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Secondary school appeals

(11 Posts)
Ihatetheschoollottery Sat 06-Oct-18 12:33:28

We have just started the process of looking at secondary schools and up until now I have been quite oblivious to the process as our city runs a lottery system so what you want and how close you are to the schools means very little.
We have 3 schools in our catchment, one is Catholic so not really an option, one is heavily oversubscribed (600+ apply and 200 places) and the other is okay but I'm not happy with some of their policies plus the lower school is further away than the catchment area given on the map.

My daughter is set on the oversubscribed school as they are well known for specialising in sport and art. She has always struggled academically and last year was working a year behind her expected levels. The school have not been great at following through with promises of programs that they wanted to do with her and this year she is being made to do extra maths and English while the other children are doing her favourite subjects, art and P.E both of which she excels at and has kept her confidence in tact.
We tried private tutoring beforehand to avoid this situation but she can't retain information and she's convinced she will not get a place at her preferred school because she's not good enough despite my content reassurance that her SAT scores are irrelevant.

As we have only a 1 in 3 chance of getting this school i have looked into the commute for all the others within and just out of the catchment and now I'm starting to panic. Each requires a good 15-20 min walk to a bus stop then 30 min bus ride which would be fine if she was the type of girl who can remember where she is and where she is going. We have attempted a few test rides and I honestly can not see how she will be able to do this on her own. She has terrible timekeeping, in fact despite many watches and action plans still can't tell the time and is petrified of the thought of taking a bus alone.
I know I'm jumping the gun here but I'm trying to look positively at all our options. This oversubscribed school ticks so many boxes in terms of what it offers and is the only school she could walk to (just one left turn). I'm realising now that if she can't commute to one of these other schools alone either i will have to give up work for a while or her dad will have to go freelance. She would also have to give up her sport that she competes at regionally as we would never make it to practice.
I'm so worried that the struggles she has had academically along with the pressure of commuting and giving up her sport will have a really negative impact on her.
Is this something that would be worth appealing or an i really over thinking things? I'm not sure that even if I appealed it would be good to mention her memory processing struggles. Dyslexia has been flagged by numerous teachers but she has never been assessed although it does run in our family. Would this be off putting to a school?

OP’s posts: |
ArnoldBee Sat 06-Oct-18 12:42:36

You need a diagnosis and EHCP that recommends a particular school.

meditrina Sat 06-Oct-18 12:44:15

Does the oversubscribed school actually have an entrance exam - either because it is selective or because it operates fair-banding?

If it doesn't her academic results are entirely irrelevant to the application.

All schools (in theory at least) can cope with mild, maybe moderate, dyslexia, so that it unlikely to get you in to the school (if they have exceptional need as a criterion, separate to the lottery places) but if they do you could sways try - but you do need a formal diagnosis, plus a statement from a professional about why only that schools would meet your DD's needs.

Put the schools in your genuine order of preference. Cross your fingers and hope for luck in the lottery.

(You can plan your appeal in the future when you know if one will be be needed. Fretting now won't help, though I know how stressful it is!)

Ihatetheschoollottery Sat 06-Oct-18 13:01:25

Thanks for getting back to me.

No, there is is not an entrance exam as its a state school and Im sure that the other schools would be able to help her if she does have dyslexia. I didn't want to pay for a private assessment as I wasn't sure if the school would even act on it but will look into doing this once I know where she will be going.

I guess I'm just being overly neurotic as Im sure she won't be the only child that has to commute and give up her sport. I just wondered if that would be grounds for an appeal or does it really have to be exceptional circumstances?

OP’s posts: |
WeaselsRising Sat 06-Oct-18 13:14:22

My DD sounds very similar to yours. She still can't tell the time and has no idea where she is. I had to walk her to primary even at the end of Y6.

She started secondary school this year and we were lucky to get a school on a direct bus route. I walk her to the bus stop, wait until the bus comes, and it stops outside the school. We did some practice journeys over the holidays, and DH went with her on the bus there and back for her first 2 days. It has given her bags of confidence and she has met other pupils on the bus going to the same school.

You say yours would have a long walk to the bus stop. What would the journey be like when she gets off? If the bus stops close to the school she would probably be OK, so long as somebody walks her to the bus every morning and meets her at the stop in the afternoon. I've been amazed how well mine has coped, because I was sure she wouldn't manage. This time last year both she and I were worried sick at the thought of it.

It's a bit late for school applications but IIWY I would get her tested by an EdPsych. You will have to pay, but it's worth it to get someone to identify exactly what her issues are and how they affect her.

I can't understand why she would need to give up her sport. How does she get there now? Presumably somebody takes her? That person could pick her up at the new school and take her still, or have I missed something?

Ihatetheschoollottery Sat 06-Oct-18 13:35:52

Thanks WeaselsRising, that is so reassuring to read and Im glad your daughter has got on well with her commute.
I know as they get older they need to be able to do these things for themselves but I am really at a loss sometimes with my daughter. I feel like she can't manage anything without me prodding her in the back.

Her club is in the opposite direction and I don't know anyone who could take her there from school. I work near her current school so can pick her up and take her myself. She could walk it from first choice school as again its a straight walk down one road but will be stretched getting a bus from the other choices plus another bus route to contend with.

Im going to look into getting her assessed asap so at least we have something to present to whatever school she is allocated.

OP’s posts: |
admission Sat 06-Oct-18 21:23:35

Whilst there is nothing stopping you getting a private assessment done for dyslexia etc, the reality is that most schools will only accept one that has been carried out by their consultant or the LA's.
I think you need to be pushing the current school to get some tests carried out. There is zero use in the school making your daughter do extra english and maths if they really do not know why she is having difficulties.

WeaselsRising Sun 07-Oct-18 14:00:24

admission that's all very well but schools won't/don't test for dyslexia these days. I asked many times, and we were already seeing a paediatrician. I just got told there was no money need, even though they could see my DD's difficulties.

admission Sun 07-Oct-18 21:41:46

Clearly funding is an issue at present and whilst can see that schools need to be selective in what they do arrange in terms of testing, there is also a duty of care to the pupil that they get the best possible education. That cannot possibly be happening if they know there are issues but are not bothered / capable of establishing what is the issue. The school should be using their professional capabilities to recognise when an issue is present, accepting that some parents do seem to worry that their child has every disability known to man.

As a governor I would be horrified if a pupil with clear needs was being failed in this way. In my school we have two teachers who have been trained to carry out the various tests for dyslexia. The cost of the training is outweighed by the capability to know at a very early stage whether there is an issue or not.

Ihatetheschoollottery Tue 09-Oct-18 15:46:27

In our school I have had regular meetings with senco and left with the reassurance that they will be doing X,Y and Z with her which never follows through. I’ve realised that as long as it’s all on paper it really doesn’t matter to them if she is struggling or not. She is well behaved and doesn’t disrupt the class but tells me she spends most of her spelling and maths tests trying not to cry. On one occasion the teacher made everyone stand up and they could sit down if they scored full marks, then the next lot could sit down if they scored 80% and so on until she was one of just two children standing having got 4 answers right.
She is now doing extra maths and English during every art and music lesson. Surprisingly she actually doesn’t mind this as she said her teacher is kind and she benefits from being in a small group but why did it have to take the upcoming SATs to get them to pull their finger out?

OP’s posts: |
Myshinynewname Thu 11-Oct-18 18:35:14

I would advise you to go and look around all of the schools you are considering and ask them about what provisions they have in place for helping dyslexic children. Sports provision is so much less important because she can do most of that out of school. I have recently toured our local schools and the difference in what they actually have on offer was staggering (all ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’).

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