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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:58 am 
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Posts: 15
Hello,

I am a new member but have been reading posts on here for many months with avid interest. I am in the process of appealing and have been trying to gather as much information as possible but the school is proving to be very awkward in providing information. Looking at some previous posts it appears that some parents have obtained their childrens answer sheets but I have been told by the FO that these are commercially sensitive and are exempt under the FOI? the email also goes on to say that Birmingham Grammar Schools nor the FO have ever released past exams papers NOR answer sheets? Are they lying? if Lucy2016 can pick up this post it would be interesting to see how far she got with her appeal as we are in the same boat : appealing on basis of academic ability but due to extenuating circumstances during the exam our daughter obtained a lower than expected mark.

If Sally-Anne or Etienne could please respond too as I would like to send a copy of my appeals letter and ask some further advice regarding it, then this would be greatly appreciated. The FO have told me I can appeal on any basis? (seems very odd to say that )

eagerly awaiting a response

many thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7858
Welcome to the forum! :)

SMpharm wrote:
Looking at some previous posts it appears that some parents have obtained their childrens answer sheets but I have been told by the FO that these are commercially sensitive and are exempt under the FOI? the email also goes on to say that Birmingham Grammar Schools nor the FO have ever released past exams papers NOR answer sheets? Are they lying?
No.
Exam scripts are a specific exemption in the Data Protection Act:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appea ... cation#b55

Question papers would come under Freedom of Information, but admission authorities may claim they too are exempt on the grounds that they are commercially sensitive.

Quote:
If Sally-Anne or Etienne could please respond too as I would like to send a copy of my appeals letter and ask some further advice regarding it, then this would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a55
However, we are happy to try and answer any questions on the forum.

Quote:
The FO have told me I can appeal on any basis? (seems very odd to say that )
They probably wouldn't want to be accused of seeking to limit the grounds on which you can appeal.

Have you seen the Q&As?
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/
The foreword lists some of the main grounds for appealing.

Assuming that the admission arrangements are lawful, and have been correctly applied, then in your situation there are in practice likely to be 2-3 grounds on which you would base an appeal:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a43

Unfortunately the success rate for Birmingham grammar school appeals is thought to be very low. (When the competition for places is so intense, there probably needs to be something exceptional about an appeal case for it to stand out.)

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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:25 am
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I have sent a copy of the schools case to the drop box in the hope Etienne could have a look at it for me as I am unsure if I am able to query their admissions numbers etc.

We have our appeals hearing coming up next week and have received the schools case. I really need some guidance and help in breaking down or weakening the schools case. My DD scored 207 (qualifying score was 205) cut off score 224 so I guess ours is a case of non qualification against oversubscription. I need help with trying to win the over-subscription argument and building a strong case. The schools funding agreement states they can take 867 students including 256 at Sixth Form (128 per year x 7 years) but in their case they state that due to financial pressures they raised their PAN to 160 in order that they could accommodate 32 students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They did this from 2014 onwards (prior to this their PAN was 128.) The current number of students on roll is 1049

What my point is if they can increase the PAN in 2014 by 32 students (160 in total over 5 years) and if they can accommodate such numbers without a detriment to the provision of education etc then surely they can admit an extra pupil?

They have also stated they have taken on Sixth form students from other schools (281 in total - this I have obtained by virtue of a FOI request) then this also shows that they have gone over the funding agreements provision on 256? So again can I argue that to admit my daughter should not cause any further prejudice. In my case I have tried to follow the guidance from the forum and focused on academic ability and have explained about extenuating circumstances that led to a lower than expected score in the test.

I would be very much indebted if Etienne could please take some time out to have a look at their case and to see if any of my arguments hold any weight. Any information you can provide me will be greatly appreciated I will as always be eternally grateful.


Many thanks SMpharm


Last edited by SMpharm on Tue May 29, 2018 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 6:47 am 
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Quote:
What my point is if they can increase the PAN in 2014 by 32 students (160 in total over 5 years) and if they can accommodate such numbers without a detriment to the provision of education etc then surely they can admit an extra pupil?
I wonder how many appellants there are? The problem is that every appellant is likely to say "Just one more ......."
It's not a line of argument I would recommend.

There may well be an issue about whether they could have admitted more pupils before the increase in PAN, but now that they have 32 per class, I would be amazed if they didn't win their stage one case, especially when rooms appear to be of a minimum standard.

