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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:11 pm
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Hello

I was wondering if anyone could advise on whether or not they thought that extenuating circumstances if not deemed significant or extreme enough could undermine decent academic evidence. My child only got 116.5 in the test. 115 in Verbal, 133 in maths and 103 in NVR. We felt this was so low we couldn’t just rely on academics alone. They were expected to pass easily by school and their tutor based on mocks and ability etc...although we did have real worries that they might have a bad day so this is not totally a surprise to us.

The evidence is quite solid. 1:2 recommendation. All GDS in all years and level 3 in Yr3. Good Cats (128/9 average in y3 and 4 but slightly dipping to 121/122 in y5). Strongest predictions for KS2. Reading age of 15.10. We have a strong if short headmasters statement of support describing them as strongly recommended, more than suited to the academic rigour of a grammar and particularly noting that verbal should have been their strongest suit. The school then suggested we also included last year report summary which is also strong describing them as highly academic, very bright, lots of potential. The issue is that there is a slightly bizarre issue that has had a real impact on the last 18 months at school. It is a fear of something that luckily won’t exist at any senior school! It is clear from their report they would have done even better day to day without the impact of this issue on focus and attitude to school. It’s not mentioned in the heads statement. It certainly has more of an impact when they are under pressure but isn’t a night before the test type thing. We have various emails to the school backing this up although much of their subsequent response was verbal.

The question is really should we just not mention it at all for fear of looking like he is not a suitable grammar candidate or we are a bit mad/grasping at straws. I have read so many of the posts on here going back years, at 116 it seems we do need to refer to something. Plus it is real - if random! Finally we are easily in catchment for 2 good options.

Many thanks for any thoughts.


Last edited by Maybe moving on Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
Posts: 1688
Hi

It's not so much a case of extenuating circumstances undermining academic evidence, it's whether those circumstances have plausibly contributed to an unexpected result in the test. One of the things we often see on here is parents who cite health or personal circumstances for a period of months before the test but have consistently strong academic performance in their review evidence for the same period. The question then arises: What is it about those circumstances that had no effect on academic performance but did on the test? It would seem from your account that there is a correlation between the circumstances and your son's academic levels and test result, so I think it worth including.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Can I just ask if this is a Bucks primary or partner school? The HT recommendations are made before the results in that case.

+1 to anotherdad's comment.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:11 pm
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Thanks for the replies. It is a partner school in Bucks so yes the recommendation was made in advance of the test. We are almost surprised by the strength of the paper case. It’s not at all the impression one would have seeing the last year or so “in action!”. The tone of conversations has generally been around very high ability but unfulfilled potential and lack of focus.

It’s definitely a harder argument to make when the standardised results actually look ok on paper and the child’s public persona is quite outgoing and sporty. We are not sure if the emails alone will indicate a correlation or just look like a reach.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
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One thing to consider is to pass over the review option and go to appeal next year in the hope that your son's academic performance improves and provides a more compelling case. That approach comes with added risk though because if you were to be successful, you would have to overcome oversubscription as well, with schools you want being full to their PAN.

My hunch is that a review now is the better option. There's always the chance that if the fear continues to impact on his work that you won't be any better off.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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I can't see how the extenuating circumstances are going to help unless there was a specific incident in the week of the test that the school noticed.

Panels would expect an ongoing issue to affect other academic evidence ...

Unless it's the first scenario then I'd not say anything. It will be touch and go - you can see the stats on success at 116.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:11 pm
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Thanks for the advice. I think we will go for the review with the briefest reference to circumstances. I completely understand there is only the slimmest of chances but we may as well give it a try...


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