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 Post subject: Advice on criteria
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:42 pm
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Good afternoon,

Firstly, I am a newbie. I have read the guide on appeals before doing this post. It was vey useful but I have a couple of extra questions.

Our son failed his eleven plus by 3 marks. We are appealing to Kings Grammer in Grantham on the following basis

Failure to pass - Without going into too much detail I lost my job in Feb 08 and things got tougher and tougher at home. As he approached the test and started doing practise papers we started to stop the things he was used to, cancelled summer holiday etc and facing the reality that I would probably have to live away from home midweek in order to get a job. This upset him a lot and it was difficult for us to focus him on his prep. We will get his expected SAT's from school (which are likely to be a mixture of 4's and 5's) and we have a letter from the current head supporting him.

Reasons to admit him:
- He has a brother at the school already
- The school is in another county and our child currently there has to be taken to the bus stop a couple of miles away and then get a bus 15 miles (thre is one bus each way there a day). Another school would make life very difficult
- Holidays can vary between LEA's. This year Easter was a completely different two weeks
- School is good for music and sport and he has achieved a high level in both these things
- School is very good at contatcing us if there is an issue and we collaborate to get it sorted out.
- He has studied things like French outside of school hours (his junior school doesn't teach French) as his brother struggled with it.

I have a number of questions.
- Are our arguments reasonable?
- Do some arguments carry more weight than others (e.g. one child already there)?
- In the guide it recommends that you don't submit extra curricular certificates, however we want to get over that he can take on challenges and acheive a high degree of success (e.g. in music he has just won a district musical competition beating 60 other children). Would you still advise that we did not try and use this in our case?

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

Yesheadjon


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 374
Location: Bucks
Hi 'Yesheadjon'

Sorry about your predicament, my first comment regarding your posting would be you are appealing against your son not reaching the academic standard required by Kings Grammar school.

I think you are confusing an academic appeal with an appeal for over subscription (this can only happen once you have satisfied the school that your son is academically up to it!).

So, you should be proving that you son was unfortunate on the test day but you have the proof that keeping up at a GS is well within his ability.

So, your reasons for wanting him to attend the school, at this stage, are not really valid. You should be looking to submit as much academic evidence as possible to prove he is a high flyer in all subjects at school, letters of support from the head and other teachers - all telling about your sons' academic prowess.

As a final mention to show he is well rounded individual you can say that he excels at sport and music and his brother is already there.

Unfortunately, the journey, holidays, school ethos will have no sway over the panel at all, at this stage they just want to know a bit of background as to why you think he didn't reach the exam pass mark and then proof that this was not an indication of his usual ability.

Good luck, an Appeal person hopefully will be along soon - but do read the Appeals Q and A for non qualification.

Ambridge


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:42 pm
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Hi Ambridge,

The appeal process at King's school is all handled within the one process (although technically it might be split at the hearing) so we need to present both at the same time. We know that the school is oversubscribed by about 20 children.

The comment about the distance is really to show that the logistics of having them at different schools would be significant. Do you think that they will disregard this?

I can't, in all honesty, say that there was a specific reason that he did not perform on the day, only that his preparation and concentration were significantly hampered by our personal situation. Do you think that this argument is not strong enough?

Many thanks for your help

Yesheadjon


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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Hi

do you know if the 20 are all close to the pass mark or are some kids who have passed the test but live too far away? - the ones who live too far away are appealing against oversubscription.

Ambridge is right in that you have to first prove that he would normally have done better on the day and this requires the academic evidence and good evidence about why he performs. Only after this is shown would they consider the oversubscription appeal.

Sounds complicated system .... reckon you need to get the evidence well categorised..

Good luck


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: Bucks
I appreciate that schools in different parts of the country vary in their appeal process, but, I would be amazed if an appeals panel expect parents to participate in an over subscription appeal before they have given them the results of their academic appeal.

If you were unsuccessful in the academic part, why would you want to waste your time (and that of the panel) going through an over subscription appeal??

As far as there not being a good reason for your son missing out on the exam, I think panels understand that sometimes 10/11 year olds don't 'pull it out the bag' on demand but that is why you must get lots of great evidence to demonstrate his normal high standard of work, to show the exam was just a blip.

I would concentrate all my energies on getting this information together.

Regards

Ambridge


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on criteria
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7059
Dear yesheadjon

I can only give you my own views.

Quote:
We will get his expected SAT's from school (which are likely to be a mixture of 4's and 5's)
The 4s could be a problem - unless you have evidence he was doing better before the difficulties that occurred in 2008.

Quote:
we have a letter from the current head supporting him.
Good!

Quote:
- He has a brother at the school already
Good!

Quote:
- The school is in another county and our child currently there has to be taken to the bus stop a couple of miles away and then get a bus 15 miles (thre is one bus each way there a day). Another school would make life very difficult
I'm afraid this sort of problem can arise when you choose for the oldest child a school a long way away. I do sympathise - but a harsh panel might not.

