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Advice please re secondary school appeals

(9 Posts)
user1486838048 Sun 12-Mar-17 10:29:58

Hi, am preparing my appeals for 2 schools and would welcome any advice. We didn't get any of our 3 choices and have subsequently found out we live in a little "grey area" where we probably wouldn't have received any of our choices whatever we put down. We have been allocated a place at a school (one of only 3 in a large city under subscribed) that we are very unhappy with. In the mean time we have changed our third choice to one that is 'ok' and we are more likely to get into. We are also on wait lists for our top 2.
Our case is this. Our daughter was the subject of bullying( the catalyst to this was a comment about body hair :-( from a member of swimming staff employed by the sport centre the school took the class to for swimming lessons). She has become very shy around boys and as she has a particular interest and aptitude for STEM we feel that she would benefit from a girls school.
There have been other instances of bullying and School we have been overed has a much higher PAN than the 2 we are appealing. DD will feel safer in a smaller single sex school.
School number 2 is a sports academy and daughter is a talented swimmer and swims and competes in a club. She aspires to compete at high level.
Both schools have great results in STEM, DD aspires to Engineering. The School we have been offered is achieving below the national average for GCSE but clearly I cannot say this.
There are a few other lesser factors that I will be including but this is the crux of it.
Her School has written a glowing reference in terms of behaviour and potential (confirming ability in Maths) but is it better not to include this? My thinking is that she has no addional needs that would be an extra strain on resource to a school making a place for her.
Thanks so much for any help you can provide during this stressful time

prh47bridge Sun 12-Mar-17 23:32:39

That sounds like a decent case.

You may be challenged on the bullying. It would be helpful if you have some evidence to back it up such as copies of letters or emails to her current school.

Evidence about her sporting ability may also be useful.

I would probably avoid the reference from her current school. It could easily come across as saying that your daughter is bright and therefore needs a better school. The panel cannot admit on that basis and it may put their backs up. You want them on your side. I understand your thinking but you need to be very careful with that. You will want to try and undermine the school's case that it cannot cope with additional pupils but this is generally not the way to do it. A better approach would be to show that they have coped with more pupils in the past and therefore there is no reason why they can't cope with more now.

JoJoSM2 Mon 13-Mar-17 08:05:30

Another that springs to mind - if your daughter swims in a club, that's presumably quite involved? Are your preferred schools a better commute to enable her to carry on training?

user1486838048 Mon 13-Mar-17 08:52:28

Thanks a million for your reply. Re swimming, club is further away from preferred school so can't use this argument. Re bullying and the incident at the swimming pool we have emails about this. Re the school reference, should I not use this as a means to demonstrate an aptitude in maths when preferred school is excellent for STEM and that girls are proven to do better in these subjects in a single sex school?
Thank you :-)

prh47bridge Mon 13-Mar-17 09:09:56

You could use the reference to show your daughter has aptitude in maths but be very careful how you present that. In your written case I wouldn't mention anything the letter says about your daughter's behaviour or her aptitude for other subjects (unless these are also subjects where the appeal school has specific provision) so that it is clear you are only using the letter to show her maths ability.

The problem with evidence that girls do better in some subjects in single sex schools is that it is not specific to your daughter. The appeal panel is therefore unlikely to be swayed by that. If you want to mention the evidence you can but don't spend too much time on it and definitely don't submit research papers supporting your point. The appeal panel won't thank you if they get sent a sheaf of paper saying that girls in general do better in single sex schools. They will be interested, however, if you had specific evidence from a professional that your daughter would do better in a single sex school.

On the STEM subjects generally, it would be better if, rather than pointing to GCSE results, you could point to specific things the appeal schools do that produce those results. Do they, for example, have extra-curricular activities (e.g. a Maths club) that are not available at the allocated school. That is the kind of thing an appeal panel wants to hear.

user1486838048 Mon 13-Mar-17 09:23:49

Gosh that's so helpful, yes the school we want offers advance maths as an after school club. I will re think how how I word appeal

user1486838048 Mon 13-Mar-17 10:45:38

Sorry another question , if I have gathered evidence about increased PAN and no impact on performance am I expected to present that as part of my grounds for appeal in advance or as the school would already know that can I just discuss at appeal panel? Thanks

PatriciaHolm Mon 13-Mar-17 11:18:03

You need to submit all your evidence in advance; panel can refuse to let you submit anything new on the day. School will know about the PAN but panel won't and it's best not to surprise them!

user1486838048 Mon 13-Mar-17 19:49:25

Thanks. Sent off appeal this evening with a lots of relevant evidence so here's hoping. Actually hope it won't come to appeal as school is in an affluent area and apparently lots of places get freeed up in second round when a number of parents elect to send their daughter private. But at least if it comes to appeal I feel confident now that I am giving it my best shot so thank you for the advice

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