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 Post subject: Support from Head
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:08 am
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If a primary school Head is not willing to give strong support - ie if he will only say that pupil is able, very well behaved and University material - how much does this lessen the chance that an appeal might succeed? Head says that what he would write, as above, 'would do more harm than good.' We can't see why.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:35 pm 
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Sorry - should have added that further info is available in the Appeals Box for moderators. Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:37 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Huntlie

Thank you for the background information.

The Head is right in one sense - the type of comments she is making can be seen to be "damning with faint praise". A panel hearing an appeal against non-qualification will generally be looking for evidence of high ability, and the words "hard-working" and "diligent" can unfortunately suggest a child who has to work very hard to achieve results, rather than a child who is innately bright.

You are not required to submit anything that the Head does write if it is going to undermine your case. At the hearing you can always mention that the Head is "not inclined to support appeals".

If you have good evidence of academic ability and achievement, then your case can stand on it's own merits, without the Head's support.

Can you approach the class teacher for a letter of support? It seems the teacher has a far deeper insight into your daughter's ability. If you need permission from the Head, it would be wise to quietly ask the teacher if s/he is willing to write a letter first, before asking the Head for permission. It would be a flinty Head who then said "no" - and if she does, you would be quite justified to then ask why she is not only not supporting your appeal, but actually trying to prevent you acquiring evidence of your daughter's ability to support your case?

Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Dear Huntlie

If the school isn't of much help, it might be worth trying an ed. psych. report, although I realise time is short.

http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... ers.php#b3
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... rs.php#b13

It's expensive, but if I remember correctly your son was contemplating legal representation. (Not recommended!)

No guarantee it will give the results you want, but I think you said gd is bright (although not a good examinee). EPs tend to be good at putting the child at ease.

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:52 pm 
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Update on this - I was the guilty one in terms of wanting legal support (son 's view is that it would look bad and make it more stressful).

We wrote again to the Head and to the class teacher, two weeks ago, but have had no reply whatsoever. Class teacher had previously said that she would be willing to write a letter, and that in it she would make particular points of the fact that GD's English is on the same level as her top GS girl last year, and that whilst she knows GD is very able and GS material, she would be likely to under-perform in such a crucial and emotionally significant test.

However, nothing - we can only conclude that Head has forbidden class teacher to write. Obviousky if this is the case, we can't put pressure on her to do so.

A friend who has been on appeals committees said that if there was no letter from the school, the conclusion he would come to, would be that there was some doubt about this candidate in behavioral terms - i.e. a disruptive influence or just not a nice kid. I can understand this, and it makes it even more galling, as GD is, according to the Head, 'A great girl - very hard-working, lots of imagination, an asset as House Captain and very responsible and kind-hearted.' But she won't put it on paper! Instead, she talks about GD's results when she was 7 years old in KS1 SATS, when she was 'in the top third but not the top 8.'

What can we do? Should we abandon our appeal, since the Head looks set to refuse? We are very upset about this, as GD has been a model pupil and is the only one out of her top set of 8, who did not get a selective place - 5 to GS, 2 to highly selective Indies - and her! We're anxious not to be rash in our plans, so would welcome any advice!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:57 pm 
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Hi

do her end of year school reports have any comments from the head - I know some schools do have them. Similarly there must be comments from her form teacher last year? Are they of any help to you?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:19 pm 
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I have never come across a case like this where the panel concluded that "there was some doubt about this candidate in behavioral terms"! If there is no issue about academic ability, the panel are much more likely to suspect a personality clash, or a head who's being too severe, or sometimes political reasons.

Whatever the reason, it does make the appeal more difficult, and it means that there has to be some really good alternative evidence.

If more evidence of high ability is needed, I've already suggested an ed. psych. report.

I honestly don't see the relevance of behaviour for a non-qualification appeal, but is it not clear from previous school reports to parents that this is not a problem?

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Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:53 am 
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The end of year report from last year isn't terribly helpful because the school uses a generic format - i.e. 'She has completed ... and has shown that she is able to...' The Head's comment is brief ' Very well done, Holly! Keep up the good work.'

However, the sheet giving her actual levels is more helpful - it shows 139 (out of 141) for English, 127 for Maths, and a Reading Age of 12.4 when she was 10.2. To me, and to teacher friends at GS, those scores show definite GS material, and we will certainly use this information.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:59 pm 
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The Class teacher has now written a letter which the Head has to approve - apparently she thought it was 'too late now.'

GD just had the results of 'mock' SATS tests which the school gave them, and she came out with 6 in Reading, 5a in Writing and 5b in Maths - third out of the whole class of 32, and well above the girls who got in to the GS. Useful evidence, I think?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:43 pm 
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I would query the level 6 - it is not possible in the test and might weaken your evidence.


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