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6 form admission appeal. Oh, please help

(31 Posts)
HisMum4 Mon 01-Sep-14 00:08:33

Autistic DS with statement scored a C in English and didn't meet the minimal entry requirement of a B. He also missed the required grade in Physics unexpectedly receiving Bs instead of predicted A* in all sciences.
In Jan DS scored a B in English in mock exams. His 8 best GCSEs are A**A*A*A*BBBC. A* are maths and MFL.

This is so terrible and catastrophic for DS as he is so dependent on the statement provisions in this school and the friendship group that is hugely important as heist supportive networks. His needs couldn't be met in other schools and some other local schools told me that post 16 supporting statemented students in not their priority. If he were to change school, he would probably under perform hugely at AS level because of the upset and disruption or get anxiety or other mental health issues.

But the school's case is that in their experience students with a B in English don't make it through AS and drop out after year 12. I don't know how predictive English grade C really is of future success in Maths and Physics and whether experience with normal DC in that school is applicable to DS, whose spiky, uneven profile of abilities and competences is well documented. But another school argument is that he lacks breadth - could do maths and further maths but actually needs 4 good subjects at AS to progress with 3 to A levels and physics is not that subject as he only got a B... But a few months ago they praised him and predicted an A*. They would argue MFL is also not such a subject because of essays.

I know DS is good at sciences and certainly could do Physics and double maths to A levels and French to AS, but how to convince the panel? All SN arguments seem to reinforce school position that DS just not good enough, but that is so not true.

The school say in their past experience all 6 students admitted with a C dropped out at AS. Is that common?

What are the mechanism/ assumption behind this prediction that those with C in English wouldn't make it through A levels?

What about breadth, how to prove that he could do Physics with a B?

MillyMollyMama Mon 01-Sep-14 00:35:23

As your DS has a statement this, surely, is not just a case of the school making a unilateral decision and refusing to have him? The school, presumably, is named on the statement and they cannot just change that. If the school is not named, I think you need to act quickly. Get in touch with the LA immediately and talk through the issues with them and see if the school can be persuaded to have him. It is perfectly possible to do 3 AS and 3 A2. I agree English at C is not so good but if he is best at sciences, is this really a problem? I think he has done pretty well and the school are being difficult. Do you have a parent advocate system in your area for children with statements? His results should be good enough for A levels, although a B probably won't give stellar results.

Dayshiftdoris Mon 01-Sep-14 00:55:00


My son has a statement and he has a similar level of attainment but is only 10 and I have had my battles.

You need to move fast and this is more complex because 40mins ago the new code of practice became law! That might be good, bad or indifferent to your son but it does mean that there is a lot of transition happening in SEN

Off the top of my head, people to call / email tomorrow:

- The LA who has issued his statement. They might just say he no longer meets the criteria for his current school but do not take that as an answer. Make sure you inform them that the colleges have indicated that they 'cannot meet his needs'.

- IPSEA or Contact A Family education lines. You need to know if the school are an academy and have his statement in front of you.

- Email the colleges you spoke to and detail their advice re: support and invite them to correct any misunderstandings within x working days.

- Local parent partnership service. You need representation with you at this meeting - sometimes IPSEA can support but I think time is not on your side here.

- Connextions service.

Things to read for evidence:
- Ambitious about Autism ran a report on this last academic year. I am certain they indicated that children with ASD do NOT follow predicable attainment patterns and as such mainstream criteria can be discriminatory

- New Code of Practice... It might help, it might not. It's 40mjns old and LAs are all at different points in transition. However, the new code is up to 25yrs.

HisMum - I am routing for him so hard. I understand that a move would be an utter, utter disaster for you all, especially as there appears to be NO realistic alternative.

My immediate thought is to request an urgent interim review of his statement as his placement is at risk BUT I don't know enough about this age group / sixth form to be confident - you need specialist, expert advice. IPSEA are defo the people to call tomorrow but ring the LA and Connextions first.

I am crossing everything

OddBoots Mon 01-Sep-14 01:12:12

I'm too tired to trust myself to get the right bits out for you but here is the new SEN(D) implementation pack for post-16 education

sashh Mon 01-Sep-14 09:19:29

The school say in their past experience all 6 students admitted with a C dropped out at AS. Is that common?

Or did the school ask them to leave?

Do you really want your son at a school were his teachers are waiting for him to fail?

Have you looked at FE colleges?

Dayshiftdoris Mon 01-Sep-14 09:41:03


Statements are not legally enforceable at FE colleges, only 6th Form. They have told OP support of students is not their priority.

As things are structured though the likelihood of getting opportunity to sit the subjects he wants at a FE is low so he would have to do something other than A Levels...

This is not a child who isn't clever enough or has worked hard enough - his profile is so spiky because his ASD prevents him processing elements of English curriculum in the manner that is required him rather than him not having a level of English

Experiences are different with SEND - sometimes it's about provision over attitude - no where else is realistically an alternative so staying put is a good idea... Sad but true :-(

addictedtosugar Mon 01-Sep-14 09:51:26

Sorry, I can't help with the apeal, but just to let you know, I got a C in English GCSE. The rest were A*A*A*AAABB.
Since then, I've got AAAB at Alevel (3 sciences & maths), a first class BSc (Hons), and a distinction in my MSc.

