Late Grammar School offer: over the moon but stressed/flummoxed

(1000 Posts)
PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 19:35:12

What a 3 days we've had - any insightful comments welcome. In short:

1. Our daughter was offered 3rd choice (her 11+ score was about 30 down on passmark);
2. 3rd school is outstanding but we appealed to 2nd choice school as was our preference;
3. Last Friday took calls from our local Ed admissions authority saying why appealed when have offer from grammar school?
4. Said we hadn't. She made further calls to other relevant admissions authority and came back and told us we definitely have an offer and it would be in post next day (Saturday just gone);
5. It duly arrived, and we posted our acceptance same day (they should have got it today) - verbal acceptance of place given by phone on Friday;
6. On Friday the Authority also withdrew both our place at 3rd choice school and our appeal to 2nd choice school;
7. Today i take a call from a friend whose daughter got substantially higher score than my DD - and she is 188 on waiting list;
8. I call our admissions auth to check they received our acceptance (they said still in posttray but will be dealt with this afternoon);
9. I query whether there could possibly an error and i'm told categorically 'no'. And if there was, we have a written offer, accepted it and they can't take it off our daughter;
10. Finally, my other DS is that grammar school.

I'm perplexed. What could be a possible explanation?

wheresthebeach Mon 29-Apr-13 19:48:30

Maybe someone with more experience/knowledge will come along with an explanation...my only question is:

Are you sure your friends daughter did better than yours?
hmm

PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 20:00:31

Yes, positive. I wonder whether it's possible that during a moderation/audit of the exam marking (assuming there is such a thing!) that her paper was spotted and she'd been wrongly marked.

I shall watch this space!

titchy Mon 29-Apr-13 20:22:08

Is she grammar material with an unexpectedly low score or....

JeanPaget Mon 29-Apr-13 20:29:03

I've got no idea what's going on with regards to scoring etc, but I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth!

I think that now they've formally offered you a place at the Grammar school they won't be able to withdraw it even if it later turns out to be a mistake. Certainly that's the policy in my area.

So given that the grammar school is presumably the best school and your DS goes there I'd jump at it. The only issue if you think your DD would struggle there? But given you put her in for the 11+ I imagine that's not the case, and I'm sure she'd do very well there.

Is it possible that the grammar schools have some sort of sibling criteria? (actually that sounds like bollocks grin)

PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 20:35:55

Titchy - she is grammar material: she was about 25 marks below the cut off. If she was ridiculously low we would definitely assume a mistake. We also wouldn't accept - there's no way we'd want her to struggle.

Jean - you made me smile! Having a sibling there means nothing. I really don't think she'd struggle. She's top in most things in yr 6 (English/reading level 5a/b) - any weaknesses is maths but that's not a major issue. And she'd have both our support and her sister's.

Also, she didn't have the ridiculous coaching loads of them have: preparation for the 11+ consisted (as it did with her sister!) of her doing 1-2 papers a week for about 6 weeks and me marking them!).

JeanPaget Mon 29-Apr-13 20:43:33

She sounds like she'd do very well. I've always thought all the sort of, "if they have to be tutored they'll really struggle if they get in" talk is complete nonsense anyway tbh. But I don't want to derail the thread!

Do let us know if you find out why she got a place, I'm quite intrigued by the mystery now blush

Could it be that having a sibling moves her up the waiting list? How mysterious but great anyway - she's in and you've avoided stress of an appeal.

Smartiepants79 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:52:33

Do they take into account personality in any way? How suited you are as a whole person?
I would suspect an issue with marking. Seems the most plausible.

Nerfmother Mon 29-Apr-13 21:07:49

Head teacher appeal? Done early ?

PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 21:13:56

Jean, I'll certainly keep you posted. Sibling definitely not an issue. Personality - well, it was only a test, no interview.
Head teacher appeal? Not sure, on what basis, how/why? Maybe marking discrepancies were discovered so some were double checked? I'll definitely be asking why she's been offered in due course - it really would be good go know.
The point is, after 1 March we made no attempt to appeal, no complaints etc - we did nothing. Then 8-9 weeks later an offer completely out of the blue.
Keep the ideas coming - i've never been so perplexed about anything in all my life! Probably because it's such a life changing thing going to secondary school....

prh47bridge Mon 29-Apr-13 21:18:04

Now a place has been offered and accepted they can't take it away from you. The sequence of events does suggest a mistake was made somewhere along the line, though. The LA co-ordinates admissions to make sure you only get one offer so they should not have offered you your third choice if a place was available at your first choice.

Does the grammar school use the candidate's test mark to determine their position in the admission criteria? If it is distance, a lottery or something else the fact your daughter scored substantially worse than your friend's daughter is irrelevant.

Smartiepants79 - No they can't take such things into account. They aren't allowed to use such subjective criteria and the law specifically prohibits them from interviewing parents or prospective popils.

bruffin Mon 29-Apr-13 21:25:34

Strange things can happen. DCs school have an aptitude test. Two boys with identical names and identical birthdays took the test. One passed one failed but the wrong boy got offered the place but he turned it down. The other mum queried why her son hadnt got a place and the mistake was discovered.

