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?

lougle Fri 03-May-13 18:46:13

Actually, 5 separate indications. e) The LA withdrew the DD's place at the third choice school.

God, you're good lougle
< appreciates a bit of arm-chair (for me) legal argument >

PermaShattered Fri 03-May-13 19:31:26

I wish there was a 'like' button for Mumsnet postings smile

More from me later but just to answer wineoclock's query: No they have not at will not elaborate about the nature of the error.

madaki Fri 03-May-13 20:46:32

Is the school in question a certain purple school? If it is then I can see how some qre confused over pass mark/ cut off. This school isn't really in a grammar area, so the children do the test, are ranked in order of performance and then places are offered down the list until the school is full.
Even if this isn't the school, is that how the places are offered in the mentioned school?

PermaShattered Fri 03-May-13 21:03:43

bluebell you’re right: my DD had 8 weeks to come round to the idea of not going to her sister’s school. And she WAS getting used to it, although she’s had the understandable feelings of inferiority/not as clever as….. etc. THEN she’s told she has a place and has a number of days to get excited/talk about school with her sister/try on her uniform etc.

THEN she’s suddenly faced with the prospect of having that place ripped away from her. You can understand any feelings of jealousy/inferiority being magnified in the circumstances.

Lougle thanks for that – really really useful to know all that &#61514; Thanks for taking the time to post it all. She does now, as of this afternoon, have a place at our 3rd choice (the original offered place) but I’m assured this will not jeopardise our appeal.

Bluebell very unfair I’m afraid. Re admissions: the first one we spoke to appeared to be a junior member; the second more senior. But frankly that’s irrelevant to our case.

Re the other schools. We have been – and still are positive about them. Seems strange and a bit direct to ask what we’ve been saying to DD about them though! Suffice to say we’d never say anything negative about a school she could potentially be going to … that would not be a good start!

Juggling: thanks. It is a rollercoaster but I have been on worse – thankfully! - and the end is in sight on this one. We have almost a definite appeal date.

tiggy and lougle we are all certain our case is virtually watertight but you probably know as well as me that case law can change. Unfortunately &#61516; So it really is a case of gathering as much together and putting into the best case we can – then waiting. Unfortunately, we do have a matter of a few weeks. Wish it could be a shorter period.

madaki what do you mean ‘purple’ school? Which probably means the answer is no! But yes – places are, I understand, awarded in the way you suggest.

PermaShattered Fri 03-May-13 21:04:41

ooooh, weird. Not sure where those numbers in there came from!

PermaShattered Fri 03-May-13 21:18:39

BTW someone mentioned demonstrating academic ability earlier in the context of SATs. My DD's deputy head told me this afternoon that she's currently achieving level 5 all round smile

BabyGiraffes Fri 03-May-13 22:18:32

PermaShattered I feel your dd deserves that place and I am keeping my fingers crossed. In your case I would fight for the place. Different circumstances and different country, but I myself changed schools without official permission and it was then thought unnecessarily harsh to reinstate the former school place. I think the same would be true for your dd, so don't give up!

Just an aside to Seeker re Kent- there are children who did not pass the 11+'at all the oversubscribed Grammar schools in west Kent- some via headteachers appeal, others through parental appeal. This includes even the most superselecive grammars in Kent. There are even children who did not take the 11+, coming from other areas or as later entrants.

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 21:01:30

talking - That is also the case at the London borough superselectives (the ones which have 12 applicants per place and more children pass the 11+ than can ever be offered a place). No matter how full, selective or popular a school is, children can win a place there purely on appeal. Which is the whole point of an appeals process really - it is there only chance.

Perma - I hope you are managing to have a nice weekend and forget about the whole thing a bit until Tuesday. Am really hoping next week brings a letter saying they have reconsidered given they know you will fight this and your LA have advised your case is strong. It would be great if it was all sorted long before an appeal date is issued.

piggywigwig Sat 04-May-13 21:36:57

In general terms, in an appeal for a place at a superselective, where you felt your DC had under-performed on the day, and you're hoping to show academic prowess/suitability, then I'd be happiest going in with evidence to show the child was safely performing at Level 6, or likely to attain that.
Let's face it, the competition's tough.

Heifer Sat 04-May-13 22:26:14

and I thought our system for applying to Grammar Schools was hard. At least here, as the 11+ is now taken in September and results are known before the secondary applications are due in, if you haven't passed the 11+ then you don't apply to the Grammar Schools. Only those that have reached the "pass" mark (not sure of it's correct title) will be offered a place, and not everyone who has passed will get into a Grammar School as there are only 2 boys and 3 girls GS in the district..

