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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:35 pm
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My son achieved a score of 240, well above the 220 pass mark, but was not offered a place at first choice of grammar school due to oversubscription. We live just outside the Designated Transport Area (although the school bus does start it's journey 50 yards from our house...). I imagine this by itself is not enough to base our appeal on so am looking for advice to strengthen our case. His clarinet teacher does not go to the offered school but does teach at our preferred school. Would it help to get a letter of support from him saying he wants to carry on teaching him (my son is a gifted musician and is being fast-tracked through the exam system)? He also plays in the jazz orchestra in the preferred school's locality and would have to leave that if unsuccessful as I would not be able to get him there.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
Hello flowerpower,

Which was your first choice school? The Community and Controlled schools dropped the designated transport area as an oversubsubscription criterion last year as it was felt it might fall foul of the Greenwich ruling in some areas. It was replaced with driving distance from the school. The foundation schools all have score order as part of their oversubscription criteria, some with priority areas as well, some without.

There are sometimes a few places freed up by those who do not accept their offered place and the second round of allocations will take place soon, so it is possible you could gain a place that way if you are not too far away. If you decide to go ahead with an appeal (and you have nothing to lose by doing so!) you will be told the distance from the school at which the last child to gain a place lives.

In an oversubscription appeal you can put forward any evidence and arguments which support your case for wanting a place at that particular school. The opportunities for music would be relevant and convenience of access also, particularly if the offered school was much harder to get to or would involve not being able to do after school activities or continue with established activities such as orchestra. You should look closely at what the schools offer in terms of curriculum and extra-curricular activities(Is there provision for gifted and talented in music? Do the schools offer "fast-track" music courses for the musically able? What bands, orchestras, music clubs do the schools have; how far does the curriculum meet your childs particular needs and interests; do the schools have a specialism which is relevant to your child's interests and talents eg performing arts; What about the other aspects of the curriculum?) If there are any social or medical reasons which make this the most suitable school for your child you should include these as well, backed up with appropriate evidence.

If you pm me I may be able to help with some more information specific to certain schools or at least point you in the right direction if that would be useful.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
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Location: Lincolnshire
Hello flowerpower,

Just a little information to add about Spalding Grammar as you told me that this was your preferred school. The school's website talks about its breadth of musical activities and says that its "reputation is enviable" in this field so there is a good match between your son's talents and what the school can offer. It would be helpful if your son's music teacher or current school would confirm that he is gifted in music and that the preferred school can offer him the right environment to develop his talents. If your son's teacher teaches at the school he should be well aware of what is available there. Does the orchestra he plays in actually meet within this school?

The appeals for Spalding Gramar are handled by the County Council although it is a foundation school. Generally the appeals panels are experienced and are very proactive in asking questions of the school's representative about their case for prejudice. The numbers on roll at the school show that the school has been over its PAN in some year groups (and so we can assume that there are some successful appeals). Numbers may change from day to day but as an example, the February numbers for year 7 were 124 (for a PAN of 120) and Year 10 had 142! As this was the group that achieved the school's best KS3 SATS results yet last year, results were clearly not brought down by having such a large year group (but see another year when GCSE results did appear to be adversely affected with a large year group).

Although it is not a particularly strong argument, the fact that you may live nearer to your preferred school than to your allocated school (and would then qualify for free transport if it is more than 3 miles away) and access is easy may also be worth mentioning.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:35 pm
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Thanks Alex. I'm going to meet with the music teacher on Monday to see if he can help. Our current Headteacher has also agreed to support our appeal.
I have already sent in the paperwork but assume I can add supplementary supporting evidence in the near future. Is it advisable to send in copies and take the originals just in case..?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Lincolnshire
You can add evidence - if you ring the legal officer named on your letter they will tell you whether there is time for them to copy it all or whether you should bring along sufficient copies for everyone on the day. I would usually submit a clear copy and take along the original. Good Luck!


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