Quote:
- Holidays can vary between LEA's. This year Easter was a completely different two weeks
As above!
Quote:
- School is good for music and sport and he has achieved a high level in both these things
Good!
Quote:
- School is very good at contatcing us if there is an issue and we collaborate to get it sorted out.
I'm sure you mean this genuinely, but it might sound like an attempt at flattery!

Quote:
- He has studied things like French outside of school hours (his junior school doesn't teach French) as his brother struggled with it.
The point being?

Quote:
- Are our arguments reasonable?
See above.

Quote:
- Do some arguments carry more weight than others (e.g. one child already there)?
Yes.

Quote:
- In the guide it recommends that you don't submit extra curricular certificates, however we want to get over that he can take on challenges and acheive a high degree of success (e.g. in music he has just won a district musical competition beating 60 other children). Would you still advise that we did not try and use this in our case?
I think you're confusing non-qualification with oversubscription. The bit you're referring to in the Guide is with regard to academic evidence for non-qualification. Some of my more musical friends tell me that a grade 5 in music is good evidence of ability. For the oversubscription part of an appeal, participation in music competitions and the certificates could be very useful if King's has a flourishing music department, and you are matching your son's interests with what the school has to offer.

Regarding the format of appeals, see the Q&As, E27a and b. Lincolnshire controlled schools have a break after the non-qualification part, and you do not go on to oversubscription if unsuccessful in the first part. However, I don't know if this would apply to an own-admission authority school.

There are certainly parts of the country where you do have to go through the whole process of non-qualification and oversubscription.

Yesheadjon, I suggest you contact the school to find out how many successful appeal there have been in recent years. It will give you some idea of your chances.

_________________
Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:42 pm
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All,

I really appreciate your comments and help, the most difficult part is in focussing on what is relevent and what will actually be considered by the panel, rather than ending up giving them reams of peripheral, but ultimately pointless arguments!!!

Another question if I may....there have been rumours in the regional press over the last couple of weeks that our local secondary school is due to close. Our second choice school (the one that he has currently been offered a place at) is a couple of miles away, we chose it as it has a 69% pass rate compared to 49% at the local school and we liked it a lot more. We would have a worry that if the local school closes then our sons second choice school would be flooded with a large intake of extra children causing a lot of disruption. Is this a point that I could/should make in the appeal or does it look like rubbishing the local schools?

Many honest thanks for all the help so far.

Yesheadjon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:13 pm 
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Posts: 7059
I suspect the panel won't be too interested in rumours. Even if they were facts, bear in mind that you're appealing for a school, not against one!

Don't hesitate to ask if you want to sound us out about anything else.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Lincolnshire
Welcome yesheadjon,

King's is a Foundation School, as you will know, but the appeals are being handled by the county council's legal department and will be heard by a county council appointed appeals panel.

You are right in thinking that the non-qualification and the oversubscription aspects are all heard together in the one appeal. You do need, therefore, to submit your evidence for all aspects at the same time, but it is helpful if, in your written submission, you separate out the arguments for each into different "sections". Whilst the panel will deliberate on the non-qualification part of the appeal first and only go on to consider the oversubscription arguments if they deem your son suitable for Grammar School, this is only done after the appeal is over, so you need to present both parts without knowing what the outcome of the non-qualification part will be.

King's now allocates its places on score order with no inner and outer area as used to be the case. You are unfortunate to be part of a bit of a bumper year for boys as far as the 11+ is concerned and King's was not able to give places to all those who passed. This does mean, that as things stand at the moment, there will be quite a few people who reached the minimum pass score and a few marks above who are appealing as well as those who did not reach the 220 mark.

It is not easy to gauge the chances of success at appeal. Rather unhelpfully no figures are kept centrally at Lincolnshire County Council for the success rate of appeals at Foundation or Voluntary Aided schools, only for Community and Controlled schools. Anecdotally there were certainly a few non-qualifiers got through a couple of years ago - but the school was undersubscribed that year and although this should not really make a difference to the non-qualification part of the appeal, it does seem that chances a rather higher when schools are not oversubscribed. The school should provide you with the figures if you ask them.

You can get a factsheet on Grammar school appeals from the Choice Advisers in Lincolnshire (01522 552509) and the Appeals Q&A on this site should also help you. Do come back and ask again if there are things you we can help with further.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on criteria
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Lincolnshire
Etienne wrote:
Regarding the format of appeals, see the Q&As, E27a and b. Lincolnshire controlled schools have a break after the non-qualification part, and you do not go on to oversubscription if unsuccessful in the first part. However, I don't know if this would apply to an own-admission authority school.

.


My apologies, Etienne. I have obviously been unclear in what I wrote. There is no break during the appeal and appellants must forge ahead with their oversubscription arguments without knowing whether these will ever be considered by the panel, who, after the appeal, will first deliberate on the non-qualification aspect before going on to consider the oversubscription arguments if they have deemed the child qualified.


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