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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:49 am 
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I spent most of yesterday going through the Appeals section of this site and through the forum posts (thank goodness for Snow Day!). Really fantastic information on there but I still have a couple of questions that I am hoping you can help with.

DS was ranked 19 places below the cut-off and will go into reconsideration/on the waiting list. Assuming a similar amount of movement as last year, he could squeak in from there, especially as another GS in the area is significantly undersubscribed and appeals there could mean extra movement for all. However, we plan to appeal on the basis of oversubscription, mainly for educational reasons, but also that we believe he did not perform as well as he should have done on the day.

1. Educational reasons: when evidencing that the GS is strong within a particular subject area that fits with DS's talents and interests, do I assume that the appeals panel have limited knowledge of the School? Would this mean evidence including lots of screenshots from the School's website, relevant sections of OFSTED and GCSE results etc? Also, taking note of all the advice not to be critical of the allocated school, how can I show the GS is stronger in these areas than the allocated school, without being critical? Does it go in the submission or do I bring it up in the hearing?

2. We don't have medical or other evidence for underperformance on the day. DS is a worrier and felt under lots of pressure (elder sister is at GS (the one next door), us parents, two grandparents and all four blood-relative uncles and aunts all went to grammar schools) and despite lots of reassurance from us, he was very stressed just before the test. His time management was poor and he only properly finished 1 of the 7 sections. From what he's said, he only answered 3/4 of the questions in each section properly and shoved a line in the multiple choice boxes in the last 30 seconds of each timed section. Are the panel likely to be sympathetic to the idea of stress here? Plus do they have access to the answer sheets which could corroborate what he says happened?

3. He did not qualify for the undersubscribed school. There is part of me that thinks that we could appeal there on non-qualification and stand a really good chance of getting in as they are so far off their PAN, but I cannot bring myself to do it, just to get any grammar school place, as he really wants the other school. This second GS was just not on our radar, more distance but we could get there, we haven't visited it - and my gut feel is that appealing would undermine the validity of us wanting the preferred school. Is this mad?

Sorry, I only meant this to be short. Many thanks for reading and any advice would be appreciated from anyone.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:34 pm
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RedMaple wrote:
I spent most of yesterday going through the Appeals section of this site and through the forum posts (thank goodness for Snow Day!). Really fantastic information on there but I still have a couple of questions that I am hoping you can help with.

DS was ranked 19 places below the cut-off and will go into reconsideration/on the waiting list. Assuming a similar amount of movement as last year, he could squeak in from there, especially as another GS in the area is significantly undersubscribed and appeals there could mean extra movement for all. However, we plan to appeal on the basis of oversubscription, mainly for educational reasons, but also that we believe he did not perform as well as he should have done on the day.

1. Educational reasons: when evidencing that the GS is strong within a particular subject area that fits with DS's talents and interests, do I assume that the appeals panel have limited knowledge of the School? Would this mean evidence including lots of screenshots from the School's website, relevant sections of OFSTED and GCSE results etc? Also, taking note of all the advice not to be critical of the allocated school, how can I show the GS is stronger in these areas than the allocated school, without being critical? Does it go in the submission or do I bring it up in the hearing?

2. We don't have medical or other evidence for underperformance on the day. DS is a worrier and felt under lots of pressure (elder sister is at GS (the one next door), us parents, two grandparents and all four blood-relative uncles and aunts all went to grammar schools) and despite lots of reassurance from us, he was very stressed just before the test. His time management was poor and he only properly finished 1 of the 7 sections. From what he's said, he only answered 3/4 of the questions in each section properly and shoved a line in the multiple choice boxes in the last 30 seconds of each timed section. Are the panel likely to be sympathetic to the idea of stress here? Plus do they have access to the answer sheets which could corroborate what he says happened?

3. He did not qualify for the undersubscribed school. There is part of me that thinks that we could appeal there on non-qualification and stand a really good chance of getting in as they are so far off their PAN, but I cannot bring myself to do it, just to get any grammar school place, as he really wants the other school. This second GS was just not on our radar, more distance but we could get there, we haven't visited it - and my gut feel is that appealing would undermine the validity of us wanting the preferred school. Is this mad?

Sorry, I only meant this to be short. Many thanks for reading and any advice would be appreciated from anyone.

Hi sorry you find yourself in this difficult situation. I have an idea of the schools you might be talking about....
Your main focus needs to be on alternative academic evidence to support your case...without that you will find it difficult to challenge the 11 plus result.
Beyond that focus on your child’s strengths and why the school would be the right one for your child...each appeal it seperate so you could appeal to both schools if you feel that is worth the extra journey to the school further away...the panels don’t know if you appeal to more than one school...

I guess it puts a sort of tension on you to work on 2 different appeals....but you will never know unless you try...and only appealing to the one may be a bigger risk as you then don’t have any other options...the appeals tend to be a few weeks apart..so if you win the first you can cancel the second...or go to the second knowing you have one in the bag so to speak.
It is still all a huge gamble and means several months of uncertainty.....you could still end up accepting the school you have been allocated and giving your child plenty of home support and find they thrive and do well anyway...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:50 pm 
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We were in a similar position for over subscription last year and successfully appealed.

