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Gloucs Grammar Appeal Questions

(25 Posts)
SweetieBumMum Sat 30-Apr-16 19:17:26

Hi, I'm looking for some advice as I'm mid appeal for DD for Gloucester grammars.

I've sent in my appeal paperwork and I'm waiting for date hearings.

Would anyone know if it is at this point we find out formally why a place wasn't offered? And the schools argument against taking a child?

We're just over the Wilts/Gloucstershire boarder, it's literally the end of our drive and so far all I have from the council (Wilts) is "not offered".

I'm also curious to know what the panel may ask me on the day. My letter was concise, factual and my points were backed up by supporting documents. I'm terrified I'll go in there and they will ask very little?!

Any advice will be gratefully received. smile

Couchpotato3 Sat 30-Apr-16 19:23:51

What are your grounds for appeal? Presumably the reason for not getting an offer is that other people scored more highly on the entrance test.
Have you tried the elevenplusexams.co.uk forum? You might get more specific advice there on the Gloucestershire board.

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sat 30-Apr-16 19:24:36

Is this a non qualification appeal?

SweetieBumMum Sat 30-Apr-16 19:32:19

One is non-qualification and over subscription and the other is over subscription. I know this from research on forums but I haven't been told the reason why just the "not offered" on the local authority paper work. I'd like to know if this right as I've filled in my paperwork thinking it's as above.

The eleven plus forum is very quiet at the moment, Couchpotato3, possibly concentrating on their own appeals!

Thank you both for your reply.

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sat 30-Apr-16 19:37:13

Are you appealing for twins? Or have you just moved?
Sorry not much is clear from your op. If you can explain a bit that would be good
I won a over subscription appeal last year for a grammar. But it's not easy even with good grounds

SweetieBumMum Sat 30-Apr-16 19:55:57

No it's just one DD. She is on the waiting list for one grammar. But did not pass for our preferred which her older sister already attends.

We are on the waiting list for the passed grammar and were advised also to appeal because although she is quite high on the list, we were told that she could go down the waiting list as people appeal and are awarded places.

We have a good letter of support from primary head stating predicted high SATs, high calibre pupil etc.

There are mitigating circumstances which I know under the appeals code aren't supposed to count for much, but there was a problem at the start of the first exam which I think (and teachers think too) must have knocked her off her stride. Plus something personal to our family.

I think I'm starting to crumble under the pressure a little, it appears such a closed procedure with not much visibility. And I'm conscious that it's down to me to prove the correct info for the panel to make their decision.

Although I've read as much as I can, I'm still unsure of whether for example, I would question the school rep about numbers, PAN for the over subscription part....

If you have any advice or could give your experience I'd be extremely grateful. Due to the personal part of mitigating circumstances I've decided to go alone to the panel as I fear DH will be too upset at that point.

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sat 30-Apr-16 20:11:37

Ok. That helps.
Firstly the panel aren't scary. In fact I found them quite lovely. They are used to parents getting upset too. I cried during mine and they had a very handy box of tissues. smile
I went alone. It was really fine and I'm autistic and completely rubbish normally at these things

I had written my appeal as well as I could. It was to the point easy to read and referenced the letters and supporting evidence I had collected.

I really went for the full on nuclear option. I read a book called how to win your school appeal ( or similar) very good book actually

All I can say is they really are just normal people. I was very pleasantly surprised how they listened and asked really good questions too

I got the schools 'case' about 2 weeks? Before the appeal panel. I then dissected it comprehensively grin. Most of it was utter bollocks and was relatively easy to prove it was so.
I had already got lots of info from the school itself. Like how many on role, how many in each year. So that I could prove that they could take one more child because they already had been doing every single year since the day dot in my case.
I also looked at results. To show that they hadn't dropped with a few extra children.
Things like the length of lunch times. One of the reasons my school tried to use was that the waiting times for lunches had increased 20% with 12 extra kids! Clearly bollocks and the panel agreed. When questioned the school admitted that other reasons were responsible fo the increase in waiting times.
The school also had a full hour for lunch. Some schools have much less and have a greater pressure to get kids fed in a short time

I'm just showing you that even when you get the schools reasons. It doesn't mean the panel will accept them and they should be able to prove the statements they are making in the same way that you should be able to prove yours. They don't get a free ticket to say what they like without backing it up.

