We have just about reached the end of the selection appeals season 2009 for Bucks, and I wanted to commiserate once again with all those who have not been successful at appeal.
Of course, I congratulate everyone who has been successful, but the ongoing "job" for all of us here on the Forum is to support those who are still caught in the system and unsure about what to do next.
Many of you will still be feeling very raw and hurt after receiving notice of an unsuccessful appeal. I recall that feeling so clearly myself from my unsuccessful appeal for DS1, a whole 4 years ago when I knew nothing about this process, and I sympathise with you.
I am impressed beyond words with the approach that Mummog has taken to dealing with her unsuccessful appeal:
DH and I had already planned how to deal with the disappointment by turning the negative into lots of positives. We plan to complement her secondary school education with lots of extra activities, eg singing lessons, weekends camping to areas of geographical interest, taking part in activities planned by the local Wildlife Trust, etc. I will sell it all to her on the basis that she would not have time to do all these things if she were at GS - too much homework. With all the things we have planned, she may even end up being happy that she didn't get through!
I have often seen parents on the Forum who are still muttering about their failed appeal months or even years later - and indeed, I was one of those myself.
There are very few Ombudsman appeals in Bucks, and virtually none of them are successful, because the system is so well-administered compared to many other LAs. Etienne and I could relate some horror stories about certain other LAs.
The panels do their best to judge the cases they hear and, even if you disagree with their verdict, it is unlikely that they have not taken your evidence into account. They are very well trained, they are all volunteers rather than paid staff, and they guard their independence from Bucks CC/the LA fiercely.
The important thing now is to look forward, rather than backwards. I did that by becoming involved in the Forum, because I had another child going through the system; Mummog has posted another, more admirable strategy. Whatever your feelings now, please find a way to look forward, rather than back.
Some people react to an unsuccessful appeal by saying that they are even more determined to go for the 12+. Others rule it out completely at this stage. Please don't make a snap decision!
My 12+ Sticky on Bucks makes it clear that you can apply for the 12+ in autumn 2009, and still pull your child out of testing just a few days before the test, which is likely to be no earlier than February half term again. That gives you half a school year to decide if your child should take the 12+, or stay at their current Year 7 school.
Please take time to lick your wounds, see what the allocations process delivers by way of an Upper School, and post on the Bucks section if you would like support on the 12+.
Good luck to all of you and your DC, and thank you for the very kind words that you have posted to me and to Etienne along the way.