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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:55 pm 
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I am getting very confused!

After reading many posts, I am getting rather worried about a forthcoming appeal. There seem to be quite a few posts indicating that questioning the school's case will only wind the panel up. Do I question or not?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:25 pm 
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It's perfectly all right to ask questions, but don't be aggressive, don't take on the role of barrack-room lawyer! Avoid making speeches.

Questions such as:
    I see there are a number of children who've been admitted above PAN in some years. Were they all admitted as the result of successful appeals? Is there any evidence to show that the school has not coped satisfactorily with these numbers?
are fine. But let the panel then make up their own mind what they think about the answers - they don't need parents forcefully telling them what to think!

If you want to run any questions past me, I'm happy to say whether I think they're reasonable.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:32 pm 
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Here here!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:54 pm 
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As a recent parent whom has just gone through this first my heart goes out to you, it really does. Although I'm a new member straight away on here there are loads of people who will give you sound advice!

What I would say though is that this is your oppurtunity to put your case forward, the panel are independant and nothing to do with the school. Write down what you want to say and post on here for us to advise but honestly, use this chance, one chance to say exactly what you need to say and dont worry!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:46 pm 
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Sam went on to run some questions past me by PM - for reasons of anonymity.

At a later date I may add some specimen stage 1 questions to the Q&As.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Etienne I asked a similar question as you posed above knowing that the results were the best ever but the school said there had been a detrimental effect .... I was a bit stumped to say the least! What should I have done?

(it's now hypothetical of course as its several years ago but would be interested and others might face this)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:10 pm 
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Hi, Guest55

I would ask them to spell out exactly what the detrimental effect was. It then depends on what they come up with.

Responses I used to hear included:
    "It places an unacceptable burden on staff - more books to mark, less time to spend on pastoral support."

    "We have a maximum of 30 computers per IT room. Each extra pupil reduces another child's use of a computer by 50%." (Quite a strong argument in my view - although it pre-supposes 100% attendance.)

    "Increased health and safety risks." (I would ask how many reportable accidents, attributable to overcrowding, there have been! - Most accidents, I suspect, are not attributable to overcrowding.)

    "The quality of education has been affected." (This is where I would ask what evidence there is that exam results have suffered. Even if results have improved, the school could of course respond "We would have done even better without the extra numbers!" - but they are on the defensive.)

As I've written elsewhere, schools are more often than not going to win stage 1. They don't have to prove every point - they only have to satisfy the panel that some prejudice would be caused.

It's usually at stage 2 that appeals are going to be won or lost.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:39 am 
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I have just noticed that this thread has moved on. Etienne, your post on Monadyis very interesting and it would be very helpful to have a section about stage 1 on your Q&A section.

[quote]"It places an unacceptable burden on staff - more books to mark, less time to spend on pastoral support." [/quote]

Could I ask how to respond when the school feels pastoral care is affected?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Hello, Sam

Not so easy to counter the point about pastoral support, which is probably why I didn't comment! :D

Equally, I don't think it would be easy for the authority to justify any statement about the level of pastoral care.

The average amount of time a tutor or head of year has for each child will obviously decrease whenever an extra child is admitted, but the difference is not going to be earth-shattering.

There seems to be a constant drive to improve academic performance every year, and this is measured by SATs and exam results.
It is surely impossible to find anything equivalent where overall pastoral care is concerned because there are so many intangibles.

I wouldn't for one moment want to suggest that assessing the standard of pastoral care can be reduced to the level of examining the number of disciplinary offences, but you could try putting the admission authority on the defensive by asking: "Is there any evidence that standards have fallen when numbers have been above PAN? - For example, has there been a noticeable increase in the number of suspensions?"

I suspect that they won't know the figures, but if it turns out that there have been 6 suspensions instead of 4, don't allow the presenting officer to talk airily about a 50% increase unchallenged! If we are comparing year groups of 186 and 180, for example, one could just as well argue that the difference is between 6 out of 185 (3.22%) and 4 out of 180 (2.22%). That doesn't sound as compelling! Besides, one shouldn't draw conclusions from a single occurrence, so I would want to know whether this pattern is repeated every time there's been an oversubscribed year group.

Teachers tell me that, from time to time, they come across a "difficult year", and this seems to happen without rhyme or reason. I suspect it has little or nothing to do with "overcrowding".

It is so difficult to measure "pastoral care" in the fullest sense of the term that I doubt whether an assertion that it will suffer if numbers go above PAN can be proved one way or another.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:53 pm 
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Thank you for your very clear answer.


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