Just read your very interesting posting on questions for appeals and would just like some help with our appeal.
We are going to take a barrister who specialises in educational law with us as our son who is dyslexic and missed passing by 2 marks but the LEA refused him any reasonable adjustments (even though he gets this in all other exams ) and there was a disruption in the exam that our headmaster failed to mention in his first appeal.
The school our son has been allocated only offers single award science and the grammar school we are appealing to offers all 3 sciences to GCSE and as our son in on the gifted and talented register for science and attends a science club for gifted and talented children, the teacher has written a letter of support for him.( he also wants to be a scientist when he leaves school).
My questions are should we fight our appeal on all these points or just focus on the fact that he was discriminated against?
Should we let the barrister do all the talking or should I contribute to?
Also do you think this case has a chance of winning.
Thank you for you time!
I think disability discrimination could just be one of those areas where it might be useful to have legal representation.
When you say "should we fight our appeal on all these points or just focus on the fact that he was discriminated against?", I take it that the three points are:
1. disability discrimination
2. mitigating circumstances (+ academic evidence)
3. reasons for needing a particular school (science)
Now, it seems clear to me that you should certainly argue both points one and two, because if you are unsuccessful in getting your appeal upheld on disability discrimination grounds, you will still want the panel to consider disability as a mitigating circumstance to explain why the passmark was not achieved.
If this is essentially an appeal against the 11+ result, then I have reservations about point three (assuming that you will go to a separate two-stage transfer appeal if your 11+ appeal is upheld and your preferred school is oversubscribed). Personally I would very briefly refer to the science issue, but not dwell on it too long for fear that it will be considered irrelevant in the context of an 11+ appeal. You could say, disarmingly, to the panel "I realise this may not be a matter you can take account of, but the reason this 11+ appeal is so crucial to us is .......
). Of course, you must refer to science in the context of the gifted/talented register under point 2 above, as this is important evidence of academic ability.
In so far as the barrister is representing you, he/she will inevitably take the lead. I think you should discuss with the barrister what contribution you might make. (Speaking personally, I did like to hear something
from the parent during an appeal!)
Do I think the case stands a chance of winning? I don't know enough about the extent of your son's dyslexia, or how serious the disruptive incident was, but you do have some good points to make: only two marks short, the fact that extra time is already permitted in all other exams, the disruptive incident, the gifted and talented register. In my view it certainly stands a chance.