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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:55 am
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Location: Amersham
My daughter achieved an 11+score of 117 (in Bucks, pass rate is 121) and is predicted to achieve level 5 in English and Science and level 4A in Maths. She is in the top set at the school and had an excellent school report last year. Head is ostensibly 'supporting' the appeal, but told me when I went in for my meeting that they did not rate my daughter as suitable for grammar. I subsequently found out that children in lower sets and with lower SATS scores had been rated as 'suitable.' The one thing everyone has always said about my daughter is that she is incredibly hard working and motivated. I am devastated. Will this spoil her chances at appeal?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:44 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi worriedmum1

It is difficult to tell from what you have posted. What was the Head's actual recommendation, e.g. 2:2, 2:3, etc? What was the other score, and what order did they come in?

Did the Head give reasons why they were not rating your daughter as suitable? One thing to beware of is that "hard-working and motivated" is not necessarily what an appeal panel will look for in assessing her suitability for a GS. They are looking for evidence of high ability and intelligence. If that shines through in her report, then the Head's recommendation may look odd in comparison.

I heard recently that some Heads are playing a very dangerous game with their recommendations, putting borderline children above those who they expect to pass comfortably. I don't think that is necessarily the case here, but it will be interesting to see how accurate the Head's overall rankings were when you get the appeal papers a week or so before the hearing.

Do post back with the missing information, and anything that you know about the overall picture on the accuracy of the Head's recommendations.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:10 pm 
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Hi and thanks for your response. In Bucks there is a new system this year whereby the Head Teacher does not have to provide a 'ranking' of all the children (as in previous years), only the ones that are deemed suitable for grammar school. Despite the fact that my daughter works very hard, recieved an excellent Yr 5 report, is in the top sets and predicted Level 5's (4A in Maths) she was not included on this list. The reasons the school gave were that her vocabulary isn't great and they felt she was struggling with Maths at the beginning of the autumn term. I feel they have totally misrepresented her and am absolutely furious. I spoke to an advisor who said 'go for the Head'. (attack her credibility). He said my daughter not being rated at all is extremely unusual, given her track record. What can you advise?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Sorry - your other question was what was her other score? 115 in the first test and 117 in the second. There were also extenuating circumstances that are reasonably strong.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:36 pm 
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Hi worriedmum1

It does seem very surprising that your daughter was not ranked at all, and the reasons sound a little flimsy, given her predicted SATs.

Quote:
I spoke to an advisor who said 'go for the Head'. (attack her credibility).


I would advise extreme caution with this approach! You need to remember that appeal panel members often hear several cases from the same school each year, and they do build up a picture of the Heads' credibility over time. If the panel's perception of the Head is good, then attacking her credibility will not do you any favours. By contrast, if the Head has previously been unreliable with her recommendations, the panel may well be aware of that, and will factor it in to their thinking.

You also have to remember that panel members may be familiar with the school, or even have children who have attended the school in the past, and thus know of the Head.

I think that much will become clear when you receive the recommendations sheet with your appeal documentation, because that will show how reliable her recommendations were overall.

Instead of attacking the Head's credibility, I feel that you should lead the panel to conclude for themselves that the Head has made an error. Use the academic evidence, in the shape of the previous school report, to do that. Highlight to the panel any points that demonstrate high ability, rather than just hard-working.

You can certainly mention that you were very shocked that your daughter was not given a recommendation of any sort, given the quality of your daughter's school report and her predicted SATs. If the report and her school books demonstrate that the reasons the Head gave for not recommending your daughter, the panel will certainly start to wonder what has gone on here.

Does the school do CATs tests or NFERs in VR/NVR/QR? If so, and the results are good, the Head's judgement will look ever more shaky.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:47 pm 
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Something else I'd like to understand:

Why does your adviser think there's such a good track record, when appeal panels usually expect three predicted level 5s? Can you give us some quotes from your daughter's last school report relating to achievement in English, Maths and Science? (I stress achievement - leave out anything to do with effort and attitude).
And what were her KS1 results?

Like Sally-Anne, I'd like to know if you have any CATs results to prove your daughter's strength in reasoning tests.

Sorry we keep asking questions, but yours looks like a difficult case to get to grips with!

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:34 pm 
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Location: Amersham
My daughter achieved all Level 3's in KS1 tests. School does not administer CATS or any other assessments other than the standard SATS practice tests. Re: evidence of academic ability - May 2008 Year 5 test results were: Reading 4B, Writing 4C and Maths 4B. School says daughter is a fluent reader (which is why they are predicting a 5 in English) but doesn't read sufficiently challenging books, which is something I'm working on. The Yr 5 report shows that she has achieved most of her targets but is not 'working beyond'. Comments include: 'she is keen to do well and driven by her successes' and (from the head) 'well done this is a super report. keep up the good work'. On the assessment sheet the head also states daughter is 'extremely motivated' and 'will give her all to the challenges a grammar school will provide.' I would say daughter is very conscientious, and brighter than average, but not in the 'super league' academically.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:55 pm 
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You only need to be in the top 30% to fit into a GS - they are not just for the elite - the comments on the Y5 report seem to imply that the HT will recommend - what has changed his/her mind?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:24 pm 
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This is still a mystery to me, particularly when children in lower sets and with lower SATS scores were on the list. Another parent said that the teachers were monitoring (though not marking) the familiarisation papers and used them to assess the children. Are they allowed to do this?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:34 pm 
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No the HT manual does not recommend that, it says:

"Be very wary about marking the familiarisation and practice in school and extrapolating from these results (i.e. we do not recommend you do this). There are no standardisations of the practice tests and it is not possible to accurately equate them with the real tests. In addition, we asked GL Assessment to make test ‘A’ easier than the real tests and whilst practice tests 1 and 2 are of a similar level, it should not be forgotten that they are public domain questions and many children may have encountered them before if older siblings sat the tests."


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