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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:17 pm 
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Hi

I’m in the process of putting together our appeal and have found the information on this site invaluable - thank you! :)

We intend to appeal against non-qualification for DD’s first choice of GS. She qualified and has been offered a place in her 2nd choice of GS. We’ve found out she was ranked around 30 places below the lowest qualifying rank for her first choice school, so did not meet the criteria, but was not a million miles away.

Since taking the 11+, she’s been diagnosed with dyslexia. It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, as her primary school have consistently insisted there are absolutely no issues and she’s exactly where she should be. After battling the home-schooling for much of last year, we insisted on a screening during the Autumn term, which identified areas for further investigation. A full dyslexia assessment was undertaken earlier this year, confirming the diagnosis, actions and a 25% additional time provision in future formal exams.

The undiagnosed dyslexia would be our grounds for appeal - the GS have confirmed that had this been diagnosed prior to the 11+, she would have been entitled to an additional 25% time, which may (or may not) have made a difference.

I have a headteacher’s letter of support, including some academic evidence and have specific reasons for selecting our first choice school (logistics and social / emotional).

My question is therefore how I frame the dyslexia and how much detail I include. She has several very specific difficulties - slow processing speed, slow reading pace, low average working memory and difficulties working under time pressure. Her standardised results in the VR section of the test were 15 points behind the numerical and 20 points behind her NVR scores. The academic evidence we’ve gathered shows only ‘average' ability in verbal assessments, which is in line with her specific difficulties.

Her full dyslexia assessment shows a very spiky overall intelligence profile with incredibly low scores for very specific VR areas (scores of 65-75), but conversely some very high scores for other areas (125-130). We wouldn’t want to include the full report as it sets out all her difficulties in detail (along with recommendations for the SENCO to support her going forward), but I don’t want this to cast doubt on her ability to cope at GS.

I've spent far too much time over-thinking this, so any advice would be very much appreciated!

Thank you :D


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:22 am 
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Hi, welcome to the forum!

I'm sure one of our experts will be along shortly to help. However, I would suggest that where there is relevant detail in the report this would be worth including - for example if there has been a recommendation of adjustments of exam conditions. That said, remember, proof of her academic capability and reasons for wanting this school are key and this is where you should focus your attention. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:01 pm 
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Quote:
We wouldn’t want to include the full report as it sets out all her difficulties in detail (along with recommendations for the SENCO to support her going forward)
I'd be cautious about this. Panel members could well be unhappy with selected extracts from a report. ("What are they hiding from us?")

Although the report highlights some difficulties, you could make the positive argument "Now that we have a diagnosis, and expert recommendations about the way forward, X is very well-placed to flourish academically ....."

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:11 pm
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mad? wrote:
Hi, welcome to the forum!


Thank you! I've been an avid reader and have found so much useful info here!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:43 pm 
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Thanks Etienne. I'm really torn about the report. It's 24 pages long and a warts & all account of her specific difficulties. Whilst it's extremely helpful for us going forward as sets out all the areas where she struggles and details what additional support she needs, it's not a "positive" document to present to appeal when trying to emphasise that she'll cope in GS.

I agree with your sentiment around 'what are they hiding', but I'm just really concerned this document actually casts doubt on her ability to cope. Everything I've read on here suggests I need to prove her academic case. This document only highlights areas she's significantly below average (i.e. disproves the academic case!). I'm confident she can cope - she's managed to get through her whole school career to date without a single teacher noticing her difficulties and has managed to get through the 11+ without adjustments and qualify for her 2nd choice school. :?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:47 pm 
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Quote:
Everything I've read on here suggests I need to prove her academic case
Indeed - I probably wrote much of it! :oops:

No one is suggesting you shouldn't make an academic case.

I don't know how strong your academic evidence is ("I have a headteacher’s letter of support, including some academic evidence"), but you have rather a good argument when pointing out "she's managed to get through her whole school career to date without a single teacher noticing her difficulties and has managed to get through the 11+ without adjustments and qualify for her 2nd choice school".

Quote:
it's not a "positive" document to present to appeal when trying to emphasise that she'll cope in GS.
I understand your concerns, but I hope the panel would know that it's really not their task to determine whether or not a child with learning difficulties will cope at grammar school.

The Appeals Code is very clear about what the appeal panel should be doing:
Quote:
3.13 An appeal panel may be asked to consider an appeal where the appellant believes that the child did not perform at their best on the day of the entrance test. In such cases:
a) where a local review process has not been applied, the panel must only uphold the appeal if it is satisfied:
i) that there is evidence to demonstrate that the child is of the required academic standards, for example, school reports giving Year 5/Year 6 SAT results or a letter of support from their current or previous school clearly indicating why the child is considered to be of grammar school ability; and
ii) where applicable, that the appellant’s arguments outweigh the admission authority’s case that admission of additional children would cause prejudice.

Dyslexia is a significant part of your case, because it helps explain underperformance on the day, so clearly you need some evidence for it.
Unfortunately, if you are thought to be picking out just the parts of a report that suit you, the panel will be suspicious!

Does the report include a free-standing summary that would be suitable from your point of view?
This would be acceptable because it doesn't suggest you're going through the report and cherry picking.

Alternatively, is the headteacher now on side? Could the school confirm the diagnosis and summarise the key points you want to get across, so that you can dispense with the report?
A summary from the school is worth something - a summary from the parent isn't!

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:22 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:11 pm
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Thank you again, this whole site is fantastic & all the advice so helpful.

Trying to organise my thoughts and plan the appeal has tied me in knots, so getting your clear and succinct advice really helps. The headteacher is definitely on board, so that's a great idea to speak to them about including information on her dyslexia. I agree that this is going to be critical to the appeal, so that seems like a good way forward :D


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