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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:27 pm 
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Hello everyone,

My DD qualified in the 11+ but we missed a place by 0.049 miles at our first choice grammar school (and by 248 meters on our third choice). In fact we were allocated our 4th choice (local comprehensive school) so I am planning to appealing for each of the 3 schools we were not offered a place.

I read a lot of the guidance given in this forum and the Q&As section but I still have a few questions, so if you do have an answer or any thoughts, please post here.

1. As I am planning to appeal to each of the 3 schools that ranked higher than my allocated school, does it matter in which order I submit the appeals and how many days there are in between each submission? Will this determine the order in which I will attend the panel hearing? My daughter is keen on our first choice, so ideally we would want to know the outcome of the appeal at this school first before moving on to the next one, but I appreciate that we have to submit all appeals at the same time.

2. Reasons for wanting a school - I can't really find anything about specialisms on the schools I am looking at (apart from one which mentions Science as a specialism) but I will assume that all 3 grammar schools I am looking at will have a strong focus on English, Maths and Sciences (so I will argue on these points). However, one of the schools seems to have a focus also on performing arts. If I could demonstrate that my DD has an aptitude for performing arts (e.g. performed in a play at a theatre and is rehearsing for another; dance; playing an instrument, etc.) could I also put this a reason for wanting a place at that school? If I could use this as a reason, would it be OK to add certificates as evidence - submit them with the case or bring at the hearing? How much weight would aptitude in other areas such as sports and arts carry in an oversubscription appeal for a grammar school in Bucks?

3. Supporting evidence - apart from School reports and a letter from the school (which I have yet to procure) that shows ability in a subject area, what else could be seen as evidence? Would for example published creative writing pieces be seen as evidence for high ability in English?

Many thanks in advance for your help with this.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:45 pm 
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Which schools are you looking at? Perhaps people on the forum can help. Schools don’t have specialisms nowadays but they are still strong in certain areas.
You may get a place anyway. A lot of people will not accept places.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:39 pm 
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MkSky wrote:
1. ...... My daughter is keen on our first choice, so ideally we would want to know the outcome of the appeal at this school first before moving on to the next one ......
I don't think you can plan along these lines because no one knows how many appellants there will be. The more appellants there are for a particular school, the longer it will take to get a decision, since no decisions can be announced until all the appeals for that school have been heard.

Quote:
2. Reasons for wanting a school - I can't really find anything about specialisms on the schools I am looking at (apart from one which mentions Science as a specialism)
They don't exist now. Read about specialisms in the Q&As:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... school#c34

However, if a school is still promoting itself as a Science College, or if its prospectus highlights any particular strengths, you could submit this as a reason, provided there is evidence why it would be so important for your child. Ideally you want something more persuasive than "My child likes science"!
Look at C2 a(vi). Dejavu’s case:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... -school#c2

Quote:
but I will assume that all 3 grammar schools I am looking at will have a strong focus on English, Maths and Sciences (so I will argue on these points).
Don't all schools have a strong focus on the core subjects? :)
If you want to try this line of argument, what you need is something on offer at the particular school which is not available elsewhere, or something that the school is well-known for, such as a very strong maths department - provided you can prove why this meets your daughter's needs.

Quote:
However, one of the schools seems to have a focus also on performing arts. If I could demonstrate that my DD has an aptitude for performing arts (e.g. performed in a play at a theatre and is rehearsing for another; dance; playing an instrument, etc.) could I also put this a reason for wanting a place at that school?
Yes, but ideally you would have proof of a very high standard. (For example, playing an instrument at grade 1/2 won't impress - grade 4/5 would be better!)

Quote:
If I could use this as a reason, would it be OK to add certificates as evidence - submit them with the case or bring at the hearing?
I think you'll find the BCC Parents Guide to Appeals asks you not to send in certificates. You could bring them to the hearing.

Quote:
How much weight would aptitude in other areas such as sports and arts carry in an oversubscription appeal for a grammar school in Bucks?
I never found sport a very persuasive argument for grammar school entry. Those who excel at sport probably do their sport at specialist clubs outside of school.

I'm aware of one grammar school that had performing arts as a specialism. If it is still promoted as one of the school's strengths, the argument could be worth making - provided it is clear why the child would benefit.

Quote:
3. ..... Would for example published creative writing pieces be seen as evidence for high ability in English?
Not if this was a marketing strategy on the part of the company involved!
I think it depends how much of an achievement it was for the work to be published, and how difficult it was to be selected.

Just my view - but I hope it offers some guidance about how a case might be dissected.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:18 pm 
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Eccentric wrote:
Which schools are you looking at? Perhaps people on the forum can help. Schools don’t have specialisms nowadays but they are still strong in certain areas.
You may get a place anyway. A lot of people will not accept places.


we are looing at Royal Latin, Aylesbury High School and Sir Henry Floyd. So if you can offer any hint on what they are strong at or would like to develop, that would be much appreciated


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:46 pm 
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I thought you were from your forum name! As Etienne says there are no specialsims and haven't been for some time. You need to show WHY for each school.
AHS - did have languages specialism but you haven't mentioned that, right next door to Aylesbury Music centre, all girls
RLS - did have Science and has a new science block; they do [or did] science outreach.
SHF - did have science, performing arts and leadership - strong in performing arts - do Rock challenge [Premier school] and have a good range of music groups.

Which one does you daughter match best? These are three very different schools - which order did you put them? Two are mixed and one single gender - hard to think you don't prefer one of those.

If you have more specific questions then ask away.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:59 pm 
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Thank you so much Etienne for your kind advice on this. It is good to have my case scrutinised in a safe environment so I can make it stronger. I find the whole thing really terrifying...