The Q&As advise how to approach stage one:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c1
- but we explain that the best way to counter the school's oversubscription case is by putting forward good reasons at stage two for wanting or needing a place:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... -school#c2

You've mentioned
      "In my case I have tried to follow the guidance from the forum and focused on academic ability and have explained about extenuating circumstances that led to a lower than expected score in the test"
but you've not said anything about reasons for wanting a place that might outweigh the prejudice to the school.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 11:14 am 
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Hi Etienne,

Many thanks for the quick reply. I have sent a copy of case to the drop box and am hoping you could please take some time to have a look at it will give you a background to our case and I have tried to explain our reasons for wanting the school. I am in the process of slimming it down to try and present it orally at the hearing. I have also sent a copy of my DD's Head teachers reference in the hope you can see my DD's academic ability.

I'm not sure how many appellants there are but I see your point and take it onboard. Yes I think they wont stumble at stage 1 but I want to raise some doubts in the minds of the appeal panel as to their numbers. What I am trying to get across is that currently or even next year the school cannot be full to capacity as the change to PAN in 2014 from 128 to 160 will take full effect in a couple of years time (when the cohort of 2014 intake leave the school) I realise and appreciate that any 'spaces' they may have would be in years 12 and 13 but this in theory indicates the school is not full to maximum capacity. Would it be unreasonable to assume that nearly all year 10 students would stay on at Sixth Form? if so the school would have to make provisions for at least 1,120 students - current student numbers are 1049.

I am very grateful for your valuable input, advice and guidance


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 11:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
The problem with that reasoning is that as you point out, the capacity is not in the year you are targeting. If the school goes over the new, already increased PAN in the new year, at some point that will take them over the 1,120 students you mentioned as the new whole-school capacity, unless they compensate by admitting fewer than 160 somewhere down the line. That isn't going to happen - they can't operate on a flexi system where they admit, say 172 in one year but only take 148 the next to compensate. Apart from anything else, they will be restricted by the smallest classroom capacity which would seem to be 32? (five classes of 32 being 160). Where would they put your daughter and anyone else they admit over PAN? They would need a sixth classroom for the year group along with an extra teacher.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 1:39 pm 
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Hi Anotherdad,

thanks for your input. What im trying to illustrate is they are not at full capacity at the moment (rather than saying they can accommodate my DD),
They have admitted that they have taken extra sixth former's from other schools (the numbers in the sixth form were based on the old PAN so were around 128 but they have 144 in year 12 and 137 in year 13. I realise the fact that they have allocated 32 places per class but is the School full at the moment? if the moderators and yourself think I should avoid this line or argument then I will. Many thanks. There apparently has only been one successful appeal in the last 5 years, that doesnt bode very well


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 1:59 pm 
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I think I'd put your efforts into her 'need' for the school and academic evidence that she should have ranked higher.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
Posts: 1656
Location: Buckinghamshire
I agree. I don't think the capacity argument holds water so you should focus on her need for the place rather than trying to prove capacity. The whole school may not be full but you are only concerned with the capacity in the upcoming year 7 intake.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Quote:
I realise and appreciate that any 'spaces' they may have would be in years 12 and 13 but this in theory indicates the school is not full to maximum capacity.
As anotherdad points out, what happens further up the school doesn't automatically create a vacancy in Y7.

The total number of pupils in a school only matters if it is excessive, leading to concerns such as health and safety in corridors and other communal areas.
Y7 pupils do not spend most of their time in corridors and other communal areas - most of their time is spent being taught in a classroom with other Y7 pupils.
The real issue is not whether the school as a whole is full.
The real issue when considering a school's case not to admit further children into Y7 is whether Y7 is full, and how Y7 classes would be prejudiced by the admission of any additional children.

Quote:
I have sent a copy of case to the drop box and am hoping you could please take some time to have a look at it will give you a background to our case and I have tried to explain our reasons for wanting the school. I am in the process of slimming it down to try and present it orally at the hearing. I have also sent a copy of my DD's Head teachers reference in the hope you can see my DD's academic ability.
Although I do my best to answer questions on the forum, I'm afraid I don't have time to look at your stage 2 case at the moment.
When exactly is your hearing?

Guest55 wrote:
I think I'd put your efforts into her 'need' for the school and academic evidence that she should have ranked higher.
anotherdad wrote:
I don't think the capacity argument holds water so you should focus on her need for the place rather than trying to prove capacity. The whole school may not be full but you are only concerned with the capacity in the upcoming year 7 intake.
Guest55 and anotherdad sum up perfectly!

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if the moderators and yourself think I should avoid this line or argument .....
Yes! :)

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