If you can get the right support, a C at GCSE doesn't mean the end of the world.

Good luck!

HisMum4 Mon 01-Sep-14 10:54:18

Thanks for all the comments so far, I really appreciate.

Could anyone prime me in school's possible rationale, what to expect from them at the appeal?
It is a selective school and all those they admitted in the past with a C in English struggled with AS and did not continue to A levels. Why? Is that more indicative of overall level of ability rather than of a particular special role of English in academic success?

What is it about A level study that they are worried about?
They can't openly argue about league tables, so what would be their public argument about DS not being able to complete his A levels?

The breadth of subjects need to be addressed - why do they think DS with predicted A* in Physics, but scored a B will not complete the subject successfully at A levels?

What considerations will be important for the panel? What would they look at?

crazymum53 Mon 01-Sep-14 11:00:14

"But the school's case is that in their experience students with a C in English don't make it through AS and drop out after year 12."

Not true for Maths and Science in my experience (A level Science tutor) - if he was planning on taking an essay subject such as History they may have a point, but for Physics: the Maths grade is a better indicator of expected A level grades.

HisMum4 Mon 01-Sep-14 12:24:13

In what way is a C in English predictive of A level in Physics?

Why a B in Physics is detrimental if DS was predicted an A* and was considered a "good scientist"?

icymaiden Mon 01-Sep-14 12:27:39

The school are talking utter rot!
This is thinly disguised disability discrimination in my opinion.
I can't remember DS1 doing any essays in physics.If they had been concerned about your DS's physics result, the argument may possible have held water, but the English thing is just ludicrous.

happygardening Mon 01-Sep-14 12:28:38

I really feel for you OP my DS1's performance is distinctly spiky.
This may not apply in your case or even be true but my DS1 who has a severe processing disorder had to do 4 ASs despite a recommendation from the SENCO that three would suit him better, someone then told me the schoolFE college only receive funding if they sit four! Ditto A2s he's now being forced to do general studies (what ever the hell that is).
I can only tell you my experience but his educational needs have been met much better at his FE college than they ever were at his "high achieving outstanding academy".

Dayshiftdoris Mon 01-Sep-14 12:39:02

I would look his English very carefully - I bet you will be able to demonstrate that the elements he has not achieved the grade on are those which a young person with ASD would struggle on (deduction, empathetic interpretation, etc) and I would argue that those elements would be relevant IF he was doing English but are not in sciences, maths, etc...

Do you know a teacher who can interpret his marks in detail?

Personally I am keen on the statement 'I am here to talk about MY SON not the rest of your school, my son.....' but I am not sure I am particularly revered for it. However, it's very true to say that ALL children should be taken on their individual circumstances and as such I would be focusing on HIS strengths, HIS wishes, HIS justification for choosing those subjects and HIS future plans.
The other children who dropped out might have had a number of reasons for doing so completely unconnected to their English GCSE - they might have been on the wrong subject for them / had wrong advice rather than be struggling with the work...

Just as a complete aside - I got GCSE English Lit & Lang grade C and I dropped out after a year (no AS then). The reason I dropped out was I got really poor advice re: my A Level choices and my family did not support my decision to remain at school at all. In the subject I enjoyed I was on course for an A, the others a U. It was other factors that impacted NOT my GCSE English grade and as I am currently getting As at MSc level it really has not continued to impact not that you can tell from my mn posts!

KittiesInsane Mon 01-Sep-14 12:41:24

OK, what science-based subjects do they offer? Engineering, music tech, product design, chemistry, for instance? Geography at a push?

I don't see why they couldn't let him attempt (with your and their strong support) maths, further maths, physics, with a fourth choice of chemistry/geology/French with a view to dropping the weakest after the AS year as normal. That way, if his physics was just a blip, he will have proved himself after year 12; if not, he still has a good hand of A-levels.

Or do they offer a science BTEC (I bet they don't, actually, if they are selective, but worth a thought)?

There was quite a lot of writing involved in DS's physics A-level, but it's a very structured sort of writing and DS found it far easier than GCSE English (which was too full of People Being Poetical instead of saying what they meant).

Good luck to him and you.

littledrummergirl Mon 01-Sep-14 13:51:00

Have a read of the equalities act. This applies to all organisations with a duty of care. Clearly your ds is covered.

HisMum4 Mon 01-Sep-14 15:40:39

Any advice on legal / procedural aspects of appeal?

When, how, who should be doing reasonable adjustments?

The school is named on the statement. They meet his needs very well and are the only school that practically can do that...

Is it true that they can't refuse admission unless the statement is changed?

sashh Mon 01-Sep-14 16:46:37

As things are structured though the likelihood of getting opportunity to sit the subjects he wants at a FE is low so he would have to do something other than A Levels...

