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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:12 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
I hope you don't mind this long, honest and detailed post, I just need someone from outside to say it's ok, it's not as complicated as it seems and this is where you start....!!! :)

My son took the 11 plus in South Warwickshire... pass mark: 325
Verbal Reasoning 81 (which I think goes with his diagnosis of slow processing speed down to a brain tumour and subsequent surgeries when he was little), Numeric 120 & Non-Verbal Reasoning 107.

It was J's decision to sit the 11 plus although we wanted him to go to the small Catholic school (St Benedicts) that myself, my brother, my Dad, my aunts & uncles & my cousins went to. My son isn't Catholic however. We decided to support him in his decision but still took him along to see St Benedicts. He loved it & decided that's where he wanted to go to, but he still wanted to sit the 11 plus just to see how he'd do! On the school selection form we put St Benedicts first, then two Grammar Schools, & then the local High School. He was over the moon with how well he'd done & gutted that he didn't get a place at St B's. We were allocated a place at the high school.

This isn't just about a better education for us, it's about him, & his awful start in life, & his needs. We didn't think he'd ever go to school, his diagnosis was not a good one, his tumour was very rare. Because he wasn't expected to live we chose our Infant School very last minute. Because of my schooling (I'm not Catholic either) we wanted him to go to the small Catholic Infant school because we thought it was the right school for him. However the head teacher wouldn't take him in case he died. So he went to a small C of E school just outside our town. In year 3 he had to move to the slightly bigger C of E school in the town because we could no longer get him back from the other school.

St B's isn't just an education to us, it's a family & J needs that environment where the two families (ours - us & my parents who are involved in nearly all decisions & area of his life - and the school) meet. J 's been moulded by his early days & he is able to get on with adults much better than with children because of his lack of contact with them (chemo & infections & extended periods in hospital) & this is still evident today. St B's would be the ideal place for J's ongoing progress that has taken so long to build up, plus he has high morals & a strong awareness of right & wrong & he would completely embrace everything that the school has to offer. In that family environment he'll find he will excel, but in a larger school that doesn't have the same values & ethos he'll get lost & left behind, & just just in an educational capacity.

He's been bullied because he takes things so literally & wants to do the right thing. Once a playground assistant asked him to get the football that a large group of boys had been playing with - she mistakenly thought J had been playing with them plus it was end of play time - so J got the ball & despite being yelled at by the lads he clung on to the ball because he'd been told to return it, & it ended up with him being pushed to the ground & covered in cuts & holes in his clothing... something like that happens at the high & I dread to think what will happen.

The prognosis for the tumour that he had is very poor & the 5 year survival rate is between 26 and 40% and the survival rate just goes down from then, & J's 6 years in remission now. No-one knows what tomorrow may bring & although we try to move on, there are always reminders & no-one can say what is around the corner & we're probably more frightened than most families.

We just want him to be happy, settled, in a spiritual & family-like environment, somewhere that is completely supportive, where he can develop as a person & the school will do the absolute best to make sure that happens.

On top of that, it offers a good education & they are a maths school & he is very able in this area & loves the subject & he's in the top of the top set at school & it's one thing he has genuine confidence in.

There are other long-term effects from his illness & as a Mom I have not been able to be as involved in J's school life as much as I would have liked, or as much as he would like I'm sure, & certainly not as much as other Moms. I started having panic attacks during his treatment & at one period was housebound. I still struggle with going to places sometimes, especially unfamiliar ones. My parents do a lot for us & support him in doing things that really I should be there for, but because when I have a panic attack my tummy is bad & then I'll have a panic attack thinking that might happen.. well, there's often things I can't attend, such as award ceremonies in other towns, concerts in Birmingham... What I'm trying to say is that St Benedicts is familiar to me & I would be able to be more involved in his schooling because I am not frightened of my surroundings.

What on earth do I do?! How on earth do I go about this?!! I know I want to appeal but I have no idea where to start, what to say...

:? :shock: :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Dear Daisy

Thank you for sharing all of this. It brought tears to my eyes.

