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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:28 am 
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 9:53 pm
Posts: 6
Thankyou Etienne.
Just one last question. Do the EFSA see a copy of our case to see what points should have been considered as well as the clerks notes? If not, how would they know what points were raised by us if the notes dont contain everything that should have been discussed?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Do the EFSA see a copy of our case to see what points should have been considered as well as the clerks notes? If not, how would they know what points were raised by us if the notes dont contain everything that should have been discussed?
I assume that the case officer would ask to see all the appeal paperwork, but cannot guarantee it!

• It would be one advantage of trying to get hold of a copy of the clerk's notes before submitting a complaint:
https://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman#d4
However, the clerk might resist, which could lead to lengthy delays.
Alternatively it should be possible to obtain a copy from the ESFA as soon as it's in their possession - but getting the timing right might be problematic. (You don't want to receive the clerk's notes after the ESFA have taken their decision.)

• I see no reason why you shouldn't submit a copy of your appeal submission along with a copy of the decision letter.
I can't tell whether the current online form allows for attachments. Even if it doesn't, it should be possible to email the documents as soon as you know who is dealing with your case.

• Lastly, in your complaint you could expand a bit on what I suggested further up. For example:
"The evidence weighed up by the IAP included - but was not necessarily limited to - medical evidence, reports and supporting letters from his primary school."
- I would question whether this brief, generic summary of my case is sufficient to meet the requirements of para. 2.25 of the Appeals Code.
It is impossible to tell from the decision letter whether all the main points of my case were taken into account.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 9:53 pm
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Thankyou so much Etienne, I will Lodge a complaint and see where it gets me.
The clerk was very friendly and helpful through the appeals process so I have emailed her asking for a copy of her notes, hopefully she will allow us to have them.
Your advice and knowledge is so gratefully received.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:18 am
Posts: 56
Hmmm, well we have an identical letter (same clerk, different school/panel, I suspect) . . . Except we don't have the sections quoting the test (as the school refused to release the test papers - either in advance, or at, the hearing). The line about 'the panel recognised X's qualities but declined to admit . . .' is a curious one (and I raised exactly the same point with the ESFA - it's too ambiguous, in the sense that it could be referring to the academic evidence but it could also be referring to something else entirely) and I have subsequently come to the conclusion that it is there as a deliberate fudge. The authorities are well aware that, if the panel were to recognise that your alternative academic evidence was strong enough to justify admission (but you had still not made the case on over-subscription) you could potentially argue the case that your child ought to be added to the waiting list and sit it out with everyone else who qualified but did not gain a place - as happens in some other areas). Obviously they don't want this to happen (as they fear it would open the floodgates) so they choose to keep things clear as mud instead.

Like you, I have followed this forum very closely over the last few months - I also did my homework and took the trouble to prepare a very thorough case. It wasn't just a case of style over substance - like you, we had a very strong case anyway, even without my obsessive/perfectionist tendencies thrown into the mix :wink: Both panels commented unprompted (lay member on one, chair on the other) that is was one of (if not the) strongest cases they have ever seen (although maybe, as with the decision letter, they say this to everyone too?!) - guess what, made absolutely no difference whatsoever, because the outcome was predetermined from the start.

Etienne and others on this forum give fantastic and knowledgeable advice, but it can only work if the authorities are playing by the rules. Unfortunately, in this case, they are not - not on admissions, and not on appeals either. I hope your complaint to ESFA is successful - we have had a knock back from ESFA on one school and still arguing it out on the other. I am exploring options as what to do next, as I feel this is bigger than us - it's a point of public interest, and a matter of principle for me now. As far as I can see, your only real option to pursue your own DC's case (once ESFA chuck it out) is via judicial review - good luck to you if you can afford the time and money for this (we can't!) I have also tried to progress our first case to the Secretary of State for Education - not holding out much hope for this either, but it will enable me to pursue a complaint under the DfE complaints process if I get a further knockback. The trouble with ESFA is they're a bit 'computer says no', iyswim - they will look for even the slightest glimmer in the clerk's notes that the panel discussed the academic evidence etc. (and, if they can't find it there, they will even let the clerk 'comment' retrospectively on what was discussed/decided etc. and take this as evidence against your complaint - at least that's what they did with us anyway!) Basically, even this process is stacked against you - I suspect because ESFA probably have staff on quite a low pay grade working on this, and they don't want the hassle of actually holding any academies to account in the real world (pretty sure they even had the work experience write me last week!) I think you have a very valid point with the test papers not being produced until the hearing - but my hunch is that ESFA will say this would not have affected the outcome, because the outcome of the appeal was not dependent on the original entrance test result anyway (even though we all know that, in this area, the original entrance test is actually the [i]only[i] thing that seems to matter!)

Good luck - I would love to know how you get on (I am waiting for all ESFA investigations etc. to be concluded before I add my experiences to the feedback thread). I agree - it is absolutely soul destroying to know that, in the end, it all just goes back again to that one test in September. I spent months working on this but I could have just scribbled a few notes on the back of a fag packet on my way to the hearing and got the same outcome. It's not just bitterness - they could run the panels fairly, and still not give anyone a place; the code allows for this anyway - it's not even the injustice - it's the fact that everyone here knows the panels are nothing more than kangaroo courts, and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it :x


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