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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:26 pm 
Dear Madam,

We are writing to you to seek your advise and help

My daughter is ready for Year 7 entry in 2008. Unfortunately, she had to miss out going to school completely from Sep 02 to April 05 due to a very serious ailment that struck her, from which she has recovered, re-started school on part-time basis in mid 05 upto mid 06 (and this school had v limited focus on academics), and now going to a good school in London on full time basis since over a year

She aspires to me a doctor and we want her to give her the best opportunity/edge to realise her ambition and want her to attend a competitive grammar school. The rather long gap in formal primary education has challenged her and put her in a disadvantageous position with her peers in that although she has made tremendous progress academically, we are not sure whether or not she will get through the highly competitive tests. We first wondered whether a grammar school of decent standing would give any consideration or leniency that the admission policy of a school could accord, in evaluating her application ? After contacting a few grammar schools, we seem to get an almost consistent answer - which is that in case our daughter scores less than the required score, we could appeal on extenuationg circumstances' grounds

We believe that she has tremendous potential. This is evident from the huge jump in her ability since the time she re-started school, and the fact that she thoroughly enjoys every aspect of school - whether they are Maths, Sciences, History lessons or - Piano, Choir, Sports activities or simply just being with the girls at her school. She really takes them all in and a keen interest in almost everything

We are very happy that she sits through the tests but however feel that she just may not have had the time to be fully prepared after such a long gap in her education, and may not get through a highly competitive process where there are many applicants for a single position. But we do believe that she will cross a certain minimum threshold that a school of your standing would expect and have no doubt that in another year or so, she will be in top 10-20% of her class in any highly acdemecially oriented school

We do not want to disadvantage our daughter anymore given that she has suffered so much physically, and also having not gone to school for a long period of time - such that it has a bearing on her future and ambition especially given the potential she has shown. We are foreigners in UK, having arrived here only for her treatment, but are now deciding to settle down in UK. We are currently based in London, but looking to move to a permanent location with schooling as the key criterion, and hence thinking of grammar schools in london area or in nearby counties. We have been very pre-occupied with my daughter's treatment and are not very familiar with the education system and it is now a big challenge for us to look for a new house and a school of preference at the same time. Hence, we would really appreciate if you could advise us on whether the appeals process may work in these circumstances where the panel and/or the Governors of the School could take into consideration her background, besides ofcourse her test scores. This would be very helpful in our decisions

Many thanks and kind regards,

Anxious parents

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:55 pm 
I'm not sure about in London but here in Kent, where we have a full grammar system across most of the county, the entry hurdles may be lower than you expect. Certainly they are lower than in parts of Greater London. In addition the tests are geared towards "reasoning" rather than prior attainment (although there is a maths paper) as the aim is to measure potential not prior learning. Some counties/ schools may ONLY do reasoning tests which might suit your child better.

In Kent the individual schools have no discretion to take your child's history into account but your daughter's circumstances are exactly the sort of thing for which an appeal system has been set up. Her school would have the chance to appeal on her behalf before the results were published or places allocated. Recent rapid progress is one of the valid grounds for appeal. In the event of a successful headteacher appeal she would be treated as having passed the exam and the schools would be free to offer her a place in the usual way.

If you can afford private schooling the schools can, of course, take full account of your daughter's history and will probably interview candidates rather than just relying on test scores.

A further option might be to look for a grammar school with a 13+ intake. This would give your daughter time to catch up. For example, here in Kent we have Cranbrook school (co-ed) which only takes pupils from the age of 13. The local high school (Angley) runs a "grammar stream" from the age of 11 for pupils planning to transfer at 13. There is no need to sit the 11+ to get into this stream as the school sets it's own internal tests instead. It has the freedom to take everything into account in deciding if a child is suited to the grammar stream. The majority of entrants to Cranbrook, however, come from private prep schools which keep pupils until the age of 13. Cranbrook takes a mixture of day pupils (no fees) and boarding pupils (boarding costs only, no tuition fees) which might give you some flexibility if you need to spend any time abroad. Check out their website if you are interested.

For commuting purposes trains run from Staplehurst station into London Bridge and Charing cross/ Cannon street in approx. 1 hour. Many locals commute to London.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7493
Dear PRra

An appeal panel would certainly take into account the circumstances you mention.

As Guest has indicated above, some entry tests are not curriculum based, and this can be very helpful where children have come from abroad (provided that their English is adequate) or in situations where they have been out of formal education.

In addition to the extenuating circumstances, an appeal panel will want to see evidence of high ability. You may well be able to demonstrate this from recent progress at the current school. Alternatively, if the entry tests were a mixture of reasoning and curriculum based tests, one would hope that the results in the reasoning tests alone will be sufficient proof of ability.

Kind regards


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:31 am 
Dear PRaR

Like Kent, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire also run a "minimum hurdle" system. Bucks is completely orientated to grammar system and pupils take 3 "verbal reasoning" papers (although these also contain some elements of maths and non-verbal). About 25-30% of all those who take the 11+ get a grammar place. Berks have a maths paper in addition to the VR.

I'm not saying that passing these hurdles is easy and many bright children don't get to grammar. But once past the minimum mark the only criterion for getting a place is distance and/or siblings.

If you move to the right area, there are also some excellent comprehensives and upper schools as a back up.

See the relevant forums for more details.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 13993
Geoffrey - in Bucks pupils only take two papers now with the higher score counting.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 6:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:27 pm
Posts: 49
Another minor correction, Geoffrey ...

in Berks, children take three papers: verbal reasoning and maths as stated, plus non-verbal reasoning.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:57 am 
Sorry about the errors in my information. I did know about the 2 papers now in Bucks (one of mine took 3 papers and one took 2). But Berks I'm a bit hazy on.

Anyway, worth considering both counties as well as Kent.


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