First of all, you must get together some written evidence as follows:

1. Medical evidence of your son's condition from the GP and Consultant. If they are also willing to say that St. B's would be an ideal school for him, so much the better, but often they will only comment on the medical facts.
2. Support from the current headteacher. Can he corroborate the bullying? Will he confirm J's mathematical ability? Will he state that St. B's would be the right school for J?
3. Is there a Minister of Religion (either one in your parish, or the Vicar connected with the current school) who could write something about J. and state that St. B's would be an ideal school for him?

You do not have to worry about a letter of appeal, as what you have already written can be the basis for your submission.

I note that J. relates better with adults, but does he have any friends at all who will be going to St. B's?

I'm afraid I don't know the school, or how difficult it might be to win an appeal there, but we will do all we can to help you.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:31 pm 
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Dear Daisy

I too was very moved by your post.

I can offer little in the way of advice unfortunately (I'm wading through this stuff myself).

But with Etienne et al's guidance and advice I truly hope you get your wish for your son. If anyone deserves it, it's him!!

Best wishes and a big hug

Annie

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:47 pm 
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Hi Daisy,

This is just to wish the best of luck to you and your son. You've put your case very well already and if you can get hold of the evidence suggested by Etienne then at least you'll have done as much as you can.

If ever an appeal deserved to be successful, then this one does IMHO.

Here's to a happy outcome.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
Dear Daisy,
We are embroiled in appeals ourselves,but reading your post put it all into perspective. My son has a problem,but nothing which will ever threaten his life,so my heart goes out to you.
I have no advice to give,in that respect you will find yourself in the very,very capable hands of Etienne & Co x The rest of us will offer suport & cheer you on x
Sallyj xx


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:30 pm 
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I have no advice for you, but if I could wave a magic wand I'd make it all ok for you.

I think that your post here says it all really. What more do you need to as=dd for a panel?

I wish you all the luck in the world for your appeal.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:03 pm 
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Dear Daisy,

Wishing you and your DS all the luck in the world


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:00 pm 
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serialtester wrote:
I have no advice for you, but if I could wave a magic wand I'd make it all ok for you.

I think that your post here says it all really. What more do you need to as=dd for a panel?

I wish you all the luck in the world for your appeal.


I agree - Daisy's post says it all. Really hope it all works out for you. x


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:12 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
Wow, gosh, thank you all for your replies :D

I have a letter from J's consultant and it says...

"I am writing to confirm that J has been under the care of such-and-such hospital since he was 1 year old when he was diagnosed with a choroid plexus carcinoma. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy. He does have loss of some of the right side of his field of vision. Not surprisingly after problems at such an early age J has had difficulty coping in some areas at school with a reduced attention span and some problems with short term memory and he is at school action level in his current primary school. J's mother and extended family all attended St Benedict's School and they very much show that he would benefit from the ethos which is present there. In view of difficulties he had had in early life I would be most grateful if this could be considered in his application to attend St Benedict's."

J's headteacher said she'd write a letter of support for his application so I shall ask her if she could write another, confirming the bullying and the maths. I wrote to Father ****** who was at the school when I was there and at the local Catholic Church and on the school's board of governors until a few years ago, and he offered some advice before I put Joshua's application in. I shall call him and the local vicar and ask if they could help in anyway.

I think J's main friends from his current school will be going to the high school. He has a good friend at scouts who is going to St B's and there are a couple more people he knows that already attend the school, including 3 people he plays with weekly on a Wednesday and a friend from his swimming club.

I've been looking at the OFSTED reports today for both schools, is it ok to use info on there that is relevant to Joshua's needs and interests? For example, Js interest in after-school activities including reaching High Achievers Award and Gold Awards for the Children's University. The following is on the OFSTED for St Benedict's and there is nothing at all mentioned on the High School:
"The pupils also profit from on-site activities, included gifted and talented courses, special needs activities, pre-university courses, musical events, gala evenings, charity fundraising and regular house competitions."

Also J's keen interest in scouts which is really helping him learn how to interact with children properly while teaching him great things and having a lot of fun too... Again the following is mentioned on St B's but not the High School:
"A great many pupils participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme at bronze and silver level."