Is this Glos by any chance?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:15 pm 
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Welcome to the forum! :)

RedMaple wrote:
do I assume that the appeals panel have limited knowledge of the School?
They may or may not. Impossible to generalise, although at least one panel member will have a background in education.

Quote:
Would this mean evidence including lots of screenshots from the School's website, relevant sections of OFSTED and GCSE results etc?
Don't overload the panel with too much printed material such as Ofsted and GCSEs. Sometimes it's better to quote just one or two sentences and then wave a copy of the official report at them, saying "I have a copy here if anyone should want to verify it."

If the grammar school itself is promoting one of its strengths in the prospectus, it's worth a mention, although of much greater importance is the evidence that your son would benefit from what is on offer.

Quote:
Also, taking note of all the advice not to be critical of the allocated school, how can I show the GS is stronger in these areas than the allocated school, without being critical?
If the allocated school is non-selective, wouldn't one expect the grammar school to be stronger?
I'd be much more comfortable with an argument such as courses that are available at the GS but not at the allocated school. Again, what matters is the evidence of why this is very relevant and important for your son. Vague assertions such as "he likes the subject" are unlikely to be sufficient.

Quote:
2. We don't have medical or other evidence for underperformance on the day. DS is a worrier and felt under lots of pressure (elder sister is at GS (the one next door), us parents, two grandparents and all four blood-relative uncles and aunts all went to grammar schools) and despite lots of reassurance from us, he was very stressed just before the test. His time management was poor and he only properly finished 1 of the 7 sections. From what he's said, he only answered 3/4 of the questions in each section properly and shoved a line in the multiple choice boxes in the last 30 seconds of each timed section.
Keep it minimal. Focus briefly on sibling pressure in your written submission.

Quote:
Are the panel likely to be sympathetic to the idea of stress here?
They might be, so long as you don't overdo it with uncles and aunts!

Feeling under pressure to do as well as an older sibling might be accepted. Also the pressure of parental expectations ("despite reassurances from us"). Unfortunately these things are difficult to prove. What might really help is a letter from the current school confirming that he is indeed "a worrier", and appeared especially stressed at the time of the test.

Quote:
Plus do they have access to the answer sheets which could corroborate what he says happened?
Normally no - but appeals in your area, if it's Glos., might be an exception.

Quote:
3. He did not qualify for the undersubscribed school. There is part of me that thinks that we could appeal there on non-qualification and stand a really good chance of getting in as they are so far off their PAN, but I cannot bring myself to do it, just to get any grammar school place, as he really wants the other school. This second GS was just not on our radar, more distance but we could get there, we haven't visited it - and my gut feel is that appealing would undermine the validity of us wanting the preferred school. Is this mad?
It might show commitment, but I agree with DC17C that you shouldn't limit your options in this way (if you really would prefer the other grammar school to the allocated school).

Most appeal panels are used to the fact that parents need fallback positions, and are appealing for more than one school.

Of course, if you were to turn up at an appeal for the other school, and seemed very lukewarm about it, it might not be very productive. :lol:

It helps to appear enthusiastic/desperate!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Can’tthinkofone wrote:
We were in a similar position for over subscription last year and successfully appealed.

Is this Glos by any chance?

I was thinking the same...and if so....do look at the other school as a serious option not a fallback position it is a very good school...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:05 pm 
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Yes, it is Gloucestershire!

Thank you all for your advice and especially Etienne with your detailed responses; I sense I need the objectivity especially as I can do desperate/enthusiastic very well! I've taken note of everything you've advised.

Quote:
If the allocated school is non-selective, wouldn't one expect the grammar school to be stronger?


Yes, definitely in terms of exam performance so won't use GCSE results. It doesn't explicitly state anywhere that it's strong in this area in the prospectus or on website but it does offer more initiatives, extra curricular activities, an additional GCSE option and evidence of more recent investment in specific facilities than the allocated school, so that's what I'm hoping to use. Plus the continuation of a 6th form (which for me is quite a biggie) which the allocated school doesn't have. We do have some strong evidence for DS ability/interest in this area plus his Year 6 teacher and Head will support so will just give it our best shot! (Can’tthinkofone - if you had any useful tips about your appeal experience and felt able and willing to share, please let me know, but equally fine if not.)

Re: the other GS - I have read very good things about it across this forum, but just know very little about it. I need to go and research and visit it now! I do feel reassured that you all think appealing elsewhere would be quite usual.

Many thanks again; will let you know how I get on - and will remember to post on the appeal feedback to help others!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:43 pm 
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Yes happy to share. Will PM you early next week (all docs are on my laptop which is snowed in at work). If you have any specific questions then please PM me too.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:31 am 
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Thank you very much can'tthinkofone - would really appreciate that.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:32 pm 
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Dear All,

I have a question about the presentation of evidence that I'm hoping someone may be able to help with. If the HT's letter contains all the relevant stats and scores that an appeal would need (CATs/Mock SATs results/Predicted SATs etc), would the letter itself then suffice as best evidence or would one need to try and also submit the marked test papers and official CATs paperwork referred to on top, if the school would release them?

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:26 pm 
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RedMaple wrote:
would one need to try and also submit the marked test papers and official CATs paperwork referred to on top, if the school would release them?
No, if the school is summarising its own evidence, it is unnecessary to duplicate the information.
Superfluous paperwork is likely to be unwelcome!

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