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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Hi I have two older children at our local grammar and the youngest sat and passed in Sept, but was not allocated a place on March 1. He is automatically on a waiting list but don't know where on list, though I have asked (prospectus says only 'parents may be told place on waiting list'). I've said we will go through appeal - as he has passed, will the academic evidence not matter so much? His primary school isn't really up to speed on it though wants to support him - they thought he would pass easily I think as he's top of his class, ahead of one boy in every school test who did pass and has a place at the same grammar. Head and teacher are willing to write a letter which is good though I'm not sure how strong it will be (first time they 've done it).
The extenuating circs I feel like mentioning are that he moved schools in the January before test as his sister had to have a major op and I could no longer drive them to the prep school they were both at (on very substantial bursaries) so they had to switch back to local school so I could get them there. He also had to start at the school without his sister which he found difficult and it was a worrying few months. His sister has a health condition from birth which has significantly affected the family and my youngest was effectively a sibling 'carer' for several years, dealing with tube feeds etc. His sister is only a year older and is at the same grammar, where she is thriving academically though with ongoing health issues. (They both went to a prep because there was a full time matron who could manage the health problems - the grammar school has a nurse, fortunately )
I don't want to labour it but he has had lots of care demands on him other children won't have had, he desperately wants to be at the same school as his siblings, and he did, after all, pass. Any advice on how much of this to put in - or not - would be great, also whether we have to produce lots of academic evidence even though he passed the test (but presumably not high enough up). And also whether my letter stating appeal has to spell out his SATS grades so far (all exceeding apparently but don't have details)?
Thank you so much!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:00 pm 
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Welcome to the Appeals forum! :)

Ambivalent wrote:
as he has passed, will the academic evidence not matter so much? ..... Any advice on ........ whether we have to produce lots of academic evidence even though he passed the test (but presumably not high enough up). And also whether my letter stating appeal has to spell out his SATS grades so far (all exceeding apparently but don't have details)?
As he has already qualified, I think it is entirely up to you.
Is there evidence to show he was expected to score even more highly on the day? - see B1 part (b):
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... ication#b1
If the current school is willing to write that they expected him to gain a place easily "as he's top of his class, ahead of one boy in every school test who did pass and has a place at the same grammar", this might help.

Quote:
The extenuating circs I feel like mentioning are that he moved schools in the January before test as his sister had to have a major op and I could no longer drive them to the prep school they were both at (on very substantial bursaries) so they had to switch back to local school so I could get them there. He also had to start at the school without his sister which he found difficult and it was a worrying few months.
Is there any evidence that the standard of his school work was below par because of the circumstances in 2017?

Quote:
His primary school isn't really up to speed on it though wants to support him - Head and teacher are willing to write a letter which is good though I'm not sure how strong it will be (first time they 've done it).
If they are new to this, the risk is that they will write a character reference, which would be irrelevant.

Also, if they're going to write that they expected him to gain a place easily, it might seem to contradict any argument about extenuating circumstances? I suppose they could word something along the lines "Despite the difficult circumstances faced by the family in 2017, we have no doubts about his innate ability and did expect him to gain a place easily ......"

Where they could really help is by supporting the argument that there is a special bond between your son and his sister (see below).

Quote:
His sister has a health condition from birth which has significantly affected the family and my youngest was effectively a sibling 'carer' for several years, dealing with tube feeds etc. His sister is only a year older and is at the same grammar, where she is thriving academically though with ongoing health issues. (They both went to a prep because there was a full time matron who could manage the health problems - the grammar school has a nurse, fortunately )
Most parents will want to send siblings to the same school if possible, which is understandable, but I would argue that there is something 'extra' in your case - the special bond between your son and his sister as a result of his caring role. I would stress how much it would mean to both of them if he could attend the same school.

If the current school would state that they are aware of all the family circumstances, and strongly feel that it would be beneficial for him to join his sister, it could strengthen your case.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:21 pm 
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Thanks very much for the quick response. His grades did dip after he started the school - he was assessed when he began and his first report a month later said he was exceeding and greater depth in all areas. His writing then dropped by next report to expected, but coming back up now.
Sounds like I should dictate the letter to the school but not sure how willing they will be for that! I might try and speak to the head and suggest what is in it!
Do lots of people who are on waiting list go to appeal? I understand there could be up to 40 on waiting list as everyone is automatically put on there, but not sure if this means they will all appeal... Last year a couple got in on appeal, but they had failed the test. They were local to school and had siblings, so hoping those two factors also count in our favour!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:34 pm 
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Ambivalent wrote:
Sounds like I should dictate the letter to the school but not sure how willing they will be for that! I might try and speak to the head and suggest what is in it!
You can but try! :lol:
Tell them what arguments you're planning to use, and ask if they would feel able to support each point.

Quote:
Do lots of people who are on waiting list go to appeal?
I would expect most of them to. Not everyone will bother, but anyone who is serious about a place really should pursue both routes.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:41 pm 
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If you don't mind doing so it might be worth mentioning your daughters on-going care needs. I have young carers in my family too and I know that if my child is ill and has to leave school suddenly or need hospital treatment it really helps that they are all in the same school and the staff know whats going on and they can comfort and reassure the siblings. It might also be reassuring for your daughter. Could young carers possibly write a letter for the appeal?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:21 pm 
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Thanks Spud04. Thats a really good point that I will definitely make. Though as they are going through a phase of saying as horrible things as possible to each other at the moment, not sure I'd rely on them telling an appeal panel how much they want to be together!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:30 pm 
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Ambivalent wrote:
Thanks Spud04. Thats a really good point that I will definitely make. Though as they are going through a phase of saying as horrible things as possible to each other at the moment, not sure I'd rely on them telling an appeal panel how much they want to be together!

Your children won't be at the appeal so that doesn't matter.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:32 pm 
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In addition to the advice above, I think the point about logistics might be worth investigating. I doubt most appeal panel members would really understand the juggling that goes on in a family where there is a disability or significant health needs. Consider how your children currently get to school. How will they get to school next year (assuming DC3 goes to the allocated school)? How will this work if you are stuck in hospital with DC2? Would DC1 step up in times of crisis or would you seek help from friends and family?

When my DS1 first started school, I was keen for him to go to the same school as my friend's DS. She had been helpful in taking DS1 to nursery when DD1 was hospitalised. At the time, there was no priority consideration given to young carers and DS1 would have been lumped into the distance criteria. Anyway, he got a place at the school and my friend continued to help through our various crises.

Many years on and things have changed. The oversubscription criteria at DS1's school now ranks children in LA care first, followed by sibling link then Health and Special Access reasons. It refers to the Equality Act 2010 and states priority will be given to children whose mental or physical impairment mean that they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. This priority also applies if the parents have a physical, mental or social need for their child to attend a particular school. The need must be evidenced. Although DS1 is at an academy, these criteria are mirrored in the county guidance for LA maintained schools. It might be worth looking at the oversubscription criteria where you are, as your family circumstances may fit. Distance criteria comes last.

I'm not one to play the 'disabled family' card unnecessarily but there are times when you have to put your family first. Obviously you are super woman :wink: but now might be the time to pretend that you are just human! :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:38 am 
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[

Great points which I'm adding.. am just putting the letter together now. Thank you. I've also been told by form teacher his scaled scores, which are 118,115, 114 in latest tests. I intend to put these in the letter and the school is writing a separate letter and will put in the same scores. Is their letter sufficient evidence of the scores - they don't need to photocopy the tests themselves? They also say he has a reading age of 15 years and 1 month which is tested through Accelerated Reader? Is that worth putting down?
Thanks so much for helping me through this!


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