Basically there's quite a lot on there that is relevant to J and I could easily use it all but I don't want them to think I've just used the OFSTED report and that none of it is real!

Will copy it below so you can see what I mean!...

"Maths and computing specialist college"

"The pupils have a wide range of abilities and needs"

"St Benedicts is an outstanding school where all pupils thrive and achieve exceptionally high standards in a supportive family environment."

"Every child is valued and incredibly well cared for, guided and supported. Every child really does matter at St Benedict's and the partnership of support between school, parents and the individual is very strong."

"Every child is known personally, no one falls through the net, and even in the most challenging circumstances, staff never give up on pupils but work tirelessly to ensure that they achieve their full potential. As a result pupils speak of the pride they have to be part of St Benedict's."

"The strong Christian values of trust, respect and courtesy...".

"Boys and girls perform equally well, as did pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities."

"Pupils' personal development and well-being are outstanding. From the moment they are greeted by their peers at reception pupils walk around the school in a confident and co-operative manner. Pupils feel extremely safe and secure and are confident that any occasional incidents of bullying are dealt with highly effectively".

"Relationships within the school are excellent. According to the pupils 'there's no division between staff and pupils'.

"The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding. Each individual pupil's skills and attributes are celebrated."

"A special strength of the curriculum is the wide and varied range of extra-curricular activities that involves every pupil in the school. Their horizons are stretched by a wealth of performing arts activities, clubs and competitive sports together with many off-site excursions, residential visits, foreign exchanges and trips."

"The quality of care provided by the school is outstanding. Vulnerable pupils are monitored very carefully and there is excellent liaison with outside agencies."

"The successful, integrated system of care ensures that there is outstanding communication within the school. Parents are fully involved and they receive regular, high quality information about their child's progress. All this means that pupils are very well known, monitored and supported, both pastorally and academically. Any areas of concern are identified quickly and dealt with very effectively."

"There is a true spirit of collaboration, with support for the individual child"

"The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development" is grade 1 - high school is grade 3.

"The standards reached by learners" is grade 1 - high school is grade 3.


As you can see there's a fair bit that applies!!

Thank you again, so much, for your replies! XXXXX :D :oops: :lol: :D


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:49 pm 
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Dear Daisy
Quote:
I have a letter from J's consultant
The letter is excellent. It's diplomatic, but couldn't be more supportive.
Quote:
J's headteacher said she'd write a letter of support for his application so I shall ask her if she could write another, confirming the bullying and the maths.
That would be fine. Or perhaps, if the head agrees, the deputy head or year 6 teacher could write to confirm these points?
Quote:
I wrote to Father ****** who was at the school when I was there and at the local Catholic Church and on the school's board of governors until a few years ago, and he offered some advice before I put Joshua's application in. I shall call him and the local vicar and ask if they could help in anyway.
Good. I'd like to see someone like this state that J's "moral standards & strong awareness of right & wrong, & the fact that he would completely embrace everything that the school has to offer" make him ideally suited to St. B's.

Quote:
I think J's main friends from his current school will be going to the high school. He has a good friend at scouts who is going to St B's and there are a couple more people he knows that already attend the school, including 3 people he plays with weekly on a Wednesday and a friend from his swimming club.
You can be quite open about the fact that he has friends going to the high school, but do make the point that there are friends at St. B who will be there to encourage and support him.
Quote:
I've been looking at the OFSTED reports today for both schools, is it ok to use info on there that is relevant to Joshua's needs and interests?
Yes, but just as you are providing the evidence for Maths, try wherever possible to show that there is real substance to your point. For example, ask the Scouts if they will write a letter of support, saying how well-suited J. would be to the D of E that is on offer at St. B's.

I think it will be worth saying that J. wanted to sit the 11+, even though St. B's was his first choice, that he did really well, bearing in mind his medical history - and that as a bright boy, he would really benefit from, and be a keen participant in, the High Achievers Award and Gold Awards for the Children's University. (Perhaps the current school could make this point for you?)

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