Why do you say that? My experience is that FE colleges are actually more likely to let people attempt A Levels, even if they think they won't succeed, partly because their results are always lower than VI forms, so they are not as bothered about league tables, and partly because they can signpost students to other courses if they don't do well at AS.

It is appalling that any education provider can say support is 'not their priority'.

Fe colleges typically have an entire department dedicated to the SEN of students.

When, how, who should be doing reasonable adjustments? Things changed with the equality act, 'government bodies' have to actually anticipate difficulties people may have accessing services and put things in place. So the school absolutely should be making the adjustments.

For legal advice, check your house insurance, if you have legal cover then you can call the legal advice line and speak to a solicitor now.

If not, I'm not sure how legal aid works this day, but it is your son who will be represented not you.

smokepole Mon 01-Sep-14 17:14:27

The school are being are acting disgracefully 'nothing is ever black and white.' There are extraordinary reasons why your DS did not meet the English requirements . It is quite clear your DS is 'very 'capable of AS study otherwise he would not have gained 3A* and 3 B grades this is total disability discrimination . The school are not 'acting' in the best interests of an'high ability' student. The worse thing ,they are totally inflexible even though they know you son is more than capable of the required level of study , given the appropriate help.

smokepole Mon 01-Sep-14 17:14:53

cancel being.....

ElephantsNeverForgive Mon 01-Sep-14 17:25:36

Students with a C in English drop out of Sixform after AS.

WTF, my dyslexic DD1 has a C for English (due to a crazy writing grade, I have mentioned elsewhere). Chances of her dropping out of chemistry for which she got 100% and biology for which she got 95 seem pretty slim.

Please appeal and give them hell. English marking is such a political mess it's utterly unfair that schools (and some universities) want B's.

Not all scientists are brilliant at grammar and spelling, especially given the large cross over between SLDs/ASD and STEM subjects.

jessabell Mon 01-Sep-14 17:30:19

Sons school sixth form allowing students with 5 GCSE grades a-c. Its a new sixthform in second year. Son only got c in English taken in November as school wouldn't allow any body to resit. Due too exam altering half way in year. Son felt college wouldnt allow him to do subjects he wanted to do.

RockinHippy Mon 01-Sep-14 17:34:13

Do you have AMAZE where you are ?? They are a charity dealing with disabled kids

I've recently been in a similar situation as regards a high school place appeal for my own DD, who has EDSH - we went through an local Government Ombudsman complaint & it was upheld in our favour, partly on DDD - AMAZE have been a great source if help & advice & will fight our 2nd appeal for us

If you can, I highly recommend contacting them

Good luck

Dayshiftdoris Mon 01-Sep-14 19:46:39


I merely meant that FE colleges are structured in such a way that availablity of courses is not as simple as 'I want to do that course'

They organise their availability of courses according to interest in the course / funding and sometimes that is impacted upon by what the local 6th forms are offering

The local FE is unlikely to offer a physics AS level if 3 local schools are offering it, for example.

What you say about being more open to them having a go I totally agree with and is not what I meant - sorry for not being clear.


You need to speak to IPSEA as soon as possible re: the legalities. The equality laws are the Disability Discrimination Act.

But I will say this - the school are effectively saying that his placement is at risk thus they can no longer meet his needs. What they have done to date is now irrelevant.
What I don't know is what rights your son has to stay there, especially as it's academy - IPSEA's helpline is open in the evenings - they will be able to answer

MillyMollyMama Mon 01-Sep-14 20:06:24

Just looking at the Government's information, it says that, post 16 a student can choose the school they wish to attend. A number of local authorities have put up info on the changes.

The current school seems to take a very hard line regarding the English result. I think it is also reasonable to assume that the OPs son just didn't do his best at Physics GCSE and teachers that know him should be prepared to support him. This is such a disgrace. I hope you have got a bit further today. Colleges of FE around here are very much second rate when it comes to A levels. Most students opt to stay at their very good schools.

admission Mon 01-Sep-14 21:21:07

Appeals at a sixth form level are not that common because the reality is that it is post16 education and most pupils stay in the same school. Many schools have an entry criteria but do bend them when it suits the school or they know somebody under-performed.
It is permissible for the admission authority to set academic entry criteria for the 6th form but it must be set at the same level for both internal (ie already in the school) and external places.
Appeals are exactly the same as for a place at a school at any other time. The school seem to have decided they do not want your son and are taking this hard line. I would get the appeal form and send it in ASAP to the school. If nothing else that will show the school that you are not going away and I wonder whether that might focus minds at the school.
It will be an interesting case as they are so few in number. The school can only argue that because the B grade was not achieved they will not accept the application. I think the school is going to struggle to prove that those that get a C do not progress further than AS. My suspicion is that they really mean they will not get A* or A at A level not that they will not pass the "A" level exam. From what has been said they have also not considered reasonable adjustments to ensure that your son can cope in the environment and will also have to come up with good reasons why their expected grades were not achieved.
You have nothing to loose by appealing but this will not happen quickly and it might well mean that son has missed too much study time even before they get to an appeal situation.

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