The panel are not stupid. They have common sense and know a good case when they see it IMHO. I have a good deal of faith in the whole appeals system actually.

As far as non qualification goes I have no experience so I hope someone can help you there. All I can suggest is to get as much eveidence as you can. And a really good justification as to why your child underperformed on the test days.

SweetieBumMum Sat 30-Apr-16 20:20:51

Thank you so much for taking the time. It's very reassuring to hear your story.

Was it the grammar themselves that provided you with the info on PAN, how many in role and results.

This is the part that I find hard to get info on. I've found a lot of info for over subscription that says find medical grounds etc., but not much nuts and bolts stuff of where to go to get figures to dissect.

Thank you for the book advice, I have googled for hours (and hours!!) but up until now hadn't thought to go the good old fashioned way and get a book! smile
Thanks again!

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sat 30-Apr-16 20:27:28

Yes. It was the school itself. The results I already had from prospectus
I then just submitted a request for information for a whole long list of things to ascertain that every single year group was over its numbers and had been for many years!
That way they couldn't try to tell me that they couldn't cope. Because they had been coping and the results has stayed fairly consistent. One year had a small drop but even that I said was a normal variability and should be expected in a relatively small intake of 150 children.

I honestly believe that these panels make the right decisions. My son couldn't have gone anywhere else without causing him risk or the entire family severe financial hardship. I wasn't making the appeal because parental choice or whim. They saw that.
3/43 appeals to the school were successful last year
The year before was 12/50-odd

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sat 30-Apr-16 20:32:37

Ps. Tiggytape, Prhbridge, admission, panelchair and a few others are the real experts. One or more of them have sat on panels and are generally very generous with their time to advise on appeals.

SweetieBumMum Sat 30-Apr-16 20:46:31

Thank you, it sounds like you did an amazing job. I hope I can do as well on the day.

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sat 30-Apr-16 20:50:38

Sweetie. I actually won on a technicality but my points remain valid. I just did my best. They aren't expecting lawyers as parents.
Just gather information and present your argument.
I wish you the best of luck and feel free to PM me if I can help at all. As I say I'm really not an expert. I just researched my oen case very extensively and was very prepared
I was also careful to not ask questions that may result in unwanted answers!

SweetieBumMum Sun 01-May-16 10:39:53

Thank you. I'm actually feeling a lot less worried now. I do have genuine reasons and it can be backed up by evidence. Like you say, it's not whim or a want. It's painful for the children in this limbo where class mates are talking about which bus they're on and uniforms etc.
I'll be bringing my own tissues though, just in case. smile

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Sun 01-May-16 17:38:07

It is difficult to wait. I think we found out at the end of June last year and there were many here that found out a couple of weeks afterwards.
I would urge you to 'big up' the allocated school and avoid telling your child the ins and outs. It's very stressful for them as well as us. That way he won't be upset if things don't go to plan. Maybe say things like all 3 schools are good and you are sure he I'll be happy in any of them.

I made a mistake in telling my son what was going on, he knew the day of the appeal and was worried but didn't tell me

When we found out ( he even wanted to open the envelope himself!) he cried with relief

I wished I'd hidden more form him I thought I was doing the right thing being honest.

tiggytape Sun 01-May-16 23:50:07

Daily has given very good advice and reassurance too. I especially agree with the point that this is a long process and outcomes are always uncertain to some extent (some schools have a much stronger case for saying they are full than others and it is not always possible to overcome this).
As such, keeping it very low key as far as DD is concerned is a really good idea - as is bigging up the allocated school. No matter how much of a disaster you feel it would be for DD to have to attend it, knowing you feel that way will make it 10x worse should that be the outcome.

The school themselves will provide the numbers in each year group. Many schools have more children than PAN in every year and manage this quite easily. If they've managed it before, its not unreasonable to say they can manage it again.
Other things you can ask about are how many pupils leave outside the usual times (i.e. pupil turnover) and how classes are organised within the timetable (just because they have 30 per tutor group doesn't mean they have 30 per class - they may run smaller classes for some subjects with more wriggle room for extras).

All of this of course applies just for the grammar where your appeal is an oversubscription one.
For the appeal where non qualification is also an issue, you will also have to counter the oversubscription issues too but they are secondary to non qualification. The panel would expect to see strong evidence that DD easily exceeds the standard to qualify for this particular school (some people submit professional Ed Psych reports, others submit evidence from primary school to demonstrate an academic ability that very clearly demonstrates high ability). Once you have cleared that hurdle then you need to address the oversubscription concerns.

