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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:18 pm 
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Hello everyone,

I have been reading with interest the considerable amounts of good advice posted in this forum and have finally plucked up the courage to post myself.

Well done to all the posters for making this such a good resource!

We have an appeal hearing on Tuesday and are getting more and more anxious with each passing day.

My son achieved results of 119 and 115 in the tests. The 115 was achieved even though he did not finish the paper.

He was ranked 5 by his headteacher in original Order of Suitability, received a 2:2 recommendation . The headteachers report is all positive.

5 Children passed from the original Order of suitability as follows:
Ranking VRTS htr/att
1 - 118 1/1
2 - 128 2/1
3 - 123 2/1
4 - 128 2/1
5 - 119 2/2 - My son
6 - 123 2/2
7 - 141 2/2
8 - 141 2/2

He has been predicted all 5s for his SATs
His reading age Oct2007 was 15:0 and his spelling age 12+.

He achieved in Feb2007 Cats scores of V=118, NV=117, Q=124.

He was in top 25% of class for Maths and next 25% for English.

We submitted details of extenuating circumstances, but there was no documentary evidence to support this.

Can any one advise me on whether this is a good case and what I should be emphasise at the appeal.

Any advice gratefully received.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8204
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Tiger

Welcome to the Forum.

That sounds like a good case in general - the usual array of very good points and a few weaker spots. Many cases tend to be like that, particularly with boys. :roll:

The Head's OoS isn't perfect, but I have seen far worse. Your son is the first 2:2 ranking, which helps and pretty well surrounded by passes, which is good. 119/115 isn't a bad starting point either. It is worth mentioning that your son did not finish the 115 paper, becuse that will help to explain away the discrepancy between the two scores. That is something that panels are always looking for.

The CAT scores are solid, the reading and spelling ages very good.

A good Appeal is 90%+ academic evidence, and you must focus on that.

The extenuating circumstances do not necessarily have to be documented and on 119 the panel will not be looking for a great deal on that. Underplay them if anything - the panel can always ask for more information if they feel they need it. (You can PM me to discuss that part of the case if you wish.)

An issue that I think the panel are likely to pick up on is "next 25% for English", so some good school reports combined with the reading and spelling ages would help to offset that.

I would also highlight to the panel any very positive comments in the Head's report and his school reports. Panels like to hear words such as "extremely strong", "very able", rather than more mediocre terminology.

Good luck!
Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Sally-Anne wrote:
The CAT scores are solid, the reading and spelling ages very good
....
The extenuating circumstances do not necessarily have to be documented and on 119 the panel will not be looking for a great deal on that.


On my panel, we'd like to see at least a letter from a doctor if the extenuating circumstances are medical (but would/could not demand it); however for, say, relationship problems, we'd be fine with word of mouth. We would possibly pry & delve a little so that we could be satisfied that we were being told the truth, not exaggerated (or under-emphasised as also often happens). It certainly isn't for our own tittilation!

We do get people attempting to pull a fast one over us, but we're quite good at spotting that (at least we are with the ones we spot :shock: ), and likewise at getting parents to tell us things that they didn't think were important.

I'm referring to appeal in Goucestershire, not your area, but generally the more evidence you can give to the panel, be it written or verbal, the better.

It does sound like a good case on the academic side alone. If you want to run the other side by me, please PM.

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Capers


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7061
Welcome, Tiger!

I tend to agree with the comments from Sally-Anne and Capers.

Your son is well-placed on the OoS, which, apart from the blip at no. 1, is quite accurate (in percentage terms).

The CAT VR is a bit lower than a panel would like to see. Very good reading age.

The significance of which quartile your son is in for English and Maths depends entirely on whether it's an able year group or not.

As Sally-Anne suggests, there tend to be positive comments ...... and positive comments! - I hope yours include the high academic ability/potential variety!

Difficult to decide how strong your overall case is without a little more information, including the extenuating circumstances (with 119/115 you have a bit more explaining to do than someone with 119/119!). You might like to take up the generous offers of a discussion via PM.

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Etienne


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 Post subject: Great advice - thanks
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:55 pm
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With the sort of good advice and information you guys are giving I'm starting to feel optimitistic again.

