I hope you don't mind this long, honest and detailed post, I just need someone from outside to say it's ok, it's not as complicated as it seems and this is where you start....!!!
My son took the 11 plus in South Warwickshire... pass mark: 325
Verbal Reasoning 81 (which I think goes with his diagnosis of slow processing speed down to a brain tumour and subsequent surgeries when he was little), Numeric 120 & Non-Verbal Reasoning 107.
It was J's decision to sit the 11 plus although we wanted him to go to the small Catholic school (St Benedicts) that myself, my brother, my Dad, my aunts & uncles & my cousins went to. My son isn't Catholic however. We decided to support him in his decision but still took him along to see St Benedicts. He loved it & decided that's where he wanted to go to, but he still wanted to sit the 11 plus just to see how he'd do! On the school selection form we put St Benedicts first, then two Grammar Schools, & then the local High School. He was over the moon with how well he'd done & gutted that he didn't get a place at St B's. We were allocated a place at the high school.
This isn't just about a better education for us, it's about him, & his awful start in life, & his needs. We didn't think he'd ever go to school, his diagnosis was not a good one, his tumour was very rare. Because he wasn't expected to live we chose our Infant School very last minute. Because of my schooling (I'm not Catholic either) we wanted him to go to the small Catholic Infant school because we thought it was the right school for him. However the head teacher wouldn't take him in case he died. So he went to a small C of E school just outside our town. In year 3 he had to move to the slightly bigger C of E school in the town because we could no longer get him back from the other school.
St B's isn't just an education to us, it's a family & J needs that environment where the two families (ours - us & my parents who are involved in nearly all decisions & area of his life - and the school) meet. J 's been moulded by his early days & he is able to get on with adults much better than with children because of his lack of contact with them (chemo & infections & extended periods in hospital) & this is still evident today. St B's would be the ideal place for J's ongoing progress that has taken so long to build up, plus he has high morals & a strong awareness of right & wrong & he would completely embrace everything that the school has to offer. In that family environment he'll find he will excel, but in a larger school that doesn't have the same values & ethos he'll get lost & left behind, & just just in an educational capacity.
He's been bullied because he takes things so literally & wants to do the right thing. Once a playground assistant asked him to get the football that a large group of boys had been playing with - she mistakenly thought J had been playing with them plus it was end of play time - so J got the ball & despite being yelled at by the lads he clung on to the ball because he'd been told to return it, & it ended up with him being pushed to the ground & covered in cuts & holes in his clothing... something like that happens at the high & I dread to think what will happen.
The prognosis for the tumour that he had is very poor & the 5 year survival rate is between 26 and 40% and the survival rate just goes down from then, & J's 6 years in remission now. No-one knows what tomorrow may bring & although we try to move on, there are always reminders & no-one can say what is around the corner & we're probably more frightened than most families.
We just want him to be happy, settled, in a spiritual & family-like environment, somewhere that is completely supportive, where he can develop as a person & the school will do the absolute best to make sure that happens.
On top of that, it offers a good education & they are a maths school & he is very able in this area & loves the subject & he's in the top of the top set at school & it's one thing he has genuine confidence in.
There are other long-term effects from his illness & as a Mom I have not been able to be as involved in J's school life as much as I would have liked, or as much as he would like I'm sure, & certainly not as much as other Moms. I started having panic attacks during his treatment & at one period was housebound. I still struggle with going to places sometimes, especially unfamiliar ones. My parents do a lot for us & support him in doing things that really I should be there for, but because when I have a panic attack my tummy is bad & then I'll have a panic attack thinking that might happen.. well, there's often things I can't attend, such as award ceremonies in other towns, concerts in Birmingham... What I'm trying to say is that St Benedicts is familiar to me & I would be able to be more involved in his schooling because I am not frightened of my surroundings.
What on earth do I do?! How on earth do I go about this?!! I know I want to appeal but I have no idea where to start, what to say...