SweetieBumMum Mon 02-May-16 15:08:54

Thanks for that Tiggytape. I'm really lucky to have a very supportive letter from primary school and something happened at the start of the very first exam which I've detailed in mitigating circumstances but have concentrated on showing her academic ability foremost.

I don't know whether you have experience with the appeals code but I noticed the it says the LA or admissions authority must tell you the reasons for not getting a place. My letter from LA said place refused but no more info.

I've met a lady on a forum appealing for the same reasons as me to the same Gloucester grammar and I discovered today that in March when she got her letter from the LA saying place refused, she also got one from the grammar school saying why.

I'm wondering if I should also have received a similar letter and if not, was the appeals code followed?

I'd be grateful for any advice.

tiggytape Mon 02-May-16 16:38:26

Yes they should tell you why you were not offered a place at either school.

I assume the reason will be that DD did not reach the pass mark set and, at the other school, she reached the pass mark but lost out on tie breaking criteria (distance or score I assume depending on what the school use to separate those who pass the test and get a place from those who pass the 11+ but don't get a place).
You should be told which category she was in and why she lost out. Have you asked?

Whilst they may have acted incorrectly by not informing you properly, this has little bearing on the outcome of any appeal unless it turns out that their lack of information hides an error which cost your DD a place (eg if distance is the tie breaker and they say the last distance offered was 1.2km and you live 0.8km away then you have a good case). If it is just the fact that they haven't been as detailed as they should be but all the admissions decisions were made correctly then this won't help at appeal although they may get told off for not having explained the outcome properly to you.

SweetieBumMum Mon 02-May-16 18:06:56

Thank you for your help, I think it's more that I wasn't informed so I felt a little blind doing my appeal paperwork - it was research on appeals forums that made me realise for example that I needed to appeal for both non-qualification AND over subscription.
I think other than that Decisions have been made properly.

I hadn't realised that I should ask which category she was in with regard to just over subscription. She is quite high up on the waiting list which gives me hope, but now that makes me realise she could technically have the same score as people who have gained a place but because she is not a looked after child or is a good distance from school. I'll ask the school. This grammar has been really friendly and forth coming with information.

Unfortunately the other isn't so helpful!

Once again, thank you for your help smile

thanksamillion Mon 02-May-16 20:53:49

We're in the middle of a Gloucs grammar appeal too. Distance won't come in to it - in Gloucester it's entirely on the ranking (I don't know about looked after children but can't really see that it's relevant anyway).

We had a letter from the school stating where we were on the waiting list and how many appeals had succeeded last year etc. Just waiting for the hearing date now.

SweetieBumMum Tue 03-May-16 10:17:20

Good luck with your appeal thanksamillion

thanksamillion Tue 03-May-16 17:40:35

Thanks SweetieBumMum, you too.

We got our hearing date today by email. Have you heard anything?

SweetieBumMum Wed 04-May-16 07:51:39

Yes! On the original form it asked us to circle any dates we couldn't make. I circled only one as it's an inset day and we'd be returning from our family holiday... Yes, you've guessed it... We were given THAT day. Now trying to work out how to fly back early from Europe and leave DH to drive with 4DC....shock
I phoned to see if I could change and they said every slot was taken but took my details in case anyone else phones so we could perhaps swap.
What would happen if you were booked in for surgery?!

thanksamillion Wed 04-May-16 14:19:55

Oh no! We had said no to a few dates because DH will be abroad and thankfully we didn't get given those ones.

Hopefully someone else will want to swap but then you might have booked a flight by then! I guess everyone found out yesterday so maybe there will be some movement on dates today.

SweetieBumMum Wed 04-May-16 18:54:08

Fingers crossed, but yes! I will have bought a flight by then... I couldn't believe it!

SweetieBumMum Wed 04-May-16 20:36:46

Just another question, I think nerves are getting the better of me as I have the date for one of the appeals, are the school obliged to give numbers on roll, student turnover etc., and within what time scale would you expect that.

I'm asking as one of the schools seems really very helpful and the other (being generous) not so helpful.

I had to send three emails requesting to see the invigilators log for example. I didn't want to send a freedom of information request but heck it came close!

I know another lady requested from the same school and she didn't get to see the report from her group.

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