Thank you all! :D


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 Post subject: 25%
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 26
Location: Bucks
Tiger,

Our son was in second 25% for both English and Maths (head teacher report) but we made sure we had independent back up of his reading age and spelling score, the reading score was similar to yours (15+). We also made the point our son was in top sets and scored above average on reports etc. We didn't openly challenge the head teachers professional oppinion but the panel did question us about it and we answered honestly!

If anyone thinks I'm mad posting on the day we had a successfukl appeal, it's because following our 'spag bol' I've allowed our children to watch TV ( rare treat) and a topic in the 'everything else' forum. I personally hate telly and will celebrate more personally with my husband when the kids are in bed.


Back to Tiger's topic and S-A's advice - evidence is 90% of the task (in my opinion too). Good Luck

Dobby


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:09 pm 
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Hi Tiger,
Some of our appeal details were similar to yours - our son had VR CAT scores of 118 in Y5 and Y4. The LEA representative asked us to comment on these scores and I explained that the Y5 could be attributed to a personality clash with his Y5 teacher (thankfully, the head had hinted at this in her letter of support and I drew the panel's attention to it.) but the Y4 118 score I justified by stating that I had noticed that with my other two children their scores had improved year on year and that therefore 118 was not particularly low. The gratifying thing was that the ex-headteacher on the panel (I believe that all the panels have someone who has been part of the education system) nodded in agreement at this point! I notice that the CAT results you refer to are dated nearly a year ago so this may be appropriate in your case?

As for the lack of external verification for the mitigating circumstances - yes it would be ideal to have a doctor's letter or confirmation from some other independent witness but it is not always appropriate. In my son's case, our mitigating circumstances were not confirmed by anyone - just my letter to the headteacher and her reference to it in her letter of support. However, the good news is that our appeal was successful.

Unfortunately no-one's situation is entirely the same so it is difficult for you to assess your chances of success based on other cases but I know how desperately I tried to gauge it from everyone else's ....so in case it helps: our son scored 111/120, with a reading age of nearly 3 years above chronological age but no mention of a high spelling age as in your case. He was quoted as top 25% maths and English but this obviously depends very much on the ability of the year group.

I think your case looks pretty good and I wish you lots of luck and will be thinking of you. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8204
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Tiger

Some very helpful tips there by Lynsey and dobbyagain.

No two cases are the same, but the same themes do come up time and again.

For a score of 119 the chances of success at Appeal are 60%, based on last year's figures. So, better than 50/50 and well worth a go.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:55 pm
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Thanks for this support guys and I'm glad for Dobby and Lynsey that they managed to get the result they wanted. :P

I now have some good ideas for what I need to focus on for the presentation and things don't look quite so daunting.

Thanks Again

T.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7061
Quote:
our son had VR CAT scores of 118 in Y5 and Y4. The LEA representative asked us to comment on these scores

Unusual for the LA rep. to do this!

Quote:
their [CAT] scores had improved year on year .... the ex-headteacher on the panel nodded in agreement

This may have been true of Lynsey's other children, but I don't believe such a trend applies in general. With age-standardised CAT scores, I rarely saw any consistent pattern of year on year progression. And I'm sure I often nodded or smiled in response to an explanation, but it didn't necessarily mean agreement! :D

Quote:
no mention of a high spelling age as in your case.

Interestingly, panels seem to focus more on the reading age.

Now for some words of caution about extenuating circumstances. It may be unwise to generalise from the particular, especially when, in any individual case, one doesn't know precisely why a panel took the decision it did (unless the clerk's notes have been obtained).

If someone has Bucks scores of 120/119, I wouldn't have been too fussed about extenuating circumstances, but generally speaking, the further away from 121 you are, the more convincing you have to be. There really should be verification wherever possible, and for "ongoing" problems there ought to be confirmation from the school that routine work has been affected.

Having said that, I would much rather parents were honest about any lack of extenuating circumstances than that they talk endlessly about ailing grandparents in Scotland and how distraught and inconsolable little Johnnie has been for the past year (especially when little Johnnie is predicted level 5s!).

The rule is: when you're on weak ground, don't over-egg the pudding (or mix your metaphors :D). Better by far to say with maximum brevity "Perhaps xyz had some effect, but we don't really know what happened." Then let the panel draw out of you as much as they want and think relevant.

Just my view ......

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Etienne


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