Quote:
However, if a school is still promoting itself as a Science College, or if its prospectus highlights any particular strengths, you could submit this as a reason, provided there is evidence why it would be so important for your child. Ideally you want something more persuasive than "My child likes science"!
Look at C2 a(vi). Dejavu’s case:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... -school#c2


She is Greater Depth in Science and actually wants to pursue a Science career, possibly Zoology. At the open day she spent about 20 minutes talking to a lady and looking at the organs of a pig and comparing them to another animal (to my exasperation :roll:) but she's found it fascinating.

Quote:
However, one of the schools seems to have a focus also on performing arts. If I could demonstrate that my DD has an aptitude for performing arts (e.g. performed in a play at a theatre and is rehearsing for another; dance; playing an instrument, etc.) could I also put this a reason for wanting a place at that school?
Yes, but ideally you would have proof of a very high standard. (For example, playing an instrument at grade 1/2 won't impress - grade 4/5 would be better!)
Quote:

I agree that a grade 4/5 would be quite impressive, but I would have thought that it also depends on when a child started learning an instrument? You can't get to grade 4/5 in one year (or maybe some children can), but getting to grade 1/2 in one year is still a good progress, I think. It is not her case anyway as she only just started about 1 year ago and is sitting her grade 1 exam in the Summer, so hmmm, maybe not a strong argument.

Quote:
If I could use this as a reason, would it be OK to add certificates as evidence - submit them with the case or bring at the hearing?
I think you'll find the BCC Parents Guide to Appeals asks you not to send in certificates. You could bring them to the hearing.


I have seen in he BCC Parents Guide that you should not submit school work or certificates, as you won't get them back, but the new appeal process allows you to submit everything online (and maybe the panel looks at everything online?). On that basis, it is very easy to just scan everything into a PDF; there is no issue of things getting lost. So I wasn't sure if the "don't submit certificates because you don't get them back" is a leftover from the times when you were supposed to send in the paperwork in an envelope and it has not been updated for the digital form? It might be just my interpretation of the guide, though. I could maybe make reference in my statement to awards and certificates then say that I will bring them to the hearing meeting - would that be OK? Would the panel still consider them if they haven't actually seen the evidence before the hearing?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:11 pm 
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I echo what Guest55 has said - first on my list to differentiate them would be the mixed vs single gender status. There are big differences in the learning environment of each. If you have a strong preference for one type, that eliminates one or two options. From what you've put so far, SHF would appear the best fit because of the performing arts strength.

As a parent of a daughter at AHS, my experience is that the school has musical strengths (although for my daughter's year, the school was quite selective about what minimum level of proficiency was required to join the various bands and orchestras, so that might be considered elitist and a negative), is very strong in a range of sports and in terms of academic subjects, there seems to be an increasing number of girls studying biology, chemistry and maths at A level, many of whom are interested in reading medicine. This latter point is only hearsay from my daughter so it's worth checking the accuracy of it if it's something your daughter has expressed an early and strong interest in. It might just be a peculiarity of recent years and not reflected in today's lower school pupils.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:22 pm 
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Quote:
AHS - did have languages specialism but you haven't mentioned that, right next door to Aylesbury Music centre, all girls


Languages. right! DD is fluent in Italian (dad is Italian) and she is learning French and Spanish at school. I guess I was concentrating so much on the things that she's learned from books or from a teacher that I did not even consider her fluency in Italian as an ability. Thank you so much for reminding me :D .

Quote:
Which one does you daughter match best? These are three very different schools - which order did you put them?


We visited all 3 schools and she loved them all. In an ideal world it would be a mixture between RLS and SHF as she has an ability for sciences and maths but she is also very arty and creative and has performed in a number of plays at the theatre. She knows she wants to pursue a Science career (she says Zoology now as she is really passionate about animals, but she might decide later that an other area of Science is better suited) but she also wants Arts. Which makes it a difficult choice as each would offer her a different focus / experience. She ranked the schools herself with RLS being the first choice and SHF the second.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:32 pm 
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I think that if you look you will find SHF results are now as good as RLS in maths and science ... SHF do openly publish results by subject but I can't see that level of detail on RLS website.
Don't be swayed by the flash new Science building at RLS - SHF has refurbished its labs - the teaching is more important than rooms.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:36 pm 
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MkSky wrote:
Quote:
AHS - did have languages specialism but you haven't mentioned that, right next door to Aylesbury Music centre, all girls


Languages. right! DD is fluent in Italian (dad is Italian) and she is learning French and Spanish at school. I guess I was concentrating so much on the things that she's learned from books or from a teacher that I did not even consider her fluency in Italian as an ability. Thank you so much for reminding me :D .

Quote:
Which one does you daughter match best? These are three very different schools - which order did you put them?


We visited all 3 schools and she loved them all. In an ideal world it would be a mixture between RLS and SHF as she has an ability for sciences and maths but she is also very arty and creative and has performed in a number of plays at the theatre. She knows she wants to pursue a Science career (she says Zoology now as she is really passionate about animals, but she might decide later that an other area of Science is better suited) but she also wants Arts. Which makes it a difficult choice as each would offer her a different focus / experience. She ranked the schools herself with RLS being the first choice and SHF the second.


I hope for your (and anyone else's) DC's sake, that there isn't an emphasis on any one aspect of the curriculum at either school which is detrimental to the provision of any other aspects.

In year 7, DS1 wanted to be a carpenter.

In year 10, he wanted to be an English teacher.

Now at university, he is about to take his final exams in Biochemistry.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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