Your whole situation sounds a complete nightmare! I hope it's gets sorted with the least amount of stress to you and your daughter.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 23:09:45

Talkingnonsense- that's what I said. But such people are hen's teeth rare.

bubbles1231 Sat 04-May-13 23:38:34

The whole situation is a nightmare!
Where we live you attend the local primary school. You can make a placing request for elsewhere but you'll only get it if there's space. Class sizes are limited to 25 in p1 and 33 in the rest. If it's a composite then it's 25.
If total mubers in the school of your catchement go up, another teacher is employed (portacabin in the playground if need be). Our school hovers between so some years class sizes are small. Everyone in catchment attends the local secondary which has gradually grown in mumber over the years resulting in a new wing being built. As a result no-one is taken from ouside catchment as it remains full. We filled out the enrolment form last month and that was it.
I can't imagine the stress people are having to endure with appeals etc. It must be awful.

bubbles1231 Sat 04-May-13 23:39:22

mubers??- numbers

Sorry Seeker- I read your earlier post as saying you didn't think there were any non qualified children at oversubscribed Kent grammars, (at 13:48), and wanted to clarify that in fact there are. I would say one or two in every class.

jckhgg Mon 06-May-13 16:51:21

My son took the eleven plus, and passed, there was 200 that passed but only 150 places for the grammer school. Sadly he did not get an offer at the grammer school as oversubscribed. We were told that he did very well and is ninth on the list. What chance has he got to get in, do some people refuse the place of grammer school. I feel that he would benefit from the grammer school, more and I think this grammer school would suit him. Please help

prh47bridge Mon 06-May-13 18:59:46

There is no simple answer to that question. Yes, some people will move or choose to go private and hence not take up their place. But there is no way of knowing how many. You could ask the school what has happened in previous years but there are no guarantees that this year will be the same.

PermaShattered Mon 06-May-13 22:32:34

Hi all, I'm 'back', have had a reasonable weekend but my DD is having her moments - understandably. She feels sick much of the time sad She's also upset because it's the first induction evening at the school this week. Part of me wants to email the headteacher but i don't want to jeopardise the situation or make it difficult for him.

I'm working on the initial appeal application (must hit the post office tomorrow with it just so it's 'in') then i can gather the rest of my evidence/documentation.

If anyone in the know has a copy or a link to the ruling in the case where 0-3 days was ruled a reasonable period in which to withdraw an offer that would be so helpful smile

PermaShattered Mon 06-May-13 22:33:46

talkingnonsense what's the difference between a headteacher's appeal and a parent's appeal??

seeker Mon 06-May-13 22:41:26

It depends on the area, perma. Where we are, a head teacher's appeal happens before the results are officially announced. It's when the school thinks the child should have passed, that the result is a complete anomaly, and they must have marked the paper wrong, or something happened during the test to throw them, or there is some massive mitigating circumstance. My niece got through on a head teacher's appeal, for example, because she had only arrived in England in year 5 and her English just wasn't up to the VR paper, even thought her maths and VR were good.

A parent's appeal is an appeal to an independent panel, who consider a parent's belief that their child is suitable for a grammar school.

Both sorts of appeal are usually unsucessful.

DIddled Mon 06-May-13 22:49:03

Perma - google ombudsman 99 c 1876 .

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 23:00:02

I think the Head Teacher's appeal is just a Kent thing (but I may be wrong - it may apply in other counties too). It is an extra layer of checking.
Certainly though a lot of grammar school areas have no such thing. In most areas of the country the primary school heads have absolutely zero input at all. Only the top group children take the test, they sit it over several Saturdays at each Grammar Schools and the primary schools don't even know which children have taken it and which haven't.

Either way, your case would be a statutory appeal (a normal appeal in other words) because it is an admissions error.
Seeker is correct that many appeals are unsuccessful (but some do succeed every year even without any admin errors in their favour). Yours however is different as you are seeking appeal to rectify a mistake that should never have resulted in them withdrawing your offer in the first place.
Most appeals are about trying to secure an offer not winning one back again that has already been made. Yours is much stronger because of that.

Good luck for the week ahead and try not to worry about the inductions. There will be time over the summer to get uniforms and paperwork and, having an older child there already will help your DD.

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 23:03:21

And yes it is the Local Government Ombudsman's ruling in case 99C01876. that you need.

lougle Mon 06-May-13 23:55:09

This thread is not accepting new messages.