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 Post subject: Ombudsman route?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:39 pm 
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Location: bucks
This is probably up Sally-Anne's and Etienne's street.

Just got clerk's notes re our unsuccessful appeal - unanimous.

Basically under reasons for decision - enthusiastic learner, shows strong commitment in and out of school, very young in the year, appears to be a delightful girl with lots of interests and a ready willingness to learn. But despite HT support of appeal, the schoolwork did not demonstrate the academic rigour that is usually expected at gs entrance. Chair: "I am sure as her work develops further as a young student she will progress enough to consider entry at a later date".

BUT Our appeal was based on her being such a high achiever in a very high performing year group despite being so young (She is youngest girl in class), which was in itself based on the fact that the head had excellent judgement as evidenced by her excellent results re OoS. She was the first one to fail, ranked ninth (2.1), with 3 below her passing out of the 16 ranked 1 and 2.

We wanted to establish this right at the beginning, so under the LEA rep section he said she was ninth on OoS, 35 in group, 11 got 121+.

We asked him if the OoS was reliable.

He said there are no number 3s.

We said "from how we looked at it it is 70% accurate".

Also on record is that we mentioned that 30% of the year group passed, but our daughter is in the top 25% for maths and English (hence she is in a high performing year group).

But on the Chairman's summary form it said she was 9th on OoS, 16 took, 11passed.

This is plainly wrong!

Have had confirmed by school today that out of a class of 35, 32 took the exam and none below the head's level 2 passed.

Head phoned me up today (at home - son ill) and said she did not give any children a level 3 because she has excellent judgement,. She thinks we would have a good case to go to Ombudsman because the LEA or the panel have misinterpreted the information (which has undermined her judgement - and surely 9th out of 32 is better than 9th out of 16?). She also said that although she would never attend an 11+ appeals hearing, she would certainly want to help us with anything and would WILLINGLY go to an ombudsman appeal.

Is it worth a go?

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dejavu


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:54 pm 
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Dear dejavu

A number of points:

Good to hear the head is being supportive, but there's no such thing as an "ombudsman's appeal". Complaints to the ombudsman are usually dealt with by correspondence. If your complaint were to succeed, and you were granted a re-hearing in front of a different BCC panel, then the head could turn up to support you at that point in time.

The test for a complaint is whether there were errors at the hearing, and those errors were so significant as to cause an injustice.

The chair's summing up and the decision making have to be looked at together, and it's rather difficult to advise you without seeing exactly what the clerk wrote down.

The OoS looks fine to me, and, as I said before, your daughter is well-positioned.

I'm not so sure that a pass rate of 11/32, or 11 out of a class of 35, really helps you. The class pass rate is below the Bucks average! I know you introduced evidence that this is a high performing school, but it's not clear to me what the evidence is that this is a high performing year group.

I was perhaps more concerned about the statement "the schoolwork did not demonstrate the academic rigour that is usually expected at gs entrance". If tnis refers to schoolwork that you submitted for inspection, could the above conclusion be reasonably based on the teacher's marks/comments?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:59 pm 
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And I thought the panel were not meant to judge the standard of any submitted work - they are not expert in assessment!


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 Post subject: Ombudsman route?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:26 pm 
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The class pass rate was 34% - surely that is not below the Bucks average.Also, this meant that her being in the top 25% for English and maths was an indicator of ability.

The head would come to a reappeal.

The notes do not show their decision making process as I am sure you are well aware.

The panel have had this info for a week - so why was it misinterpreted? Also, when the LEA rep said there were no 3s - it could have put doubt in the minds of the panel about the head's judgement eg perhaps some of the 2s were really 3s, which could have given a different outlook on daughter's OoS. The panel did not question the fact that there were no 3s.

If the panel had got hold of the wrong end of the stick on this point, then what is to say that they may have made misjudgements on other matters eg. standard of schoolwork? In the summary sheet they did not say what the schoolwork was. They spent 11 minutes looking at that and the certificates and Ofsted report and that the school had been high performing for at least the last four years (well above Bucks average).

The books that we included were good -very well presented, merit marks, lots of comments - super work etc.

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dejavu


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 Post subject: Ombudsman route
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:50 pm 
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Actually, having thought about it a bit more, thank you for the last two posts raising the question of schoolwork.

There was no definition of "schoolwork" on the Chair's summary sheet.Could it mean everything they have read and looked at, or the stuff I showed at the end of the meeting which they only spent 11 minutes looking at?

All I can say is that under each panel member's reasons for decisions, they put:

"The standard of work seen did not convince me that she is yet suitable for gs".

"The work I saw indicates to me that she is still developing and has not yet reached the standard for gs entrance"

The school work as seen did not demonstrate the academic rigour that is usually expected at gs entrance".

I also understand that under the School Admission Appeals Code of Practice thate "the panel should not attempt to make its own assessment of a child's ability".

Therefore, could this be construed as "so significant as to cause an injustice"?

Help please.

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dejavu


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 Post subject: Ombudsman route?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:41 am 
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Having had a disturbed nights sleep tossing and turning and weighing up the pros and cons, have decided to take the panel's advice and "consider entry at a later date". We are more fortunate than some, in that we have a very good option for our daughter at a small, non-selective good school in the next country where she will be with other high achievers.

I don't normally like to admit defeat, but you have to be realistic about just how few appeals via the Ombudsman route are successful. All this stress is not doing anything for my health, particularly with my thyroid problems. So we will get on with our lives and then start preparing for the 12+ next year and hope we get the outcome that she deserves then! (Hope that one doesn't have to go to appeal!).

Wishing everyone else good luck, congratulations or commiserations

.

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dejavu


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:14 pm 
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Dear dejavu

For what it's worth, I think you're making the right decision in drawing a line under this for now. I'm glad your daughter has got a place at a good school, and hope that things goes well for you all when it comes time for the 12+.

Best wishes
Sharon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:40 pm 
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Dear dejavu

I think you might have grounds for a complaint, if you focused on the right issues.

You could try a quick complaint to BCC to see what happens, without necessarily going down the ombudsman route.

On the other hand, it's very understandable if you want to draw a line under everything.

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Etienne


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