the girls(to sit another exam) and the parents(who need to know every step of the selection was fair).

It would be disastrous to lose a place and never know if it was because the repeat tests content were the problem!!

It is a mess and I hope they can sort it quickly out for everyone's sake.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:35 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
A school must follow its published admissions policy when allocating places, so if that policy states that applicants will be assessed on the results of all four exams then that is what should happen. The school will be open to great problems at appeal time if it has not followed its own admissions criteria as published in April.

I am not sure where St Michael's is and assume it is a foundation school. I think in the first instance it would be wise to write to the school governors and to the Local Authority admissions department questioning the legality of this decision.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:46 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
Sorry, just caught up with the Herts thread. What an awful mess. Hope there is some swift and fair resolution.

"If it is clear that the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented, then the panel must uphold the appeal." (School Admission Appeals Code of Practice)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:04 am 
Some background information:

The problem is that many Herts and N. London schools took on Moray House Verbal Reasoning Papers in lieu of NFER.

These papers were written between 1985 and 1997 (to the best of my knowledge) by University of Edinburgh. However in 1997 NFER came along and Moray lost their market place.

Another publishing house bought the rights to these papers and have for years sold these to the public and many tutors stock-piled these.

In the last two years, with kids preparing really well for NFER papers, Herts have looked for alternatives and sourced these papers.

Although as a consequence these papers were withdrawn from the shops they are still available in overseas websites; furthermore schools and tutor groups can also buy them at will direct from the publishers. Hence the above problems.

Last year Watford Grammar (and the consortium) had many parents complaining however it did not stop them using similar papers again this year.

So the kids who were tutored in Herts (ie the bigger centres who ordered the Moray House papers) shone whereas the rest were disadvantaged again this year.

You may be interested in the following discussion in the Warks section concerning Moray House.

viewtopic.php?t=2285&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:36 am 
I had the same problem four years ago, when my child sat entrance tests for a school in Herts, a child put his hand up before the VR test and said that he had practiced on the same paper at his private primary school (now known to be only 2 miles from the secondary school in question). I understand from the tutor that both my child and the boy in question attended that it was used as a mock paper the week before the real entrance tests and that other Moray House papers were used for prepartion over years 5 and 6.

Again, parents complained, but Moray House papers have apparently been used for the subsequent four years.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:13 pm 
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The two guests above - you both say that parents complained. But did the schools in question do anything about the complaint? What happened to the boy who raised his hand and said he had seen it before? Did he still sit the paper and was his mark still counted?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:26 pm 
The school did not do anything about it. The boy who raised his hand is currently at the school.

Moray House papers are still be used for the entrance tests. The private school in question continues to prepare children as before.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:32 am 
Alex wrote:
Sorry, just caught up with the Herts thread. What an awful mess. Hope there is some swift and fair resolution.

"If it is clear that the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented, then the panel must uphold the appeal." (School Admission Appeals Code of Practice)

That sentence (in 3.2a) continues: "except where a significant number of children are affected and the admission of all of them would cause serious prejudice." (That refers to prejudice to the efficient provision of education.) That is very likely to be the case here.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:37 am 
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Just to be clear - paragraph 3.2a is from the new Code of Practice, which comes into force next March. [edited ..... to be more precise, it comes into force in January but applies to appeals in respect of decisions on admission communicated on or after 1 March 2008.]

This is not to say that it would be plain sailing if any appeals were heard under the current Code .......

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