I think they must have marked her test wrong in some way - so she should have had a place and they're correcting that mistake by admitting her. It's the only thing that would make sense isn't it?

AngiBolen Mon 29-Apr-13 21:26:20

I know of someone who's paper was sent for moderation/audit or what ever they call it, and it was discovered her paper had been down marked...she was then offered a grammar place. Obviously the parents were told why a place was now being offered and why.

How far away from the school is your friends dd. Here, places are offered to DC within a certain radius first (first 50% of places withing 10 mile radius or something).

In this area, schools know scores before parents, and can highlight any massive surprises.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 21:32:52

OP - I don't want to derail the thread but I find your thinking a bit weird.

If my DC came that close to not getting in my thinking would be that I should have coached DC more so that she could have got a 'safe' score. Instead, you seem to see your light coaching strategy as being validated by the outcome.

AngiBolen Mon 29-Apr-13 21:40:05

MTSgroupie , lots of people choose not to heavily tutor their DC, as they don't want their child to be the one struggling at the bottom of a grammar.

I don't think 30 down on the pass mark is that close. Several DC can get the same score, and may therefore mean a child is 100th on the waiting list.

PermaShattered Mon 29-Apr-13 21:50:14

AngiBolen - i agree in some respects it's not that close - not in relation to the huge number that take the test. But (in my humble opinion) it's pretty close when the total marks is probably around 300? I may be wrong...

MTSgroupie - note sure what you're driving at: the headteacher at the grammar (and it's probably across the board) warn against heavy coaching, and suggest you just get the child used to the paper, presentation etc. Otherwise they will struggle.

My DS who is already at the school says it's the rich ones who had 2,3 or 4 years of heavy coaching are the ones who are struggling. (I'll prob get lynched now for generalisations but that's not the point of this thread.....) Let's put it this way, i couldn't have afforded a paid tutor. And if i could, I would have avoided it.

BTW distance is only relevant if there are two equal scores and they can only allocate one - then they go for the nearest.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 23:09:46

OP - its not important. As you've said, this isn't a tutoring thread smile

tiggytape Tue 30-Apr-13 08:28:44

Either your appeal to school number 2 prompted them to look again at all her tests (in preparation for proving that she had been fairly treated throughout the process) which in turn led to a correction or she has been offered a place in error.

I suspect if she is genuinely so many marks away from the cut-off, she was offered the place by mistake. 25 may not seem many marks to miss by but it is a lot in 11+ terms - many children share the same scores so 25 points could mean 50 - 100 people above her.
Not that this makes any difference now - they have offered you the place and you have accepted, it cannot be taken away now.

But it may open the way to your friend appealing (again this will not affect you) since something has obviously gone wrong with either the original marking or the offers being made and others children have potentially lost out on a place. If the admissions criteria just goes by score, your DD should not have got an offer before your friend. Again though this isn't your fault and you cannot lose the place.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 09:09:41

Angi - I didn't want to ignore your post but at the same time I don't want to derail the post so I'll be brief smile

I agree that if you heavily tutor a child and he only scrapes in then he might struggle. At DS's the pass mark was 85%-90%. So even if you did 'scrape in' you are still one bright cookie. However if it was some village GS with a pass mark of 65% for example then a kid that had to be heavily tutored just to scrape a pass will probably struggle.

Basically, heavy tutoring in isolation is not a bad thing. 'Scraping in' at 85% is not the same scraping in at 65%.

As for parents who tutor their kids for years, anyone who have kids taking music exams know that their pieces peak at between 6 months to a year depending on practice. A kid that plays a piece for 2 years will be over cooked. Same with 11+. Spending years doing the same questions is a waste of time. But this doesn't stop people from going on about how unfair it is that some parents tutor their kids for years.

Sorry for the detour OP.

TSSDNCOP Tue 30-Apr-13 09:18:08

Well congratulations to DD.

I'd be keeping it under your hat though, especially if her earlier scores are known (I'm also in the camp that says her original test has been moderated).

SanityClause Tue 30-Apr-13 09:26:27

Are you sure there's no sibling criteria? There is for some of the grammars near us (and not for others).

My friend's DD only had to pass the 11+ to get a place, as her DS was already at the school. Actually he was finishing Y11, and could feasibly have left to go to another 6th form, but she was still eligible for the place, as he was a current student, when the offer was made.

SanityClause Tue 30-Apr-13 09:31:22

I also know of someone who didn't do brilliantly in all the tests, but did so well in one of them (NVR, I think) that he was offered a grammar place on the basis of this one test. However, this was a long time ago -he is now in his late 20s - and I think it's unlikely that would happen these days. But maybe it would.

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 09:52:18

OP - I just reread the comments. I originally thought that your DD met the minimum requirement by 30 marks and that the surprise was that it was enough to get a place. I didn't realise that she had missed the cut off by 30 marks.

I don't really understand why you take the attitude that you didn't want to seriously tutor your DD because if you did and she passed then she would only struggle. Yet, now you are happy that she has a place even though she might struggle having missed the cut off by 30 points.

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